Sunday, October 9, 2011

MIA: Eaten by the Laundry Monster

If I ever go missing, just check the laundry. You'll probably find me buried beneath towering mountains of clean, unfolded clothes.

Hey, at least they're clean clothes! Dirty clothes wouldn't smell as nice, and I'd probably be joined 'neath my mountain by spiders and mice, which wouldn't be fun. But I digress....

Getting the clothes washed is easy. As the dirty laundry is created by our super efficient dirty clothes factory (boys), I sort the clothes - baby clothes, socks/undershirts/underwear, and gentle wash - into my super handy laundry cart. That cart is the best laundry purchase ever made, by the way. It's easy to get the clothes washed now ... just wait until one of the sections is filled up, and throw the whole load into the machine.

Miles transferring laundry for me
last winter, at 15 months old
My little helpers work to transfer the laundry to the dryer once it's clean, and then the dry laundry is carried into the living room ... where it lives for the next two weeks, joined by the subsequent ten loads of laundry that follow over that same time period, searched through repeatedly each day whenever a clean article of clothing is needed. Finally, when the mountain reaches its maximum height (usually when it is overflowing the armchair, ottoman and laundry basket, or when I am finally sick of going on an extensive scavenger hunt for a pair of matching socks every time we head out the door) ... it gets folded at 3am by a bleary-eyed me.

Last night's work
Keep in mind that each of those piles
is about 18+ inches high
At least, that's what happened last night. The final straw was attending a family friend's birthday party yesterday with the two older boys looking like little ragamuffins, wearing the first articles of clothing that happened to be extracted from the laundry mountain, and sporting some rather interesting mismatched socks. At least the other moms could sympathize; I'm apparently not the only one to postpone those late-night folding marathons.

There have been times when I've felt like I was escaping the laundry monster ... times when only a few loads pile up before getting folded. Here are a few tips that I've found (or heard of) to make my disappearance under that Everest pile of laundry less probable....

1. Sort dirty clothes as they are added to the laundry. Getting around to washing the clothes is easy! We live in a very small house with one bedroom, which makes this simpler, since every room in the house is in close proximity to the laundry room. Once we add on and our family grows some more, I'm not quite sure how this is going to work. Any ideas?

2. Fold the clothes that need to be ironed as they come out of the dryer. My hubby needs fresh, ironed clothes for work several days a week, so the ironing pile grows quickly. Not only does folding them right away cut down on what needs to be folded later, you just might find that some can skip the ironing step and be hung right up, ready to wear! Which cuts down on those late-night ironing projects. But that's another post....

3. Fold the big items as soon as possible. It makes the pile look less intimidating and builds morale. :D

4. Of course, there's the obvious solution of folding the clothes as they come out of the dryer, or very shortly thereafter, but what mom of littles has time for that? Yes, I do it when I can, but that doesn't turn out to be very often.

5. I know of families who buy all the kids the same color socks (or a different color for each child/size), and this is probably something I should implement. I'd just get all of the 12-24 Months in navy blue, all of the 2/3 Toddler in brown, all of the 4/5 in black, etc. Sure would cut down on the sock matching and digging through piles!

6. Teach the kids to help! Mine are all 2 and under at the moment, but I'm thinking the oldest is getting old enough to learn how to fold a few items - burp cloths, washcloths, and such. It's good for families to work together, and for children to understand that they are important, functioning members of the household!

7. Don't fold the baby clothes. Don't remember who, but someone did tell me once that she didn't fold any of the kids/baby clothes. Might work for some, but I'm just a little too OCD for that. ;D

Oh, and the best and worst laundry discoveries I've made?

Best: The playpen contains laundry very effectually. It keeps everything out of the way and more or less out of sight.

Worst: The playpen contains a lot of laundry very effectually. And that makes those late-nighters even later....

How do you do laundry? 
What tips and tricks have you found helpful? 
What is your tactic for reducing the risk of going MIA, 
buried in that insurmountable pile of laundry?

- Posted using BlogPress from my Super Handy iPhone


Elsie Gibbs said...

I can't say I've faithfully kept on top of all laundry duties in the last several years. I was more on top of it all when our children were younger. Then when my health went very poor, well a lot of our home went downhill too, laundry being one of the many. But when I was better at it all, I kept our children involved. Now that's still the case. We all take turns with the duties.
For you, I suggest enjoying the company of some friend's :) who offer help. I think too many moms nowadays try to be some sort of perfect mom who does it all. In the family of Christ, it's ok to rely on your family some and cry out for a little hand in your home.
I will be the first to say I would love to bring my Megan and Miriam over to help with some of the overwhelming tasks of your home :) They would love it too!
My friend in Virginia used to come over weekly to lend a hand. We'd put our toddlers down for their naps and get to work :D
You're a wonderful wife and mommy. I can't wait to spend some time with you.
Ms. Elsie

Aurelia from SC said...

As far as socks are concerned, keep a cup of safety pins nearby your dirty clothes basket. Before throwing socks into the pile, safety pin them together. No need to look for the matching pair after they are dried. :D

Monica said...

This post made me laugh.

My best tip on socks is spend the extra $$ and get the ones with the rubber grabbers on the bottoms that say the sizes. They are nice for two reasons...they help prevent falls because of the grippies and they have the size on them which makes for easier matching.

I am OCD horribly, so laundry hasn't been too much an issue for us (yet). I just do a few loads a day (I have a schedule) and we seem to stay caught up.

Gemma 3.5 is good at helping with folding diapers, rags, towels etc. and I think it's good for her as well.


Bethany said...

