Maxine’s Housekeeping Tips – Part #9
SUBMITTED BY: Maxine in Idaho
Wednesday’s Tip – Laundry
I’m not going to tell you how to load the washing machine except to remind you that the soap is supposed to go in first. (It dissolves better, and therefore cleans better). Use cold, warm or hot water, and whatever products you like–after all, it’s your laundry!
About the only thing I enjoy about laundry is hanging it out to dry, which is the main reason I do it (frugality notwithstanding).
I have had to analyze the whole laundry process from start to finish, and I would encourage you to do the same. There are many different ways to do any job, and when you pinpoint the parts that are bugging you, you can begin to figure out improvements. I’m going to take you through my thought processes to get you started. Your solutions may be different than mine.
Storing the dirty laundry always was a problem. The hamper was in the bathroom, but we always undressed in our bedrooms and very few of the dirty clothes ever made it to the hamper. I solved this by putting a hamper or clothes basket in each bedroom. The bottom of the closet is a good place for this if you have the room.
Getting the clothes from the hamper to the laundry room was the next problem. This part is really essential to keep the process moving! Our bedrooms are upstairs, and the washing machine is in the basement. Just in the last two weeks I’ve found a solution! When I start doing my daily 5 minutes, I put an empty clothes basket in the hall by the bedrooms. As I give each room a quick once-over, I take a second to empty the hampers into the basket. If I replace
towels in the bathrooms, I put the soiled ones in the basket. When I’m through, I just take the one basket downstairs and empty it. Then I use it later in the day to return clean laundry upstairs. (I don’t do this everyday–every 2 or 3 days seems to work fine).
I have found it helps me to sort the clothes when I first bring them downstairs. If the sorting is done, I really don’t mind starting a load of wash. This also ensures that you wash full loads. Even if one of your kids does a load (always their stuff, have you noticed?) this encourages them to fill it out with other soiled items. I am currently using a 3-bag laundry sorter, because I have room for it next to my washing machine. In my other house, I had shelf space for 3 clothes baskets. The darks go in one, mediums in another, whites in another. Basically, I wash light and dark loads, and use the third basket to fill them out.
Having the laundry pre-sorted encourages other family members to help. I choose to hang my laundry in nice weather. Because my husband doesn’t like his clothes or towels “boardy,” I usually throw the clothes in the dryer for 5 minutes first. For some reason, this softens them up. If you are using the dryer and use fabric softener sheets, 1/4 or 1/3 sheet works fine (you don’t need a any for a 5 minute fluff job).
When I take my clothes down or out of the dryer, I have made a rule that I have to fold and put them away RIGHT THEN. If I don’t, bad things happen. Wrinkles come first, of course. But for me, a couple of baskets of clean, unfolded clothes is so demoralizing that I simply quit washing clothes. (For a long time!!!). I have found that to keep up with the laundry, I have to do it all at once.
If you have a stumbling block in ANY chore, I really encourage you to make rules for yourself. If you can’t think of a way around it, at least you can force yourself to work through it!!!
Note: you may be able to enlist help with folding if you fold it after dinner when the TV is on. The one thing (OK, one of many things) I have not done well is to train people to fold things the way I want it done. If you delegate any chore, you either have to teach your method or live with what you get.
Like most of you, I usually run a load of laundry every day. If I’m fairly caught up and skip a day or two, I can get caught up again by doing an extra load for a couple of days. However, one of the bad things about this method is that laundry is a never-ending job. If that’s your main complaint, you might do what organizer Bonnie McCullough does: Monday is wash day at her house. She does all of her laundry on Monday, no exceptions. If it’s not in the laundry, it doesn’t get washed until next week. She, too, has made a rule to fold as she goes, and makes her kids put away their own clothes when they get home from school. (They find her on the sofa eating a bag of M&Ms. No M&Ms for them until the clean clothes are put away).
If you are facing 8 or 10 loads of dirty laundry, you can do one of three things:
(1) See Bonnie McCullough’s method. Put everything else on hold and do laundry all day today. (Yecch!!) You can get more done if you dry some in the dryer and hang some to dry.
(2) Go to a laundromat and do it all at once. I sometimes do this after a vacation. Even if you’re not way behind on your laundry, if you are using a laundromat to wash sleeping bags or a big bedspread, take everything you’ve got with you and get caught up.
(3) Do an extra load a day until you get caught up. This is what I usually do, but I’m not sure it is the best or easiest way, since you are having to live with a lot of dirty laundry for a long time. If you are WAY behind, it is hard to get caught up a little at a time.
Grease-removal tip from my sister the clean freak: Use Gunk waterless hand cleaner on greasy laundry stains, then wash as usual. On a tablecloth, you can smear it on the stain while the cloth is still on the table and you can see them. It’s cheap, too!
SUBMITTED BY: Maxine in Idaho
Here’s Maxine’s next Housekeeping Tip: Cleaning Bathrooms
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