I am so thrilled to publish a guest post from Nony who blogs at A Slob Comes Clean. This is a great example of washing all laundry on one day, as opposed to washing a load each day. I had the pleasure of meeting Nony at the Savvy Blogging Summit and she is as genuine on her blog as she is in real life. I totally wish she lived next door.
Not the best of friends.
I have struggled with laundry forever. For years, I tried every method I heard of to get my laundry problem under control. I can say that for now, in my current stage of life . . . . I’ve found a method that works for me.
Focus is one of my big problems. Since there are a million (often worthwhile) things that I’d rather do than clean house, housekeeping issues only come to my mind when they are a total necessity. And although a bathtub or closet can go a VERY long time before my slob-brain deems it a total necessity, laundry doesn’t work that way since my husband refuses to go commando.
So when the necessity arose, he or I would do what was absolutely needed. Undies, socks, kids’ school uniforms, etc. were given top priority and everything else was given “if I can” status.
I rarely “could.”
And even when I felt inspired to do several loads of laundry, I was never caught up. I did try the one-load-a-day method, but even though I made it the focus of my non-negotiable tasks for weeks on end, I would still forget (either entirely or one step here-and-there) and get behind, never to catch up.
A while back, I decided to do a Laundry Day. Years ago, I did this, and I look back at it as the only time in my life when I had laundry under control.
Here’s what Laundry Day looks like:
On Sunday night, I go through the house and collect dirty clothes. Then my little not-a-real-hallway in front of the laundry room becomes my dumping/sorting ground. For the last several weeks, I’ve counted my loads, and there have been 6 to 7. The first week I did this, there were more loads, but that was much more than one week’s worth of laundry. I now feel like I actually know how much laundry we create in one week as a family of 5.
Yes, I’m literally posting a picture of our dirty laundry for all the world to see. For some reason, the piles don’t look as big from above (standing-on-a-chair-above), but they are full loads of laundry.
Sunday night, as soon as I have sorted, I start one load of something that takes longer to dry. Towels are good because the laundry room is right next to our bedroom and jeans have snaps and rocks-in-the-pockets which can be quite noisy. I put this load in the dryer before we go to bed, and load the washer to be started in the morning.
Here is how today went:
6 a.m. – Got up, started the washer and turned on the dryer for a bit longer.
6:30 a.m. – Took the towels out of the dryer and dumped them on the loveseat. Transferred washed load to dryer and started another load in the washer.
6:45 a.m. – Kids got up and had breakfast.
7:20 a.m. – Took boys to school.
7:45 a.m. – Returned home and worked on my Bible Study while my daughter played with friends whose mom had just dropped them off at our house.
8:20 a.m. – Dryer buzzer went off and I switched over the load. Dumped dry clothes on my (made) bed, laying school pants/shirts flat to reduce wrinkles.
8:30 a.m. – Made multiple scheduling phone-calls. Began pulling years’ worth of “stuff” out from under my bed, pausing often to dress Polly Pocket.
9:30 a.m. – Dryer buzzer went off and changed over a load of laundry. Dumped dry clothes on my bed.
9:40 a.m. – Cut up fruit for snack-time and went back to playing the part of archaeologist as I cleaned underneath my bed.
11:00 a.m. – Made lunch.
11:30 a.m. – Dryer buzzer went off and changed over another load. Dumped clothes on bed.
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Folded towels that were on the loveseat.
12:00 p.m. – Turned on computer and started writing (and playing).
1:05 p.m. – Dryer buzzer went off and changed over load, dumping dry clothes on bed. The load that I put in at this point is my next to last one. The jeans are in the dryer and since they’ll take longer to dry, I’ll actually wash two small loads while they’re drying, and then dry those together. One load contains a king size sheet and a pillow I found under my bed. The other is made up of three dark towels that I didn’t want to wash with anything else.
So, by the time I return from picking up the boys at 3:15, I should be ready to put my last load in the dryer. Then, at that point, I’ll work on folding and putting away. And since the folded clothes are on my bed, where I’ll want to SLEEP tonight, I’ll get them put away before bedtime.
