Organizing Laundry Tasks
Just like dirty dishes, there is never an end to the laundry pile. Managing it so that it doesn't take over you life a a worthwhile and attainable goal. Here are a few tips to help make it a little easier.
Use as few hampers as possible but be sure they are convenient to children so these little ones aren't tempted to throw their clothing on the floor. And remember, if it is not in the hamper, it will not be washed. Stick to that rule for everyone who knows what the hamper is.
Maximize any space you have for doing the laundry by limiting its function to only laundry related activities. Use shelves, cabinets, hooks and racks to hold supplies and clothing. Installing cabinets or shelves above the appliances should provide adequate storage for detergents and other laundry products. If that space is not available, consider narrow rolling shelves that are designed to go between or on the side of the washer and dryer. Some of these units also have a high bar for hanging clothing temporarily as they come out of the dryer.
If there is space, install a permanent rod for hanging clothing. A tension shower rod will fit above the washer and dryer in some spaces. Closet dowels can also be cut to fit that space or other adjoining walls. If a door is available, an over the door rack for hanging clothing could be used.
Store small bottles of spot removers, etc. together in containers for better organization. Guides for stain removal can be placed in the containers, posted on the inside of cabinet doors or hung on the wall if necessary.
Sort clothes near the washer when you have all you plan to wash. Use several laundery baskets to keep the loads separate. You can color code these baskets if it helps separate the clothing types and/or colors. If large enough, consider loads containing only one or two persons clothing. Of course you are free to run small loads if your machines have adjustable levels and cycles.
Wash loads where clothing wrinkles won't matter first. Underwear is good for this. If these items sit for a while before folding, nothing is lost. Setting a timer to monitor the loads is a good idea if none exixts on your machines.
Remove items from the dryer as soon as possible. Sort itmes to be folded in to laundry baskets labeled with the name of each person in the family. Let children who are old enough fold their own clothing. Leave the basket of clean clothing in their room and have them return the empty basket to the machines.
If you must fold the clothing, deliver it to the appropriate room and allow each person to put them away. Even young children can put away folded clothing if their drawerw are labeled with pictures. If items must be hung, keep hangers near the dryer and place the clothing on them immediately. Place them on temporary rods if available.
Older children can be taught how to do their own laundry. If they can read and are tall enough, they can do it. Give them specific times in the weekly schedule for doing it. This is a wonderful life skill for them to learn and it will keep your teenager from getting upset because YOU haven't washed that special outfit when they needed it. (Speaking from experience here.)
Try to provide enough underwear, wash cloths, etc., so that laundry activities do not have to be done so often. If the laundry tasks are limited to a couple of times during the week, it won't be such a consuming activity. It will always be there, but it can be managed.