Let’s Talk Laundry: Part 1

In high school I was one of those kids with laundry (both clean and dirty) - and everything else all over the floor of my room. I thought it was cool.

Oh yes, I did. I also thought that I knew right where everything was.

Right.

I no longer make such claims.

It did get a little better in college and in my single days, mostly because of positive peer pressure from my roommates.

In more recent years I have not done very well. Check out this before pictures from when I cleaned out my master bedroom closet:

For many years I was pretty good at washing the clothes, but then they would sit in a crumpled mess in a basket or a pile on a bed or couch. Clean, but very wrinkled. And do I seem like the ironing type to you? 

Mmmmm……no.

I finally got fed up with that nonsense and realized that I should not take the laundry out of the dryer unless I was folding it that instant! So for about a year I folded things as I took them out of the dryer. Big success!

Now I am brave enough to take them to another location and fold them right away.

One of my recent goals has been getting the folded clothes put away! I have clean, folded clothes, usually in baskets, sitting around.

Here’s what I’m working on:

  • I try to put my folded clothes on my side of the bed and Mr. RSS’s on his side, and we each put our own away. That works pretty well when I do it.
  • Ella (7) can put her clothes away – I just need to remind her.
  • Gabe (5) can’t reach his drawers very well, so I need to either keep doing it myself (and actually do it instead of leaving them in baskets), or get him a step stool, or something. The other problem is that one of his drawers is broken and if you pull it out too far, the whole drawer falls out – so we need to fix that.
  • Anna (1.5) All she wants to do is open any drawer she can get to and take everything out. Then possibly cram some things back in. Next, she likes to close the drawer on her finger. She obviously needs some work in this area! ;-)
  • Cleaning out and organizing more of the closets and dressers will make this easier.

I’m also working on keeping up with Mt. Laundry, which has become a landmark in our basement…until now.  I  have some great before and after pictures to show you, but I’ll save them for later in the week. Oh the suspense!

What are your laundry successes or challenges?

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16 Comments

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16 Responses to Let’s Talk Laundry: Part 1

  1. mumay

    I was looking at sites for purex coupons and downy coupons when I got here. Nice site, simple things. Laundry and child-rearing is past behind me. Now, I have hours of looking at delightful blogs like yours… Cheers.

  2. I used to be super on top of the laundry. Now, with 2 kids I seem to be regularly falling a little behind.

    Getting it put away is the toughest step for me too. I’m the worst at putting my OWN clothes away. Hubby takes care of his own and I almost always put away both kids clothes and leave mine for ‘later.’

    This time of year when you are transitioning into fall but keeping spring stuff out is extra tricky!

  3. shannonc

    I do laundry daily. With a family of 6, it is the only way to get it done. However my husband prefers to do his own, so he does his on the weekend. I can at least get most of it on top of the kids dressers for them to put away themselves. My husband usually goes downstairs to get his clean clothes. He hates putting clothes away as well, so most of his stays in the baskets. I am not neat about folding clothes. I have too many to fold. So no worries if they are a bit wrinkly. My husband does all the ironing as well. I guess that is what military does to you. I say probably once a week I can get everyone’s clothes where they belong. We usually have a sock basket that never makes it to their rooms. AT least they know where to find socks!

  4. Jill M

    Elizabeth you are SO funny!!! Love the lines about the ironing type, Anna needing to work on her clothes-putting-away skills, and Mt. Laundry. You make me laugh out loud!!!

    I go through cycles of being on top of things (catching up, then maintaining with a load a day), and then cycles of being behind. Lately my catching point has been leaving clean clothes in the living room (either unfolded but draped over the couch so they don’t wrinkle) or folded and consuming the entire coffee table… either way, a big hindrance on actually using the living room as a living room. When I am on my game, it’s because I’m doing a load a day (in washer in morning, into dryer midday, folded and put away in afternoon). If I put my husband’s clothes on his side of the bed, he will put them away. My daughter (age 7) can turn putting away clothes into an hour-long job, but when I do it with her, it takes the two of us 5 minutes to put away ALL of her laundry, so I usually help (especially since she has small drawers and it can be hard to make them fit).

  5. Funnily enough, I find myself keep up with folding laundry the best when I line dry them. They just seem easier to fold when they are nicely lined up. And one would usually think line drying takes more time and less efficient… The downside is when I do use the dryer, clothes tend to stay there forever as I would not remember I have used it!

    Looking forward to the before and after pictures.

  6. WilliamB

    Less is more when it comes to clothes.

    Fewer clothes means it’s easier to find what you want, to keep drawers usable and unmessy (and unmessy also makes it easier to find what you want), to put clothes away. Fewer clothes might mean more laundry to do or it might not – if you guys are wearing the same 25% of your collection, then getting rid of the other 75% will have no effect on how much laundry there is to do. (The percentages are selected at random.) (Except that they had to add up to 100.)

    You’ve already identified several blockages re laundry: fix your son’s drawer (which may be hard to do), get your son a stepstool (easy), remind Ella to put hers away. So I’m going to add one more: get rid of the clothes your kids don’t wear. It may not be too hard – they’ll be the unfamiliar ones in the bottom of the drawer.

    I wonder if square or rectangular laundry baskets would help: they hold folded clothes better, more evenly, which makes the clothes easier to lay flat and remove to put away. No refolding necessary.

    I have a few other tricks that make laundry easier for me:
    - I have only two types of underwear, which are easy to distinguish on sight;
    - underwear doesn’t get folded;
    - I have only two types of socks (black work and white athletic), easy to distinguish on sight;
    - socks don’t get matched or folded, they’re all the same so why would I need to? (and why did I waste so many years doing this?!?) this is frugal as well – a holey sock doesn’t mean an unwearable pair.

    • Echo what you said on fewer clothes. Only more clothes would make more laundry. If we don’t have that many clothes, it is more likely for us to double check if that set of pants needed to be washed so soon :)

      Also, if we only keep just enough clothes to last till the next laundry day, we will never have Mt. Laundry (Elizabeth, I really like this term here too!). Last time we visit families overseas, we do not have room for excessive clothing and doing laundry was easy!

    • WilliamB – I definitely need to get rid of clothes my kids don’t wear!! I love your sock idea! I have already started doing that with the kids, although not totally on purpose. I just started always getting the same socks that I like for them at Target. I also stopped getting them all the different colors of the rainbow. So silly.

      I need to find some socks I really like for me, and then be consistant about it.

      Oh, and I heard that most people only actually wear 10% of their wardrobe on a regular basis!

      • WilliamB

        When I find socks I like I buy several dozen pair. I found if I didn’t, I couldn’t find the socks I like and I was stuck with different socks. That I don’t have to take the time to find and buy socks for another few years is an added bonus. Can you tell I don’t like shopping?

  7. Marin

    I too had an aversion to putting away clean folded laundry. While my laundry would get done regularly, the clean folded laundry would sit for days in the laundry basket . . . I just couldn’t get my act in gear to actually take it out . . . I would have baskets of clean laundry laying all over the house, until, of course, someone couldn’t find something and would search thru the laundry baskets looking for it, and would unfold everything in the process.

    A few months ago I made the rule for myself that I could not start another load of laundry until the basket of folded, clean clothes WAS EMPTY. So, I got rid of my other laundry baskets (well, I really just found other uses for them) and limited myself to ONE laundry basket. So if there are clean clothes in the laundry basket, I need to empty it before the washing machine goes on.

    This has really helped me stay on top things, because I do need the basket for all the clean dry clothes . . . our laundry room is very small and that if the clothes don’t go into a basket, the clothes really have no place to go, other than the floor.

    By the way, I love your blog!

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