I need a simple routine. Do I need to go out and buy better sorting containers? What are your suggestions?
Chaotic mama to 5 plus a bonus one on the way.
For myself, we don't generate quite as much laundry as you do, but what's really helped me to get it done is rather than just walking away and forgetting about it, I set a timer that I take with me wherever I wind up, so that I know when the washer is done and needs to be swapped, or the dryer is done and needs to be emptied (our laundry's in the basement, so I can't hear it). Then the clean laundry gets dumped on our bed, so we can't go to bed until it's folded and put away. Usually that means DH has to help me with it.
Because neither of us has to wear professional clothing anymore, our clothes laundry consists entirely of jeans/sweats/tshirts, etc., so I don't bother to sort it. I just grab a load's worth and go. I have a hamper in the bathroom that is just family cloth/kitchen cloth/towels/sheets, and the hamper in the bedroom is just clothes, so everything in a single hamper gets washed in the same way - again, no sorting needed. For me that was a huge time saver.
Cristeen ~ Always remembering our warrior ~ Our is 3, how'd that happen?!?!
We welcomed another warrior in May 2012!!
2012 Decluttering challenge - 575/2012
I can't keep up, our laundry room is a mess all the time. What do I do? Any tips on keeping things sorted and done?
Getting clothing in and out of the washer is the primary objective.
Most clothing can be washed together ... it doesn't hurt towels to share with the sheets, or the underwear to share with shirts. Make every load count by running a full load as often as possible, or at least a medium load.
Most clothing can be washed in cold water: The stuff that says "Warm Wash, Warm Rinse" will do just fine in a cold/cold load. Set the washer on Cold Wash, Cold rinse, large load and forget about it. I've washed clothes for years with no hot water at all, except for the rare "ewwww, gotta hot water and bleach this" one.
Laundry soap will kill any germs you may be worried about.
Don't buy clothing that can't tolerate this laundry style - any exceptions that have to be washed on delicate, hung to dry, bleed dye even after the second washing, or are otherwise a pain in the patootie to launder have to have something really special going for them - like being outerwear, or fancy dress clothing.
Kids clothing and bedding: Pretreat the stains and toss it in a bin. As soon as you have one load accumulated, throw it in the washer. If you have energy restrictions on when you can run the dryer, it can wait in a laundry basket for the dryer. But it's washed!
Speed sort the dried clothing ... one bin per child, toss the items in there or hang it up and drape it on the side of the kid's bin. Stack the bins, take the bins to their rooms, hang up the hangers and fold and stash the clean clothing. An alternate 1-basket method is to go to first bedroom, hang and stash the clothing for that child, repeat in each room. Fewer bins, same amount of sorting work.
Even with occasional bed-wetting and a messy toddler, this method and one load a day should keep up with the kid's clothes and bedding.
Adults: one load of sheets, one load of towels, and three loads for clothing (split however makes sense ... levis, shirts, underwear?) should keep you for a week. I take the sheets straight to the washer on a set day of the week, towels go from rods to washer, so there are no piles or bins for them. Clothing accumulates in the hamper and gets sorted onto the bedroom floor and then goes into the washer. Depending on the mix, I may wash shirts and undies together, levis and towels, or whatever makes the fewest sensibly sorted loads.
ADDING: I don't even sort lights and darks after their first wash ... I've never noticed a problem with color transfer.
My problem is not doing the laundry but putting it away. I wash everything together and then have to go to every room in the house to put it up. Last night I decided to sort by what goes where and do laundry this way. Kitchen and bath towels together. Kid clothes. Grown up clothes. I only change sheets once a month and usually wash all blankets at this time too.
I do a load of non diaper laundry every day, sometimes more like 2-4. I do diapers every day. I have eliminated the "hot spot" for holding the folded laundry - my ironing board - so if I want to sit on the couch I have to put it up. I also find that smaller loads are easier for me to put away. This is not the greenest method, but if I have to put up everyone's entire wardrobe it just doesn't get done in a timely manner.
