Laundry is truly never ending. I think I am finally accepting that it is never, completely done. Instead of fighting it, I am learning how to manage it. After our break of routine during spring break, I am getting back to it. I am sharing today our system that has been working for several months now, products we use and why it works for us. And also how the kids help out.
Anyone else ever feel swallowed up by their laundry? My laundry system has changed so many times I can barely count, one of them you can read about here. Before, I felt like I was only being successful with laundry if it was all washed, folded and put away every single day. ALL of it. That is simply not practical. Not for us. That also does not mean there are constantly piles everywhere. We do live here, but the goal is to keep it manageable.
After trial and error, sorting the laundry daily and washing like items together was the least stressful for me. When clothes are taken to the laundry room in the basement, they need to get sorted right away.
I have three small baskets for clothes we wear (pictured below left to right), whites/light, mixed (items that shouldn’t bleed, but I don’t want to risk washing with light clothes) and dark - that load had just gone into the washer.
Another basket holds towels, socks, underwear, etc.
A tall basket is for blankets and bedding.
I also try to keep an empty basket in front of the dryer for clean clothes. And cannot imagine this room without the hanging rod. I hang a ton of items, but that’s more of a personal problem. ;)
Upstairs I have two baskets, one in our bathroom and the other in a little nook between the kitchen and kids’ bathroom. The bathroom is too small to keep a laundry basket in and this little nook is just the right size that it’s not really in the way.
This is the key, in my opinion. Clothes from both baskets are taken downstairs every day and sorted. This is usually done by the kids. More on that later.
This helps keep the baskets empty and all dirty clothes in one area....the laundry room.
At the end end of the day, usually after bedtime, I can start a load of laundry. I choose whichever basket needs to be done. I then switch them to the dryer in the morning. Typically, I’ll start another load then or sometime that day. The goal is to have a load ready to either fold and put away the next morning or if I fold at night, the kids put away first thing the next morning (in theory).
One other important idea is to keep the loads small. I have found when there are smaller loads, the kids do not get overwhelmed. I am the same way really. But if there is less complaining from them, even better.
Here is a snapshot of the items I use to do laundry. All Free and Clear is the detergent we have been using for probably ten years now. It was one of the first things we changed when we started eliminating toxins from our house.
We have always used mostly fragrance free items because my husband has sensitive skin, but we did not pay much attention to anything else. The full journey of how we came to eliminate toxins can be found in My Pregnancy Story. It was overwhelming in the beginning. But the most important thing to remember is to take it one thing at a time. When we ran out of something, that’s when we made a change. Simple things and baby steps keep it from being overwhelming.
Below is a screenshot of the All Free and Clear detergent from the ThinkDirty app. It tells you the ratings of toxicity. There are plenty of other toxin free detergent options, this is simply what we choose to use and we can get a decent deal at Sam’s for it.
Vinegar is used in the towels, sheets, blankets load almost every time as a fabric softener. I put it in the basket with the clothes and in the softener dispenser. We have really hard water and it seems to help with deodorizing if I cannot get the clothes to the dryer right away. On the other hand, there are times the washer has to go through another cycle or two because it might have been forgotten. Oops. Vinegar is a lifesaver on those cases. But, those instances are becoming fewer.
The other item you see above is the color catcher. These are sheets that go in the washer. They really do work, or I wouldn’t use them. I use them in the dark and mixed loads, and sometimes bedding. Part of me wants to be oblivious about what is in them because they work so well - and this is real life, not perfection. BUT, I am researching them now.
A quick search found these two recipes here and here, very similar, for homemade color catchers. They look simple enough and might be something I look into in the near future.
I felt compelled to add this part in here because it is an important part of our household. We pay the kids for doing jobs around the house. It's not a perfect system, but we are improving. They do get paid for helping with laundry, but some of what they do is just for being a part of our family.
There are five of us and we have to work together. It is important that they learn to put away their clothes rather than throwing them here and there. Learning to sort the clothes is a skill they can continually improve as they get older and understand more. But for now, they have the exposure.
Our kids have always folded clothes at young ages and helped to put them away. Now even the three year old can fold and put away. Her attention span is much shorter, but she is exposed and knows how to do it.
Our church book club read “Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement” by Kay Wyma. Check out a preview below. It was such a good book and had several great points to think about. I definitely need to reread it. Even when we don’t realize it, entitlement creeps in. Laundry is just one small way to help reign it back.
Please check back often as I am adding or modifying pages as time permits.
Scripture/Quote of the Week:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
Who Am I?
Hi! I am Pam. I am so glad you stopped by to take a look at my blog. I am a Christian, wife, stay at home PCOS mom and homeschool mom to three amazing kiddos and I'm all about all natural living and eating....realistically.
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There are several pages with information on what works for our family, references and my passions. Hop over to the About section for more details on my story and I hope you will follow me in this journey! I'm always open to comments!