Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Laundry Day(s)

Isn't this a beautiful picture? Makes you want to do laundry, doesn't it? Unfortunately, my laundry "closet" does not look quite as inviting. Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood has asked for solutions on getting laundry done.

First things first: sorting. From the time my kids could take off their own clothes they were taught to put their laundry into one of two baskets: "darks" or "lights." Ta Da! Sorting done.

There is a laundry basket in each bathroom for all towels, underwear, socks, washcloths; in other words, all those things that get washed together in hot water. The rule here is that nothing can go in a basket wet.

I have two laundry days. Tuesdays are for the bathroom laundry. The baskets from the bathrooms and anything still hanging in the bathrooms are collected, including the dog's pillow case. It is Micah's job to strip everyone's sheets. For our family of four, I have to wash one load of whites, in which I put a cup of hydrogen peroxide for whitening (bleach is caustic to the environment) and a 1/2 cup of vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser to help get out any leftover soap residue. I wash one load of colored objects (same method minus the hydrogen peroxide). Then I do two loads of sheets, with a half cup of fabric softener and the remaining cup full of water. Folding has now been delegated to the children (ah, the joys of parenthood), but it is done all at one time, using the sofas as stacking stations, and then distributed back to each bathroom and individual's room.

Thursdays are for clothes laundry. This is when I drag the dark and light baskets to the laundry closet. I start with darks . . . no reason, just pick a system and stick with it. It takes about 5-6
loads of darks, particularly in the winter when I'm washing heavier items. I combine jeans all together and sometimes wash them in cold to help maintain their color, as long as they are not stained. I do try to combine like fabrics that take similar time to dry to be as efficient with drying time as possible, so jeans and extra heavy sweatshirts are washed together. Then on to lights, which is usually only two loads: light colors and whites. I hang up or fold clothes directly out of the dryer. Each boy has a basket where his clothes are placed and at the end of the day I simply direct them to put their clothes away. Any ironing goes in a box on the dryer.

I have always done it this way, even when the kids were small and not helping. I simply hate having laundry constantly going; the noise, the work, the chaos. I'm also glad that my husband never has to go hunting for clean underwear; but an ironed shirt, hmm . . .

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