Monday, June 18, 2012

Laundry thoughts and tips

 This week (tomorrow) for our Homemakers Group we are planning a discussion on laundry. Since the majority of people are not nudists (for which I am VERY thankful!) laundry is something that affects us all. I was visiting with a friend after church yesterday morning about this subject and we both agreed that getting clothes through the washer and dryer (or in my case I also really enjoy hanging them on the line) is not difficult. The challenge for us lies in getting them folded and put away. It isn't that we dislike doing it, it just seems to take a while and there are so many other things we could be doing. So one of the goals for me is to make it fun for me and try to get others to help as well.

 I thought I would share my ways of dealing with laundry and then I am really hoping that you will share what works for you as that way I can share even more ideas tomorrow at our homemakers group.

Abbi's Laundry Tips

~ In my opinion we need to start the discussion by talking about how much dirty laundry actually gets created. Though we do like to be clean and neat around here I do not generally like it when a child wants to change clothes several times a day or another like that. Here are some basic principles we follow so that we don't have an excess of laundry:
  • When children are young and still make a huge mess at mealtimes (mine are past that stage now but we did do this) they wear bibs or aprons.
  • If I am going to bake or do a lot of cooking I will often wear an apron.
  • We re wear clothes especially things like jeans/pants/skirts another day if they don't look dirty.
  • We use bath towels for a week before washing them. My thought is this- you are clean when you dry off and then we hang the towels up neatly on a rack to dry, it isn't like they get really dirty.
  • When I spend little bits of time each day out in the garden (and I like to kneel so I get my knees dirty every time) I usually have a pair of old gardening jeans that I will wear nearly all week long. I put them on when I go out and then change back to my nicer clothes when I come back in and neatly fold my gardening pants up (dirty knees together) and put them on a special shelf that I have for them in my bathroom.
Stuff that I use:

  • A heavy duty, super capacity washer. I usually run 6-8 full loads per week.
  • A large dryer. In the summer I use this generally for 2 loads per week.
  • An iron and ironing board which I use as little as possible!
  • A lint remover brush.
  • A clothesline that is simply strung between trees in my backyard. It isn't fancy but it works.
  • Clothespins.
Collecting and Sorting Laundry:

We have hampers in every bedroom, the upstairs bathroom and the laundry room. Everybody (except Megan who is still in training) is pretty good about putting their stuff in the hamper. On laundry days (Mondays and Thursdays at our house) we bring them all to the laundry room and sort by making piles on the floor. I am not a terribly particular sorter but I generally have a jeans pile, a colored pile (with sometimes the dressier/more delicate items separated out) and a pile with things I want to wash on hot like underwear, handkerchiefs, socks and such.

Treating Stains:

 One of the big things about stains is catching them right away. I know that doesn't always work but it sure is nice if you can. When we catch it right away (and even when we don't) with most things we just stick the offended place in water and rub it hard with bar soap (Zote being my favorite for this).  For set stains I will try soaking them in warm water with oxygen bleach. It doesn't always work but it often does. This is very good for whitening things too. For ink stains I spray with hairspray or treat with rubbing alcohol.

Washing and Drying:
What I do here is just your normal use of a washer, dryer or clothesline except I don't use fabric softener except sometimes I will use vinegar instead and I don't even use dryer sheets. The friend that I was visiting with and I have found that if you don't over dry your clothing that you don't generally have static issues and I have never had static problems with clothes hung on the line.

  I do generally use the dryer for all of Ken's dress shirts and we buy the no iron type so that we can take them straight out of the dryer (you do have to get them immediately when it stops) and hang them up and then I can skip ironing. For the rest of our dress clothes I try to find things that don't need ironing if possible.

  To use the clothesline you do of course need to observe the weather and try to find a sunny and windy day. Sometimes my laundry schedule gets off because of this. Sometimes I don't hit it right and my clothes still get rained on. I dont' worry about it- I just figure they got an extra rinse.

Folding clothes:

I don't feel the need to explain the how so much but I thought I would share the things we do so that it does stay more interesting and enjoyable.

  • Fold them as you take them off the line. I like this (when I have time and am not taking them down in the dark!) because I am outside, listening to the birds sing or hearing the bees buzz, seeing the flowers and sometimes hearing the high school marching band practice as well as seeing my children play.
  • Fold while saying your memory work. We did that this morning (the kids and I working together) and we were able to fold 5 loads of clothes while reciting Hebrews 11 and the book of James.
  • Listen to story CDs while you work.
  • Call a friend and visit while you fold. That is if you don't mind balancing a telephone on your shoulder or have a hands free set.
  • Have races- play games.
  • When I have the kids fold by themselves they like to talk Mara into telling them a story while they work.
  • My friend said she liked to fold while watching a movie. I have done that a couple of times while we watched a movie as a family.
Put them away promptly! I don't always do this and then I dislike seeing the clutter of piles of clothes. It doesn't take long to put them away- lets just do it. My kids now put their own clothes away though with the younger two (especially Megan) we are still working on neatness.

What are your laundry tips? I would really love to hear them!

I am linking this to the Homestead Barn Hop at Homestead Revival.


MamaHen said...

Hi Abbi! You've got some great tips here.

I used to really dislike doing the laundry. It just seemed like one more thing to get through. But then one day I realized how very thankful I should be that I even have a washing machine and dryer. When I go to do a load of laundry I pray, "Thank you God for this machine. Thank you for all the children that are dirtying up all these clothes. Thank you for my husband who works so hard so I can stay home and wash these clothes." It really began to make a difference in the way I look at it. I can honestly say I LOVE to do our laundry now. I really do. I love to hang our towels and sheets on the line. I love to fold the clothes in neat little piles. I lay them all out on my bed (my hubby's and my own clothes go directly into our dressers as I am in our room). When I have done the last load for the day I call the children in to take theirs to their dressers.

There is a site called Mama's Laundry Tips which really changed my perception on laundry too. She has so many things to say about laundry and it really is fun to read.

I also do all my ironing on Monday afternoons. That is my time to do it and I kick, I mean gently send the kids out to play, and I get to watch a TV show I like while I am ironing. :) The house is nice and quiet and I can get it all done in about 1 1/2 hours. (My hubby wears dress clothes everyday to work). I look forward to ironing now bc I know I will feel so good when it is done.

Sorry for the novel and I hope your talk goes well tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Great Post. Laundry is my favorite chore, but I still don't like it. We live in the woods so I have to use a dryer. I miss hanging our clothes out to dry. I too have "work clothes" that I wear for at least a week or two. Unless I encounter poison ivy, then it is right to the washing machine. I only have a family of five, but I am doing 12 loads in my super capacity machine. My new found joy is that my daughter enjoys folding laundry. She folds most of our laundry and she does it with a happy heart! I have had to accept that the laundry won't be folded exactly the way I do it, but really it isn't that important.

I enjoy your blog and simple ways of living. It is encouraging to me.


Alison said...

I love to hang my laundry on the line. So, instead of doing laundry only once or twice a week, I do one load every day. I put it in the washer first thing in the morning, hang the clothes on the line, then take them off whenever I have time late in the afternoon. This way I spread out the work and I am more likely to fold and put it away immediately.


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