Laundry

laundry

Laundry

Once you begin a family, there is no escaping laundry. It is constantly being generated and forever piling up. Get on top of the laundry by doing it regularly, systematically, and properly. Know how to launder different colors, fabrics and items. A good resource is “Stainbuster’s Bible” by Don Aslett. Google your stain issues to find handy solutions. More importantly, stop begrudging the fact that you have to do laundry. We all start off family life not being thrilled about the accumulating loads, but the best thing we can do is just plain accept it. Laundry is part and parcel of family life. We got married and had children because we love and we want to love more. The laundry comes with the package deal. Accept it, do it and focus on the act of love it can become when you do it out of joyful service for your family.

Many individuals have contributed their tips on how they tackle the loads. Here they are. Enjoy and consider adding some of your own.

  • I get buried alive in laundry constantly but find it very helpful to have one basket  per child. When it is full, wash it all, fold it all put it all away. One person done completely. Puts an end to the sorting of laundry for 7 people! Monica
  • To lessen your weekly laundry … get rid of or store away extra clothes and towels … If there are extra clothes and towels in the cupboard, we tend to get a clean one before it is necessary. When it comes to towels and jeans, they add up to extra wash loads very quickly. Folding the clothes right away from the dryer prevents unnecessary ironing. Hair spray works well at getting out ink stains. You can see it disappear almost instantly. Colleen
  • Try to do a couple loads every day and try to fold as you go because as the pile grows, either dirty or clean, it becomes seemingly insurmountable!  Theresa
  • When I take down my laundry from the clothesline, I have one basket for each bedroom on the ground, into which I fold and place the laundry. That way it is immediately ready to go to each room to be put away. I’m not concerned about a meticulous fold, but just that it is neat, tidy and ready to go. Marian
  • My washer and dryer are located on the main floor. I always put any whites (sheets, underwear, socks, pillow cases, towels etc.) straight into the washing machine. As soon as it is full, I run it. I have a large hamper in the bathroom nearby to collect all colored clothes. We are a small household and this works well for us. Lidwien
  • I dislike the mess in my little kids’ drawers and never being able to put things away in the proper spot. I got some cardboard boxes, cut them up and duck-taped them inside the drawers to make partitions so that socks would go in one slot, underwear in another, T-shirts here, shorts there etc. Now whether things remain folded or not, we all know where to find clean laundry in the drawers and I don’t have kids yelling, “Mom where are my socks”. Denise
  • Laundry is my least favorite thing to do and so I always do it first thing in the morning. We have one large hamper in our home and everything goes in it. In the winter I let most things hang to dry and in the summer I hang them outside. When I had a lot of little ones, they helped fold and put their clothes away. I would only do sheets the first week of the month. I found that it was not necessary to do them every week with frequent baths or showers. I would save the ironing until I had enough to make it worthwhile and the same with mending. I might do that while watching a movie or show. Mary
  • I wash and dry my down comforter myself instead of having it dry cleaned. Believe it or not, my dry cleaner told me how to do this! I use Woolite and cold water on a gentle/delicate cycle. I then toss the comforter, and about 6 tennis balls, in the dryer; set it on delicate/air dry then check and re-position it about every 15 minutes until dry. Works wonderfully! Leslie
  • I care too much about the environment to let my teens do the laundry. The jeans they want to dry sucks up too much energy. I air dry or line dry ALL of our laundry. That takes time. They will just have to wait or wear them wet – and they have … many times. Karen
  • Homemade Laundry Soap at  .05 cents a load
    -good for all types of machines
    -as effective as leading brands
    -easy to make
    -does not seem to bother sensitive skinMultiply as needed and combine:
    1/2 cup borax powder
    1/2 cup laundry soda like arm and hammer
    one bar of plain soap Ivory is good but if Jergens is on sale even better (the cheaper the better).Grate soap with ordinary cheese grater and mix with other ingredients. use 1-2 tbsp per load. Really that’s plenty. If I recall correctly the original recipe that I found on the web called for 2 teaspoons but my kids really seem to get their clothes dirty so I use a bit more. This soap is so simple and it can be used with bleach or oxy if you so desire. I make a big batch and store it in a plastic cereal container so that I can just pour a bit into the machine easily. Because grating the soap increases its volume significantly 4 or 5 bars would make a large batch. Kim
  • I keep 3 tennis balls in my dryer at all times. They help keep the clothes fluffy and you don’t need fabric softener sheets or even regular fabric softener. I’ve used the same 3 tennis balls for over a year now, and they still look like new. It really cuts down on drying time. Jackie
  • I’ll be honest.  I don’t do a lot of laundry.  I do very little laundry.  So, this is a tip for those of us (let’s be honest… guys) who benefit from the gathering, washing, drying, etc… of someone else (our wives).  I really do like opening a drawer and seeing my socks and underwear all sorted, folded and neatly arranged.  And who doesn’t?  So, I try to remember to say “thank you for the clean laundry”, or “I really appreciate opening my drawer and finding all that clean laundry there.”  Saying “thank you” doesn’t help me to tackle the laundry because I don’t tackle the laundry; but, I hope that it helps the one who does. Michael
  • I fold and sort my laundry on my bed.  I then bring the hangers to the laundry; not the other way around. I put shirts, pants and skirts on hangers and carry each child’s clothing to their closet.  I used to carry items of clothing, one or two at a time, to a child’s room, root around in a closet for a free hanger, and then hang the clothes. Now I gather hangers from everyone’s closet first. It’s a small change but reduces a lot of frustration on my part. Another tip:  my husband has instructions that when he buys socks, they need to have a distinctive pattern or weave. That way, it is quick to match them up. Catherine
