can be is a BEAST!
My laundry definitely has a life of its own.
No matter what I do, it continues to grow.
Left unchecked, it overruns my tiny laundry room, and spills over into other areas of the house.
My laundry sucks the life out of me if I let it.
This laundry beast is very healthy and seems to have a growth spurt every time someone showers.
It demands my time and attention and gets out of control if I neglect it for even a little while.
Its tentacles reach the farthest corners of my home.
Bits and pieces that pile up in bathrooms, closets and bedrooms.
And even strange and unexpected places.
Only to growl just as loudly as the body of the beast which resides in the laundry room.
And this beast is sneaky. Oh so sneaky.
It loves nothing better than tricking me into believing I have conquered it.
Only to slip up on me from behind, when my defenses are down. A little pile in the bathroom…a little pile in a closet floor…a load left forgotten in the washer.
To fight this beast, I must be constantly vigilant and keep my wits about me.
Over the years, I have seen how the beast operates and I know my enemy well. The following are a few tips that can get the beast under control.
- A load a day keeps the beast at bay.
Usually. Sometimes when the beast is fed by the family, there is nothing you can do.
But most of the time, doing just one load a day cuts down on what remains to be done over the weekend.
I mean, who really wants to spend all day Saturday washing clothes?
- Different colored bins are your ally.
A white bin for towels, washcloths, socks and underwear, and another colored bin of your choice for jeans, t-shirts, shorts, etc., with a third bin for bras, cold water wash items, things that have to be air dried, or anything else that needs special attention.
This bin can also be used to throw in stained shirts until you have the time to get the stain out.
This way, it doesn’t get mixed in with all the other laundry, only to come out of the dryer with a set-in stain.
For the three-bin method to work, you need to train your family for battle.
Remind (read: nag, harass, threaten them) until they remember that everything they use should make it to a bin in a timely manner and that it should go in the appropriate bin. This cuts down on the time you spend sorting.
- Enlist the help of your kids!
Especially the over 10 crowd. They can do it!
They will, in all probability need the aforementioned “reminders”.
They will mess things up sometimes.
They will leave things to sour in the washer.
They will wash something red with the whites to make that awesome pink color.
But they will learn.
And the more they know about laundry and the more consistently they do some of it for themselves, the better off you will be.
- Stay stocked up on your laundry supplies.
If the beast ever catches me unarmed, I am done for.
It never fails. If I don’t have a stockpile of laundry detergent, fabric softener, etc., I will run out when I am least inclined to run to the store.
For us, the nearest store is 15 minutes away, so by the time I can get there and back, I have burned at least a half hour that I could have been doing something else.
There is also a good chance that I have spent money on something else that I really didn’t have to have but picked up “while I was in town”. Planning ahead for the mountains of laundry ahead really helps.
- Keep the folding under control.
One thing I have found that helps with this is folding bath towels as they come out of the dryer.
I set a basket under the dryer door to catch whatever comes tumbling out, and then pull the towels out, folding them one at a time.
I may put the folded towels in a clean laundry basket to put away later, but usually, I just go ahead and put them in the linen chest/closet and get them out of the way.
This leaves more room in your basket for smaller items, so you can get to everything and see what you are doing.
- Make your work area/battle field pleasant.
My laundry room is tiny, and after living here for almost 9 years, it had gotten unimaginably cluttered.
So, last year, I took everything down from a deep shelf my husband built for me along two of the laundry room walls, organized it, put it in labeled bins, and while it was down, painted the shelves.
Once they were painted, I cut letters in vinyl with my Cricut, to have the constant reminder of “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Ecclesiastes 9:10.
I also labeled all the storage bins, and my husband still asks occasionally why I have George Foreman in a Rubbermaid tub.
- Use things you already have around the house to fight stains.
Dawn dish detergent works wonders on grease spots.
Just rub a little directly into the stain, then put a few drops of water..enough to create some suds and work into the fabric, then wash as usual.
You can also sprinkle baking soda on the stain first, and then follow the steps listed above if the stain is especially greasy.
We also like to use Fels Naptha for stains. You can get it for less than $1 a bar at Walmart in the laundry aisle.
- Stretch tight shirts with a spray-on wrinkle releasing product.
For too-tight shirts, just spray with Downy wrinkle-release (off brand works too), then stretch by putting your knees on the hem and pulling upward or putting both arms inside the shirt from the bottom, bending your elbows and stretching the fabric out as far as possible under the sleeves.
- Say “NO!” to ironing!
Okay, I know this is controversial. But really, it works at our house.
Every once in a blue moon there will be something I have to iron. But we avoid purchasing items that are likely to require ironing.
We also try to remove clothing from the dryer as soon as it stops so that it doesn’t wrinkle. And if you forget? Just spritz with a water bottle or a little bit of wrinkle release and throw that sucker right back in the dryer for 5 minutes.
Ironing? Not this girl. Ain’t nobody got time for that! We still manage to look presentable! (Most of the time…)
- Clean out closets, drawers and cabinets for folded towels.
Throw out socks with no mate.
If you haven’t found the mate to a sock after several more loads have come through, chances are, it won’t turn up.
Retire the lone sock to your cleaning rag stash.
Then get rid of what you don’t need or what doesn’t fit or is damaged in your other drawers, cabinets and closets.
This leaves space for what you do want to keep. Having neatly organized storage areas helps when it’s time to put laundry away.
You too can tame the laundry beast. It is an ongoing battle, and sometimes the beast gets the better of me. But keep charging forth, my friend. The beast can be defeated with a little planning and extra effort.