The laundry room. Not my favorite room, but one that I would fight to keep if we were to move. At times it’s a rather mysterious place. Things disappear, mostly socks. Other things appear-- sometimes when you least want them to, like ChapStick in the dryer. It’s a place where at some point most of us have laundered money, literally.
A hundred years ago people would have thought it a magical place. You put dirty clothes in a contraption and they come out clean! Then you move them to another, and they come out dry! With the advent of such wonderful inventions, plus the fact we no longer have to make our own soap, laundry should be a breeze, right?
Quite the contrary. Laundry is the demise of many who struggle with managing a household. According to Erin Doland of Unclutterer.com, a typical family of four probably generates between 8 and 10 loads of laundry per week. If you ask my daughter, a mother of three (two and under), it would no doubt be more. Is there a magical method that can make it a breeze? Probably not. But today's Timely Tips offer practical helps that will put you on a good course.
TIMELY TIPS - for loads of laundry
A Place to Start - This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure each bedroom closet has a dirty clothes hamper/basket. Instruct everyone how to use it, rather than the floor or chairs for dirty laundry. Even little tots and older folks can learn this routine!
Sock Solution - Eliminate the disappearance of socks and keep family members' socks sorted with large mesh zippered laundry bags. Assign and label a bag per person and clip it to a hanger, or hang it from it from a hook in the closet. Have members put their dirty socks directly into the bag. The socks are then washed, dried, and returned to their owner while still in the bag.
Delicates - Keep a supply of additional mesh bags in each closet for delicates, or items that need to hang dry. Before placing such items in the hamper, place them in a zippered mesh bag so it’s obvious to anyone handling the laundry that they need special care. Hang a nylon bag in the closet to collect items for dry cleaning.
Laundry Supplies - Use the space above the washer and dryer for built-in cabinets and/or open shelves. Keep the items used most, most accessible. A large beverage dispenser can be used for liquid detergent. Other clear containers make good storage for dry detergent or pods (keep out of reach of children!). A jar or piggy bank can collect money left in pockets. Be sure to have containers to collect other pocket items, partnerless socks, and dryer lint.
Drying - For hang-dry items consider an indoor retractable clothesline that stretches from wall to wall. You can even hide it in a cabinet. Foldable drying racks, or hanging clothes on hangers from the shower curtain rod works too. To hang items as they come out of the dryer, attach a fold-out clothes bar to the laundry room wall and keep hangers handy on a hanger caddy. I sort the clean laundry on the master bed and immediately hang clothes from there to keep them from wrinkling.
Ironing - Use the inside of the laundry room door to hang an ironing board. Other options include a wall-mount ironing board cabinet, a magnetic ironing pad, or a tabletop ironing board for the dryer top. An even better idea is purchasing wrinkle-free clothing!
Simplify - Talk with your family about how often things need to be washed, so they're not putting things in the laundry prematurely. Check washing instructions when purchasing clothes and buy only easy-care fabrics. Choose and stick to a laundry routine that works for you and your household.
"Normal" is just a setting on the dryer. ―Patsy Clairmont
Laundry is one of those necessities that either masters us, or we master it. If you're feeling overwhelmed, take a little time to consider-- is your laundry room user-friendly? Is everyone in the family doing their part? DO you have a system in place that enables you to pull clean clothes out of closets and drawers instead of piles? If not, check out the links in this blog or call for a personalized laundry solution session. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go put a load in!