Well... I began the Household Help Series in, uh, October. (Have you been sitting on the edge of your seats since then?)
The good news is that we've all had plenty to keep clean in the meantime! Hooray!
So, I stink at keeping up with the laundry. It's probably my least favorite chore. (Tied with dishes, I suppose...) I've bought pretty sorting baskets, read books, read blogs - and despite those resources - I've walked the walk of shame into the laundromat needing an army of washing machines to appease the textile beast.
There are so many systems for dealing with the dirties...my parents even had their own routine that worked fairly smoothly with four kids in the mix. But each one I've tried hasn't improved my lackluster domestic performance in this area. (Definitely could be user error.)
So here's my last hope. The light at the bottom of the pile, so to speak.
The first part of the system - absolutely no laundry baskets or hampers in any room, except for the laundry room. WHAT?!? Yes. Not a single laundry vessel or container in any bedroom or bathroom.
That's insanity! Possibly.
The second part of the system - instead of placing dirty clothes each morning or night in a basket in each room, each family member gathers dirty clothes and places them directly in the washing machine. Everything in the washer. Socks, undies, shirts, pants. Colors and whites.
The exceptions to this rule have three laundry baskets to choose from on the top shelf of my hanging rack in the laundry room. Those exceptions are: towels and other linens, delicates and other garments that are hung to dry, and dry clean only items. Each get tossed in their respective basket.
Now back to everything else in the washing machine. Yes. You read that right. No sorting by person. No sorting by color, darks, lights, or whites. This will cause some level of anxiety for many of my sweet friends that struggle with CDO. (Dawnie, take a deep breath here.)
The backbone of this part of the system is the Shout Color Catcher. For about $3 (or less if you have a coupon), you have enough of these sweet little gems for 24 loads of laundry. I became a fan of these when we were at Evangeline Booth College with two little ones and coin laundry. I quit sorting by colors for the kiddos while living there to save money on the number of loads I washed per person. The Color Catchers worked beautifully, even with Christmas reds in the mix.
So everything in the machine gets washed and dried, then sorted by family member as they are folded. The folding part is the final step in the system, and the place where I am most likely to be sabotaged! I am aware of my formidable opponent, and am going to do my very, very best not to procrastinate. Actually, my hubby is pretty awesome in the folding department. (Saweet!)
The washing machine acts as a whole-house laundry basket until it is full, or until one of the three 'exception' baskets is full enough for its own load. That will mean I'll swap the dirties collecting in the machine for the dirties in the basket, and put them back when the basket load is complete.
The beauty is that I can pre-treat stains as I toss items in each day, (make sure you use a treatment that doesn't require immediate laundering), and I can use a laundry booster like Clorox 2 or OxiClean to help with any stains I might miss. No double work.
And if I want to begin a load of laundry in the morning on my way out to the garage, or on my way in to the house after a day at work - everything is already there for me to wash! No running room to room to gather bits and pieces. This may not seem like much to you, but for me, this is bliss.
So any thoughts on the system? Any tips to make it even better? Comment away!