  • One of the best buys is a small mesh laundry bag with a zippered top. These are great for keeping little baby socks together in the washer and dryer without losing them. Also super for bras, sweaters, delicate items, scarves, stockings etc. Keeps them from getting mixed up and wrapped in with other clothes. Marian
  • I have a system doing laundry in small steps. I collect clothes in hamper on my upper floor – and transfer into bins in laundry room(basement) every morn. I have 3 boys that live downstairs- and they have sorted their laundry into bins as well. I have 5 bins – 1. whites and linens. 2. Socks and underwear. 3. Greys and darks. 4. Jeans. 5. Unusual (knitted sweaters, delicates, reds)- laundry that gets done occasionally.  I wash laundry for just 4 of our 7 people in the house now. Whenever a bin is full- I do that load. I do a load a day. Sometimes it’s more- and it depends if someone needs something specific- like work uniform etc.. I have lots of hooks and good storage drawers – and I try to keep laundry room in good order- because it’s a more pleasant space for a job that is tedious. I wall papered the room with some discounted wall paper a few winters ago- and it really makes it a more pleasant space to be in- rather than a dungeon.  I have a freezer in my laundry room- and I try to use the surface to fold dryer loads very quickly. If I’m passing through the basement- I just take a minute to sort and get things up to upper floor and out of the way. My laundry room is very visible/accessible- so I find it helps me tend the laundry frequently. I don’t have specific days to do laundry. Whenever I’m passing through the basement- if I have a spare moment I pop in a load, or check the dryer.  If the room was tucked away in a far away part of the basement, and not organized- I could see the temptation to avoid getting there. I find doing little jobs works for me- since I have a modest sized house and trying to tackle 5 loads of laundry at the same time presents space issues. Chris
  • All those missing socks – where do they go?? To prevent the frustration of mysteriously disappearing socks – and finding them weeks later up the legs of pants that were washed in the same load – I wash and dry the socks in a large mesh laundry bag that keeps them together and separate from the other clothes. It’s important not to over stuff the bag and to use a well-sized one – so the socks can be cleaned and dried properly. Maria
  • I know one mom who creates rolls. So, she takes a shirt, pants, underwear, socks and rolls them up, enough for about a month’s worth. She spends about 4 hours doing it. Every morning the kids get up, grab a roll and they are dressed. She doesn’t worry about laundry all month. If a child doesn’t like a certain shirt or pants she takes it out of the cycle and replaces it. She has five children and she gets them up and out of the house in 20 minutes. Theresa
  • Every day I empty the laundry hamper and take the laundry downstairs and toss into one of 4 laundry hampers: whites, towels, darks, other. Then I put in a load of whichever is fullest or works best for me, right away. I always put in one last load at night so that I can put something into the dryer first thing in the morning and a new load into the washing machine. I also always fold straight out of the dryer right there in the laundry room and then immediately take it upstairs and put it away because if I don’t, it sits in a basket and doesn’t get put away as quickly (sometimes not for a long time!) Dianne
  • To keep away wrinkles I take things out of the dryer immediately and lay them over the dryer door until I can find a moment to put them on hangers or fold them. Helen
  • I bought one of those laundry centers that has three canvas sorting areas and a pole across the top for hanging things right out of the dryer to save on ironing. We have our laundry in a closet in our bathroom so sorting on the floor creates an obstacle course for the people using that facility. The laundry center is on castors so it can be stored in the furnace room across the hall and brought out when I need it. The only downfall of this is that the canvas does mold if wet towels are left in it. I think a mesh design would be much better if you can find it. Theresa
  • I try to stick to the Same Day Rule! Each load is done, from washing to putting away, within a single day, saving us from having yet another unfinished project around the house! Stephanie
  • I like to multitask (what woman doesn’t?) and I also tend to procrastinate on chores that I find tedious and time-consuming, so I usually iron, mend, fold my clean laundry and put it away while watching a movie, listening to music or audio books, or talking to my mom on the phone. This way the time goes by faster plus you get two things done for the price of one! Maria
  • I do a load at night and dry in the morning or a load in the morning and dry at lunch.  The kids fold the laundry while watching TV (usually something like EWTN, sports or American Idol) or movies.  The older ones put away their own laundry and a younger sibling’s or dad’s and the rest of us put away our own right after folding. Cathy
  • The kids each have their own laundry basket they use. Unless something is new and might bleed,  I put their whole basket in at once on cold. Then, when it comes time to folding, I don’t have to sort out the children’s clothes. For the grown ups, there are dark & light hampers. Now if someone can tell me how to get the ever-loving, but not-so-tidy husband to put clothing in, that would be something! (Actually I have to give him some credit for getting it there some days.) Beth
  • I only have five children.  Four of them are over 16.  And two of them are out of the house.  But when they were at home, the rule was when they turned 13, they did their own laundry.  We hang all our clothes to keep our electricity bill down.  We bought some great lines that hang on the wall in the laundry room from Ikea which hold three loads and in the warmer weather we use an outside line.  We go by timing as it takes around 30 hours to dry.Everyone has their own laundry hamper.  They wash their own sheets and towels. When they wash their sheets they can use the dryer for their whites, so they do tend to wash sheets more often which is what I like. This works well for us.  I fold our laundry on our bed. I put the longest folded clothes back into his laundry bin and he puts it away.  He is eight.  I also use a certain color for each bathroom.  So we know where they go when washed.My husband does all the ironing as he likes it a certain way and I do not mind this at all.Mending gets done in my bedroom, I have a repair basket and my sewing box is in my closet.  I like the escape from the action in our bedroom, which is very bright.

