5/13/2010

The fine art of laundry



I believe laundry is an art form.

Every home needs a system for doing laundry.
It can clutter your life quickly.
It doesn't matter if you're washing for 1 or 100.
You need a system.

Everyone's circumstances are a little different.
Apartments where you carry your load up and down many stairs,
laundry rooms upstairs in your homes, laundry shoots, baskets, bins, etc.
laundry rooms in basements, garages, mudrooms, etc.

Washing clothes of all colors in one load, wash day on Tuesday only,
pre-treating, soaking, laundry soaps, stain removers, dry cleaning, etc.

Here is my system. (This photo shows when my system is not working!)

First off, we have a laundry shoot from the kids's upstairs bathroom to the laundry room.
My kids struggle with leaving dirty clothes on their floors, on the bathroom floor, etc.
We still need help in this area.

The shoot is a big, helpful step to getting the dirty clothes downstairs.
My system shows how I do the wash, once the clothes are in the laundry room.

My goal is to do 1 load everyday, M-F sometimes Sat. too.
Doing a load everyday works for me.
If I can do a load of laundry,
then I feel like no matter what else goes wrong,
or doesn't get done at least I've done a load of laundry.

I sort by colors.
This is where I get a little nutty.
Blues/Greens/Greys, Pinks/Purples/Reds, Khaki's/Yellows, Whites, Lights with a little color on them.
I'm very strict about my sorting. A little eccentric.  Towels, go in with their correct sorting pile, clothes in different rooms go in their correct sorting pile.  I don't wash clothes by room, by towels, or jeans only, etc.

My sorting pile is in a closet in the laundry room. It used to be in a rolling hamper, but it to took up too much space in a too small area, where we all walk in from the garage, so I made room to use the closet instead.


I start the load, when it is finished, I place in dryer.
When the dryer is done, I fold it immediately in the laundry room.
Things for the kitchen go in a pile on the washing machine,
along with things to take down to our basement.
Upstairs clothes go in my white laundry baskets.
Then, I place the filled basket on the stairs.
Later, when I head up the stairs I take the basket up.



This part is key:
If you can't fold the load, don't start the load!
It is my theme, it is my system. I don't believe in doing load after load in the wash.
Then placing all the clean, dry piles of clothes throughout your home, on couches, on beds, etc.
It stresses me out, makes an even bigger mess all over the house, and I rarely get to it later.
When it was time for bed, and I was sooo tired, there would be a big pile of clothes all over my bed.
I learned this lesson early, in keeping house, and it has made all the difference for me.

We have a loft upstairs, this is where the clean, folded clothes in a basket are placed.
It looks somewhat orderly, and out of the downstairs area if guests should arrive unexpectedly.

The loft is where I sort the clothes for each person's bedroom.
All 4 kids have a bin, upstairs, with the first letter of their name on it, and a place to keep it.
I put their clothes in there, or even other stuff that clutters downstairs, that should be in their rooms.

That is the kids' job to empty it, put their folded clothes away by themselves,
and put the empty bin back in it's designated spot.

Do they do this job magically each week, by themselves?
NO, but if they need clean clothes they know where to go.




The key steps to my system are:

  • a load a day
  • folding immediately in laundry room
  • placing basket on stairs out of sight
  • sorting clothes upstairs in kid's bins
  • kids put own clothes away


Why it works for me?
There are a couple different steps to my system so that if I get behind, delayed, interrupted, or baskets are neglected until the next day; the laundry is still organized, and not cluttered around the house.

I don't like doing several loads of wash in a day, even though that part is quick and easy,
(It's so tempting to keep doing load after load, after all you just press a button), becuase then I get behind on all the sorting, folding, and putting clothes away.  Even thought the kids help with putting clothes away, I still have to put Chris, Sadie's and my clothes away too.

Laundry is much more than just putting dirty clothes in the machine, and pressing a button.
It's sorting, folding, putting the clothes in the right rooms, and in their drawers.
That is a lot of work, and takes a lot of time.

2 comments:

Ingrid said...

you are so good!

Kristen said...

Like the dishes, it is a job that NEVER ends. I like hearing about what works for you. Thanks for sharing.