Laundry is one of those necessary evils that needs to happen regardless of whatever else is going on in your life. It's hard to keep up with laundry no matter what, but adding little children to the mix and laundry can be a beast! I sometimes wonder if it multiplies at night while we're all sleeping. ;-)
I've been doing laundry for a long time now, but it wasn't until we had children that I had to come up with some sort of method to take care of the madness. Before, I was able to do it as needed (when we ran out of clothes) or when I had the time (usually on the weekend) without it getting terribly bad. But, even then, I still never felt like I had a system that worked well for me.
I won't pretend that I have it all together now when it comes to laundry, but I've come up with a system that works pretty well for us. When it doesn't work well is usually when I don't execute properly - as in, when I don't follow it. Imagine that!
My laundry system begins with one piece of wisdom that was imparted to me a few years ago that set me on my path to laundry liberation.
At the core of my laundry system is this: do one load of laundry (from to start to finish) each day.
It might sound counter intuitive that doing one load of laundry per day actually makes the laundry beast more manageable, but it really does! Here's how it typically works for me.
1. Start load in the morning
I aim to get my load started first thing in the morning. If I don't do it right when I wake, then I usually get it going while the kids are eating breakfast. Thankfully, our laundry room is just off the kitchen, so I can multi-task that way. :-) I make sure to use my homemade laundry detergent with every load!
2. Switch to the dryer mid-morning or at lunch
I move the load to the dryer as soon as I can in the morning, which is usually mid morning. If I'm out when it finishes or I forget, then I make the switch at lunchtime.
3. Fold during nap time or when watching TV in afternoon
I usually fold the load during nap time or later in the afternoon when the kids normally have a little TV time. Since it's only one load, it usually doesn't take long.
4. Put away after dinner
I hate putting away laundry, so I still struggle with this at times, but I try and put it all away after dinner. It's typically part of my evening routine - I clean up the kitchen after dinner and tidy the living area while The Teacher is bathing the kids and getting them ready for bed.
5. Load tomorrow's load before bed
Speaking of evening routines, can I just tell you that prepping for your next load the night before is a huge help? Often, if the washer still has room, the kids will put their dirty clothes from the day directly into the washer. I gather my load for the next day and treat any stains with my stain remover, so that it can sit overnight. When the morning comes, I'm all ready to go again!
Again, it might sound crazy to do one load every single day. Who wants to be a slave to their laundry like that? I'm telling you though, this one load a day method has actually made me feel much more in control of my laundry. I know there are others who swear by the "laundry day" method, but here's why I think this works for me.
- My laundry is never completely out of control anymore
- I am not overwhelmed by one load - staring at piles and piles of laundry made me crazy!
- I don't have time to do laundry all day long - errands, anyone?
- We always have something clean to wear
- Constant interruptions make laundry day impossible
As with everything in home management, there is more than one way to do laundry, but I can see how this could work for anyone. What makes up your one load is totally up to you (darks, whites, combination, sheets, towels, etc), so there's even some freedom in this system for those of you who don't like routines. It can work for everyone!
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