If I’ve tried one way to do laundry, I’ve tried a dozen. I want a system that works with the least amount of effort (because: lazy).
One of the best pieces of advice I read was to just accept that:
Laundry never goes away.
It doesn’t lessen (OK, that’s arguable…laundry for 2 people should be less than laundry for 5). It’s not a once-and-done kind of thing.
I know that’s obvious. But remember, I’m not the Queen of Subtlety. I need the obvious stated for me.
So, just reading this was really helpful to me…to just sort of get over it…laundry is a necessary evil. 😉
OK, so what works for us? So glad you asked.
First of all, this is the SIMPLEST method we’ve found. I’m writing a blog post, so 1000 words might make it seem not so simple, but it is. Here we go!
I’ll start with laundry for Derek and myself.
Because I do ours separately from the kids.
We share a bathroom and a bedrooom, so the clothes are dirty in the same place (laundry baskets are in the bathroom) and they are clean in the same place (our bedroom and closet)…so it just makes sense for us.
We have 5 laundry baskets in our bathroom. They’re small-ish, like these:
And we sort as we go:
- darks (jeans and navy/black clothes)
- neutrals (khakis and grays)
- bright colors
I’ve had too many times when jeans or bright colors faded onto khaki pants, so I just wash them completely separate now. It’s much easier to wash them separately than to have to re-wash and treat them and try to get the stains out.
Our washing machine runs multiple times EVERY SINGLE DAY. There’s no by-passing it. It gets used more than the dishwasher or microwave, although those are probably a close 2nd and 3rd.
I don’t wait until I have enough clothes for a full load.
–That’s where you can get really bogged down if you read anything about doing laundry.
I won’t be saving the planet any time soon with this method. And that’s OK.
Planet-saving is not my job. (Bring on the hate for that sentence alone.)
But real life is that waiting for a full load is a luxury not afforded to people in my world of working outside of my home for 50+ hours per week. Period.
OK, so when do I wash? Whenever one of the baskets starts to get full….or, when I need something specific washed. Let’s be real, here. I have two pairs of jeans. If they’re both in the basket and the weekend’s coming, I better throw that in next.
So, my system is that I don’t have a schedule.
I tried that. You know, whites on Mondays, towels on Tuesdays, like that….yeah, that works for Suzy Homemaker, but I woke up one day and realized I’M NOT HER!
So, why was I trying to make her schedule work for me? Because I’m not a homemaker, I guess. It doesn’t come naturally to me, so I looked online for suggestions…but most everything you read online (blog-wise, at least), is written by people who stay at home.
Which makes complete sense. And I still read tons of it, even though I only dream of having so much control over my schedule. Really, I do.
It’s just nonsense to try to emulate the actual schedule of someone who spends 80% of their day inside their home when you do the opposite.
OK, trying to stay focused here.
Next, in the actual laundry area itself…I have two small baskets and one larger one. The smaller ones are for whites and kitchen things. Whites–the kids are supposed to throw theirs in here, and this is the one exception I make in washing all our stuff together. The other small one is for kitchen towels, dish rags, place mats, etc. I always forget to wash these…which means I throw away a lot of them (because: eww). The big one is for towels from the kids’ bathroom. The idea is that only dry towels would be put in there, but that’s just a theory and not very much practiced at our house.
The top of the dryer itself
…is where new things get put, that have to be washed separately, and also things that need to be washed soon or have something special that need to be done to them. This is because I have to physically move them in order to do laundry, so it literally reminds me every time I use the washer or dryer.
One product I’ve used for years and years is Shout Gel, the one with the scrubber built into the cap. It’s the only stain remover I use, other than the lye soap my mother makes (because she IS the Queen of all Suzy Homemakers!). I have one in our bathroom, so I can squirt it on as I’m putting something in a dirty clothes basket, but I have one in the laundry room in case I notice a stain as I’m throwing things into the washer. And, there’s one in the kids’ bathroom…but I’m not sure they’ve used it, LOL. I love it because it works (duh) and because I don’t have to wash the item right away. Win-win.
We have a three-way sorter in the kids’ bathroom closet. Three kids, three sections. Perfect.
Haley’s a senior, so she’s in charge of all her own laundry. I’ve tried to insist this before, but I caved and did it for her. But now, we’re down to the wire, so she’s gotta do it.
Garrett and Rees know how to do laundry, and I’ve made them do their own at different times (usually a summertime chore), but honestly during the school year, this is just the easiest method.
And from August to May, we’re essentially in survival mode when we’re at home.
So, every few days, whenever I think about it, I’ll ask them if they need their clothes washed. Other than that, it’s their job to bring their laundry bag to the laundry room and to specifically ask me to wash their clothes (notice the ask; they know it’s a privilege to have it done for them). Most of the time, I’ll set up the washer…we tried to buy the most plain-Jane one, in hopes that it will last 14 years, like our first one did…but it still has like 50 options. And put in the detergent. And tell them to put their clothes in and start it.
Works for us.
Yep, all of Rees’s clothes get washed together, regardless of type. Most of hers are bright colors anyway. Garrett’s are mostly athletic (dri-fit type of fabrics) and jeans. I wash his clothes on the heavy duty setting, all mixed in together.
So, what works for us is separating our clothes down to 5 distinct groups, while tossing the kids’ clothes in all together. No wonder it took me 12 years to figure out what worked best for us.
Sometimes, conventional wisdom is not what’s best for your family! Do what works for you.
Oh, a note on putting clothes away…that is considered part of laundry, I guess (haha). Yeah, I feel accomplished if I have washed and dried things. Folding and hanging them up is another level of rock star I only aspire to….joking aside, I have timed myself (yes, I’m weird), and I can put away a load of laundry in about 4 minutes. But, realistically, I never seem to be reaching into the dryer when I have 4 minutes. It’s usually while I have a toothbrush in my mouth and I’m frantically digging around for my black dressy dress pants (as opposed to my black casual dress pants), which I need to wear because blah-blah-blah….can anyone relate?
So, we have a towering, always evolving, mountain of clean clothes in our house. It usually resides at the foot of our bed, but sometimes it can be found in one of the living room chairs. We’re flexible that way.
And there you have it, kennedyfamfive’s what works for us: laundry edition.
Find more of What Works For Us, here.
What works for you??