Monday, September 22, 2008

Climbing Mount Laundry: Weekly or Daily Routine

Last week I issued a challenge to create ONE HABIT to make you feel good about your home. My one habit is to go to bed with a clean kitchen. I realize the dishes and kitchen may not be an issue for you. Maybe your problem area is laundry. Hopefully you can profit from what I've learned about climbing Mount Laundry.

Weekly Laundry Routine

I used a weekly laundry routine or system for about four years. I had a part-time job, lived in an apartment without a washer/dryer, and had no children. On the same day each week I loaded up our 3-4 loads of dirty laundry and hauled it to the laundromat. There I washed and dried all of our clothes at the same time. When they finished drying I folded everything on the tables, hauled it all home, and put it all away. The whole process took me less than 3 hours and I didn't have to worry with it for the rest of the week.

I found the key to this routine or system was having A SPECIFIC DAY SET ASIDE TO GET IT DONE. I guarded that morning on my calendar and tried to schedule work and friends around that time.

Then we bought a house WITH a washer and a dryer. Oh, happy day!! I continued to wash and dry laundry all in one day and it worked OK. After our first child was born the routine began to break down. Dirty laundry piled up in baskets. Clean laundry piled up on beds. By the birth of the second child I knew I had to change my system.

Daily Laundry Routine

I currently use a daily routine to stay on top of the laundry for 5 (soon to be 6) people. Here's how I climb Mount Laundry now:
  1. Each bedroom has a laundry basket in the closet. I only separate adult darks and whites. Dirty laundry is placed in the basket when it is taken off.
  2. A basket for towels and washcloths is in the bathroom. A separate basket for clothes that have been peed in is there also.
  3. Each basket is assigned a day of the week to be washed.
  • Monday: Towels. Sheets.
  • Tuesday: Big boys' basket. Pee-pee clothes.
  • Wednesday: Ellie and Sam's basket.
  • Thursday: Adult dark and white baskets.
  • Friday: any clothes we need for the weekend, wet sheets, or a basket full of pee-pee clothes.
ASSIGNING EACH BASKET A SPECIFIC DAY to be washed has cut down on the “no clean laundry” crises, as well as the piles of clean-but-not-put-away laundry. It also keeps the number of laundry loads each day low and manageable. I can usually find 5 minutes to throw clothes in the washer or dryer and 10 minutes to fold and put them away but I can't find a solid hour to just fold!

Laundry with Children

Earlier this year I began training my boys (5 and 3) to put away their own clothes. They help sort Will's clothes onto his bed and Ben's clothes onto his bed. Then each boy sorts his shirts, underwear and shorts/pants into separate piles. Finally, each folds and puts away his own clothes. The folds aren't perfect and neither are the stacks in each drawer but they are improving with practice and the best part is I'm not doing it!

That's how I stay on top of Mount Laundry. Do you have a routine or system in place to process laundry? Are you training your kids so you can eventually climb down Mount Laundry? If not, try the Weekly or Daily Routine, I promise you won't regret it!


Jessica said...

After your challenge last week, and realizing that I always feel like I am behind on cleaning my house, or cleaning everything on my day off. I decided to finally make a cleaning schedule (that's printed with my monthly menu) to tack onto the fridge. I feel a bit like a kid (since our chores hung on the fridge) but I also feel organized and like I have more free time while everything still gets down. Thanks for the challenge. I look forward to seeing how my schedule works out (and fixing what doesn't).

wherever HE leads we'll go said...

I do have a method for tackling laundry, maybe you have heard of it, it is called Mike! (have I mentioned how much I love & appreciate my husband?)

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I do at least two loads every single day.

I find that if I start it first thing in the AM (while waiting for my tea kettle to steam) that works well for me. I can usually start/finish one load before I take kids to school.

I also make my kids help me fold/put away. It's different when they're in school, but if there are clothes on their bed when they get home, they know to put them away.

If I can stay on top of meals/laundry, then my days seem to go more smoothly! Those are my 2 systems that I cannot live without!

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