January 16, 2006

Endless Loads of Laundry

Harriette Jacobs of The Old School House Magazine has raised a question "On The Company Porch" Blog Site today... "Let's Talk About Laundry". I responded to her request on how we all get this menial chore done in her comments section, but I thought I would share our "trade secrets" with you here (to save myself another more polished and time-consuming post!). Don't worry... I'm in Monday gear and am very busy today, but I hope to get some blog time later this week to write some for pleasure! How about you guys? Are there boogie-men in your laundry basket? Do your whites have faded chocolate stains (like my husband's new fleece sweater he forgot to treat last week)? Or are you a Martha Stewart clone who has a stellar laundry method to share with the world? Hop on over to Harriette's post and leave her a line. Be sure to comment here to let me know you did.... so I can go and check it out.

The Bee's Laundry Methods
I go through stages with laundry where I get overwhelmed, but right now, I am in one of those strange acceptance modes... and somehow, it manages to get done without much thought. My children have a list of 20 chores that they must complete each day to earn stars for "screen time". Help with the laundry is a must. They keep a basket in their room for them to put dirty clothes in, and usually about once or twice a week, it is their duty to come and unload it in the laundry area and sort it all out by color.

We do four types of loads... reds and darks, other colors, jeans, and whites. The children are great sorters and have been doing this since they were wee ones. They will even throw the largest load into the washer for me, unload the dryer and throw them all on my bed, and help me sort them by whose clothes they are. While they are doing schoolwork that requires my presence (reading, Bible reading, or even watching an educational video) I will fold the clothes. I hang almost everything, so I don't do much folding. I lay one stack aside for my husband and I - just the clothes laid out in a line (not folded) and right-side-out... and one stack for my children's clothes that need to be hung in the same fashion. Sometimes the kids will help me do this and help me sort the socks. They each take their nightgowns, underwear, socks, hose, and pants (all of which go in drawers in their room) and put them away. I do all the hanging as time permits. If I don't have time to hang, the pile goes near the closet door until I have free time to do it. At least that gets it off of my bed where we do a lot of schoolwork and I do a lot of my planning and paperwork.

We usually do a load of clothes every day, but have in the past done a single laundry day when I had a bigger house and more room to store dirty clothes. As it is now, I have no place to put my dirty clothes sorter bin (which I sorely miss). I live in a tiny two-bedroom apartment right now, and we are adjusting to different schedules and a different lifestyle after leaving a 2500 sf house behind.

The key is to pray about it.... enlist your children's help to promote responsibility and resourcefulness in them (and to help you out)... and to just think of it as part of your normal day like eating and doing school-work. Sometimes the biggest obstacle is to change our attitudes towards a chore so that it is either fun or at least less daunting!

God bless and may your laundry load seem light!

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Rhonda said...

Good ideas about getting the kids to help. Other than bringing their laundry to me and putting it away (occasionally!), I do it all. My circumstances are different, but I thought I'd share how I do mine.

I try to do all my laundry over the course of a couple of days. I started washing clothes by person, rather than all together. So, Ruthie has a load of white/lights and a load of darks. That way, all her clothes are clean at one time and we're not searching for an outfit to wear because I haven't gotten jeans washed yet. I do towels and blacks/very dark on their own.

I like this because I don't have a floor full of clothes while I'm getting it done. Once Ruthie's is done, I have Robert bring me his clothes. Makes for a much neater process!

Grizzly Mama said...

I need help in this area! Laundry is a nightmare in this house...I do a load every day - that's wash, dry, fold and put away. That's about all I can do. Somedays I'm on fire and can do 2! LOL!

I do NO stain treatments - never have. Some of the shirts are stained, but do I care?! I do love oxyclean - LOVE IT. Arm and Hammer sensitive skin powder deterg. with a scoop of oxyclean. Add a splash of bleach for the white loads.

The girls have always loved to help with the laundry but I have to say that most of the time it's more work for me - but what the heck...They ARE good at sorting though.

Jan said...

On a humorous note, one way to have less laundry is to have fewer clothes!?
We were talking about this very subject as a preamble to my Ladies Bible Study the other night. One of the older ladies commented that we wash our clothes more frequently than they used to a generation or two ago. I suppose this is another example of how technology(the washing machine) has actually caused us to increase our workload rather than give us more freetime.
But, on the other hand, I can't imagine pulling out the big washing tub and scrubbing everything by hand! Yikes! Now that would be something to bemoan!

Anonymous said...

Actually it's only in the last eight years or so that I have had a washing machine. Before that I simply took a load to the Laundrette every week, and read a book for a couple of hours while it was all going around in several machines at once (or chatted up any pretty girls who happened to be in there too).

Empires grow, and empires vanish.
Kingdoms come, and kingdoms go.
Rulers rise, and rulers fall....

... but laundry goes on for ever!

Sprittibee said...

Rhonda... That seems like a lot of washing to me... but then, whatever works for your family is what you should do. I have two loads waiting on me right now. One is in the wash, the other in the dryer! I hate little worse than the smell of mildew in towels, though... so I try and make sure to check the washer before bed to empty it.

Monicar - Whip them gals into shape! Make'em help the Mama Bear!

Jan - Oh, pitty the thought of making your own lye soap and standing knee deep in the creek with a washboard and all your family's dirt-caked overalls and bloomers! Technology is not all bad... especially air-conditioning.

Ian - I like that little poem. Very true. Laundry, paperwork, and roaches - they will be there until the end.

Now, I'm off to get another few things checked off my list today!

MommyLydia said...

I REALLY feel children need to be taught to help out at home.

Then they won't be so surprised in the real world.

(I also wish I had been taught a better attitude toward work)



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