Tackling the Laundry Beast
Laundry. Ulgh! I do not know a single person that actually enjoys doing laundry. Thankfully, the days have passed of hand-washing each garment and hanging it out to dry! We now are lucky to have fancy washing machines and dryers that make the task of actually "doing the laundry" much easier. As I scour Pinterest or my social media accounts, I see some meme about laundry every day! Unfortunately, cheap, disposable clothes have yet to be invented, so laundry is inevitable for every one. We all share common issues: remembering to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer, how to sort, folding and hanging laundry and actually putting it away, etc.
As a mom of three, I found laundry to be something that I really struggled with organizing and finishing. Obviously, laundry is never really "finished" but I seemed to always struggle with washing, drying, and then getting the clothes all sorted and put away. I had mounds of clean clothes piled high. My first step in tackling this problem was to try to do at least one load of laundry every day. I figured, it was a smaller amount and I could easily sort and put it away within a few minutes. Of course, this method fails more often than not because there are days when I am simply not home due to work and evening activities for the kids. So, the laundry continued to pile up and then I was stuck with ginormous amounts that seemed to be never ending.
Last summer, I identified the biggest hurdle the Bramlett family had when it comes to laundry: sorting the clean clothes. The mountains of laundry would all be washed and then we would come together to pile up each person's stuff. This part of the process seemed to take forever for my kids. They continually mixed up piles, and my husband couldn't tell one girl's undies and socks from the other. So, this massive job kept falling on my shoulders. One day it hit me: Instead of battling this sorting nightmare, what if I washed the clothes already sorted?
I grew up learning to separate my clothes by colors, darks, whites, towels, denims, etc. What if, instead, I sort my laundry by the person? This would eliminate my issue with sorting all of the mixed loads that are clean. Each person would have their basket washed and can easily head to put it away once dry. In general, the same person wears the same types of clothes and only on special occasions do I have to worry about delicates being mixed in. So, we adopted this new pre-sorting method. We arranged our laundry room to have a basket for each person and a separate basket for towels/blankets (I keep that one on top of my dryer since we didn't have a 6th space). When the basket is full, it makes a full load that is ready to go through the cleaning cycle. It comes out and goes to that person to put away. My oldest two are perfectly capable of putting away a normal sized load of laundry on their own. I still put away my three year old's, but she helps with putting her socks, undies and pajamas that go in her dresser. I take care of all of the washing, except when I may ask the girls to switch out a load for me or begin a new load during particularly busy days. My oldest daughters are 8 and 10 and have been taught the basics with laundry detergent and fabric softener and which cycle to choose!
Ladies, this worked! Somehow, our laundry issues have all but disappeared. I still have to fight the fight with my older girls (and husband) to actually put their laundry away. But, the amounts of laundry coming their way are smaller and it makes the job much easier. I constantly have to remind them... if it doesn't make it to the basket in the laundry room, it doesn't get washed. So, we still have some laundry woes. However, the beast that I battled with giant piles of unsorted laundry in my house has all but disappeared thanks to this method! We have a phrase we use around the house when it comes to different things: "Work smarter, not harder!" This simple change has made a big impact on making life much simpler for our large family! The way I see it, time is precious, and making this change has given us more time and less mess in a chore that is inevitable.