The Laundry Challenge
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If you’ve stumbled upon this post you are probably like me. Have an abundance of Laundry and you are looking for a way to tackle it. It seems like we are always doing or thinking about doing laundry.
I’m calling this The Laundry Challenge. My kids seem to do better when I add the word challenge into the mix.
Ten years ago I got really organized. I had 2 kids under 2 and it was easy. Then we had another baby and moved in with my grandmother while we built our house. Now here we are 4 kids and it’s out of control.
Having loads of clean clothes not put up. Having loads of dirty clothes all over the place. Not being able to find things when we need it. Going and buying something because we can’t find something we need. Forgetting we have something because it’s lost.
Do any of those problems sound like you? So basically Laundry is costing us Money and TIME. And sometimes TIME is a lot more valuable to me than money. Not that I like spending money but my time is precious.
Laundry is one of those things that bothers me. And I would make my frustrations known but I wouldn’t actually have the time to do more than just enough to get by. Literally some days I work till 2am, so sleep made Laundry very low on my priority.
I knew I needed to find something to help our mountain of Laundry. A way to get back that time and money going forward. But honestly I didn’t have time to really look for an answer that worked for our family.
I stumbled upon a friend’s Instagram story about laundry. I hadn’t watched stories in a while but seeing it made something click in my head. It sounded so simple and easy and something that would save us loads (haha pun intended) of time.
The key is to get all your dirty laundry washed. All of it. Take a day and just do it. So that was my plan over the weekend was to get it done. I had each of the big kids get all their dirty clothes to the laundry room. My husband gathered our stuff and the little kids dirty clothes. I told them my goal when I got home was to see all the dirty clothes in the laundry room. They assured me it was done.
This was a start. Unfortunately when I got home I spotted all over probably 45 pieces of dirty clothes here and there (sock under bed, dirty clothes in the bathroom, etc). Once we got all the dirty clothes in the laundry room it was shocking to see it all.
I made the mistake of getting eagerly started on this and accidentally washed a diaper in with the clothes – so we had to take a day break to clean out the washing machine and that took about 36 hours. And it was all my fault.
We probably had 3-4 loads of clean clothes that had just been sitting there and us getting what we needed when we wanted.
Once we started washing clothes we got about 2 more loads of clean clothes then the 4 of us (hubby, 2 bigs and me) started folding those clothes and putting them away. We knocked out this huge load (see pic) plus the 2 clothes baskets full in under 40 minutes.
We finished washing ALL the dirty clothes and by that evening we had everything washed, dried, and put up.
THE LAUNDRY CHALLENGE METHOD (the solution)
Are you ready to hear what we are doing now and how much time it will save us?
First, you start with a clean slate. No dirty laundry in the house anywhere.
Second, everyday when you take dirty clothes off or dirty something up PUT it in the empty washing machine. Wash those clothes and then dry them. Then immediately fold and put up. That means at the most (other than vacations etc) that we should have Pjs + our clothes for the day + towels. That’s it! It will take us maybe 5 minutes to fold and put away each day. FIVE as in 300 seconds a day. 10 minutes total to start the washing machine and move them to the dryer.
The thing that was a bit crazy when I was talking about this Laundry Challenge Method with my kids, was that they were excited about it. Is that odd? For my kids most definitely. But they were excited about us doing this together. And as quickly as they are growing up I’m okay with that as well.
Light bulb moment
What’s crazy is when I started thinking about this method and how easy and time consuming it is. I thought this is what my grandmother has been doing for years (she’s the one that knew about the sheets too [HERE]).
Sometimes I really think it takes seeing something in a different light or view to make the light bulb go off. And even though I have seen my grandmother do this method my entire life and my mother in law do this method for 20 years, it didn’t click until now. Because I saw a mom with kids doing it so it made it more attainable in my eyes.
I remember being little and her always having a load a day. We sometimes would have to go hang them on the clothes line. So it would take a little more time than how we do laundry now. Even writing this article I thought about all those good memories about hanging the clothes on the clothes line. Does anyone still use a clothes line?
How to Do Laundry: Additional tips
- When things are finished drying hang them up right away and you will have less wrinkles.
- Make sure you clean your washing machine once a month. Here is what we use [HERE]
- Dryer sheets smell great but cause a buildup on your clothes. Try these wool balls instead [HERE]
- We use these Color Safe sheets [HERE] when washing clothes. It prevents color runs.
- Teach your kids how to do laundry. We started with folding and letting them put up their clothes at 4 and five. Then around 7 started letting them help us wash the clothes
- Bleach will put holes in your clothes
- Use common sense when it comes to this method. If you have a bright red shirt that is brand new and never been washed it may be best to wash it by itself the first time.
- We also wash clothes on cold to prevent shrinkage
- Pull heavily soiled items that need to be washed separately
- Some items have special washing instructions so make sure you follow the instructions
- If you can’t hang them up right away drape them over a chair, dryer, or even the laundry basket. This helps with the wrinkles.