Laundry Simplified

Why Complicate a Simple Task?

Laundry seems to be a burden to so many.  Several moms have asked how our family does laundry.  Perhaps the size of our family leads to the belief that we have a “system”. All I can relate is how laundry works into our schedule. Once a system is in place, prepare to be flexible. Sometimes company adds extra loads with towels and sheets. Certain weeks include washing pillows and comforters. Seasons of life add sports laundry. For me a pattern, weekly schedule, quick response to the dryer buzzer, and designated laundry person contribute to a completed task. Here are some thoughts from our system that might inspire ideas for yours. 

Tuesday is our first stay-at-home day of the week. So early Tuesday morning after making coffee, I began the laundry for the week. I usually start the load of mixed colors.  Dark clothes follow. Whites and delicates are last.  Each time the dryer stops I try to respond immediately and fold all the items in the dryer. Piling the clothes in a mammoth stack to be folded at the end of the day creates extra stress and discouragement. Folding clothes as the dryers stops keeps them from wrinkling. I have a soft basket on top of the dryer that holds all clean socks.

Along the wall each child has a clean clothes basket. The clothes coming out of the dryer are folded immediately and placed into the correct basket. We do have a laundry chute the comes down from the children’s bathroom. One of the children is asked to change out the towels in the kids bathroom and throw the dirty ones down the laundry chute. Each child puts new sheets on their own bed and throws their sheets down the laundry chute. Purchasing two sets of sheets for each bed simplifies laundry and assists the process of making a bed quick when company is coming.

Sorting, Folding and Putting Away Promptly

By sorting the clothes as soon as they finish drying, they never escape the laundry room. This habit has kept a stack of clean items begging to be folded from ever appearing in any other part of my house. It seems to work best to face a stack of laundry coming out of the dryer, than requiring the committed time for folding when several loads are done. Less wrinkling happens when articles are folded promptly from a warm dryer.  Once laundry is complete for the week, each child is asked to promptly take their clean clothes up to their room to put them away.

Hanging and Soaking

Other essentials for success in my laundry room include the hanging bar for pieces needing a hanger immediately. Sweaters, delicates, sports clothes, men’s dress shirts and no-dryer items rest on this fold-out bar until they are transferred to the correct closet.
Whenever possible, soak troublesome items between loads. A utility sink is such a blessing. When I cleaned houses in college, I would just drool when I had a utility sink to work with instead of a bathtub or outside hose. When we built our current home, I managed to locate one inside and one outside.  They are such a help. My inside sink often holds a bucket of Biz dissolved into warm water. After soaking many notoriously stubborn stains disappear easily.

Who is in Charge?

Each household must sort out who is in charge of the laundry.  Dads often take over these jobs. In our home, the kids help me accomplish this activity.  Each older teen takes a year to be in charge of the laundry so they will be confident in this task in college and later their own home.  Like most other housework, systems must be developed for your family and the configuration of your home. Try ideas that fit your family. Always think of ways to bring the process to more efficiency. I love when a new idea saves me time or solves a problem.

Bright and Organized

Bright colored walls with friendly signs cheer up the chore. A rug in front of my machines is a must as I slipped several times due to the moisture in the room. Whenever baskets and clever organizing items simplify the task, the process seems more enjoyable.

Thankful for My Dryer

A cross-stitched sign that I made as a new bride hangs in my laundry room. It reads “I am thankful for my dryer”.  I am truly thankful. As a young girl living in the West Indies and even the Carolinas, I hung wet clothes out to dry. We dashed out to gather them up if a surprise rain storm appeared. The picture at the top of this post reminds me of hanging clothes in the sunshine. While my appreciation for today’s dryer is acute, I do miss the smell of dry clothes that have been dried in the sun. Happy memories of childhood. 

Create a time in your weekly schedule to attack your laundry. Respond quickly to each buzzer. Share the responsibility with family members. Think of how easy things are when they work with a rhythm. Devise a flow that functions for you! Don't complicate a simple task!