I Tamed the Laundry Monster
Before I developed a system for doing laundry, it overwhelmed me. Every Saturday morning I would do endless loads of laundry. As each load came out of the dryer, I'd pile it on top of the guest room bed. The mountain of clothes intimidated me, so I'd just close the bedroom door and leave it for later. Throughout the week, we'd go into the guest room when we needed something to wear, digging through the gigantic pile of wadded up wrinkled clothes. Thursday or Friday, I might finally get around to putting it away, and then, BAM! It was Saturday morning and time to do it all over again. It became a vicious cycle I grew to hate.
At first, I tried to think of ways to reduce the amount of laundry generated by my family. I tried wearing jeans a few times before washing them. I tried using my bathroom towel a little longer than usual. These efforts were unproductive because I was the only one doing them. My kids wore two or three outfits on a good day, not to mention bibs, burp rags, and pajamas. My husband wore dress clothes to work and routinely changed into a more comfortable outfit when he came home. I realized the amount of laundry was not going to change enough to suppress my laundry woes.
At that point, I realized I had to make a change in the way I tackled the laundry monster. One of the roadblocks I faced was our restrictive electric plan. To save money, we were on an electric plan that offered drastically cheaper rates before 9:00 am, after 9:00 pm, and all weekend. Hence, I did laundry on the weekends. I wanted that to end. I wanted the weekend to be my fun time, not my chore time. That meant I had to do laundry during the week.
I made a commitment to do a load of laundry first thing every morning. That meant washing, drying, folding, and putting the clothes away. The first step I took was to find out exactly how much time I needed to run a load from start to finish. 90 minutes was the magic number. So, that meant I needed to get the clothes in the washer by 7:30 am.
This plan worked out great, and I am still doing it today. When I wake up each morning, I make the bed, then grab a hamper that's full and toss it in the washer. While I'm getting myself ready to face the day, the clothes are being washed. I make sure to use the buzzer on the washing machine, otherwise I may forget to switch the load to the dryer. When the dryer is done, I take the clothes out as quickly as possible and put them away first thing. I no longer use the dryer or the guest bed as clean clothes hampers. This has greatly cut down on the ironing burden we once had.
I have found that if I keep up with the laundry, there are some days when I don't have to do a load at all. Doing a load start to finish has really been the key for me. I was amazed the first time I put away one load of laundry and it only took about five minutes! I used to spend an hour or more putting laundry away. The time saved is a great incentive to keep doing laundry this way. There are times when my husband scratches his head after seeing the same shirt he wore yesterday hanging in the closet, cleaned and ready to be worn again. "Didn't I just wear that?" Our laundry makeover has made us feel like we have a much larger wardrobe to choose from because everything is always clean. We always have something to wear! It took some time to get used to a new routine, but I will never return to my old laundry ways. The time and happiness I have gained are priceless!