24 January 2009

All about laundry

I am constantly reading online how much most women hate laundry. It seems to ignite a passion of distaste that (in my eyes) far exceeds the chore. Another way of saying - I just don't get it?!

Laundry is one of my favourite chores. No, honestly. How many other chores are done by machines without much help from you? Even the dishwasher has to be loaded and unloaded piece by piece, whereas your washing machine has everything chucked in in one go. And yes, you have to fold the clean clothes, but how many other chores can you do while sitting watching TV?

I suspect that the hatred of laundry stems from the sheer amount of it; the neverending aspect of it. Here are my tips for making laundry manageable.

Firstly, own fewer items of clothing. If you have 10 pairs of jeans then you are likely to let the laundry pile up because you just keep reaching for the next pair of jeans, until you have one or two left and then it's panic stations - and a huge mountain of laundry.

If you only have 3 pairs of jeans then you'll be doing your laundry a lot quicker! Here are all of the clothes that we own in our household.

The top drawer in the boys' room contains the following: belts (that they actually never wear), a little bag with Daniel's money in, Noah's creams and asthma stuff, a pile of Noah's shorts, a pile of Daniel's shorts.

The second drawer is Daniels and contains vests, summer pyjama tops and bottoms, winter pyjama tops and bottoms and undies.

The third drawer is Noah's and contains the same as well as nappies (diapers) for night (because I'm too lazy to tackle night training). If you recall my "containing piles" method that you can read about here, I don't fold underwear - it just gets tossed into the basket or compartment.

They have a wardrobe that is 40 inches wide with two hanging rails with shelves above. The top hanging rail is all of Noah's clothes as well as Daniel's t-shirts. The bottom rail is all of Daniel's clothes including his school uniform.

My wardrobe is also 40 inches wide with two hanging rails and this is all of my clothes except for some tops in Grant's side and a few items packed away because they are too small (you know the ones, the "thin clothes" you hope you'll get to fit into sometime).

This is all of Grant's clothes including his uniform - the tops on the bottom right are mine.

Besides our wardrobes we each have underwear, socks and pyjamas in our drawers.

We also wear our clothes more than once unless they 1) are visibly dirty or 2) smell. If the item of clothing passes the look-and-smell test it gets worn again.

So without huge piles of clothes we need to stay on top of our laundry or we run out of things to wear. We generally do a load of laundry every single day. Grant and I probably do equal amounts of laundry.

I have to shout out about my laundry hamper because I LOVE it. It has three compartments - one for whites, one for colours and one for darks / reds. When the clothes approach the top of each compartment it is one full load - no sorting necessary.

When it's time to do laundry we have to take the clothes down two flights of stairs to the washer in the cellar. How I wish I had a pretty laundry room, preferably on the same level as the bedrooms!

As you can see, I didn't have a full load of whites or colours so I mixed the lighter colours with the lights. When I mix loads I put one of these in:

They look like dryer sheets but they go in with your wash and absorb any excess dyes floating around so they don't taint lighter clothes. You can throw one of these in with a load of whites and one red sock and your whites won't turn pink (okay, don't sue me if you try that and it doesn't work!)

On top of the washer is a basket containing the colour catcher sheets, washing tablets and fabric softner (I've just switched to an eco one because have you ever read the ingredients of regular softner? Holy Batman chemicals!)

Another eco / frugal tip: we wash everything on 30°C and with only one tablet instead of two, unless the load contains a particularly soiled item such as pants Noah's had an accident in, or clothes that are muddy from working in the garden. Our clothes and towels come out just fine and clean.

Once the clothes are washed we then carry them up three flights of stairs to hang up on clothes horses to dry, rather than use the tumble dryer.

Once the clothes are dry we take them back down one flight of stairs and fold them and put them away within 24 hours.

My most favourite part is folding the clean washing but for some reason I really dislike putting them away. Luckily Grant doesn't mind this bit so I sometimes leave it for him - but usually I just go ahead and put the clothes away because it won't kill me and I hate to have piles of clothes lying around.

So, my tips would be:

1) Reduce how many clothes you have to wash in the first place.
2) Wear clothes more than once before washing, unless visibly dirty or smelly.
3) Do a load of laundry every single day.

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