My grandmother had to iron my grandfathers ARMY uniforms everyday when they had two little boys and a tiny apartment. She would run them through the washer, and then instead of putting them into the dryer she would take them and get the wet in the shower and hang them up in the shower to dry over night. Then they would be ready to go in the morning. (I think she gave 'em a snap out of the washer too). She still uses this trick today, as she doesn't feel like ironing much. I don't know if that would help you, some people like to iron. This stage is temporary too. You have all littles right now, they grow into bigs and when they've been taught since they were little to help they grow-up to be big helpers. Be encouraged your kids grow fast! :)

WesLea And Company said...

LOL, that's what nighttime is FOR! Catching up on all the things you didn't manage to do in the day;) Nah, actually Wesley is not a fan of going to bed alone, so naptime is when I get caught up on everything. Unless I fall asleep during naptime. When I figure out how to keep on top of the laundry I'll let you know;)
By the way, when are you going to post some pictures of your house?

The Zimmerman Family said...

Elsie - Thanks for the input! : ) Tait's mom helps out with the boys a good amount, which is a huge help! Pretty much all of our friends have young kids or grandkids of their own and I can't exactly ask them to come help me since they need their own help! :D I would definitely take you up on your offer to help me out once you get up here! : )

Aurelia - Hmm ... good idea! You've got me thinking. : )

Monica - Yes, we love the socks with the no-skid sizes on the borrom! Old Navy on sale.... : ) It's still hard to find the match, though. I think I'm going to start buying each size in its own color, which will make it easier.

Bethany - You've got me thinking too! : ) I'm going to look into buying a steamer and experiment with that a little....

Rachel - Tait doesn't like to go to bed by himself either, so I pretty much always head to bed when he does. But every once in awhile ... ya gotta do whatcha gotta do. ;D

I've been thinking a lot recently about posting house pictures! I plan to do it soon!!!

Haughstuff said...

I've got 3 littles but mine are a bit older. 5 (boy) and girls 3 and 5 months. In addition to regular laundry, we also cloth diaper, so we've had to work in laundry too :) A few things we do are:

Our children love to match each other. So, I'll pick a color of the day. They wear that, and I throw it in the wash that night-no sorting required. After they dry, I fold/hang them up together so they are all there for next time. You could do that and at least they'd all be together in the laundry pile.

All of their socks/underclothes are white. Saves so much work. I think the previous post on pinning them together is good, if you have time.

Do not fold baby things, unless they are dressy. Don't. Stop. Don't do it!! Step one to treating your ocd :) We just put the baby things in the dresser, as is- top drawer is dressier clothes, middle drawer is pjs, bottom drawer is socks/bibs/booties/any extra blankets.

I've got 3 little fancy bins on top of the dresser, one for diapers, one for covers and one for prefolds.

My fabulous husband does his own work clothes, as it is a uniform, and he likes to take care of those himself.

Other than that, we try to buy fabrics that are less likely to wrinkle and I try to fold each basket as it comes out. Each one only takes me about 10 minutes, so I have the kids come over, and the bigger ones "help" (eventually, it will be help, but we're not at that stage yet ;0 )talk to them or sing little songs to keep them occupied so no one is calling for me elsewhere.If I don't have time to fold it quick, I don't put it in......that motiviates me :D

Sometimes, when Rob is at work, if I finish eating a meal before the kids, I'll try to clean/pick up something quick while they are finishing, so that's sometime laundry time too :)

mkmorton said...

And I thought I was the only one with that problem. My poor kids are always tyring to sit on the sofa which is hidden under a pile of laundry every few days. "sigh" Laundry is my weakness!! At least it's piles of clean laundry! :)

Alice said...

I wash most of the baby clothes in a mesh lingerie bag. When something gets dirty, it goes in the bag. When the bag is full, it goes in the wash. No sorting when they're done - and no searching for missing socks, since everything is together! I also have a mesh bag for Hubby's socks, since those kept disappearing. :)

OurLilFullFam said...

Don't feel bad, I felt a lot better one time when I read a story from the Duggars about their laundry. She was really struggling one time late in the night. It made me feel better.

Socks are the worst. I have tried everything from pinning them together, to putting them in lingerie bags (one per person) to different colors, to charging my older kids for not matching them up, to paying others to match them up, etc. I would rather have disposable socks than disposable diapers sometimes!

I do have a great laundry room, but it is always in "working order" and not some fancy Martha Stewart magazine looking thing. I realized once my husband said 7 people come through here, live here, and your room isn't going to look perfect, that if it didn't bother him, it shouldn't bother me either.

But, I am always open to better ideas to make it work smoother!


Monica said...

Hey Lauren, I was thinking, what if you got some of that puffy paint like people use on t-shirts and put a different colored dot on the bottom of each boy's socks. Blue for size 2, orange for size 3, etc. That way you could still have multiple colors but they would generally be easier to match sizes. Just a thought...

Meg Issacs said...

I just had to smile at the observation that play pens contains a LOT of laundry very effectually ;)

Thanks so much for sharing the tips! I did want to add that you should say a little prayer of thanks everytime you wash laundry, we live in a apartment with a shred laundry room. Every load is I do is $2.00 and the amount I can do in one load is quite small. Maybe 2 towels and few items of clothing. With 2 under 2 I'm sure you can imagine how quickly laundry adds up! Every week I have to very carfully plan on how much I can budget for laundry and take great measures to keep my babies tidy and try to hand wash. I look very much forward to my own washer someday!

On another note, I will prayerfully thank God every time I take out my dear hubby's laundry. I never have to iron anything and he doesn't even like his clothes folded, he prefers them all just laid out flat on a bench in our closet, so that saves me quite a bit of time :)

Have a blessed day blog friend!