So I’ve finally figured it out– The laundry system that works! I can proudly say that, with only a few hiccups here and there, I have actually KEPT UP with all the laundry in my home for going on 10 months now. The start date is easy to calculate for me, since it all began the week I brought my second son home from the hospital.
I know, I know… The addition of a new baby to the household doesn’t usually strike people as time in life where people get better at house-work. But for me, that’s what it took to make things click. Let me explain…
In the past, I’ve always been overwhelmed with laundry. Overflowing dirty baskets, musty smelling clothes left in the wash too long, and starting the dryer a second (or third time) because everything in there was too wrinkly to wear. I felt like I was on the verge of being out of clothes all the time. It was demoralizing, depressing, and often smelly, but I thought it was normal. You see, most people I know struggle with keeping up with laundry. That’s just a part of life, right?
Well, then my little Matthias man made his appearance (isn’t he cute?), and my wonderful, sweet, ever-perfect sister-in-law came to stay the week with me. She took care of my two year old, did all the housework, and let me just put my feet up and bond with baby for the first week. And one of the first things she did?
She emptied and washed EVERY. SINGLE. BASKET. of clothes in my entire home.
And then she folded it all.
And then she put them in nice little piles so I could put them away. (Honestly, I don’t think my drawers closed the first time I tried to make room for them. I was so unused to having all my clothes clean at once.)
I had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with a long-lost (or perhaps never-before-made) friend… The empty laundry basket. *insert hallelujah chorus*
That was magical in and of itself, and any normal person would have stopped there, but the next day… My amazing sister-in-law gathered up the couple pieces of clothing and towels from the bottom of all my various baskets and combined them all to make another load. And that was it. Everything clean again. Amazing.
So at week’s end, once I was all on my own again (except with two children instead of one), I decided I was going to keep up with this empty-basket thing for as long as I possibly could. Honestly, I only expected it to last a few weeks.
Each morning, for the last nine-and-a-half months, I’ve made my way around our home and emptied every single basket. I start the load before breakfast, switch it over around lunch time, and then fold it and put it away when the boys go down for their naps.
Does it sound simple? It is.
The only hard thing about it? That first day. I’m not gonna lie. That first day of attacking the mountain of laundry is going to be a toughie (and I had the privilege of someone else doing it, heehee). But after that, it’s not going to be much different than what you’re doing now. Don’t believe me?
Answer me this. When was the last time you ran out of clothes? And I mean totally ran out, not just out of your favorite outfits? Probably not often. So instead of teetering on the edge of never having enough to wear, learn to become comfortable on the OTHER side of things. The maintaining-the-dirty clothes-you-made-yesterday side of things. It’s a happy place to be.
1) Start your laundry first thing! Make it a part of your morning routine so you’ll have plenty of time to get to it throughout the day.
2) If you have a lot of people in your household (or happen to just wash a bit extra like I do since we use cloth diapers, napkins, etc), you may have to do more than one load in a day. This may also be necessary on days when you strip all the bed sheets. No biggie. Just don’t let it collect and pile up to haunt you. On the flipside, if you only have half a load, you can choose whether to do a light load or save it up until tomorrow for a full one!
3) A perk of doing yesterday’s laundry is the ability to evaluate where you’re being wasteful. Since ten months ago, I’ve switched to only washing our bath towels once a week instead of after every shower. What a difference that alone has made!
4) Rethink sorting everything by kind or color. Honestly, is it really necessary? We wash everything on cold (since we’re cheap –er, frugal– that way) so no colors mix on us. So far, I’ve never had a problem with anything fading either. The only thing I wash separately is a brand new article of clothing just in case.
5) Time how long it takes you to fold an entire load (and PUT IT AWAY!), start to finish. It’s probably not as long as you’d think. For me, it’s about 20 minutes, which brings me directly to my next tip…
6) Do something fun to make yourself look forward to laundry time. For me, it’s when I grab some chocolate and turn on a twenty-minute episode of something light-hearted on Netflix. If that’s not your thing, try an audio book, rock out to your favorite CD, or make a catch-up phone call with your phone on speaker.
7) Lastly, make it one of those non-negotiable tasks. I have several days a week (like shopping or family days), when I don’t worry about anything but picking up behind ourselves and laundry. It’s a twenty-minute investment with a great return and the peace of mind is priceless.
Happy washing and folding!