July 22, 2014

The Laundry Project: Part 1

It happened slowly. After each of our children was born, and the laundry pile grew higher, I began to become overwhelmed by it. Intimidated, hopeless, frightened, I became fearful of the laundry room. There were weeks and months along this road in which I would gather up the gusto and tackle the mountainous terrain, hitting it with fury and fire, and yes, I would get a lot accomplished and then….I would burn out. Just like when you feed your toddler too many bananas in one week and they don’t care for them any longer, I had lost my taste for laundry. It seemed a losing battle. Only in the mornings when we needed to rush out the door, dressed all the way to socks and shoes, with no wrinkles would I regret my disdain for my laundry and wish that I were more disciplined and organized.

And then we had another baby. And another. And another. And I knew I must do something, that I must truly decide on a better method, get a schedule, get a new closet….something….anything. Until now, our children had all had the traditional matching dresser or chest-of-drawers in each of their rooms, affording me much exercise, were I to actually try and put it all away upstairs in their rooms. I was convinced that the sheer thought of running up and down the stairs to put it away deterred me from doing the laundry. It wasn’t that I minded washing. It wasn’t that I minded putting clothes into the dryer. But to take them out and dump them somewhere so that I could “fold, sort and put away later” made me cringe….Because I knew what really happened when I dumped the fresh, clean laundry somewhere “safe”. It was forgotten….then knocked over, spilled onto the floor….then….trampled. And then someone would drop an obscene amount of crumbly snack right into the pile, rendering my work completely and utterly POINTLESS.

I guess the laundry situation here pretty much sums up my personality. I am an all-or-none type of gal. I either do it, or I don’t. I don’t want to start it if I know I can’t finish it. The laundry seemed to have always sent me the clear message (by way of bullhorn, by the way) that I COULD NOT WOULD NOT EVER finish it. It just kept defeating me. So I chose to pretend it wasn’t an issue. But the reality is that people must wear clothes. I have people in my family. Lots of people, with more people coming. So, a solution I must find.

Pregnant with our seventh son, my husband and I conspired and concocted the brilliant scheme. We would take the boys dressers out of their rooms, put them in our large master closet that is connected to our laundry room, move some of our clothes to the other end of the closet on the racks to make room for theirs. Our closet is a large L shape, and the short part of the L became their new closet. Once we did it, it was like, “why didn’t we think of this before???”

This made me so excited. It motivated me more than anything else I have ever done to try and help the laundry situation. I knew that since the laundry room was connected to our closet, and that since the dressers and their hanging racks were right there, that I had no more excuses. The laundry didn’t even need to come out and sit on the couch for days and weeks at a time anymore before someone had mercy and put it back into the dirty pile (I mean mountain) in the laundry room floor, whose door had to be forced open or closed. This was the answer I had been needing…my big sword to my laundry room nemesis.

My laundry is staying done for the time being. I know reality is that when the baby is born, it will take a minor setback again and I am okay with that. But for now, the boys know exactly where all their clothes are. The clothes come straight out of the dryer, onto a hanger, then their racks or their drawers. There is one sock basket full of mated socks in the closet floor underneath their hanging clothes. Just tackling socks alone has helped us tremendously!

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Comments

  1. This is brilliant! I actually thought about it the other day when I was looking at the brochure for the Electrolux washer and dryer. In it, there is a wall to wall shelving system loaded up with clothes. I told Mike that I think that would be perfect. Just one big room where all the clothes get stored instead of in each room. We are always running into the laundry room to get something we need to get dressed anyways!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Ahh… You finally did it. But what is the solution when you don’t have a room/ closet to use downstairs…?

  3. I think the solution when you don’t have the space for this,or maybe if you do, is to have your kids fold and put away their own laundry.

    I still work the machines but my 4 and 7 year old boys can bring their clothes down, take out of the dryer, fold and hang, and carry their baskets back upstairs and put everything where it belongs.

    I am loving it!

  4. I am just coming across your site and am enjoying your perspective and wisdom. Being a mom of four under five, I recently found the need to take control of the laundry situation. Before simplifying the laundry process, I simplified wardrobes. I have three girls which helps keep outfits simple by using a lot of dresses. I do also have a son, and my girls like variety. So, when two piece outfits are in order I try to use only jeans and kakhis. That way everything matches. As much as I love all those cute leggings sets, I prefer my sanity. So I went through all wardrobes and gave away things that had to be matched up. Then I set a limit on outfits.12 each, plus 5 church outfits. Next I got rid of my dryer and replaced it w a second washer. We hung clothes lines and, Walla! I can now wash and hang 6 loads of laundry in about 3 hrs…most of which I am doing other things…Then I take it down in the afternoon and go into our “changing room” (used to be a guest room). I have a designated rubbermaid tub for each child and I begin tossing the clothes in the bins. No more folding, no more putting away, no more matching. The clothes don’t wrinkle for several reasons. One, there aren’t many of them so they don’t get heavy, and two, the are tossed in after they came from the line, not a dryer. So that is it. I actually look forward to laundry now. There is something so peaceful about being outside hanging cool, wet, clean clothes. It is my down time. This process has worked great now for several months, not to mention my electric bill is about $120 cheaper each month, who knew?!

  5. Hah! “I have people in my family” totally cracked me up! Especially since I know exactly what you mean. :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] system that we custom designed for our family and it works really well.  You can read about it here.  I have yet to post the next part of our “laundry solutions”, and am planning on [...]

  2. [...] is much more to be done to keep this system working.  If you haven’t read Part 1, click here.  No matter how good your “machine”, or your system, if you have too much to process, [...]

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