Friday, April 1, 2011

Five steps to easier laundry

I am a reformed laundry perfectionist.

I may be lax about other household chores -- like ironing (in this house, irons are for smoothing fabric for sewing projects and doing crafts with HeatBond). But up until about a month ago, I was the queen of folding perfect little piles of clothes. 

I folded shirts the way they do in stores. I smoothed little baby onesies and folded them into perfect squares. I folded UNDERWEAR perfectly! For this compulsiveness, I blame my dear grandmother, who used to iron my dad's underwear. True story.

And then ... and THEN! ... I would cram the piles into our drawers, and they would get all rifled and messed up in about three seconds. I would open Baby Boy's drawer of solid-coloured shirts (yes, I had a drawer of solids and a drawer of "patterns"), and dig through everything until I found a certain solid-red onesie. 

I was making a total mess of the piles I had so carefully folded. 
It was very counterproductive.

Then I found a GREAT site called Small Notebook. They have a whole section on homekeeping tips, and I clearly remember the way I read this life-changing article on laundry. My mom was over visiting, and I was chattering excitedly about the awesome laundry tips. I think she thought I was nuts. 

But in my defense, she sends her laundry out. 
I do three loads a day sometimes. 
Ways to make laundry easier were WELCOMED!

So I borrowed some tips from Small Notebook and came up with a system that works in my house. Here goes!

See? This is our laundry straight from the dryer, dumped onto the living room floor. Two loads, I think.

And THIS is how it looks all "folded" using my new methods. It's big departure from my perfect little piles of 'yore.  Now I  ONLY fold our nice shirts, jeans, dishtowels (because I like that drawer to be neat), facecloths and towels. I do NOT fold anything of Baby Boy's, my tank tops, my tees, yoga pants, bibs, baby washcloths, underwear, etc.

With those few exceptions, everything is basically just spread out flat and separated into piles of where it's actually going, i.e. the actual drawer or basket it will end up.

It's all about making changes that will make things EASIER for you. For example, I used to have one drawer for Baby Boy's solid-coloured tops and onesies, and one drawer for his patterned tops and onesies, but realized that wasn't the best solution. Now I keep long-sleeved in one drawer and short-sleeved in another drawer -- so I sort the piles accordingly now.

Once everything's organized on the living room floor, it's time to get it all into the proper places. Since this is two loads, it took two basket-fulls to do it, and I arrange it by room (Baby Boy's in one basket, our bedroom in another basket). I started with Baby Boy's room. Spread out the big "single" items in the bottom ...

Then roll up your piles (i.e. pile of tees, pile of pants, pile of onesies) into tight little bundles, and start arranging the bundles in your basket.

Sometimes when you look at the basket at this point, it looks kind of messy. But it's a SYSTEM, and it works!

Open up the drawers, unroll your bundles, and pop everything in. Baby Boy's drawers used to contain perfect arrangements of neatly-folded shirts ... for about three minutes. Now they stay much neater, because it's just stacks of flat shirts. It's way easier to find what I'm looking for now, without making a big mess.

Then I just return to the living room with the empty basket, roll up everything for our room, and repeat the putting-away process. My socks and underwear are tossed into a corner of the basket near my clothes, and Darling Husband's are tossed in a corner near his clothes, so I can quickly put everything in our respective dressers (which are across the room from each other). If there's anything to be hung up, I just drape it over the basket on top of everything else. DONE!

One of the best perks of "folding" laundry like this? When your baby crawls all over the piles, he's not accidentally unfolding everything and undoing all of your hard work. And not having to re-do a chore? Priceless!

3 comments:

lindsey said...

--> in this house, irons are for smoothing fabric for sewing projects and doing crafts with HeatBond ...

This is the same in my house, too!

Heather (Laptops to Lullabies) said...

Yeah, ironing clothes must be a huge pain. Ironing fabric, however, makes your projects look nicer :)

Rachel said...

How great that you found a way to make laundry easier for you!