With seven people in our family, you can imagine that I do a slight amount of laundry. As it is in most households, we typically had our own Mount Laundry and it was a constant source of stress for me. Recently I decided to try doing one load of laundry, every day, from start to finish, just to see if it would help perhaps turn a Colorado-sized Mount Laundry into more of a Kansas-sized Mount Laundry.
Well, I’ve been doing it for a month or two now and here’s what has happened:
- I discovered that I didn’t do as much laundry as I thought.
When I had no laundry system, I remember telling Jeremy that “if I did laundry every day, I’d have to do 1.5 loads every single day just to keep up!”
When I actually started doing laundry every day, I saw much more clearly how much laundry I was doing. I don’t have to do 10+ loads of laundry every week just to stay on top of it. It’s more like 7, plus one or two for sheets (but I’m not going to lie, our sheets don’t always get changed every week). So the martyr’s complex I had about how much laundry I had to do was slightly exaggerated. (I don’t want to offend you but my guess is that many of you might be the same way!)
- I found out some of my children weren’t changing their underwear.
It’s fascinating to do laundry every day. You find out a lot about what clothing your family prefers to wear and how many times people changed clothes in a day. You also start to get suspicious when you realize that you’ve done a load of laundry every day for a week and you haven’t once seen a certain child’s underwear. Ahem.
My kids now know that I expect to find one pair of dirty underwear from each of them in each day’s laundry.
- I started loving my new washing machine.
I got a new washing machine this year. It wasn’t one of those fun things; my old one went out so it was an emergency, not one I looked forward to. (Not that I really ever envision looking forward to buying new laundry machines, unless they invent an [affordable!] one that can wash and dry in the same machine.)
We ended up with a top-loader with no center column. It’s supposed to use less water and be gentler on clothes and all that, which is great, but there are a few things I really don’t care for, such as the inability to run just a spin cycle or soak clothing for as long as I want.
However, when I started doing a load of laundry every day, I didn’t always have a full load. Previously, I’d always had to adjust the water dial to guesstimate what size load I was doing, but the new washing machine weighs each load to determine how much water to use, so I no longer wonder if I’m wasting water when I run a small load.
Update: I hate that washing machine now! It had major problems (like needing engine replacement) after 1.5 years and wasn’t getting clothing clean for a long time before that. I bought a good old-fashioned, water-filling, full-agitator Speed Queen and I love it.
- I started changing sheets more regularly.
Who likes topping their Mount Laundry with a fresh coat of white
snow sheets? And who besides me only has one pair of sheets for each bed and always finds themselves remembering their sheets are still in the washer at 10 PM at night?
Well, when I stay on top of the laundry, changing the sheets isn’t that big of a deal.
- Clothes stopped going sour in the washer.
One of the other things I didn’t like about my new washing machine was that seems to absorb those smells quite quickly. However, if I do a load from start to finish every day, there’s no chance of it going sour.
For awhile I thought I was going to have to run the cleaning cycle on my washer monthly to keep it from getting smelly, but since I’ve stayed on top of the laundry, that hasn’t been necessary.
- The dishes got done faster and more efficiently.
In the past, there were a lot of times that the dish-doing and kitchen-cleaning-up was hampered by a lack or shortage of dish towels. However, in the past two months, there hasn’t been a single shortage of dish towels. I can’t even remember the last time the drawer was even partly empty of towels!
Yep, I am a one-load-a-day enthusiast.
I am so excited about the progress I’ve made in the area of laundry that I may be eagerly waiting for my Facebook friends to post a status update about laundry so that I can pounce on it and tell them about how life-changing “my” new method has been. Seriously, it’s made a big change in my life. Laundry is no longer a source of stress for me!
I should probably back up and tell you that I’ve been working on developing better habits in a lot of areas lately. This has been hugely spurred on by the book 28 Days To Hope For Your Home. That little book was instrumental in helping me instill a good habit of cleaning up the kitchen every single night, and it’s translated to a lot of areas in my home. The information contained in that book is so simple that I really shouldn’t need it, but I’ve found that it was just what I needed to motivate me to develop good habits in my home and it was super practical.
So, how do I do one load of laundry every day?
Here are my rules for one-load-every-day:
- Load must be washed, dried, and put away the same day.
- Do not start a load if you cannot get all the way through putting it away that same day.
- Mix clothes within reason. I do sometimes save a few dark items to wash the next day rather than putting them in with the light items, but overall I don’t worry about it since most fabrics are color-safe.
- Don’t be afraid to run small loads. Small loads are easier to put away, and if you’re concerned about using too much water, just think about how much water you’ll waste when you let a load go sour and have to re-run the entire load.
- Start the load in the morning and set a timer so you remember to put it in the dryer. Then set another timer for when it should be done drying. I set the the timer on my oven because if it was on my phone or computer, it would be too easy to not take care of it right away. I don’t exactly sit around next to my stove so it ensures that I have to get up to turn the timer off and at that point, it’s easy to go down to the laundry room. Better yet, you could start a loud, obnoxious timer and keep it in your laundry area so that you have to go straight there to turn it off!
- If you have really dirty rags, keep them in a separate pile until you can wash them with other towels or really dirty rags. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to put towels and clothes together if necessary.
So, how do you do laundry? Do you have a system that works well?