After the 4yr old was born, I somehow managed to abandon a lot of my schedules and forward planning, including, for example, my weekly meal plan. Which meant I'd arrive at Coles every Monday and stand there in the middle of Aisle 3 wondering what the hell I should make for dinner that week? I'd never end up with enough food for the week, and I'd also throw out a lot of food I didn't use. What a waste.
Fortunately - thanks in part to my iPhone that I acquired in January - I've been back on track with that for a while now. I wrote a post on my recipe blog about an iPhone app that helps tremendously with my weekly shopping. (But, of course, you don't need an iPhone to create a weekly meal plan.)
The other incredibly clever thing I've done recently is pick up a copy of blogger, Nicole Avery's, new book Planning With Kids (the same name as her blog).
I'm only up to Chapter Two, and already I've picked up a swag of tips. Quite frankly, I reckon a mother of five kids, who can also maintain a successful blog, has to know something, right? Indeed she does. Here's the book:
Anyway, I was reading about Nicole's laundry tips (which also incorporates tips from others who have commented on her blog), and it got me thinking about my own laundry. (I wish I could say the image at the top of this post is my laundry...but, nope. Not even close, people.)
If there is one chore that I find the most difficult to motivate myself to do, it's the ironing. Washing the clothes is not such a biggy, but admittedly, there have been a number of times I've put on a load of washing and promptly forgotten about it, so I've had to re-wash. What a waste of time.
However, just like with my meals, I'm starting to get more organised on the laundry front. (Not so much the ironing...one step at a time and all that.)
Here's a few things I'm doing to tame the laundry beast:
1. Wash regularly
Which is also the point Nicole makes in her book. She has two set days per week that she must put a load of washing on, but suggests washing daily. I agree. With five people in our family, sheets, towels....it just builds up if I don't do it. I've also taken to doing two loads first thing on Sunday morning so I can make sure the school shirts and soccer gear are ready for that week. I can't tell you how many times in the past I've gotten to the end of the week and realised I haven't washed the soccer outfits yet. Gah!
2. Sort and fold as soon as clothes are dry
I have this terrible habit of taking clothes off the line or out of the dryer, then just throwing them on our couch in the study (which adjoins the laundry). Our laundry is essentially a cupboard in our spare bathroom, so there's absolutely no room in there to store clothes.
Recently, I've taken to removing the laundry from the line/dryer, then immediately folding all the clothes, allocating them to their correct area such as:
Underwear & Socks
I have two shopping bags: one for socks, one for underwear. As I sort the dry clothes, I throw the items in to the correct bag, then later when I'm watching a fave tv show, I just grab one of the bags and sort the underwear or socks in front of the tv. Even if I don't have time to sort, at least I know where the socks and underwear are when Hubby asks for them. ;)
Whether the kids' clothes need ironing or not, I fold them and put them away in their drawers. At least then, I know where they are and can get them out and iron them if need be. Sometimes I'm lucky, and the clothes 'iron themselves' because of being folded straight away. When I set up the iron, I can simply go to the kids' drawers, grab their pile of clothes and iron them before returning them to their drawers.
I have a laundry basket in the study in one corner of the room where I put my and Hubby's clothes ready for ironing.
Towels, sheets, tea towels etc
I fold these straight away (well, mostly), then either put them away or leave them stacked on the couch in the study until I have time. At least they're tidy. I don't iron sheets - just pillowcases - but I iron my tea towels (the ones that wrinkle easily, anyway).
3. I get the 4yr old involved
Sometimes, the 4yo is happy to match socks for me. We sit on the mat in the family room, and I lay out the single socks, then give him the remaining socks in a pile, and we try and find the matching pairs together. He quite likes doing this, so I'm TOTALLY taking advantage of it while I can. :)
4. Ironing gives me an excuse to watch crappy tv
I buy tv series on DVD sometimes so I can watch them on the computer in the study whilst I iron. It makes the whole chore FAR more enjoyable, and I feel justified buying the DVDs. ;)
5. Save your back - invest in a laundry basket trolley
For years I've wanted a trolley to put my laundry basket on so that I wouldn't have to bend down to hang washing on the line. I finally bought one at Bunnings recently, and it's great. I can fold it up and put it away when I'm not using it.
6. Get yourself a peg apron
I only realised recently that Thea of Sew Thea makes peg aprons! I've bought myself one like the one pictured below - but in blue:
Now I can easily reach the pegs as well! ;)
So, there are my laundry tips.
If I had a bigger laundry with cupboard space, I'd love some cubby holes that would fit a small basket in each, so I could allocate one for each family member and put their folded up clothes in each. That way, the kids could easily take it to their room and put their clothes away. I often give them an armful to do this anyway, but it's not the same thing.
Do you have any tips for keeping the laundry under control?
Oh, and don't forget that on Tuesday I'm hosting a morning tea for Australia's Biggest Morning Tea to help raise money for cancer research. Check out all the details by clicking on the pic below...hope you'll join me!
Top image: We Heart It