If you find that you are regulalry washing the same clothes then you can probablylive without a lot of what you have stored in closets.
There are 6 of us and we have this system: 2 small sized bags in the bathroom which hold just under one washload. One for colours and one for whites. the onlything that is washed seperately is wools. Whichever is full first goes in the washer with whatever else I can pick up to add to it; towels fom the bedroom or sheets or stuff from the kitchen - handtowels, odd socks wet stuff etc. The empty bag goes back up and sometimes becomes a pink bag or goes back to being a dark or white bag.
I wash every other day more or less but I am rtuled by the bag not by the day! When everything is washed and dry I put it away straightaway. I have to force myself to do this but it really makes a difference in the battle.
Another thing that helps me is starting laundry the second I wake up, second only to using the restroom. Even if I don't get back to switch it for a couple of hours, at least it's clean and no matter what I can generally get it dried and put away before bed.
Mama to DS1 (12/07), DS2 (4/11), and DD (6/22/14)
Finally diagnosed with APS after 3 s (11/09, 3/10, 7/13)
Don't let it get too big. Do a morning load and another one at night.
I do one load per day -- I spend about 10 minutes perday at it:
- 8:00 am - the first thing I do every morning is grab a handful of laundry from our ensuite and go downstairs and stick it in the washer (this takes approx 1 minute)
- 9:00 am - I take what is in the dryer from yesterdays load and fold and put away (its only socks, towels, jeans --- so takes approx 5 minutes)
- 9:05 am - I take what is in the washer and either throw into the dryer or put on hangers to dry (takes approx 4 minutes)
I do this 7 days a week
I'll also note that it is so nice having a child that is old enough to sort her laundry. I was hers separately and give her the whole basket when it comes out. I can't wait until they can all do their own.
Here is our system: We have one laundry basket in the master bedroom. All laundry goes in there. When it gets full, I wash it (everything gets washed on warm), dry it, and dump it in the living room. While sitting and playing with DS I fold it and put it away. (really if you sit down and fold and put away one load it takes maybe 10 minutes. it is only when it piles up that it gets bad).
We also of course have a seperate CD laundry basket, but it sounds like you are past CD's.
The key to all of this is that you have to get caught up. Ask a friend to come over and hang out for the day and your kids can help entertain each other while you climb Mt. Laundry.
I finally figured out that there is no system that will work. You just have to DO IT! That's all there is to it. No procrastinating. No skipping days. Just wash the clothes, dry them, and fold them. (I'm not talking to you here, I'm talking to myself )
I don't sort, either. If I have enough towels to do just a towel load, so be it. But other than that, I just cram everything in there together and wash on cold. The only thing I wash separate is diapers, and even then sometimes I throw towels or something in there. (I do wash diapers on hot.)
And now with American Idol on TV, I Tivo it and watch it while I'm folding clothes. I watched 2 hours of Idol yesterday and two today while I folded. I need something mindless to do while I watch a mindless show that doesn't require I look at the TV every second.
I fold and put it away that same day. I usually fold it while watching TV after DS's nap (he usually helps), and then it gets put away right after. I don't have a laundry room, and I think that is helpful. My mom always had a laundry room, and the laundry would sit in piles forever until she got motivated to clean it out, and then it would fill up again in a few weeks. And my sister and I always did our own laundry!
I long ago did away with sorting colours/whites etc. Too time and space consuming.
I also made a pact with myself that once I did that, the clean clothes would not leave the laundry room unless they were on a body. (As in, I don't put the clothes in a basket and take them somewhere else to be folded. They get folded while I'm standing in the laundry room and put away right there.)
i took a cue from the duggars and turned our laundry room into the family closet. There's a couple of hanging racks in there, and our dressers, and a retractable clothesline. It makes things so much easier.
