Laundry is the one constant (non-living, of course) in my life that , if ignored, will create the greatest ripple effect. As a result of ignoring the laundry, the kids will not have clean underwear, I won’t have any workout clothes and the ole’ man won’t have any clean hankies (has to have one in his back pocket everyday or else…) just to name a few backlashes. So I like to stay on top of it by doing at least one load everyday. As a result of organizing for Ducks In A Row, I have seen a lot of laundry rooms lately and been asked to either create a better system or turn the other way.
The laundry room is a sacred place, which you are either very proud of or extremely ashamed of. Your laundry tells the back story of your family. If you were to walk into my laundry room without having ever met our family you could learn a lot about us. You would know that we have a little one who is potty training made obvious by the number of underoos lying around, someone taking swim lessons made evident by hanging bathing suits, a Lululemon obssessed workout fanatic (or someone posing as a workout fanatic…not telling you which), and someone with blatant disregard for the person doing the laundry made abundantly clear by the 5 dirty outfits from just one day (yes, you husband!!!). Why do men create so much laundry? Grrrr….that is for another day.
If you were to ask my daughter to name one thing mommy is good at she would undoubtedly say LAUNDRY! Seriously. Yes, I have my MBA and all, but I am really quite good at laundry. And I am oddly proud of this. And, no, ironing is not included in this definition of laundry. That, I do not do.
Whether you are completely out of control or just need a few helpful hints, here are a few tidbits that I either recommend for clients or use personally to make the laundry battle a little easier. And, again, I will not ask my husband for help in this area of household chores for so many obvious reasons. But I do give his mom credit because she did, at least, teach him how to do it, you know, in the event that I get run over by a truck or something.
1) DETERGENT– I just recently switched to Tide Pods and I am never going back to liquid detergent! These things are amazing. They are as effective at cleaning grimy clothes as any liquid or powder I have ever used. But the best part is there is NO MESS. I loath the blue residue that liquid detergents leave on your counter, floor and down the side of the machine. No more, my friends, no more. Trust me on this one. And they offer refill bags to help save the universe and money.
2) STAIN REMOVER– Nothing beats Oxi Clean Spray. NOTHING. I have tried others…Zout, Clorox, etc…Nothing stacks up. Don’t even try to challenge me on this, but if you do please leave your comments below 🙂
3) BLEACH– You must bleach whites separately or else they start to get yellowish. Please don’t get lazy in this department. It means the difference between pit stains and bright whites. Take the extra measure of placing 2 dirty clothes baskets in your laundry room and put your whites in one and colored clothes in the other. And definitely keep a bleach pen handy. I use this to spot treat all of the kids’ messy stained shirts. Thanks, school, for the awesome new tie die shirt that you inadvertently encouraged my child to make today with your should-be-illegal-not-washable markers!
4) INTIMATES & WORKOUT CLOTHES– Line dry!! They will last much longer and reduce pilling. And I don’t care what the cleaning instructions say, if you paid an amount for an item greater than what it costs to fill your gas tank then please line dry! You worked too hard for it. This goes for jeans, too. It’s crucial to line dry your jeans so they have that crisp, form fitting feel that lasts for at least 2 wears.
5) ORGANIZE– Minimize the floor covering of clothes with a dryer rack for all line dry items. And I recommend that you have 3 baskets available: one for colored items, one for whites and one for the clothes that come out of the dryer. And if your laundry space happens to be tiny like mine and lacking in cabinet space then cull all of your cleaning supplies in a cute basket. It helps hide the hideous collections of cleaners.
6) STEAMER– And because I do not under any circumstance iron, I have a steamer for those quick easy fixes. All of my blouses can easily be steamed and so can my husband’s suit pants. Let’s face it, I am not dry cleaning his suits after every wear so steaming helps remove those creases caused by sitting at a desk all day. And we all know that the biggest culprit of a laundry backlog is the “to iron” pile. It seems to never disappear, but with a steamer you can quickly remove wrinkles and be on your way.
7) FOLDING & PUTTING AWAY– This is the crux of all laundry issues. I know that so many of you readers have been totally fine up until this suggestion, but for some reason, much like unloading the dishwasher, this is the most daunting task of all. By the time clothes come out of the dryer it’s like, “enough already!!”. Letting the clothes pile up is like grocery shopping only to come home and leave everything out on the counter to rot. Unacceptable. I get the kids involved in this process. My daughter loves to be mommy’s little helper. So what if she doesn’t create a fold in my jeans. She is still helping. I might even slip her a dollar or two for her trouble. Of course, this dollar was probably found in what I call “laundry money”. You know, the money that comes out of your husband’s pockets. I say, fair game.
So, tomorrow when you start your 3rd load of laundry for the week, remind yourself of these tips and put some of the missing items (like a dryer rack) on your to-list for the weekend. And then when Monday rolls around you will be ahead of the laundry game!