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Attacking The Laundry Monster......
and living to tell about it
by Amanda Formaro


In many households, laundry is a chore that everyone dreads. It's a never ending circle of drudgery, but the work can be minimized by getting into a routine that you can live with. But how do you decide what will work for you?

There is no such thing as ONE system that will work for everyone. By picking and choosing from the list of ideas here, you can customize a system that will help you master your laundry pile, and make it a liveable, and maybe even a likeable, part of living. Simply choose from the tips and ideas listed here to customize your own master laundry plan.


DIVIDE & CONQUER

Designate a certain day(s) of the week to do laundry (i.e.. Saturdays, every other Wednesday, the 1st and 15th of each month, etc) and log it into your planner or family calendar.
Go through the house and collect the dirty laundry everyday and put it a centrally located hamper.
Have a designated spot for all dirty clothes so that each family member can help.
Put a basket for collecting dirty clothes in each person's bedroom, color code them to make it easier to identify.
Plan & utilize your time well while clothes are washing and/or drying.
Mark labels of clothes with initials of children who wear similar sizes or outfits.


DETERGENTS

Install or utilize existing shelving for your detergent, bleach, and fabric softeners.
Use an over-the-sink basket to hold detergents.
Premeasure your laundry soaps, powders, and softeners to use in a snap.
If you travel to the laundromat to wash clothes, keep a tote with your laundry supplies in the trunk of your car, and use film canisters to collect quarters in.
Keep a pretreater stick or spray bottle in your dirty clothes baskets in order to pretreat stains right away.


BEFORE THE WASH

Use plastic milk crates, tall kitchen garbage pails, large buckets, small laundry baskets, or you can purchase a tri-section laundry sorter for sorting
dirty laundry.
Have a designated basket that is specifically for stained clothing only.
Use zipper mesh lingeree bags for each person's socks, these can be washed, dried, and returned to their owner.
Safety pin socks together to avoid matching later.
Avoid the mounds by following the rule: as soon as a basket fills, wash it.
For easy sorting for every family member, post signs above sorters or use color coded containers.
Sort clothes according to whites, reds, and darks.
Sort delicates and towels seperately.


THE WASH

Vow to do at least one load per day, more if possible.
Arrange it so that the first person to get home starts the washer.
You may choose not to sort, but wash all clothes together, then bleach your whites once per month.
Keep a basket or two handy for removing clothes from the dryer for folding.
Set an egg timer so you don't forget to check on your loads!
Keep a small basket or clothespin bag next to your washer or dryer for orphan socks.


FOLDING & PUTTING IT AWAY

Fold clothes as soon as you remove them from the dryer.
Put the clothes away after folding, or designate certain days each week to put away folded clothes.
Make it a game to get the kids involved - sit in circle with clothes in middle, have everyone fold into and put clothes into piles.
Fold clothes in front of the TV or while helping kids with their homework.
Teach kids to fold their own clothes, start them on towels and dish cloths.
Use a table by the dryer to put folded clothes on. When the table is full, put the clothes away.
Use small plastic baskets to sort folded clothes into. Have children pick up their baskets and put their folded clothes away.
Utilize overhead pipes for hanging clothes or purchase an inexpensive tension shower rod to hang clothes as they come out of the dryer.


SAMPLE PLAN
Because each person's situation is different, we've included a sample below of how picking and choosing ideas from above can build a successful laundry plan.
Gina works outside of the home 3 days per week, therefore doing a load of laundry each day isn't as easy for her as it would be for a stay at home parent.
Gina has three school aged children and is a single mother. Below you will see certain items that Gina chose from above, her notes are in parenthesis to the right of each.

Designate a certain day(s) to do laundry. (Mondays and Thursdays)
Put a basket in each person's bedroom, color code them to make it easier toidentify. (Blue for Timmy, green for Jeff, and Pink for Tammy)
Go through the house and collect the dirty laundry everyday and put it a centrally located hamper. (Empty all baskets into hall hamper each morning)

DETERGENTS

Use an over-the-sink basket to hold detergents. (No shelves, this solution will work)

BEFORE THE WASH

Use plastic milk crates, tall kitchen garbage pails, large buckets, small laundry baskets, or you can purchase a tri-section laundry sorter for sorting
dirty laundry. (Use the 99 cent laundry baskets)
Avoid the mounds by following the rule: as soon as a basket fills, wash it.
(Once sorted baskets fill, wash!)
Sorting options: whites, darks, and reds. (Towels can go with their colors)

THE WASH

Keep a basket or two handy for removing clothes from the dryer for folding.
(Keep large rectangular basket by dryer)
Set an egg timer so you don't forget to check on your loads! (Use microwave timer)
Keep a small basket or clothespin bag next to your washer or dryer for orphan socks. (Small basket on top of dryer)

PUTTING IT AWAY

Fold clothes as soon as you remove them from the dryer. (It only takes a minute)
Use small plastic baskets to sort folded clothes into. Have children pick up their baskets and put their folded clothes away. (Have kids do after school)
Utilize overhead pipes for hanging clothes or purchase an inexpensive tension shower rod to hang clothes as they come out of the dryer. (Use the plumbing pipes)

As you can see, Gina has developed a plan that will work within her schedule, enlists the help of her family, and does not interfere with her work schedule. Create your plan, stick to it, and you'll be on top of the laundry pile before you know it!

Copyright 2001, Amanda Formaro
http://familycorner.com


Amanda Formaro is the entrepreneurial mother of four children. She is also the
owner of FamilyCorner.com Magazine at http://familycorner.com from which she
operates several free newsletters, including her favorite, Comforts of Home. To
subscribe send any email message to mailto:kitchen-on@mail-list.com

 

FamilyCorner.com Magazine, Inc.
http://familycorner.com
Practical Kitchen
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