4 Steps to Simplify Laundry

Laundry: some people love it; some (most) people hate it, but we all have to do it!  However, there are ways to make to never-ending task of laundry easier!

1. Find a system that works for you.

There are many different systems available to help you keep laundry under control.  You may need to try out a few systems until you find one that works for your family.  And as your family and daily/weekly schedules change, your system may need to change. My system has changed MANY times throughout my life as a mom.

One system is to focus on laundry one day each week and to just do all the laundry at once, then don’t think about laundry until next week.  If you choose this system you will need a place to store the dirty laundry until wash day…a place that doesn’t “take over” another place.  You will also need to be able to completely finish (including putting everything away), otherwise this system is not working for you.

This system may not work for you if you have your own septic system; generally it is recommended that you try to spread laundry out throughout the week so as not to overwhelm your septic system.  We do not use this system because the dirty laundry would overwhelm our bedroom, our septic system would not be working at its best and because I would feel stressed trying to get it all done and put away in one day.  But, this system did work well for me when I was single and married without kids.

Another system is to start a load of laundry every evening: throw all laundry from that day into the washer in the evening, run the load during the night, transfer to the dryer in the morning and put away during the day.

If you wash everything on cold (so colors don’t bleed) and don’t have any clothes that need special care, this system may work for you.  I choose to separate light-weight clothing from heavier clothes (jeans) and towels/linens from everything else.

However, during busy times of life I have been known to throw many things in together just so washing happens in a timely manner!  This may be a great system for someone who hates laundry or who works outside of the home or is in a very busy, stressful time in life.

The system that is working for me right now, is to do one (or two) complete loads of laundry each day.  I have three laundry baskets (each holds about one load of laundry).  One basket is for towels and linens; these get washed on a HOT.  One for light-weight clothes of any color; these get washed on COLD.  The last basket is for jeans and other heavy-weight clothing; these get washed on COLD.  When a basket is full, I do that load of wash.

2. Choose Easy-Care Clothing

Another way to simplify laundry is to choose clothing that is easy to wash and wear…machine washable and no ironing!  If your daily life allows (and especially for kids), choose clothing made from fabrics that wash easily in the washing machine and are easy to dry in the dryer or air dry.  Avoid clothing that needs to be ironed after each wash.  If you lead a casual life, many button down shirts (like chambray or flannel or poplin) can avoid ironing if hung to dry.  They won’t be as crisp as if you ironed them, but they won’t look wrinkled either!  I rarely iron clothes…only for special occasions like weddings, funerals or special events, if I have a few extra minutes I might do a fast iron on some things before church.  I’d like to try a garment steamer sometime…I think this would be a quick and easy way to get rid of a few wrinkles quickly and easily…and without an ironing board!

Daily Uniform

Having easy care clothing also limits the specialty laundry supplies that you needed.  I have one laundry detergent that we use for everything.  This was the same when we had babies and used cloth diapers…use the same laundry detergent for everything!   Have one pre-treat that you use for everything.  I use blue Dawn dish soap…it is the best that I have found!  I do keep rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide on hand and occasionally pull them out for a specific stain (ink, blood).  But Dawn will take care of most everything…especially grease, even old grease stains!  I also keep a bleach pen on hand.  I rarely use it and only after I have tried Dawn.

I do not use dryer sheets, besides turning your dryer lint into a fire hazard, they are not needed and just one more thing to have to buy repeatedly.  I have wool dryer balls that work great!   If you like the scenting of dryer sheets, put a couple drops of essential oil on the dryer balls or on a dry rag and toss it in the dryer with your clothes.  By choosing a detergent that is more natural (one without whiteners and brighteners and enzymes that leave a coating on your fabrics) and using dryer balls, you will not have a problem with static.

3. Limit the Amount of Laundry

You CAN limit the amount of laundry you have by limiting the number of clothes you own.  This works especially well for kids (who change clothes multiple times a day) and you can never be sure what is really clean and what is dirty.  Limiting clothes also limits the total amount of laundry that can accumulate before you either need to 1) wear dirty clothes or 2) go buy more underwear.

4. Make Putting Away Easy.

With easy care clothing, the washing and drying is pretty easy to accomplish; it is the putting away that takes the most time!  Here are a few tips to make this part of the laundry chore easier:

  1. Make sure there is enough space in closets and drawers…if everything is clean, there should still be 10-20% “free space”.  This way it is easy to see everything and easy to put away things without squishing things in.  This will also keep things looking neater and avoids unwanted wrinkles later.
  2. If you like to fold (or roll) then fold (or roll) as much as you can.  If you like to hang, then hang as much as you can…don’t fight yourself!
  3. Let go of perfection.  Does your underwear really need to be folded?  Is it just as easy to access if it is thrown into a drawer in a pile?  (If you like beautifully folded underwear all lined up in a drawer AND you have the time to do it, great!  If it doesn’t bother you, don’t bother!)
  4. Let your kids put away their own clothes.  This also requires letting go of perfection.  Even young children (my youngest started at age 3) can put their own clothes away if the system is simple enough.

