When I first got married, laundry was my favorite chore.
I know, I know–crazy, right?
But you see–back then, it was just my and hubby’s clothes that I had to wash. I loved pulling each load out of the warm dryer, folding (and even–shock!–ironing!) them, and it didn’t take long at all to tuck them inside their proper drawers and hang them in the closet because there was really such little laundry to do in the first place.
Fast forward nine years: I’ve discovered that laundry for 5 people is way more work than laundry for 2!
For the past several years, laundry has been my arch nemesis. I would catch up; then I’d fall behind. Over and over again.
During the busiest of seasons a Mount Laundry will cover our entire closet floor!
Until…I discovered this wonderful shelf on Craigslist. (You know we actually furnished our house via Craigslist, right?)
The funny part is that I didn’t pay attention to the shelf’s dimension’s in the listing. I envisioned it as being much, much smaller. (We’re talking 1/3 to 1/4 of the height that it turned out to be!)
We needed a corner shelf for our half bathroom, and I thought it would be perfect.
When the seller brought this shelf to his front door, my eyes must have opened really wide because he immediately said: “Is this not what you were expecting?”
“Well, no,” I stammered. “But, um, I can make it work.”
But there was no way that huge shelf was going to fit in my bathroom. It towered above me. I have never measured it, but I imagine it’s at least six feet tall!
And then it hit me one day: This Craigslist shelf could totally revolutionize my laundry routine!
Check out my revolutionized laundry routine:
1. I keep one family dirty clothes’ hamper in our bedroom closet.
This hamper is divided into four sections–one section for darks, one for lights, one for whites and one for hand washables or delicate items.
I got my divided hamper at Wal-Mart, but it is very similar to this one.
Before, I was using several different baskets, and they just took up way too much space and were always overflowing.
2. I do one load of laundry each day.
I have always liked the one-load-per-day method, but I still easily got behind before because I realized I was fitting way too much laundry into the machine because my baskets were too big!
Then, I would get behind on folding because there was just too much to fold in a short sitting.
Each of the divided bags is big enough for a full load, but it doesn’t hold so much that it will be too much to fold.
Our laundry room is located upstairs, in between our bedrooms, so I try to start a load before we all come downstairs.
When I hear the washing machine stop, I will run back upstairs to throw the load in the dryer (or hang things on my drying rack).
Later in the day, usually around the time I take our 1 1/2-year-old upstairs for her nap, I will sit down for a few minutes to fold.
3. As I am folding, I place each girl’s clothes in her own fabric box.
I assigned each girl a color, and the older two girls–age 5 1/2 and 3 1/2–know their colors.
When I finish folding, I do not usually put the clothes away right away. (I usually do not have that much concentrated time!).
4. I place the boxes on the Craigslist tower shelf.
I assigned each girl a shelf, and her colored box always goes in the same spot.
I purposely placed the older two girls’ boxes within their reach, and I placed my 1 1/2-year-old’s where I can reach it (because there is no need for her to do so right now).
Here is where the fun part comes in…
5. I put the contents of each box away–in my spare time.
Each box is so small that it only takes a few seconds to a minute to put away the contents. With this method, I can literally put away their laundry in different short bouts throughout the day.
Another HUGE advantage is that the kids are able to put their own laundry away! At this point, they mostly still ask me before they do it, but I am hoping one day they will just take the initiative and do it!
When I ask the girls to put their clothes away, they simply grab their own box and go at it!
What about the adult laundry?
I place mine and my husband’s clothes in a separate basket. I keep this larger basket in our closet or bedroom (or hallway, near the laundry room) with our clean clothes.
Yes, these take longer to put away, but it’s still a much simpler system than when I was placing all 5 of our clothes in that one basket!
This method of laundry:
1. Maximizes my time.
2. Simplifies my life.
3. Teaches responsibility (to my children!).
That Craigslist find? It wasn’t what I thought it would be, but it was one of my best discoveries ever.
Do you love or hate laundry? What are your tips for how to revolutionize your laundry routine?
Need more laundry help?
Check out Taming the Laundry Monster by Angi Schneider. In Angi’s own words:
“If you are regularly overwhelmed and frustrated with laundry, there’s hope. This book will help you think through your schedule and systems and develop a plan that is unique for your unique family.”
Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post.
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