    I have one leg and walk with the aid of crutches, someone takes the bins (the large Rubbermaid laundry hampers with the holes in the sides, they have lasted years) up and down for me.  My husband and the kids do help out a lot.  Trish R.

  • Having 2 kids under age 3, I keep 2 laundry baskets stacked in each child’s bedroom. Once the top one is full I can take it to the laundry room, wash, dry & throw everything back in basket to fold & put away when the time permits and in the meantime the cycle of dirty clothes continues in the second basket.  It’s a constant rotation so at least this way I never have the frustration of dirty laundry on the floor, or scattered anywhere but in it’s place because there is always an available basket to fill.  It also keeps each child’s clothes separate. Jenn
  • My husband has put a clothesline in my furnace room. All winter I air dry clothing in the house. From spring to fall, I hang things outside. To maximize my clothesline, I put shirts and t-shirts on plastic hangers on the clothesline with small items like shorts between for better airflow. To decrease ironing, I put my husband’s shirts in the dryer for 5 minutes to get out the wrinkles and then hang them on plastic hangers to air dry. I only use my dryer for socks and underwear. It saves us a ton of money. When we had a top loader washer, I’d always wait till it filled with water before adding clothes. That way I knew there would be lots of water to clean it. Now with a front end loader, my water and electricity have been cut in half and things come out so well spun, they are almost dry. Irene
  • I have 10 laundry baskets that are all the same size and fit well into each other.  I have deep shelving in the laundry room so 5 baskets are permanently on the shelves, one for each room upstairs (representing whoever is in that room) and one for bedding/towels. As laundry comes out of the dryer, it gets folded right away and then sorted into the 5 different baskets. These baskets stay in the laundry room and get more clothes added to them as the week progresses and as more laundry gets done. If anyone needs something specific, they know where to look and then, usually Sunday night or Monday night, the full baskets go to the rooms upstairs and get put away by the kids – the ones that are old enough to do that, or else I do it for the little ones.The other five baskets are stacked upstairs and get filled each day or two and then it goes downstairs. They get sorted and then washed. Next time you have to buy a washing machine/dryer, get a extra large front loading machine. It fits so much and gets the clothes cleaner than the top loading kind. I notice this with stains. Things that I had to soak and scrub and they still came out stained in the top loading machine, now come out clean with just a bit of Spray and Wash sprayed on them. They are expensive but I think worth it if you have a large family. I convinced  myself to buy them thinking that as the little kids get older, there will be more laundry, not less, because their clothes get bigger and will take up more room! Helena
  • We have older kids who like to shower/bathe almost daily because of sports. It can quickly generate a lot of towels. We have given each child their own color of towel so they can use it for the whole week. We have mounted towel bars on the back of bedroom doors so that they could air it out there and not clutter the bathroom with too many wet towels. They dry quickly, add moisture to the room, and are handy and easy to find when they need a towel. This has cut down on the number of towels we wash per week. Suzanne
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