Friday, February 18, 2011


Barbara has been doing an occasional series on laundry.

Laundry is one of those chores that we do one way and we stick with it. Even when our system isn't working well for us, we stubbornly stick to that system.

I freely admit to being a slave to my laundry system, which hasn't worked well for us since we moved into this house. That was in 1998.

Our old home was compact, with no wasted space, but not much to spare either. The utility closet (big enough for furnace, water heater, washer and dryer and nothing else) was just inside the front door--in the dining room. I had room for one laundry basket on top of the dryer. So laundry got done and delivered to the bedrooms, to be put away. I had no choice--there was nowhere else to put it.

Then we moved to this house, which has a laundry room in the basement. Since I had always folded the laundry right there by my dryer in the old house, I did the same here. But it was so easy to fold the laundry and place it in a laundry basket--one for each family member.

Five laundry baskets take up an awful lot of floor space in the basement.

And by the end of the day, I would forget to hassle nag remind my kids to carry their laundry baskets upstairs and put their clothes away. So they'd go to the basement to look for stuff, and rummage through the baskets, and I'd get annoyed because they had unfolded all the neatly-folded laundry.

It wasn't working for me. It wasn't working too well for them, either.

So I tried something different--which, for me, is a big step. The only time I willingly try something different is when I'm cooking. I stepped out of my Laundry (Dis)Comfort Zone. When the dryer was done, I dumped everything into a basket and took it right upstairs. I folded it on my bed and delivered the folded things to everyone else's beds. Now when they get home from school there is laundry on their beds, to be put away. There are no baskets cluttering up my basement floor, full of tumbled clothes. There is no "Mom, where's my (insert name of article of clothing here)?" There are no mad rushes to the basement downstairs to find that missing piece of a uniform.

I deliver as I go, and it's amazing how much better I feel about getting that done. The only thing I need to tweak is what happens to the Lonely Socks, since I'm no longer in the basement to utilize the Lonely Sock Clothesline.

It feels so good to retool a system and have it work out so much better!


Ellen said...

My mom used to throw unmatched socks back in the wash - eventually they found a mate.

Denise said...

Ellen, that is my system for unmatched socks as well. I figure if I have seen it many times without a mate showing up, the mate is gone forever and the loner goes into my rag bag or the trash.

Barbara said...

My husband's nightstand drawer is where all unmatched socks go. Every week I take them all out to see if any couples found each other!

Barbara said...

PS -- Good for you not letting the laundry sit unfolded!

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

I always fold--it's the "delivery" where my system would trip me up.