Monday, September 05, 2011

Less Laundry: You Can Do It!

I'm going to be running a weekly You Can Do It Series for a little while. Who knows, maybe forever! Or until I run out of ideas to share anyway. :)

In the past few years, my family and I have made a lot of changes in order to have a simpler, more family-centered life. At first, many of these changes seemed intimidating. I want to share how we did it and how You Can Do It, too! (Find more posts from the You Can Do It series here.)

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Let's talk laundry! Who hasn't had that defeated feeling hen facing a mile-high mountain of the stuff?
I often see blogs where the writer explains that keeping his/her house running includes multiple loads of laundry a day.

This family of 6 (almost 7)? We do about four loads on the weekend and that's it.

Want to hear a little confession?

Once, when Mr. Ordinary was deployed with the Army for a few months? I never found the bottom of mine. I was playing single parent to two little boys under the age of two. I did what I had to survive. That means I grabbed the most important items from the mountain for the occasional load whenever we had completely run out of clean clothes.

I'm not proud of that time in my life and I'm sure (fingers crossed) many of you have either been there or in similar situations yourself.

Little kids can make A LOT of dirty laundry. It's just a fact. But making a few little changes can make keeping up on that laundry so much less of a hastle.

Here are some of the ways we live a life with more time dedicated to things that can get the clothes good and messy and much less time devoted to the clean-up.
  •  Less is so much more! I know, I know. The clothes are cute, they were on sale, you got them free as hand-me-downs of as gifts. But the truth of the matter is that neither you or your kids need as many articles of clothing as you might think you do. I dare you to cut their wardrobe size in half, even if it only means half-committing by storing the other half "just in case." Pretty soon you'll forget about them. And? Your laundry pile, at it's worst, can only get half as high as it used to.
  • Play Clothes vs. Going Out Clothes Remember how your mom used to make you take off your nice school or church clothes when you got home? There is such a good reason for that! Hate how your crisp jeans loose their elasticity spunk after 2 or three wears? They get much less wear and tear when you only wear them half the time. Change into house cloths (comfy yoga pants and t's) when you know you're just going to be lounging around the house. Heading back out soon? It take maybe 10 seconds to throw off the sweats and tank-top and put back on your nice jeans and pretty blouse. And in case you're thinking you'll have twice as many clothing items by doing this, keep in mind that you can wear the same house clothes for quite awhile before they need to be washed.
  •  Put It Back Let me share a little secret with you. This is a secret that I didn't know about until I moved and my mom stopped doing my laundry. Here goes: Just because you wear it once, doesn't mean it's dirty! You're shocked. I know. Keep in mind that the same can be said about your kids' clothing. Each night, as my kids change for bed, Mr. Ordinary or I check out their clothes they wore that day to determine if they can be hung back up or placed back in their drawers or if they need to go in the hamper. It takes an extra second or two but it results in many less loads to be dealt with.
Some other quick tips:
  • Reuse your towels. You're drying off a clean body. How dirty can it get? Hang it up to dry to prevent mold.
  • Get rid of stained or damaged-beyond-repair items before they have a chance to cycle through again and again.
  • You CAN get by on just a few pairs of socks per person. Use sock rings to help keep them partnered up.
  • Shame on you if you use more than one set of jammies in a single week. And bonus points if you skip the jammies all together!
I'd love to hear your You Can Do It tips for not letting laundry take over your life. Please share!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

yes, yes, yes - I remember "play clothes". I think the idea must have died in the 80's though because none of the moms do this anymore. Personally I like to look cute when I'm home so I still wear "cute enough to go out" clothing, but... I don't make as much laundry as the kids.

The "leaving PJs off" idea doesn't save laundry though. Leaving jammies off leads to more babies and babies make lots of laundry. ;)