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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taming the Laundry Beast

Recently, I've been motivated to get a little more organised again after about, er, *cough* four years of disorganised chaos. 

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. ;)

Kids' clothes
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. 

Adults' clothes
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


Kellie said...

I wash every day. Pop the load on at night, hang it in the morning and its dry and ready to be folded once the kids are in bed. Then do it all again.
Doing it daily means its one small load, half hour tops out of my day.

Be better if someone else did it though, just saying.

PlanningQueen said...

Love the peg apron and I so wish my laundry looked like that photo! Thanks for giving the book such a lovely shout out, really appreciate it.

Glowless @ Where's My Glow said...

I have a chandelier in my laundry too... I thought everyone did?

A Dose of Dannie said...

Yes i agree i wish i had a beautiful laundry like that pic:-) lol...
You should see my spare room for months it has had washing in there i know i am really terrible at that stuff must be at least 5 loads in there by now!

When miss 11 needs clothes or what ever i say go check the spare room if the drawers are empty (not a good example) i set is it:-(

I am also reading Nic's book (what a life saver that book is for me LOL...
oh! I gotta get me 1 of those apron things from thea now as well! xxx

Mrs BC said...

The laundry tip that has changed my life is this; fold clothes as they come off the line, then stack them in the laundry basket by person (ie - all hubbys clothes, then on top stack all my clothes, then kid 1, kid 2 etc) Then when I take the basket inside, it is just a matter of grabbing the folded pile of clothes & putting them on the bed of the person they belong to, or put away in the wardrobe of the little ones. This means I NEVER have a pile of laundry waiting to be folded. Truly life changing. Oh, ironing? I JUST DONT DO IT. EVER. Bwhahahahaha!

Miss Pink said...

The biggest and first tip i offer people is to make a washing schedule.
We use cloth nappies here, and i wash 5 days a week, that is all. I do a load of the kids and my darks Monday, I do nappies and then a second load of towels/the kids and my whites Tuesday, Wednesday is Mr Blacks clothes, Friday is the kids and my darks and a second load of nappies, and Saturday is Mr Blacks clothes again. Done.
I also put the dirty clothes in the washing machine the night before, with the soap and everything in, and i make sure to hit start as soon as i put the kids breakfast on the table (first thing we do in the mornings), that way once we get ready for school and i walk Bluey there and come home the washing is ready to be hung out and it's out of the way for the day. I am slightly anal and i hang things up in a certain order, like i put all the school uniforms on one line, then the kids jammies another, their regular clothes another, my clothes over here, and Mr Blacks over there, etc. etc. But that's just preference for me, and well my analness, lol. But it does come in handy for this next tip.
I then take it off the line just after picking Bluey up and here is a secret my Grandmother taught me, you fold the clothes as you're taking them off the line. I have timed both methods, the folding as you take it off, and the taking it off and then folding later, and i promise you the folding as you take it off actually is quite a bit faster, and that way once you come inside all that's left to be done is to put the piles away. Not so daunting then (and you can even get the kids to do it!)

Panda_clark said...

I put my washing in at night and put the timer on he washing machine so it's ready to go on the line by 6am. I have a schedule so I know what day linen is done, beds changed, fresh towels etc. If it's going on the line I hang it by owner so it's quick & easy to get off, folded by person! I also do it by school clothes, weekend clothes, pj's, socks & underwear, so it's easier when we put it away. Now the kids are getting older (4,6,8) I am getting them to put their clothes away and if it's in order of their drawers my success rate for them being put away correctly is higher...... In winter I often use the dryer and drying racks in my laundry/garage. I also do a final Sunday pm wash to make sure all uniforms both sport & school are ready for the week ahead and my laundry baskets are empty albeit momentarily!!!. Now I'm back working 3 days a week I outsource the ironing which are all my hubbies workshirts & trousers, something had to give!!
P.S. I've also read Nic's book, fabulous tool!

foxinflats said...

Oh Jodie,
I'm not sure that even these great tips will tame the animal that is my laundry beast. See the problem is, I just loathe it. In particular, folding socks. It's got to be one of the most mundane things ever invented. Up there with filling the car with petrol for boredom factor. Ugggh! I'm getting bored just typing this. Where, oh where is the laundry fairy??? Please visit my house???

Ms Styling You said...

I'm actually lost for words that someone would put a chandelier in a laundry!

Annicles said...

I don't do ironing. The children look the same whether I do or not so I really can't be bothered.

I do have a laudry fairy, however, otherwise known as my husband! He does the entire lot from collecting to distributing once folded and sorted. The children put their own clothes away.

Maybe there's your answer - guilt your husband!

Thea said...

Excellent tips!!! Especially the peg apron, what a fabulous idea!! ;)

Thanks so much, Jodie. I really appreciate mention. x

Melissa said...

I am all for getting the kids involved. My almost 4yo loves having jobs to do, so if matching socks and folding undies keeps him happy… I have also opted not to have an iron. My husband wears business shirts but I take them out of the washing machine as soon as the cycle is over, give them a shake and hang them on a hanger in the shade to dry. When it comes to my clothes I give them all the ‘scrunch test’ before I buy them to see if I can get away without ironing them.
PS: I LOVE the idea of a peg apron! What a brilliant, brilliant idea. Heading off to buy myself one right now…

Kirsty aka Mummy To Five said...

My husband is notorious for putting washing on, not telling me and then the following day I go to do washing and its still sittin there! Thats frustrating!
I do have to wash everyday, I hate having to though, but with a family of 7 just going one day and it accumulates quickly!

I love love love Thea's peg apron, my Nanna has one and she's always telling me I need to find one at the shops to make it easier when hanging washing! Will definatly check her site out!

I also bought Nicole's book, loving it so far!

Sam-O said...

My washing routine is simple and works.

1. I DO NOT IRON. (Workaholic can iron anything he thinks need ironing before he wears it).

2. I wash towards the end of the week (except in extreme situations, like vomit...).

3. Dry most stuff on hangers and put them straight away when dry.

4. The rest is "semi folded", which means not crushed to death, in washing baskets in my bedroom (which is spacious and everything has a place so it's ok to store it there overnight or a couple of nights if its Friday washing), till Sunday morning.

5. After my mini sleep in, coffee and croisant in bed (supplied by the workaholic) I get up and make the bed and sort and fold the washing and put it all away.

It takes about 20 minutes and then I start my day/week.

To be honest the best trick is hanging as much as possible on hangers. You just take them to the persons wardrobe and the job is done. The second best trick is buying clothes that don't need ironing... ;)

River said...

I'm Mrs BC's twin when it comes to laundry.
Another tip from way back when, (you know, the good old days...)
Sheets and towels got changed and washed weekly. unless vomit was involved, or something sweat inducing, like flu.
I remember having the four kids and only washing on weekends. Clothes on Saturdays, sheets and towels on Sundays. Of course this was AFTER the kids were all out of (cloth) nappies. Before that, nappies were washed every second day. (I had about 5 dozen)

Hi I'm Rhonda. said...

I do a load as soon as I have enough for a load. It's the whites that bug me because most of the things are small (socks) and I feel guilty if I put on not a full load. I also recently made my son responsible for his own laundry. I got tired of washing clean clothes that he put back in the dirty hamper so he didn't have to put them away.

Toushka Lee said...

my mum had a peg apron and it was great! I'm going to buy one, I have one of Thea's other aprons so I already love her work. I also dream of a cubby system with baskets for each person - so awesome. I'm going to make it happen, somehow.
I have Nicole's book too. Very very good.