I left a comment here (click on that to get to Pretty Organizer's site) a few days ago, promising to post how I tamed my laundry monster. I suppose I should have titled this post "MY PERSONAL Laundry Cure", but I like to think what's good for me is good for everyone.
It makes me feel like I'm in charge of the world, ...or at least their washing.
When our family exploded...er, I mean expanded 8 years ago to include 6 more children, the laundry was the hardest thing about it. You'd think it would be the emotional challenge of melding new personalities (which we hardly knew!) into an existing family - Or maybe just the Pure Work of it all.
Or perhaps the fact that one week I was homeschooling 5 happy children and one gorgeous toddler - and the next week I was homeschooling 9 semi-happy, stunned children and two gorgeous toddlers. But NO, through God's grace we persevered through all that and even managed to instantaneously learn how to cook for 13 people three times a day- with mega help and sacrifice by my oldest biological children....I must honestly add.
But the Laundry! It was ruining my life. So I did what all people do when they encounter serious problems in their home life.
I searched the Internet, I googled stuff, I posted on chat boards.
I tried some of the whiz-bang systems that other moms suggested, but I still came up with this equation:
Seven boys + Four girls + Two parents = One Overwhelmed Laundress dealing with a bunch of mismatched socks and jeans in the wrong drawers.
I wish I knew who to give the credit for what finally worked. I imagine it was a combination of several things I heard. But the basic keys are:
(1) Do every stitch of laundry every single, solitary day. No exceptions, but Sundays.
(2) Use these:
The great thing about doing ALL the laundry every day is that it's become like brushing my teeth or doing my hair (Except that doing my hair takes MUCH longer and I'm not always satisfied with the results...). The point is that it's not a big chore anymore. It's just a regular part of my day. No more 9 load days. No more going to bed at night without sheets because they never made it to the top of the "to-be-washed" pile. No more laundry monster.
Here's how we do it:
One of the morning chores for Daniel (my youngest) is to bring all laundry to the laundry room. I have a basket in my closet, the boys have a basket in their room, and the girl's have a hamper in their bathroom. He simply collects it and transports it.
I start one load at night, then move it to the dryer before bed or the next morning.
Then I start the other load. A no-brainer. Which is really the way these very necessary, yet mundane chores should be. Do it well, do it right, and get on to the next thing.
The clean clothes go into these cutie-patootie tubs (purchased in the kitchen section..so they are about sink-size I suppose). One tub for each person, excluding my husband and I, because we like to share - and we don't mind if our underwear touches - as seen in this picture.
Have you ever watched boys fold girl's underwear or bras? They're disgusted, (which is actually what you want!), and they try not to put their full hand on them. They sort of pick them up with two fingers and toss them into the pile. Their nose is usually scrunched up like they just touched road kill. No wait...That wouldn't make them scrunch up....Change that to fruity hand cream.
It hit me one day that I didn't really want my boys to get used to the sight of a bra or the feel of silk bikini underwear. Perhaps you think I'm going all super-modest on ya' but I make my boys look the other way in dept stores when we pass the lingerie section, and I throw out the sale circulars from the newspaper that contain scantily clad women - - - so why do I want them fondling my Hanes?
I digress. I'm one of the few bloggers that can make a sermonette out of laundry.
Is there an award for that?
I do the towels and sheets on the weekend - or one of the children does them.
We're on a tight clothing budget, and I try to really pare down our clothes anyway, for ease and organization, so I prefer to do all the clothes myself. (I do teach the children how to do it - as a life skill and a Sick Mama Help, but they have plenty of other work to do and I'm picky about how the clothes are handled.
And now that it's manageable, I actually enjoy it. I like to think about the kids who are wore it; I pray for my husband as I hang up his no-wrinkle dress shirts - and I also get a chance to notice anything that needs mending (or tossed.)
And now that it's done daily, it's really No Biggie.
I do have a linen tub, for things like kitchen towels and washcloths.
There is one pitfall to my Almost-Perfect System. Humans are involved.
So occasionally, this happens:
Last time I looked, socks were not sold in the linen department.
And lastly, I like using the tubs because after the clothes are sorted (and sometimes even folded) into the correct tubs, the laundry is contained in one place on each child's bed until they put it away.
I hate the sight of scattered clothes - even clean ones.
When the tubs are empty, each child returns theirs to the laundry room. They nest inside each other - and I was going to take a picture of where they're stored, but I got this great idea while I was writing this. (And yes, honey, just like always, my Great Ideas involve you doing something for me.)
I'll post a picture when the laundry room is Blog-Worthy. Our house is 5,100 square feet (an incredible fixer-upper story I'll save for another post), but the laundry room is basically a glorified closet. A cute closet, a bright and cheery closet, a functional closet..but a windowless, crowded box of a closet.
The grass is always greener, you know! But if that grass leaves stains...I'll be ready!