Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How to go from Loathing to Loving Laundry!

Well, I don't know if one can actually love doing laundry but it's worth a shot, right? :) Even if you just succeed in not loathing laundry that's saying something! For me it's all about the hampers. As strange as that sounds here are a few of my handy hamper tricks that made it possible for me to not dread laundry day--at least not quite so much. (*As I have mentioned before, there are only 2 of us in my household which makes things a little easier but I have helped many other families with children gain control over their laundry rooms using the same ideas.)

I have found that laundry routine can be greatly simplified by purposefully adding a few hampers to your system and giving the different types of hampers you use specific purposes.
For example, you might use wicker or decorative hampers in the bedroom/bathrooms to collect dirty clothes ...
and reserve the plastic less attractive hampers for transporting laundry to and from the laundry room.

You might use a crunch can style hamper for dirty rags/towels because they have a waterproof lining ...
and use mesh hampers http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=166&PRODID=72108 for children because they are lightweight and come with handles making it so the kids can carry their own clothes to their rooms to be put away.
A 3-bin sorter or a set of larger hampers can be set up in the laundry area to collect dirty clothes until you are ready to wash. That way you always have all your hampers where they should be when they should be there.
My latest "pseudo hamper" addition is a small plastic basket under my kitchen sink that I toss dirty dishtowels and washcloths into. (I dry out my washcloths before they go in so they don't mold or stink.) Once the basket's full, into the washer they go. Very handy!

If you want more detail, this is how my many hampers help me get my laundry done. (FYI even though it's just the two of us I do laundry about twice a week.) First, clothes go into my wicker bedroom hamper. When that's full, the hamper gets taken downstairs by my DH so that I don't kill myself on our 2 flights of wooden stairs. (I have fallen before so I'm not ashamed to ask!) Once in the laundry room, I sort the clothes into whites, darks, lights, delicates etc. (I have many categories--more than you really need, but they make me happy!) When my laundry room sorting hampers fill up I know it's time to do laundry. I love this visual indicator! Once clothes are clean and dry I use a set of 3 plastic baskets to transport clean clothes back upstairs (3 is a good number because it allows me to do multiple loads in one day without have to run up and down stairs looking for an empty hamper). I like to hang dress shirts straight out of the dryer on a rod hanging close by and if I have time, I love to fold clothes straight out of the dryer into a hamper on the floor in front of the dryer--way less wrinkles at the end of the day. If I had children old enough to help, this is where I would use the small mesh cube style hampers with handles to sort clothes by child. Then they could carry them up to their rooms to be put away. I know, you're all thinking "what a great idea--in theory!" No really! One of my client does this and loves this system for her kids! So when all is said and done I put away the folded clothes, return my hampers to their homes (I store my 3 plastic hampers nested on my dryer in the laundry room when they aren't in use) and turn out the laundry room light...until next time
P.S. And for all you mom's out there with sock piles to the ceiling, my Busy Bee advice is buy fewer styles and colors of socks so it's easier to match them up and get your kids involved in the matching. As a former teacher I can tell you that they should be able to help with this by the time they are school age (or earlier depending on the child) but I admit that this might be a dilemma that would take being a mother of 3 to properly address! I'll ask around and get back to you! Ha! :)


mothergoose said...

Okay, awesome advice! I just went out and bought three more plastic hampers at Target. I switched out the kids wicker ones and put a plastic one in their rooms and one in our bedroom. (kids and wicker weren't working out so well) So I bet that will help my loathing. Now for the sorting... I need a sorting place... my blasted laundry room (hall more like) is too small for a sorting thing in there, maybe I can move some stuff out of there though... I really like your sorting idea.

Oh and I love the laundry carrier you gave me when R was first born, it's perfect for one handed laundry hawling.

mothergoose said...

Okay today's laundry day... I just noticed I do laundry loads by room. (girls room, royce's room, E and my room) I don't love it... obviously. I guess I just do it so that the folding and putting away is all for one room. The girls stuff all fits in one load on warm, (no pride, I know) then R's in one load on warm, then I separate E's and mine into whites, colds, then everything else...

I'm still loathing... I think I need to try your sorting system I think it would make me happy too. (knock on wood) Do you do just have the 4 you mentioned or do you have more? Whites, darks, lights, delicates? I think I want to try a sorter in the laundry room (or office, or my closet) for each category... that's why I'm asking :)

Busy Bee said...

Darn! Still loathing, huh? We'll see if sorting is the magic wand for you! :) Okay, so as I mentioned I'm a super sorter. I have the 2 large hampers for light and darks and then I have a smaller set of bins--they are actually plastic dish pans on a shelf next to my washer(see post picture)--that hold my brights and delicates. If I could fit another large hamper in my space I would probably have one for towels. I just use a plastic hamper as needed for those and that works. So my advice for your laundry hall...They have these great tall mesh laundry hampers at Bed Bath and Beyond. You could get 3-4 of those. I think they would fit well along that wall of yours. I'll post a picture and link for you.


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