Barriers to laundry bliss and possible laundry solutions

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As a young woman in my early 20’s, I was a slob. A complete and total lazy slob. I also didn’t have a washer and dryer, which meant clean clothes had me running up and down 3 flights of stairs from the laundromat to my apartment. I think I actually spent more time shopping for new outfits than washing my dirty ones.  Oh how the times have (not) changed (much)! Thankfully I have a washer and dryer, but now there are four wardrobes to manage in my household which makes for chaos when you have a non-laundry-lover to begin with. But if I truly desire laundry bliss, I must first delve into what the barriers are and the possible laundry solutions.

Barriers to Laundry Bliss

1. Getting the clothes into a laundry basket – I must shamefully admit that dirty laundry doesn’t always make it into the laundry basket. And I can’t even just blame hubby and the kids, because although they are really bad about it, I’m one of the culprits too. I’ve gotten to the point in my life where about half of the time it goes into the basket, the other quarter of the time, I pick it up and throw it in the basket the next morning, and well, the other quarter of the time it stays there until laundry is done.

2. Sorting laundry is overwhelming with this much – We can easily go through 3 loads of laundry a day and the majority of it is towels. I haven’t been successful in training the boys to reuse towels. I use rags instead of disposable wipes and hand towels instead of paper towels so those are always piling up with the bath towels. We don’t have a lot of whites but generally save up enough to do one or two loads a week. Sheets we do separately and all other colors go in together. So it certainly isn’t a very complicated sorting system compared to others, but it does look kind of ugly and the 6 or so laundry baskets that are full at any given time take up a lot of space.

3. Unworn clothing gets thrown into the mix – I am the worse person for putting something on, deciding I don’t want to wear it and throwing it onto the bed or floor. Mostly I am in a rush and wait until the last minute to get dressed. Inevitably I grab the one thing I probably won’t want to wear… and now I have a teenage son who does the same thing.

4. Putting away clothes (aka leaving in laundry baskets all week) – I really do desire a tidy home and for my clothes to be neatly hanging in the closet. Unfortunately, I am faced with so many competing desires, like working, exercising, cooking good meals, blogging, etc. So many days the putting away the laundry desire takes a backseat.

LAUNDRY SOLUTIONS:

It is clear to me after delving into my laundry bliss barriers that 1) We have too many items of clothing 2) The kiddos need to learn to reuse towels… somehow… and nagging them isn’t going to accomplish this task and 3)The kiddos need to be involved in the routine.

I found all sorts of fancy laundry solutions for sorting, etc. that I could buy but I think this boils down to a problem of motivation. So I chose other methods instead:

Reducing – I think that simply reducing the number of items of clothing should make it necessary to pick up clothes and put them into the laundry more often (otherwise no clothes to wear!) resulting in less clothes on the floor. This especially applies to those items that frequently get tossed aside after trying them on once and deciding not to wear them. Who am I kidding? They are ALWAYS the same items of clothing! I will probably never wear them, so they have to go…

Assigned towels – I think I can force the towel issue with the kiddos by “assigning” them each two towels a week. It will be their choice to hang them up. If not hung, they won’t be dry and they will suffer the wrath of a wet uncomfortable towel plucked from their bedroom floor. The rest of the towels will go in hiding and I will collect dirty towels Mondays and Thursdays (towels are easy to fold and put away during the busy week).

Letting a boy fly solo – As my son, the sweaty basketball player, produces the bulk of the laundry, I’m inclined to begin to let him learn to manage his own laundry. Oh the guilt. He is a good student-athlete, taking many difficult classes, lots of homework/studying and practicing hard… but college is in just a couple of years. So it is best he learns now, right? The growing pains of learning to manage his own laundry may even make laundry more difficult for a while but I believe it will pay off in the end (both for him and me). Unfortunately if I let my younger child fly solo with laundry, he would simply wear the same dirty clothes each day, so we will give him a little more time to work that issue out! In the meantime I will have him “assist” more often.

I’m tempted to devise more schedules surrounding the other laundry that needs to be done but I know I will just ignore those when it comes down to it.  I may also devise or purchase a sorting system to hang above our washer and dryer, as currently we have a small laundry room with an oversized washer and dryer.  But I am banking on the notion that getting rid of some clothes will be the greatest factor in making laundry easier. It should be much easier to put away 3 outfits rather than 10. Anyway, I’m actually in love with the concept of minimalism, I just have haven’t put in much practice yet. So this will be my chance.  Wish me luck.  I hope to report back that I have achieved laundry bliss…

Have you found a way to make laundry less chaotic and more blissful?

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