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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thoughts on... Laundry!

It's not pretty... but it works!
Winter is the time of year when I do the most laundry. My husband works outdoors and often wears layer upon layer--adding to my pile! The kids and I have been helping lately, so that of course means more layers for us, too. Not to mention the fact that long sleeves and jeans take up way more room in the washer than shorts! So, with all of this laundry around me, I've been thinking more and more about how to make the process go smoother for me.

Here are some ideas that I have come up with:
  • Have the kids fill the laundry basket(s) and carry them to the laundry room if they are able. I often send them through the whole house, looking for burp cloths left lying around, forgotten socks, towels, etc. Make it a game! See who can collect the most items or time them and see how long it takes, etc.
  • When filling the washer, zip up footie pjs or jackets so that socks don't get trapped inside, and it makes it easier to fold or hang later on. Velcro all tabs so that they don't stick to more delicate items. Turn things right-side-out if needed (again to help with easier folding later).
  • When filling the dryer, give everything a good shake to help with less wrinkling or things getting wadded up so they don't dry properly. Turn socks right-side-out so they dry evenly. Remove items that really should be line-dry to help them last longer. And even if you don't have an ideal laundry room (like me!) you can make it work. I have two drying racks--one that is permanently hung in the laundry room for small items and unmentionables and then one that I can move around for delicate blouses or sweaters, etc.
  • Cut the fabric softener sheets in half to save money or reuse them a few times so you don't use up your box too quickly!
  • Time to fold! Do it right away! Try to break the horrible cycle of wet laundry sitting in the washer getting smelly and dry laundry sitting in the dryer getting wrinkly! Fold the clothes and put them in piles for each person in the family to put away.
  • When I fold clothes, I dump out my bucket and then throw all the clothes in piles: by person, by whether or not they are folded or hung, and then I separate out all the socks. I take the hanging clothes and lay them in a pile on top of one another. Then I fold each person's pile and stack it neatly by item (shirts together, pants, underwear, etc.) Then I take all the socks and match them up and put them on top of each person's pile. Any solo socks are set aside until we find their match!
  • Label the kids' drawers to help them know where to put their clothes. Encourage them to take care of their things! This also helps when someone is yelling, "Mom, I can't find any socks!!!" Um. Look in your sock drawer!!! Etc...
  • My boys' dresser drawers.
  • Hang clothing in the closet by color. Helps with finding that shirt you want to wear, or when planning an outfit.
Also, I have been couponing for quite awhile and have built up quite a supply of laundry soap. Unfortunately I needed to stop couponing and I am about to run out of my supply! I am hoping to make my own laundry soap next. I can use some of the bar soap that I got (for FREE!) to do it... here are a few links to making your own laundry soap:

The Simple Dollar
Happy Living Magazine
DIY Natural

I am planning to make a huge bucket of this stuff to last me a long time! Here's hoping it turns out great!

What are some ways that YOU have found to make the endless job of doing laundry work for your family?

P.S. Sorry that the photo quality is poor. My house has very little natural light and it was extra dark this morning! :-(

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