Laundry help! - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-18-2005, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds easy on paper -- get all the laundry to one location, do a load a day.

But HOW do you make this happen?

We've tried: clothes basket outside of the bathroom, clothes basket in the kids' room, clothes basket in our room, and having it all near the laundry hamper in the kitchen.

Our trailer is small. There's honestly no logical corner for a laundry hamper. I think having it all in the kitchen is our best bet. But how do I get myself and everyone else in the habit of getting it there?

Then, how do you find time to fold it all and put it away? Any tips?

And getting dh to keep wet stuff out of the basket is not working, and I'm TERRIBLE with stains -- any good short websites for easy, non-toxic stain removal??
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Old 02-19-2005, 03:15 AM
 
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We have a 700 sq ft house I liken to a boat. Our laundry room is outside so we are lucky to have it all out of sight.

We have 2 bedrooms. Each has a small vertical hamper with ventilation holes. When they get too full, I sort it all and decide what to wash. We sort by whites, lights, jeans, and dark/brights. Shout is the only thing that works for stains and it comes in a spray so I spray. I use oxyclean too on the whites. I also have a small square tub, like for dishes, outside the back door for wet icky stuff.

I have 2 laundry baskets so I carry a load or 2 to the washer in that. I put the rest of the sorted laundry back in the hampers sorted. The baskets sit on the dryer until I put the dry clothes in them. I try to drape shirts and hanging things over the side of a basket to help keep the wrinkes away.

My sister hangs up most of her family's clothes so she has minimal folding.

I take the laundry into our bedroom when ds is busy playing in another room. I turn on NPR on the radio and fold. I hang up dh and my clothes as I fold. Then I put ds' clothes away.

I have rid my self of a lot of clothing in the last couple of years. I don't have room for it. If something is too stained then it goes away. Not to the rag pile, too full, maybe Goodwill but it leaves the building.

There is no end to laundry is there? Ds sometimes help sort. It takes longer but I want him to learn to help.
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Old 02-19-2005, 02:24 PM
 
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we have a super small apartment and just use our washer as the "hamper" When it gets full, we wash. We haven't sorted clothes into "whites and darks" for years now and honestly I don't notice any difference in the clothing. I have never had anything bleed either (well, except one time about six years ago).

My in-laws have a neat idea for socks so they don't have to fold them. They all wear white socks and just throw their socks into a central location and take from there.

Can't help with stains, I don't really worry about them much. When they happen I try and hand wash the area right away. I have some spray and wash but that's about all.

Are your kids old enough to help fold the clothes?
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Old 02-19-2005, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you[re right -- letting go of "lights and darks" might be the right thing.

The kids are old enough to help, but requests for laundry help always seem to end in yelling in my house, so I've stopped asking because I'm tired of arguing. My oldest is 5.5, and she has known how to fold for quite some time, and then my next oldest is almost 3. The one year old love to help of course but his help drives me crazy!

My 3yo does love to put the clothes from washer to dryer though, and sometimes stacks the prefolds for me on diaper day.

Any suggestions on getting kids to pitch in with laundry in a way that doesn't end in tears?
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Old 02-20-2005, 04:00 AM
 
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just make sure if you wash together that you "test" any new clothes before throwing that red shirt in with the rest , you should be fine after that

the only suggestion I can think of for the two oldest kids to help is to make some sort of game (who can find the sock pairs the fastest, who can fold the highest mound of shirts, ??) and reward them with a sticker or something??

Or, you can reward them in some way by popping in a video or let them watch TV when they are folding.

Can't help you with the baby though!

If I think of anymore ideas, I'll post them!
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Old 02-22-2005, 09:52 PM
 
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My kids pitch in with laundry by putting their own clothes away (at least the girls do) They've been doing this since about age 5 or 6.What happens if they don't put their clothes away? They have to dig through baskets to find their stuff, rather than having everything neatly in drawers and closets. If it gets wrinkled, they'll just have to wear wrinkled clothes.

I don't separate lights and darks either. Everything gets washed in cold except diapers (and occasionally I'll wash sheets, blankets, or towels in warm if I feel like it.) Leah's laundry goes in Leah's hamper, I do a load of Leah's laundry,and Leah has to put it away. Ditto for Hannah. Jack and I share a hamper and I put it away.

Since your home is a lot smaller than mine, this system would probably not work for you. I'd suggest a laundry bag that hangs somewhere rather than a hamper you can trip over- or just use the washer as a hamper as somebody else suggested. Putting away one load at a time really isn't a big deal- putting away 6 loads is though!!!

