Monday, March 2, 2009

Spotlight Series - Lighten your Load (Laundry!)

One of my favorite things about blogging and the internet is how much wisdom you can take advantage of! I love reading fresh ideas from women who are (or have been) in the same place I'm at right now. I enjoy knowing I'm not alone!

So I thought I'd start a weekly "Spotlight" to give me a chance to glean from those who read my blog, as well as to organize the ideas I've come across, and chat about it with you all.

Today's is our very favorite chore of all, right? LAUNDRY! I don't know about you, but laundry seems to multiply around here. We cloth-diaper and use un-paper towels, which definitely adds to it - mix in a Marine husband who often comes home with wet or dirty uniforms, a 3month old who spits up on occasion, and a toddler whose favorite words include "sticky" and "paint" and "poke" get the picture, I'm sure.

I've tried a few ways of organizing my laundry routine. However, I have yet to settle into one that seems to work. Here are some of the ideas I've come across or tried.
1. Organized by days of the week - Here's how one mom does it.
For me, it might look like this:
Monday - diapers, darks
Tuesday - folding
Wednesday - diapers, lights
Thursday - folding
Friday - diapers, misc. (towels, sheets, kitchen towels)

Pros: simple, has one whole day to focus on folding
Cons: doing laundry all week, stacks of clothes at the end of MWF to fold

2. Perpetual Laundry - keep laundry going all the time. In the washer, out the dryer, fold it as you go.

Pros: practical, no "system" to worry about, convenient (throw in as you pass)
Cons: you start dreaming in laundry lol, one or all of the steps can get back-logged (for example, a mountainous pile of unfolded laundry accumulating on your playroom floor)

3. Once-a-week Laundry - one day of the week, that's all you do! Laundry, laundry, laundry.

Pros: get it done so you don't have to think about it the other 6 days
Cons: not feasible at this season in my life - diapers have to be done every other day, and then there's my husband's uniforms, babies miscellaneous dirties (bibs, onesies, towels, the sheet they wet on, etc.)

Part of my problem is the aftermath - not so much the washing and drying...but the folding and putting away. Often, I end up with piles on the floor of the playroom (where the washer/dryer are). Or piles on the landing to the third floor, where our master bedroom is.

How about you? Do you struggle with your laundry, or is it generally in its place? Is it one of the specific steps that is your nemesis? What works for you?


Laura said...

Oh, my laundry is always in it's place. As a matter of fact, I don't have one dirty piece of laundry in my house right now. Haha. :) Actually I'd be pretty embarrassed to post pictures of my laundry room today. The floor is hardly visible!

I sort of organize my laundry by days of the week, but of course some things need to be washed immediately (especially with a little baby) and the schedule frequently gets out of whack. I'm like you...washing and drying isn't an issue. It's the folding and putting away that gets backed up.

Recently I've been doing laundry (basically all day...we have an average of 2 loads per day) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with emergency loads in between. I try to fold loads as soon as they are dry (or fluffed for the 10th time!) because I *really* don't want to have to iron a bunch of things! Sometimes I can delegate this task to Joshua and Abigail, which is nice, but I have to oversee and sometimes re-fold a few things since they don't quite have the hang of it yet. Having Tuesday and Thursday off from washing/drying allows me to catch up with putting things away (which the children also help with).

I'm not using cloth diapers right now, which cuts out a few loads a week for me. Hannah has 3-5 dirty diapers per day, and I'm just not going there with cloth diapers! :) Maybe if she was my only child. Maybe. Probably not. :) As soon as Noah starts fitting into our small Fuzzi Bunz, I'll use them with him. So that will add maybe 2 extra loads per week.

Laundry is not one of my fortes. I actually enjoy doing it...especially the folding because I actually get to sit on the couch! Woohoo!! :) But it's just hard to fit it in and get it completely finished when there are a million other things happening in the meantime. When your children get old enough to help it is a great time to talk. Abigail and I had a lengthy conversation about marriage while doing laundry the other day. I spent most of the time explaining to her why she cannot marry Papa or God or Mr. Blankenship at church. But we both had fun and the laundry got done!

Great idea, Amanda! I'll definitely be back to see what your other readers say. :)

Nikki said...

I tend to laundry as it needs to be done. I don't have any system. I do several loads on Monday to catch up from the weekend; it's also the day that I change sheets. If I can, I take Tuesday off. Then Wednesday, I usually have a load or two to do. Then hopefully, I can take Thursday off. Then more laundry on Friday. Sometimes, however, life interferes, and I end up doing a load of "whites" almost every day. My "whites" are anything the children wear plus our actual whites. I try to do all my laundry in the morning, then I treat myself to some taped t.v. while I fold clothes during nap time. I also keep my washer door open so when Sarah Beth has an accident, all she has to do is put her clothes in there.

Of course, I don't use cloth diapers, so I don't have that load to do at all.

IF said...

I too struggle with putting it away!! I have laundry drama all of the time. By the time I go outside, downstairs, opened gates, sorted, put in the washer, go on a walk with girls in the stroller to the store or just out and about, come back and hang it to dry, or put it in the dryer and start the next load, get the girls in and food inside, wait on laundry, find a second to go back outside to get the laundry that is ready (usually I bundle Olivia back up and take her with me) and carry it back up, lock gates, bring it in the house..... I don't want to even LOOK AT IT! Much less, fold and sort and put away. Hahaha! It was hard the week without Irek because he tried to help or will watch the girls when I go out there. I am so happy for the new washer we just got because it makes everything much easier and has a timer! I am happy for washer's period. The lady next door told me she had to clean all of her cloth diapers by hand 20 years ago. That would be rough.
I actually learned a cool way to save electricity. When my laundry is not backed up, I line dry a load overnight and then put it in the dryer with a bounce sheet for 15 minutes to soften it up. That beats 60 minutes of drying costs anyday! I just need to get better about doing a load a day and not letting it get backed up. When it is backed up I don't have time to wait on it to line dry.

Are things starting to feel normal with two? I think when Olivia was 3 months I finally felt like I was getting the hang of having two. It is so much work, but the best, most rewarding work!! Hugs!!!

seamwrite said...

Living in extended stay quarters has increased my appreciation of the laundry room - especially one on the same level as bedrooms! While I tend to be a "perpetual laundry" person, I find that the "perpetual sorting" is key to keeping up with essential items.

I keep at least 3 laundry baskets on top of my machines so that as laundry accumulates, it is also sorted - even young children can sort their clothes by dark, light, "special." A quick visual check tells me which load is next. (Of course, you have the diaper pail which gives you sort #4.)

"Fold as you fluff" is my other method to keep clothing folded as you go and avoid ironing. I detest ironing, but hate wrinkled clothes. So as I empty the dryer a piece or two at a time, I fold. You can take a laundry basket off the dryer to provide a folding/stacking surface.

I have been called a laundry maniac - I find it relaxing and a time to fold and think! When I had small children, it was also helpful to have the whole family (including husband) involved in an activity nearby to keep me company while I folded. And, as the girls got older, they learned to help, including putting their own piles away in drawers.

How grateful we can all be for modern equipment! I love the idea of hanging overnight then fluffing for a short time the next day - I'm going to try that one!

I have a friend who swears that hanging all of her denim saves hundreds in energy each year, as well as keeping the denim looking freshly ironed. Hang on individual hangers or a line, then pull the seams out until the garment reaches its original size. This works, if you have the time to wait while they dry!

Thanks for starting the discussion, Amanda!