Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday - Laundry Method for Slackers

I'm new to the blog world, but I feel like I've found a family with all the girls that gather over at Rocks in My Dryer on Wednesdays.

Thanks to all the Works for Me Wednesday partners, I have accomplished absolutely nothing today (I didn't take Kim from Hiraeth's
advice -- oops!). But have no fear! I'll save so much time by using everyone's tips, I'll be done in no time!

This week I especially enjoyed Kim C.'s
cleanup tips. Thanks!

So now for my Laundry Method for Slackers, which comes after years of hating the job, all the while trying and failing miserably at every method known to woman. It is an expansion on Jane's
. We have a pretty big family (5 kids), so laundry is a huge part of my life. But I'm learning to embrace my inner washer-girl.

1. Never assume your family understands your method. Hold a family meeting, even if you've changed methods a hundred times before. They will think you are so organized and it helps them help you (they aren't purposely trying to undermine your efforts, really!).

2. Get a label maker. Nothing says professional like your name in Arial BOLD. Labeling everything is a sure way to impress your family and emphasize that this time you mean business.

3. Have lots of hampers. I have five hampers for dirty clothes - three in bathrooms and two in the laundry room. The bathroom hampers are mostly for clothes. The laundry room ones are for sheets, towels, etc. They are labeled as such.

4. Wash, dry, and fold/hang a whole hamper's worth before dragging the next hamper into the laundry room. It's a mental thing for me. If the pile is three stories high, I just want to walk away. The loads are a bit smaller, but that makes drying time quicker. Most of all, washing by the hamper gives a sense of accomplishment and raises the odds of finding matching socks.

Main reason: procrastinators like me need jobs to be small and manageable.

5. The Laundry Tower (Warning: Not OSHA-approved). The pic above shows my "tower," which is three, two-basket towers stacked on top of each other ($20 each at Walmart). As long as nobody climbs them they are pretty steady, and when they are full of neatly sorted clean clothes, they are almost immovable =). I'm sure Container Store has something sturdier, but I am just too cheap and lazy to check it out. This works for me.

Each basket pulls out like a drawer. The frame above each basket is labeled with a family member's name (little ones share, and Hubby and I share. That leaves the top one for mending -- anyone have any tips on getting to

6. Hang everything you can. I put anything church or school-worthy on a hanger (even pants). This makes choosing school and church clothes easy. Is it in a drawer? Can't wear it to church. Besides, kids are notoriously bad at finding things in drawers without making everything a huge wrinkled mess.

Drawers at our house are really only for socks, undies, pajamas, and home-only play clothes and shorts.

I have a hanger cart for putting hangers on (also at Walmart), not all that steady but it works (I used Gorilla Glue to keep the snap-on parts together, and it's doing fine now) . Mine is about 4 feet long and on wheels. It holds probably a hundred hangers-full of clean clothes.

7. Pull out, hang or fold, and sort.
I just love the "wrinkle release" cycle on the dryer (or you can just run it again for a few minutes). I'm never "on it" to get the clothes out on the first beep. It takes me at least two or three beeps! The Key: While the clothes are still a bit warm, pull them out, hang or fold, and put into the proper person's basket.

It really isn't "more efficient" to fold all twelve of your loads at once, if you're like me and never get to it once it's a wrinkled ball of whites-on-top-of-colors and "Is this clean or dirty?"

I pull out the hang-up clothes (which is most all of the family's shirts) and lay them flat on top of the dryer. I put them on hangers after the dryer is empty or after I've poured myself a nice glass of iced tea to get me through the job (or get interrupted a couple dozen times).

Just throw the socks and undies right into the appropriate basket and fold them all at once when that hamper's worth is done (I let the kids match their own socks unless they happen to be lying next to each other in the dryer). Since most of the clothes are on hangers, there's not that much (relatively speaking, of course!) to fold anyway.

7. Call your family and have them pick up their baskets and hangers to put away.
Honestly, half the time, my kids dress right there in the laundry room, fishing straight from the baskets. At first it really bugged me that they weren't getting all their clothes put away. But I have read about some families who have a "family closet" just for this purpose. That's what's sort of evolving at our house. I'm getting over it. As long as my kids say,
"OOH, AHH," at the wonder of their clean clothes, I'm good.

Works for me!

Works For Me Wednesday, Homemaking, Laundry, Laundry Tips


Anonymous said...

excellent tips! Thanks for playing along!

Anonymous said...

What a great tip! Thanks for giving detailed instructions on how this works - I know it's going to help me greatly!

Karen in Chatham, IL

Unknown said...

I'm surfing some back topics, and saw "Laundry Slackers" so I had to check it out. But I really hate to hang clothes! My dd really doesn't have much drawer space, so most is hung, uh, I mean laid out on her bed because I never hang it. I need to put the hangers in my laundry room and just stand there and hang as they come out.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much. I'm going to try this. It beats my method by miles and miles of dirty clothes. Thanks again!