September 06, 2011

Laundry List

OK - thanks to Mrs Ordinary, over at Ordinary Days, posted her latest installment of "You Can Do It" on less laundry.

At first, I was like "really? you think I can do LESS laundry with 5 people in the house, 3 of which still have trouble keeping food on their utensils, and refuse to walk around anything that is wet and/or muddy?" Then, I read her simple tips. If you haven't already, head over and check it out. She's pretty darn extraordinary in my mind for many reasons, least of which are her laundry habits.

After I read it, I started thinking about just how much laundry I really end up doing.

Here's my usual breakdown of laundry loads each week:
  • Colors
  • Pants
  • Whites & Towels (I only use white towels)
  • Sheets
  • Diapers (Littlest One wears cloth)
Right now, Captain is still struggling with staying dry overnight, and when he wakes up wet, I do his bedding and jammies.

On a GREAT week, I only do 5 loads. Sometimes, I can do 12 (if Captain is wet every day).

Here's how I lighten the load - literally!

  • Reuse our towels. They get hung after every use to dry, and we live in a dry climate, so I'm not worried about mildew or even mustiness unless they get left in the washer accidentally.
  • Re-wear clothing such as pants, dressy clothes, and sweatshirts or cardigans -anything that is the "top layer" will get worn again unless I've spilled. I'm working on this with the kids.
  • Pre-treat stains ASAP. I've got kids. They get dirty. They spill. Somehow, they even manage to get markers and paint all. over. their. clothes. And washable Crayola? HA!! SO, I use my laundry tub and pretty much have it full of water and my stain remover of choice. I toss in the item, and swoosh it around til it's soaked and then, when laundry day rolls around, I toss it in the machine and wash it up. That way, I do no double-washing to get stains out of articles of clothing.
I totally understand where Mrs Ordinary is coming from on cutting back the size of your wardrobe. The fewer articles of clothing you have, the less laundry you'll do. It sounds counter-intuitive I know, but if you KNOW that you only have enough pieces of clothing to make it through 7 weeks, you know that you HAVE to keep up with your laundry!

I pick one day each week and do all the laundry. That does mean that I'm up early-ish, so I can build in that "extra" 15 minutes to put fresh bedding on all 4 beds, and put out 5 new sets of towels. It also means that only ONCE each week do I face the task of sorting, carting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away clothing. I do my ironing the following day. And yes, I iron. I press BB's work shirts, any pants that aren't made from denim, and about 65% of the girls' wardrobes. I just don't like rumpled.

Anyway, I hope that you can find ways to start simplifying your life with little things like laundry.


Inkling said...

I read that post too. And at first it sounded awesome. But then I got to thinking about our life and the season we're in over here. Unfortunately for us, it's just not something I'm okay with doing.

That whole "shame on you" if you go through more than one set of jammies in a week was written by someone who hasn't dealt with incontinence or fistulas. (And thank goodness she hasn't. I wouldn't wish that on anyone ever.) At first I wore pads 24/7, but then dealt with skin issues as a result. So that means I shower in the morning (even if I've showered at night after gardening) and have a new set of jammies most days. It's not like I'm wetting the bed, but it's also not like I'm totally clean and perfect either. Ah, the joys of birth injuries.

And then there are the moments when Jonathan decides to dribble milk from his bottle. Sour milk jammies or sheets for a week until laundry day? No thanks.

Finally, we live in a temperate rainforest and we are outside a lot. We live in a casual culture so we really don't have "school/church clothes" and "play clothes". It's pretty much all the same. And so at least one outfit per person per day gets tossed into the basket. It's just how life works here. I don't know if it's because I'm a person who looks like she went through a carwash after simply washing dishes, or like a person who looks like they rolled in the dirt after doing your average gardening work, but I find my outfits are pretty dirty at the end of a day.

So I'm the "do one or two loads a day" person. For me, it works. Our dryer takes eons to dry one load anyway, so dividing it up over the course of a week works for us.

I'm glad you wrote about this. To be honest, I was pretty bummed out after reading her post. But I'm learning to give myself grace. However, I still need to read things from other folks and not think that their words are equal with "thus saith the Lord". We can all have our opinions and it's okay to have one method work really well for us and another to work really well for another family.

Anyway, thanks for being a sounding board. I think I owe you since you just functioned as a good therapist. Don't know why I got so touchy......

Kork said...

Thanks Inkling!! I know sharing my heart is still difficult and I do know that each of us is in our own season and that someday I'll be consistently in some sort of routine. I admire that there are folks there and hold out hope that I can get there too!!

FarmWife said...

OK, this is where I fully admit that 5-6 loads a week would never work at our house.

#1 I simply cannot do the re-use your towels thing. It gives me the heebie-geebies. I dried my butt off with that towel. I'm not using it to dry my hair tomorrow. I don't care how much soap I used on my hiney.

#2 Much like Inkling, we have indoor & outdoor clothing. Husband has his "chore" clothes that can occasionally be worn 2 days in a row, but only in the dead of winter & only on light chore days. School clothes are often kept separate from outside clothes meaning many days more than one outfit is used.

#3. I wear jammies 2 days in a row, but after that they just feel grimy & I'm a night shower-er so I want a fresh pair most nights....not to mention the fact that I live in my jammies.

But I really wish I could cut my loads down. Someday the kids will live somewhere else & I will do very little laundry. :)