The main things I like about this system is that I don’t have to prioritize. There were items in my laundry room that had been waiting ages to be washed. They would have been used if they were clean, but I didn’t HAVE to have them, so they always moved down on the list, below necessities. This is embarrassing, but usually when I finally got to an item like that, it was too small. Total waste of space and money . . . . and energy.
I also can see easily which clothes are actually needed. By Sunday, I know that anything that is still clean in the drawers is not truly necessary. That doesn’t mean I’ve pitched all but 7 days worth of clothing, but it has made it easier to purge.
I also found it very interesting to see the variety in drying times of my loads today. Several weeks ago when I mentioned that my towels and jeans often took extra time to dry, a couple of you suggested that I should check my dryer to be sure there wasn’t lint build-up in places other than the normal lint-screen. I thought it was a great idea . . . and have been meaning to . . . but . . . well . . . I haven’t.
My dryer has “Sensor Drying” which I didn’t realize could make such a huge difference in drying times. One load above took two hours, while my small socks and undies load took less than an hour. That’s a big difference. Now I’m motivated to check the dryer, and besides, if I pull it out and mess something up, I don’t need to do laundry for another week anyway, so hubby could work on it next weekend! Even the fact that I CAN pull the dryer out is exciting! Now that I have laundry under control, I can see the (ugly) floor of my laundry room!
Also, I do want to point out that if you have a septic system, this might not work for you. I was discussing laundry with a friend recently (not a conversation my 20 year old self ever imagined I would have) and she said that she used to do all of her laundry in one day. However, when they built a house in the country, she had to stop. 7 loads in one day overloaded their septic system to the point that it actually set the alarm off. Once her husband explained how serious that was, she gave up her system and started doing 4 loads on one day and 3 the next.
And for the weeks when I haven’t been home on Mondays, here’s an example of how I’ve still managed to make it Laundry Day.
Nony blogs at A Slob Comes Clean. She loves being a wife and mom, and has chosen to make her family her life’s work, but when it comes to keeping her house under control, she struggles . . . big time. Her blog is her journey to an orderly home. It’s where she attempts to figure out why she is this way, and what she can do to change.
Mama here: I’m pleased to link this post to WFMW over at We are THAT Family. Having a laundry routine where the laundry actually gets washed definitely works for me.
Having a laundry day (or two!) each week is definitely the way to go! I like to fold and put away each load as it comes out of the dryer rather than to wait until it’s all done. That way I can conquer it all throughout the day, a few minutes at a time. I recently wrote about my laundry routine in this blog post: http://angela.eternaloutlook.com/2010/10/laundry-problems.html.
Thanks for posting your minute-by-minute schedule. Maybe it will help someone else save some time.
I’m going to SYE (Share Your Experience) here. I started cutting down on the amount of soap (liquid) I put in over a year ago and we have seen no difference (except in saving money on detergent!) in the cleanliness or smell of our clothes. I always pre-treat if there is a stain, but rarely have to wash an item twice. I use ALL brand detergent in both the super-concentrated and regular bottles and have cut back on both with no ill effects. I also rip my dryer sheets in half (or thirds if it’s a small load) to make those last longer – no static here! 🙂 All that said, I would agree that it depends on what brand of soap you are using – cheaper brands just don’t get clothes as clean (in my experience) if you cut down on the amount.
Hey Carrie! Thanks for SYE! I always love to hear how other people do things…
I’m not sure what’s up with my commenting system this week. I’ll look into it today. Thanks for letting me know!
Hey, I don’t know why, but when I try to post a comment on a certain blog post (the above comment with the SYE was supposed to be on the Jan. 7th guest post by Carrie), it shows up on a different post. Something a bit wacky that just started a few days ago (for me anyway). I have no idea where this one will show up, but we’ll see! 🙂 Just an FYI.
The only time I was ever caught up on laundry was when our washer was broken and I took TWENTY loads to the laundromat (I got way behind waiting for hubby to fix the machine). It was an all day affair but man was it satisfying when it was done. And it motivated hubby to finish the repair, too.
20?! Wow! But oh the joy when a task that big is completed! 😉
Thanks for visiting Mama’s…