Today I want to talk about the never ending task of laundry.
A few years ago I was reading the Little House on the Prairie series out loud to my kids, and I was so impressed by how organized Ma was. She had a day for laundry, a day for baking, a day for ironing, a day for cleaning. Each day had its work, and each work had its day.
Of course, in those days laundry would take all day, and hence the emphasis on it.
I tried that for a while, and it simply didn't work in a modern context. First, I hated to see laundry build up over the week, but more importantly, I hated to do all that folding at one time, and I found that it just sat on my bedroom floor.
I've had other laundry mentors, too. My aunt used to do laundry every day, but she never ever folded it. All laundry would be placed on the guest bedroom, and if you needed something, you went and fetched it. Again, not my cup of tea. What if you actually had a guest? And then nothing stayed wrinkle free.
So I came up with my own laundry method. Every morning I put a load on, right after I get out of the shower and get dressed (I want to make sure I get most of the hot water for my shower!). Without fail, a load of laundry gets done every day. And then--I know this sounds radical--I fold it immediately. When it's done, I carry it downstairs where I'm homeschooling, and I fold it there. It's not hard to fold one load of laundry. It is a pain to fold four.
Once the laundry is folded, I put it in piles by person on the stairs, and each person puts their own pile away.
Socks are a different story. If I can't find an immediate match, they go in a box. Then, once a week, one of the girls has the delightful chore of going through the sock box and trying to make matches. They started when they were four. It was a fun task in mathematics and colour recognition. So they can certainly do it when they're 14 and 11.
For years I tried not to iron, but I've just realized that I like things ironed. So ironing is the one thing that does have its own day. Every Tuesday I iron (and every Wednesday I change the sheets, and every Thursday I mop, etc.). It's not fun, but it gets done. And my 11-year-old absolutely LOVES ironing napkins. So she gets all of those.
My daughters each also have their own day to do laundry and fold it, as part of their chores. So two days a week I do not have to do laundry. It's bliss.
Now for some more nitty gritty about laundry. I wash almost all my shirts, including good T-shirts, on delicate. It keeps them for longer, and they don't pill as quickly. If they're heavily stained, obviously, they go into regular wash. But most tops aren't stained; we just want them freshened up. So delicate is the way to go!
And never, ever put bras in the dryer. It wrecks the elastic and the clasps. If you want them to last long, dry them by hanging them in the bathroom or laundry room. Sure the males in your household may be grossed out. But bras are expensive, and we want them to last!
One more thing, and this is more radical. I don't use fabric softener. We have one of those dryer balls that softens clothes as they get tossed around, and I figure that's good enough. Fabric softener costs a lot, and we have such sensitive skin that it can give me a rash. In the summer I use it if I'm going to hang the clothes on the line, but in general, no fabric softener.
So what about you? Any laundry tips?
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Labels: chores, laundry, Works for Me Wednesdays