I know a lot of families struggle with how to get the mountains of laundry done in their house. We’ve done many different things through the years. Some have worked for a season, and some have been utter failures. Below are some of the things we have done.
The Laundry Room: As a Realtor® I get to see a lot of laundry rooms. Unfortunately most of them are afterthoughts added on to the back of the house. I certainly don’t understand this at all considering that the average family (not my family) does at least 4 loads a week. Shouldn’t that give it more credence than being relegated to the walk way between the garage and the house? And why are they often tucked as far away from the bedrooms as possible? I know in the midwest, many laundry facilities ended up in the basement. I remember when I was little my grandma had a wringer machine in the basement. Oh my! We sure have it easy now with our computerized talking machines. (I don’t have one – but I’ve seen them)
I’ve had laundry rooms every where from the basement, garage, garage pass thru, large mud room, to a room off the kitchen. I’ve never had one like I really wanted which would have been upstairs in a room large enough for dressers and hanging bars. If I could design my own house, I would have had two laundry rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. They would have had all their dressers and hanging places in that room. Basically they would have been all purpose laundry and dressing rooms. Ahhh one can dream. So, we make do.
You can all hate me now, but my kids do all their own laundry now. That’s what you have to look forward to when you train them how to do it when they are younger. Even toddlers can fold washclothes. Encourage them to help. When my kids were younger they had one laundry basket in their rooms. When the basket got full (or on a certain day if I was in the season of organized) they would take it to the laundry room and sort it into the bins. I had four LARGE rubber maid type bins – with lids removed. They learned to sort as soon as they could walk. Whites, Darks, Mediums, and towels/sheets. One child was the designated laundry person. I had a laminated sheet of how to wash what kind of clothes. This hung on the wall beside the washer. Each bin was coded so the kids could easily see what went into that bin. The designated laundry person would do two loads every single day. If the bin was full, that was two loads. The child would wash, dry and fold the clothes. Each child would then be responsible for putting away their own clothes after each load. This worked very well for years. The kids would rotate and everyone learned how to do laundry. It was never “done” but it was always being done.
Now that all the children can do laundry, they have cloth laundry bags in their rooms.
These stand up but are made of cloth. They have handles and collapse when not needed (like that would ever happen). Each room does their own laundry. For the most part we don’t have fights for the washer. Saturday night is often the busy night for the washer. David likes to put his clothes in at 3:00 in the morning though. Since the washer is directly beneath my room, that’s a bit obnoxious to hear when I’m trying to go to sleep. One child is still assigned to laundry, but they mostly do towels and keep the laundry room clean. It’s a pretty easy job now. It usually follows having been on kitchen duty.
I have a Neptune front loader that I got when Bryan was born. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% satisfied with it, but it works perfectly well. There have been a few times it’s needed repairs, but they weren’t horribly expensive. My dryer is just a high capacity dryer from Sears. They don’t match. And I don’t really care. I’m kind of brand loyal when it comes to laundry. I love Tide and have used it for years. I try other cheaper products, but – well, I just like Tide. I don’t use a fabric softener, but I do use Bounce sheets for some of the clothes.
To make laundry not all-consuming
- Have your kids do most of it
- Do a little every day – marathon laundry days are no fun
- Put it away! – As soon as it’s folded – take the final step and put it away. (I know what to do – I don’t always do what I know what to do) Funny how this step trips up most people. We end up with piles on the couch, on our beds, on the kitchen table, or on the floor. Then we just work around the piles. It really only takes a few minutes more to put it all away. – I say this, and right now (I could show you a picture) I have three laundry baskets with clothes in them in my bedroom. I look at it all the time and think, I should put those away. And they still sit. In my defense – my closet rod broke. (that’s all I’m going to say) I’m pretty sure, I’ll get those clothes put away as soon as I post this. There’s nothing like guilting yourself into action by typing up a post on how to get something done. 🙂
I would love to hear what you do for laundry and what kind of a laundry room you have.
Update: I found this great post on building your own laundry storage solution. Definitely check it out! http://ana-white.com/2010/11/laundry-basket-dresser.html