We have chosen to forego dressers for our kids and just use the space under their beds as their “dresser”.  Each child has four plastic crates/bins under his/her bed: tops, bottoms, underwear/socks and pajamas.  Each child gets to decide how neat and tidy each bin is; they can fold, roll or just toss.  This works well for everyday clothes.

under bed clothes storage

I choose to hang their nice dresses and dress clothes for them.  This saves me so much time!  As I sort through the clean clothes I just toss their things into their laundry buckets, and they are responsible for putting their own things away.

4 Tips to Simplify Launrdy

Those are the four steps I take to keep laundry simple for me.  What is your biggest struggle with laundry?  What one thing can you do today to make laundry more simple for you?

 

Being the Manager of Your Home

It sounds very formal and official to call yourself a Home Manager, but every home is managed somehow — intentionally or unintentionally, well or poorly.

According to Google, a manager is:

  1. a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization. (A family or household)
  2. a person who controls the activities, business dealings, and other aspects of the career of an entertainer, athlete, group of musicians, etc. (a family or household)

Synonyms include: executive, head of department, supervisor, principal, administrator, head, director, managing director, CEO, employer, superintendent, foreman, forewoman, overseer; proprietor; boss, chief, head honcho

This is a VERY important job!  As with any professional business or career, a good manager can succeed even with mediocre employees and a bad manager will often fail even with excellent employees.

Family Pic 6.2015

Being a Home Manager sounds like a large and overwhelming job…especially on top of everything else in your life.  However, systematizing and simplifying your job as Home Manager will make the rest of your life easier and more joyful!

Every family wants a clean and comfortable place to call home.  Most people want to eat (at least) three meals a day.  Everyone wants to have their schedules under control so they feel like they are leading their lives instead of running to catch up.

Cleaning Supplies

These lofty goals are actually not that hard to achieve!  The secret lies in working smarter not harder; in setting priorities so you can let go of perfection in all areas and settle for good enough where you can.

Laundry on Clothesline

Most Home Managers struggle in one or more of these five main areas:

  1. Food
  2. Cleaning (including the unending tasks of dishes and laundry)
  3. Schedules
  4. Finances
  5. Health

yummy salad

Thankfully there are concrete steps you can take, systems you can create and implement, to take control of your home!  This will provide you with more time and energy for the things you want to do.

Check out Simplified Home Management for links to posts to help you simplify your life.

Which of these areas causes you the most stress in the management of your home?

Developing a Daily Routine

My mission for this summer is to refresh myself and my family with meaningful experiences that grow our relationships with each other.

I hope you are making progress on developing a daily and weekly cleaning routine (and getting your kids involved).  Hopefully, you are also finding some things to get rid of in order to make your cleaning tasks easier!

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A pile of stuff to get rid of — less stuff = less cleaning!

Today, we’re going to talk about developing a daily routine.  Having a daily routine gives security and predictability to our days.  We like knowing what to expect as the day progresses.  A comfortable flow to the day is also relaxing, (if you keep it simple!)

Think about your family’s current daily routine.

What things do you want to keep for the summer?  What things do you want to change?  What things do you want to alter to better fir the relaxed atmosphere of summer?  Make a list of the things you want to or need to keep in your summer routine:

Example: breakfast, chore time, lunch, free time, quiet rest time, supper, snacks, bath time, reading together, etc.

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Free play time is a necessary part of our daily routine.

If you are a very scheduled and “type A” person, you will need to adjust your focus from a scheduled, time-oriented view of life to a routine-oriented mindset.  Think of your daily routine as a bunch of things done in a particular order, not necessarily at a particular time.  The only things I try to keep at fairly regular times each day are meals and snacks.

Here is an example of or daily routine:

  • 7:30 am breakfast
  • Chore time
  • Education time/free time/special activity
  • 10:00 am snack
  • 12:30am lunch
  • Reading together
  • Quiet rest time
  • Free time/special activity
  • 3:00pm snack
  • 6:00pm supper
  • Free time/special activity (usually at home)
  • Bath/shower
  • Reading together
  • Bedtime

You may need to come up with a couple of different daily routines.  If you work outside of the home, it may work best for you to plan daily routine for work days and for non-work days.  If your weekdays and weekends look very different, you may need to make a routine for weekdays and another for weekends.  Generally, one main daily routine can easily be adapted to fit the needs of another day.

You know your family and how much down-time your family needs.

This will determine what a special activity look like for your family and how often your family can handle these special activities.  For my family, we can handle no more than one special activity each day.  I also know that we can’t handle spending some time away from home each day of the week.  This determines how I choose and plan activities for my family.

As you think through the things you want to include in your daily routine, remember to plan time for the things that are important to you.  Do you want to keep your kids (or yourself) learning this summer?  Look for a fun class in your area or online, choose some books you want to read together or some science experiments you want to do. Do you have a morning routine for yourself?  Summer is a great time to try on — my morning routine is essential to getting me ready for the rest of my day!

I highly suggest limiting screen time activities and being very choosy about what you allow.  Set a timer and make it a “reward” for after necessary tasks (daily cleaning habits, reading or educational activities).  There will be plenty of time and opportunities to spend time in front of screens when the weather turns cold and nasty!

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This is what screen time looks like when the battery on the computer runs low. 🙂

What things are you making time for in your daily routine?