L.A.U.N.D.R.Y! (Sing it to the tune of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. — it’s catchy!)
Everyone has it and almost everyone is doing it. It is one of life’s common denominators. But somehow, it seems like there is always more laundry to do.
Each week I enjoy about 6 minutes of accomplishment where there is no laundry to be found. For those brief moments, I know that nothing more needs washing, folding, or putting away. If this sounds like you’re dreaming, that’s ok. Stick with me I’ll show you how creating a simple laundry routine can help you make this a dream come true.
A few years ago our family found ourselves unexpectedly adopting a sibling set of babies. It turned our worlds upside down (for the better) in more ways than we could have imagined, but one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the volume of laundry that was plopped into our lives. Friends and neighbors were extremely generous showing up on our doorstep bringing meals and other baby items. It didn’t take long before our garage was filling up with bags and bags of baby clothes. Clothes that needed sorting, washing, and putting away. Some to be stored for when they were bigger, and some to be used for now. And did I mention they were babies? So we had our fair share of spit-up and diaper mishaps adding to that laundry pile – their clothes and ours!
Plus we still had our original 3 children and all their clothes.
We were on track to become one of those stories on the evening news were a neighbor is found buried under a piles of junk they had hoarded, only ours would be the massive mountains of laundry under which we had suffocated.
And actually, it was suffocating. It felt like the sheer volume had squeezed the oxygen out of the room and I couldn’t breathe. Something had to change. We no longer had any semblence of a regular laundry routine, but using the L.A.U.N.D.R.Y. method I began tackling this problem.
This takes only a few minutes, but walk through your house and look around. I don’t mean glance through the rooms or give them a once over. I mean look at everything. Pretend that you are a potential buyer or a new visitor. What do you see? You might see well-lived in rooms with good organizational “bones” or you might see piles that move around like nomads trying to find a permanent home. When I looked around, I saw laundry piling everywhere.
Assess and Understand
Next you want to assess and understand those spaces. What are they intended to do? What are they actually doing? For example, is your dining room intended to be the place where the family sits down to dinner every night but is actually where everything gets dumped and shoved out of sight? Is your living room intended to be a quiet place to sit and have conversation or read, but it is actually the de facto play room filled with toys? Take the time to assess and understand our space will help with the next step.
This one takes a bit more time and patience, but watch you family and notice their habits and patterns. Do they get ready for bed in the bathroom or the bedroom? Where are they leaving dirty kitchen linens? Where are they getting dressed? When you are noticing their natural patterns you have framework for the next step in creating a laundry routine.
Design your laundry routine, and Do it!
Taking all of the information that you gleaned from Looking around, Assessing and Understanding, and Noticing, you can now work on Designing a laundry routine. Two main factors of this plan will center around gathering the laundry and actually doing the laundry.
Gathering to prepare for your laundry routine
Maybe you are noticing that everyone changes in the bathroom. If so, then that may be the best place for a hamper to live. Or if they are changing in their bedrooms, hampers should live there. A community hamper might be easiest on your patterns and space or individual hampers in different rooms might be part of your laundry solution. Adding a stair basket on the stairs between the main floor and the upstairs bedrooms was part of our solution because we were noticing that most often we were dressing the babies on the main floor. Our hampers are upstairs, so the basket began providing a place for their laundry to go as it was migrating upstairs.
Doing the new laundry routine
Choosing your hamper is important. The hamper you choose will have an impact on your laundry routine. If all clothes are going into a single hamper style (one communal hamper or several singel style hampers in multiple rooms) then sorting the laundry into loads is part of your process. If you use sorting hampers and separating loads is happening as you add items to the hamper, then this step is built in to your process. Because we realized we were washing the babies bedding frequently, we chose to use sorting hampers because it made gathering enough laundry to do a full load of laundry easy. We were’t wasting an opportunity (or water!) by only washing two things.
Noticing how your time flows is also helpful in determining when you should be doing your laundry. Is it better to have a laundry day and do it all at once? Or to do a load a day? If you are doing a laundry day, then sorting the loads from multiple hampers into piles is no issues, but if you are doing a load a day then having them presorted will make that an easier process.
Wondering what works?
Not sure if a sorting hamper would be a good solution? Give it a test run by placing 3 boxes or baskets together and sort for awhile. If you find that this is working well, then go ahead and invest in a sturdy sorting hamper. If you’re not crazy about it, buying a large capacity hamper might be better for you. The important thing is that you are getting the tools that support your laundry routine. (Need ideas? Check out some of my favorites in this post.)
Rework your laundry routine
Once you’ve decided where you are keeping your hamper, which style hampers you are using, and when you are doing your laundry, give it a go. Trying out your laundry routine for a few weeks and taking note of what is working well and what is not is a helpful step. You will find that many of these need a slight Reworking. Nothing significant, but just enough to address these hiccups and keep going. Chances are that making a few minor adjustments are all you need to finish creating a laundry routine that works well for you.
You-tilize your laundry routine
Ok, that was a stretch. But I needed a Y word and had to get creative. 😊
Keep working your new system. The more you use it, the more natural it will feel and before you know it your laundry routine will become a simple anchor that supports the rhythm of life in your home.