Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Motivation: Organizing Your Laundry Chores

I'm so glad I don't have to use this old washing machine for what it was originally made for.  I much prefer to plant flowers in it and set it on my back porch.

It's one of those chores that you either love or hate - doing the laundry.  Dirty laundry can quickly take over your home and cause you great consternation every morning when you try to get your family dressed for the day.

Every family will have different laundry needs and it's important to develop a schedule and routine that works for you instead of following what someone else does.  For some families it works better to finish all of the laundry in 1 or 2 days.  For others, it works better to run a load every day or every other day.   As your family grows, shrinks, and changes, you'll find that you will need to reevaluate your routine and adapt as necessary.

  Right now, as empty nesters, we (and when I say we - I mean me) wash 3 loads a week.  I don't use chlorine bleach, so I like to soak my lights/whites with detergent and an oxygen bleach overnight and then run the load in the morning.  I also do a load of darks and one of linens later in the week.

 When my kids were little, I ran a load of clothes every day.  I found that if I did too many loads in one day, I became overwhelmed with the folding and putting away later in the day.

You've heard of the adage "Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)"?  Well, that's particularly true of laundry.  Whatever you can do to keep the process simple will keep you from getting frustrated.  Here are some ideas that might help:
     1.  Keep laundry baskets near where clothes are removed.  Also, rethink whether you want to have a cover on the basket - that's one more barrier between you and putting the clothing where it belongs. 
     2.  Treat stains as soon as you know about them.  This will save you from accidentally washing and drying the untreated stains and thus setting them, ruining the clothing.
     3.  Keep extra laundry supplies on hand so you never run out.  Stock up on detergent and other items when they are on sale, or make your own in large batches.
     4.  Have a place handy for mending and dry cleaning to be kept until you can process it.  Otherwise, it will get forgotten about or accidentally tossed into the wash with the other laundry.
     5.  Keep a small basket for unmatched socks, found money, and other items you come across on laundry days.   Once a month, clean out the basket. Use the extra socks for dusting rags and toss the money into your change purse.  Any other items can be put away or thrown out. 
     6.  Reconsider how often you wear your clothing.  Years ago, people wore the same clothes all week - that's why every woman had an apron to wear over her dress to keep it as clean as possible.  Nowadays, we change clothes several times a day - hmmm. . .  makes me wonder! 
     7.  Think about how many clothes you actually own.  Many of us own so many clothes that we don't have storage space for them. That's why they are piled on top of dressers and stacked in the bottom of closets.  If you dread putting clothes away, or you don't even bother to put them away anymore - could it be that you simply have too many clothes?  If so, go through your closets and dressers and purge them of unnecessary items.
     8.  Make sure your laundry area has everything you need to do the laundry quickly and without unnecessary effort: 

                             a.  proper lighting
                             b.  storage for supplies
                             c.  a place for folding laundry
                             d.  a wastebasket
                             e.  a line or rack to dry laundry
                             f.  basket for unmatched socks and found money
                             g.  a place to hang your ironing board, iron, and hangers
                             h.  a rug or padded mat to stand on for comfort

If you're finding that you dread going into your laundry area because it's just too dreadfully drab, then now is the time to brighten it up.  Here are some ideas from Pinterest to get you started:

A patterened ironing board cover makes the board look like a piece of art.

Practical storage and an adorable rug make this laundry room bright and cheery as well as functional.
Why not hang a chandy in the laundry room - after all, you are the queen of the house.
Well, I hope you've been inspired to change up your laundry routine to make it work better for you and your family.  Be sure to share your ideas in the comment section or shoot me an email.  I'd love to see some pics as well, if you're willing to share. 

If you're wondering if line drying your clothes is beneficial, then check out this website that touts the positives of drying your clothes that way.  For a little chuckle, scroll down the page to see the picture about "global warming".  Cute!

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