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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monday is Laundry Day

I hesitate to even write about this for fear that I will start to receive all sorts of unsolicited advice on how to manage my housekeeping chores.

I like to say that my house is often in some state of disarray because of choices I make to serve and volunteer in the community. Namely, I spend vast amounts of time helping at the kids' school. I am where they are and I have a clear impact on their education.

This is partially true. But the fact mostly is, I am not great at getting things done around the house, and I hardly think that quitting all of my involvement would help that.

One ongoing bane of my existence is the laundry. Growing up we didn't often have a washer and never a drier in the house. Laundry was done once a week. My mom would wash it at a laundromat and bring it home wet to hang dry on a large white and orange metal rack. So I never did a whole lot of laundry as a kid. The once a week thing was all I knew.

I tried that when we were first married. I tended to end up with huge piles of clean, wrinkling laundry in baskets or on floors, waiting to be folded. It was a hassle, and I always thought that if I could only find the right day, that things would magically fall into place. I tried Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, and I think even Wednesdays. No difference.

My dear husband offered several times that his mom had done a load or two of laundry each day, and that it seemed to work well for her. I tried that, and the only outcome was that after a week of going crazy, I was back to once per week.

Things improved slightly on moving into our current home. Our washer and drier are in a closet which is in our downstairs secondary family/office/guest room. I'd always get a good start (and here for some reason I've been better about folding laundry right away), but I'd run out of steam, and laundry would get stretched into a 3 or 4 day event which by the time I'd finish was almost time to start again.

In December, I decided to try something new. Each person would have their own laundry day. #1 is Monday, #2 is Tuesday, etc. until Larry and I get our laundry done on Friday. There are several things about this routine that make it successful. The first is that I have changed the way I sort the laundry. Instead of the light, dark, red thing, I go strictly by person. This way I can generally be done in any given day after only one or two loads. It's easy to fold as all the clothes have the same destination. I haven't noticed any trouble with bleeding colors. There was one time that I washed a new pair of dark blue jeans, and that load I did keep separate. I also still separate delicates, which is now also the only clothing group that does not go into the drier.

The second factor is that drier. I have residual drier issues after growing up without one with a mother who turned that fact into a moral stance. But I am over them, largely. We dry our clothes in a drier. And life still runs pretty well. Laundry goes more quickly. With a family of six, that multiplies out into a significant amount of time.

Lastly, it is much easier to get help from the kids with cleaning their clothes. They know their day, and they have some responsibilities regarding ensuring the task gets completed. If they don't, then they are the only ones suffering with a lack of socks.

It's been nearly three months, and it's gone very well. There have been a couple of times when I've gotten behind, but catching up seems much easier with this new system. And boy, that only took me 14 years of marriage to figure out. I hired out the bathroom cleaning a year ago. Two down, so much to go ...

5 fishy comments:

Robert said...

Hey Mina -

I found your blog through your classmates profile, and enjoyed reading through it and seeing how well you're doing. Last time I saw you, you were pregnant with your first, so it's been awhile! Glad you're so happy with your beautiful family. It makes me tired just reading about four though - our 2-year old keeps us pretty exhausted all on her own!

Cheers,
Bob B.

(robert.l.burger@gmail.com)

Jenn said...

LOL! No advice here. Laundry is one of the major banes of my existence. With my family size and germophobia, I tend to run at least 2-4 loads of laundry per day (much worse if I'm washing bedding or something). I've always used the drier, but for many years, I would just have huge piles of clean laundry sitting about, getting wrinkled, in whatever out-of-sight place I could find in my homes to store it. It was only folded about once per week, by which time it was a gargantuan mound half the size of Mt. Everest.

In the past 3 years or so, the thing I've discovered that works for me is ro dump all of the clean laundry right smack in the middle of my bed. This both forces me to make my bed (which I'd gotten a bit lazy about) and to fold the laundry daily, if I want a place to sleep. It also forces my husband to participate in the task, since he's never been the kind of guy who will sit there watching me work without pitching in. So, right before we go to sleep, it's laundry-folding time.

Generally, he tackles the big stuff, like towels and blankets, while I fold all the kids' clothes (since he can never seem to determine which items belong to which child). Then he startes putting it away while I finish my portion.

Definitely not for everybody, but it works for us (this is not advice, I'm not recommending it, just blithering on like I do sometimes...) ;)

Reydine said...

Of course you can wait for the day they are old enough to do there own. I as my daughter to sort all the clothes on Thurs. aternoon. She didn't want too os I said " Well you could always do your own" She has been doing hers ever since

Loralee and the gang... said...

I am too much of a Laundry Nazi to let the natives do their own. But I do like the bathroom being hired out idea... a LOT!
:~D

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Today's post with the very inspirational photo of the purse-in-progress brings me back to yet another of your archived posts. I have to tell you, Mina, that I am enjoying this little look down memory lane. Are your other readers participating? I hope so. (What number am I up to now anyways? 3?)

Your idea re how to get your laundry done is brilliant. I very well be implementing this tip in my own home. I don't mind moving the laundry around as much as I do actually folding it and putting it away. My laundry is regularly in neatly stacked piles as high as the windows in our bedrooms.

This tip may just do the trick. Thanks!

-Francesca