I'd suggest, when you put away the laundry, putting the children's laundry on their beds for them to put away. Alternatively, you could just put everything away yourself if you feel that the clutter of the laundry will upset you more than having to do it all yourself. My home is big enough so I can close the door and not look at the mess my girls sometimes make.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 02-24-2005, 07:14 PM
 
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i set a timer and only force myself to do what I can get done (with an honest effort) for 10 minutes (or 5 minutes or whatever).

I also fold while dd is in the tub and put away right before bed.

I also don't sort colors -- I do sheets, towels, diapers, clothes, anything that smells like it needs a hot wash.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla
My kids pitch in with laundry by putting their own clothes away (at least the girls do) They've been doing this since about age 5 or 6.What happens if they don't put their clothes away? They have to dig through baskets to find their stuff, rather than having everything neatly in drawers and closets. If it gets wrinkled, they'll just have to wear wrinkled clothes.
This backfires here though, as the clothes will end up on the floor and then back into the laundry without ever being worn.

I give my older ones a pile at a time "This goes in your top drawer", etc...until they put them all away right then and there.
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:43 PM
 
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I find if I keep the laundry chores in small tasks, it's so much more managable for us. I just went through a little laundry tutorial, coutesy of a couple of good friends, because we now have a laundry room lareg enough for me to sort in one area (acutally just a corner in the unfinished part of the basement). Anyway, I do at least one load a day and try to make sure all clean laundry is put away before bedtime. I do all the washing and drying and folding, but the kids (7, 5, & 3) do all the gathering, sorting and putting away. I use small dishwashing buckets---they are good size for the kids to walk up and down the steps with. Putting away any clean laundry is now part of our evening routine---usually done right before brushing teeth and storytime. Bringing down dirty clothes and sorting them into the hampers in the laundry room (lights, darks, towels, jeans) is done pretty much each morning. Only my daughters have an actual small hamper in their room---but even they generally just bring their clothes down in their hands. If we've missed a day or two, I'll just bring a large laundry basket into the hallway and announce, in my Monty Python voice, "Bring out your dirties!" (it's only funny to me but who cares?)

I had to really let go of some perfectionism for this to work. The kids, my youngest especially, aren't great about getting nicely folded clothes into their drawers without crumbling them up. But, like anything else, that's a skill. And, I still do all the things that need to go on hangers---they simply can't reach. I've also really pared down the sheer amount of clothes we have. We have been very fortunate to receive lots of really wonderful hand-me-downs from family and friends, but we just can't house everything in our home. I pass forward anything that my kids don't love to wear.

So, for me, the key is to do just a little each day. I can't face an entire day spent on laundry, but 10-20 min each morning and evening is ok.

As for stains, I've got no info. We just live a life of stained clothes around here. This is something I wish I were better about, but it's just not a huge priority for me right now. My youngest has taken to changing into pjs when the sun sets, so she's usually in them for dinner. That makes spaghetti night much less of an issue. Pretty much every nightgown she has is now stained.

And, FTR, this is definitely an imperfect system. Stuff falls through the cracks (literally---I find socks and underwear in the oddest places) and pile of laundry--clean and dirty---do seem to appear out of nowhere some days. But, for the most part, it's working.

I'm a morning person.  We actually do exist.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:33 PM
 
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We have several laundry baskets in convenient places, but it doesn't sound like you have space for that. Our primary laundry storage, though, is baskets *under* the washer. We have a front loader, so my hubby built a stand for the washer and dryer. Three laundry baskets slide under there - one for lights, one for darks and one empty one for collecting clean stuff. It also raises the washer and dryer up to a comfortable level. (We actually line dry almost everything, so the "clean" basket never makes it into that slot, and we're keeping a litter box in there now). I frequently grab the smaller baskets and dump the laundry into the two baskets up there, so when I'm ready to do a load, it's all there and sorted for me.

I also make a goal of going around collecting loose bits of laundry every evening before bed. It takes me about 1 minute, and it makes such a difference. It also makes me more aware of things that are lying around during the day and I'm more likely to grab them and toss them where they belong, knowing that I'm going to make myself go collect them later when I'm tired.

While I'm good at washing and hanging a load daily, I'm not so good at keeping up with folding. I usually get all the large items folded and put away, and leave all the small kids stuff for dh to fold on the weekends Not my best housekeeping skill, but if that's the worst I do (well, it's not, but it's the failing that I worry about least...)
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