“Mt. Laundry at our house is much like Mt. Doom,” says my friend Jenny, and I concur. Laundry is the bane of my homemaking. I work hard and my husband helps when he gets home from work, but I cannot keep up.
Laundry is Plotinian in nature, emanating into a plurality of socks, linens, and baby gear overflowing in baskets piled around the house, some clean, some dirty; some folded, some not; some in closets, some not.
Either because of my temperament or because I’m ADHD, the multiplicity of small items that need to be sorted, especially when they pile up, sends me into panic mode. For the sake of my sanity, I need to find a method that works. Stat.
I crowdsourced my Facebook friends recently for their laundry solutions. My friends are awesome, folks. They both empathized with my situation (having been there) and shared some tips that they’ve found helpful. I’d like to list them here with the hope that they help you, as well.
Twelve Tips for Getting Laundry Under Control, From People Other Than Myself
- Do laundry every day. This recommendation came from my friends Barb, Heather, Freya, Katie, my cousin Jaime (who does two loads a day), my mother, and others. Their method erodes Mt. Laundry at a constant rate, not allowing it to pile up in the first place.
- Have a laundry day. The opposite recommendation came from friends Katy, who works from home, and Charlene, who lives in a small NYC apartment with no washer/dryer. For them, doing laundry as part of an everyday routine just doesn’t happen. They block out a period of time and focus on that one task, helping them to see it to completion.
- Fold clothes as they come out of the dryer. Several friends recommended this because it keeps them from dumping unfolded clothes all over the house to be folded “later.” And we all know “later” often equals “never.”
- Keep loads small in order to keep them manageable. My friend Megan’s mantra is small loads, easy putaway. Since putting clothes away is my stumbling block, her suggestion has me paying attention.
- When Mt. Laundry grows, prioritize. This is another great suggestion from Megan: when the task becomes too overwhelming, don’t focus on “getting it all done,” but rather, “What needs to be done first?” Sort clothes into small piles and wash according to importance.
- Put away, right away. Several friends suggested this. Focus and finish the task at hand to its completion!
- Have a good hamper system. My friend Jacqueline pointed out the convenience of having a hamper with a liner bag that pulls out. Other friends suggested investing in a hamper with three compartments for easy sorting on the front end. And my friend Beth has one hamper for each person and keeps each person’s clothes separate by sorting clothes back into each separate hamper once they come out of the dryer. She doesn’t bother folding.
- Speaking of…don’t bother folding. My friend Carrie, a mother of eight, sent me a link of a woman who, instead of folding her kids’ clothes, sorts them into small baskets as soon as they come out of the dryer. The kids then sort their clothes into drawers. The woman’s reasoning is that the clothes don’t stay folded in her kids’ drawers anyway, so why bother?
- Stop obsessing about whether other people put their clothes away. Barb shared that she’s learned to let go of whether or not her teenaged kids put their clothes away. She’ll wash and deliver, but the follow-through is on them. The only clothes she puts away for others are those that need to be hung up.
- Decide which (if any) steps of the laundry process you can delegate. Barb also shared that she prefers to do the actual washing herself because school uniforms need to be washed frequently and quickly. Also, her kids tend to forget about the laundry they have in the washer, thereby slowing everyone else up, and it’s not a battle she wants to fight. My friend Vicki, however, requires her eight children to do their own laundry according to a pre-arranged schedule. If they don’t do their laundry at their scheduled time, too bad, so sad.
- Take a little time to organize your laundry area. Several friends suggested taking a look at the laundry area and thinking through what would make it more efficient. One person linked to this.
- Burn it. That was the suggestion of my former high school youth pastor, Ryan. He may be on to something.
How about you? Do you have any other tips for scaling Mt. Laundry?
Copyright 2016 Rhonda Ortiz