Laundry. The bane of every mother’s existence. Never ending-- ever. EVER! I’ve swam through so many piles of laundry at this point that I am pretty much the Michael Phelps of laundry swimming. And I’m thinking-- where is my medal? We should totally be giving out medals to women who actually manage to stay on top of their laundry. It seems like the impossible dream to me. A couple years ago it was getting so out of hand I decided I had to change something or I was going to go INSANE! So I did, and it made all the difference in the world. Let me explain.
Laundry Problem #1: So, my children like yours I’m sure, would look for an outfit in their dresser every day by pulling half the clothes out and throwing them on the floor until they found the ones that met their little heart’s desire. Then they would neatly fold the clothes on the floor and put them back in the… Of course they wouldn’t do that! Whose kid does that?! I submit that no one’s does. They leave them right where they fall and then you come in and sweetly ask them to clean their room… 8 times. And by the 8th time it is not so sweetly. Ok, maybe by the 3rd time is not so sweetly. And you all know what happens next. When they actually do start to clean their room, all those freshly clean, folded clothes that you placed with love ever so gently in their drawer the day before (which have now been reduced to a pile of rubble below their dresser from their earlier dressing session) are now deposited by your less than helpful children into their laundry basket because we all know the easiest way to clean your room is to throw everything in the laundry basket. Clean clothes, shoes, books, toys, crayons, gum, sharpies, diapers, half eaten sandwiches. Whatever. It’s all fair game. And all of those are things I have found were in my children’s laundry basket, but only after the laundry had made it to the dryer- the point of no return. Here is what I found in their laundry basket just today actually.
Maybe I shouldn’t just dump it all in the washer as fast as I can- but then I might lose my status as the Michael Phelps of laundry swimming, and that would be a real hit to my pride, so I just keep plowing through-- but I digress…
I figure I was doing at least two extra loads of laundry a week just in rewashing clean clothes- not only was it extra work- but it was AGGRAVATING work! I would mutter under my breath as I loaded in clothes I recognized from the day before. And no one wants to be that crazy lady always muttering under her breath. Am I right? Now onto…
Laundry Problem #2: Putting away laundry. I can load and fold laundry till the cows come home with no problem at all, but for some reason asking me to put them away feels like asking me to give myself a root canal-- I just have no interest in doing it! It takes enormous amounts of self-motivation to get that basket of clean clothes down to my kid’s bedrooms and into my kid’s drawers. And have I mentioned my laundry room is up a very steep flight of stairs and all of my children’s rooms are downstairs, and I have 5 children which means I have been pregnant a lot, and when I am, laundry and those stairs combine to become my worst enemy? I will do pretty much anything I can to not have to go up or down those stairs with a laundry basket full of clothes.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. What few people know, however, is that desperation is its father. I desperately wanted to stop washing extra loads of clean laundry, and I desperately wanted to find and easier way to get the clothes put away that didn’t involve several trips up and down my steep stairway of death. And, happily, I found a very simple answer to solve both of my laundering problems…
A mother of 9 had once told me the only way she can handle the laundry she faces each week was to keep all the clothes in the laundry room. It wasn’t until I reached this point of desperation that her words came back to me and rang true. This was the answer. Get the dressers out of their rooms! So, I did. Luckily they were old ones I wanted to get rid of any way- but if you have nice ones you could sell them or gift them to some poor fool who hasn’t figured this trick out yet. 😉 Then I purchased a 3-drawer plastic bin for each of my children who were old enough to pull their clothes out of their drawers and placed them in my laundry room. And that, my friends, is when my world changed.
Now I was close enough to put the clothes in the drawers as I folded them, and if they pull out half the drawer to find an outfit- well those clean clothes are on the floor of my laundry room- not in their room and they, therefore, do not end up in a dirty laundry basket when I ask them to clean their room. If I find their clean clothes on the floor, I have the option of shoving them right back in or making them come up and do it. But I never re-wash clean clothes anymore and that is a beautiful thing.
In addition, instead of me traipsing up and down the stairs with overflowing laundry baskets of clean clothes- it is their young legs that get to come upstairs to find an outfit to wear. If their legs are too young to get them up and down those stairs, I keep the clothes in their room, where they are conveniently located for me to dress their cute little bodies every morning and night. I keep a dirty laundry basket on top of the bins in my laundry room in which they can deposit their soiled clothing at the end of the day, saving me some trips up the stairs with dirty laundry baskets.
I do have to carry up the dirty laundry baskets in their room and bathroom- which inexplicably are generally are empty, yet strangely surrounded by dirty clothes. They couldn’t possibly be just ignoring my conveniently located laundry baskets. Maybe they just have bad aim…
As far as dress clothes go, right now, I still hang their dresses and school uniforms in their closet, but if I can find a way to hang a rod in my laundry room so I can hang them all in there- I will, and then I will be living in a laundry utopia where clothes can be hung up straight out of the dryer never to be wrinkled or defiled-- because if there is anything I hate more than putting away laundry, it is ironing.
Update: After reading my post, my husband helped me kick things up a notch. Here is my new set-up. Yay for no ironing!
Now -- this is obviously the cheapest way to go about this. You can fancy it up any way you wish. I’m just cheap and practical. And if your laundry room is too small to accommodate this method- consider skinny, but tall plastic dressers, or using a room nearby your laundry room… Or moving to a house with a bigger laundry room because it just might be worth it. Just kidding. Kind of.
If you would like to see me dancing amid my laundry, checkout my Mommy Version of Shake it Off below: