----------------------------------------------------------------------------I've been wanting to address two things that have helped me immensely in just getting the laundry done already.
First of all, if you're like my Dad, and you're very particular about your laundry, read no further, the way I do things is probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you're like me and you just want to get it done, then let us continue...
I know, I know, I make jokes about laundry all the time. The truth is...shhh...I actually really love doing the laundry. It's actually just about my favorite thing to do around here, as far as jobs go. It's extremely satisfying. It has a beginning and and an end. The clothes go in dirty, come out clean. They get sorted, stacked, folded, and they smell good. Well, as long as the diaper trash has been taken out...but I digress.
Don't worry, my counters aren't usually this clean. And the sink, well, it's usually full of stuff that is on its way to the Goodwill. Despite my ocd tendencies, I am barely out of my first trimester and have six kids, people, and I'd much rather take a bath with a good book than make sure the clothes are folded exactly 12 inches across :)
Before the shelves, I was pretty good about getting the laundry done, but all the clean, folded clothes went into laundry baskets, and everyone was forever digging clothes out of the bottom and making a mess. Now, everyone has their space on a shelf, along with a container for holding clean underwear and socks. I'm kind of simplistic in this area, but I don't think my kids need more clothes than can fit in their area at once. Having everything here all together is probably what made it possible for Anna to handle the laundry on her own when she was 10 and I was on bedrest with Grace.
And it's not only the kids' clothes that stay in here. The bulk of mine and Glen's do as well. We have our nicer clothes hanging up in our closet and out of season stuff, but the majority of our daily clothes stays in the laundry room.
Like I said, if you're really particular about laundry, none of this is going to work for you, it may even make you faint, or at the very least cringe and mark me off your "Wow, she's really cool!" list, but that's okay. It's what-works-for-me. If it helps you out, great, that's the point, but if not, that's okay, too. At least now you know I'm not perfect (as if there was any doubt.)
You can't really tell from the photos, but I basically have enough room to stand between the shelves and the washer/dryer. It's a pretty narrow room. And the brown basket up high...that's where I throw all the kids' stuff I'm getting rid of that I don't want them see....shhhh.On the bottom shelf, the two blue things are where we throw the dirty clothes. We don't sort, we just toss. If I've let the laundry pile up, then I will sort when I wash, but otherwise I just throw everything in together (unless it's new and full of dye) but typically, I only have one, maybe two, loads waiting to be washed. Sometimes I will gather up all the towels at once, but often we'll have the miscellaneous towel tossed in with the clothes. The laundry basket in the middle of the blue containers is where the clean clothes get tossed when they come out of the dryer. I toss the clean clothes in there, put the clothes from the washer into the dryer, start the next load in the washer, and the I fold the clothes. This is another key for me. I fold the clothes then. If I don't have time to fold, I just don't do the laundry.
Which brings me to my second "what works for me." ~I only do towels or sheets when dirty. I pretty much loathe going upstairs so since re-making the beds involves going upstairs it pretty much doesn't happen until either the guilt peaks or a tummy bug goes through. I know, I know. I'm terrible.
I'm also blessed that my husband's clothes are very low maintenance. His entire wardrobe (seriously) consists of polos, jeans, and two pairs of khakis. Being a contractor allows him to pull off the "let's pretend my shirt was totally wrinkle-free earlier but before I came to your house, I was crawling around someone else's crawl space" look. Unless he has an early morning meeting, and then he just digs around to find the most non-wrinkled shirt. (I'm just airing all my dirty laundry here...ha ha...couldn't resist.) What I'm trying to say is that I just wash, dry and fold. No ironing. This wife didn't come with ironing included.
I average needing to do about two loads per day. If I'm really good about it, I can occasionally get by with one. I have a gigantic washer and dryer. My main problem is that the baby's bed is on the other side of the wall from the washer and dryer, and seeing as how naps are the number one priority around here (you think I'm kidding, I'm not,) that causes me to have to arrange laundry around his/her schedule. This means that first thing in the morning and after dinner are my best times to do laundry. The after dinner part is no problem. I love
So, what to do...
I figured out a little trick that while amazingly simple, has kept the laundry flowing like never before. One of the last things I do at night is fold the clothes out of the dryer. That means that when I get up, all I have to do is throw the clean, wet clothes into the dryer, and start another load in the washer. Simple, I know. But it's what works for me. And since I started doing this, I've not been behind on the laundry once. Try it, you might just find that it works for you too.
(HC, I promise I'm getting to your question. It's somewhat more thought provoking than laundry, so I've kind of been procrastinating, but I promise I'm getting to it!)
And now, if anyone has a "what works for me" when it comes to getting kids to actually put the clothes in the hampers and learning the difference between still clean vs. dirty, I am all ears.