A Laundry Experiment: Part 1
During a recent "discussion" about what my son should wear to school, he told me that I didn't do laundry often enough. Before I realized that I felt like a failure as a mother, I kind of lost it! That day, I washed ALL the dirty clothes and had a giant pile of clean laundry waiting for him in the middle of the living room floor when he got home. I had him separate out what was his to demonstrate that he produced a LOT of dirty laundry! I explained that if you don't spill something on them, fall and get mud on your knees, or pee your pants, jeans really don't need washed all that often! I also suggested that a shirt can be reworn if it passes the armpit sniff test! I promised if we had less dirty laundry, I could keep up with it better.
For the next couple of weeks, it was working! Then I began to notice the same exact clothes being worn day after day. One morning at breakfast, I required both boys to change into something they hadn't worn the previous day, and I heard, "But you said to wear clothes more than once!!" I explained that didn't mean they could wear the same things multiple times IN A ROW. My oldest responded, "This is so confusing!!" I get it - laundry is confusing. We needed a new plan. My son and I brainstormed together to come up with some new ideas and he said, "Hey mom, you could write about this on your blog!" So here we are!
My little analytical mind started thinking through how we could start a laundry revolution, and of course, I turned to a spreadsheet and chart.... It takes about 30 minutes to wash and 60 minutes to dry in my machine, plus there's folding and putting away time, which I'll estimate at 15 minutes/load. If I did 6 loads sequentially, the least amount of time it would take me is just under 7 hours. In real life, I'm not usually standing there waiting for the washer or dryer to finish, so I need a better plan, so I don't have laundry couch all week and am not stuck at home all weekend.
We have hampers everywhere - one in each bathroom, each kid's bedroom, and one in the laundry room. On laundry day I have three other pop-up sorters. I'm not a crazy sorter, I just do lights, darks, and stuff that needs hot water (sheets, towels and stinky stuff). Mine and my son's idea was rather than keep dirty clothes in the hampers and dump it into a giant pile to sort once a week that instead we leave the laundry sorters out in the laundry room all week and sort as we go.
Lastly, I have made a pact with myself to continue doing what I started this weekend. I will not take clean laundry out of the laundry room unless it's folded or on hangers. My ultimate goal is as soon as I take laundry out of the dryer, to fold it or hang up on my over-the-door hook immediately. But even if it's not immediate, I vow not to empty another load from the dryer until the previous one has been put away. No more laundry couch for me!
I'm going to give this experiment about a month and then will give you an honest report of how it went. Laundry has been my nemesis for years, and I'm determined to beat it! Some of you may suggest having kids do their own laundry, but I've been hesitant to do this because I don't want to waste water with small loads of individuals' clothes that could be combined. I do get my kids involved by switching from washer to dryer and starting new loads in the washer. I'd love to hear any other ideas you have for keeping laundry under control so please leave a comment below.
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