I also made a pact with myself that once i did that, the clean clothes would not leave the laundry room unless they were on a body. (as in, i don't put the clothes in a basket and take them somewhere else to be folded. They get folded while i'm standing in the laundry room and put away right there.)
this is my goal! We have five kids + my husband & me. In july we'll have 6 kids. The first thing i need to do is get rid of three-quarters of each child's clothes..... They'd each still have enough for 2 kids! And then i'd like to do like the duggars and have a combination laundry room / family closet. Another laundry issue i have is that i can never get around to putting it all away.
I have my laundry down to a science finally. I do laundry only on Monday and Friday. I start it the moment I come downstairs and I am usually done before I start dinner. I usually do 4 loads. 1 each of towels/linens/bibs, lights, darks, and whites.
I have a basket for each of the colors that I sort into each day as the clothes come down the laundry chute. I try to keep track of things that need stain treatment and I set those in the utility sink so I can spray them before they get washed.
Since 3 or my 4 are still in diapers and need new pj's everyday (I think they smell like pee even if they aren't leaky) I did need to buy a couple extra pairs of pj's for the twins, so we could have 4 pairs each.
My suggestion would be to find out exactly how many full loads of each type you are doing each week and then figure out how to break that into the least amount of days doing laundry. That way you aren't doing a bunch of small loads of the same type and wasting precious time. That is what was killing me. I would do not quite full loads to get it done, but it actually ate up my time, because a not full load and a full load take the same time to do, but you have to do more not full loads.
I do mix colors and whites to no ill effect (give or take one or two pink loads). I mix towels and sheets with socks and underwear, etc.
"Here's my laundry system: the kids share the master bedroom with the walk in closet. We put the washer and dryer in the closet. We put four hanging sweater bags--the kinds with six cubbies each--along the rod. Each night, the kids undress for their baths and toss their clothes right in the washing machine, where other dirty laundry (clothes from the kitchen, wet socks, running clothes, tc) has been tossed all day. I put my jamps on then, too. Then I run the machine. By the time they are done with their baths and we've done our reading, the clothes are done and ready for the dryer. When the clothes are dry and the kids are asleep I put their clothes out at the foot of their beds for them (the boys and I wear the same things day after day, which really cuts down on the stuff that has to be put away, Dh and dd like a bit of variety.) What remains gets put on the hanging bags.
We have some things stored, but we each have very few clothes in circulation at a given time. I wear about three different things, my boys two, my dd four or five. It really makes life so much easier.
I also do a load of laundry in the morning--sheets, towels, pajamas. Again, the pajams just get put into the communal jamps basket until bed, when they get put on again."
Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)
I enlist my husband to help me fold every couple days and we do it while watching tv before bed. Sometimes it stays in the basket folded for days. That is ok for us. The goal is clean clothes.
I do not know if you have this problem, but my dds like to unfold my clean/folded laundry and pulling their clothes out of their dressers. I was also having problems getting the laundry put up because of sleeping kids. I ended up putting their dresser in my bedroom and the problem was solved. I easily fold laundry on my bed and then immediately put it all up.
I usually take whats on the line and throw it in the dryer to finish it. Put whats in the washer on the line and start a load in the washer. I'll take what was in the dryer upstairs with me and put the basket in the living room. Usually while ds2 is napping I'll fold the clothes while keeping ds1 company while he colors or something. Then I'll take a couple minutes to put away what I folded (this was always the hardest for me) and then maybe do another round from the beginning if I have time.
I don't sort my clothes unless I know I have something that bleeds-I've been lucky and never had a problem-and everything is done on cold.
By far my biggest challenge with laundry has been going from the "folded in the basket/on the couch" stage to "put away in drawers" so I just limit what I bring up from the basement. For a good while there, our sofa was everyones dresser because thats as far as I would get!
I ran out of hangers - I had to sent my hubby to the store after work to pick some up! I've never had all the clothes hung up at the same time!