My next few posts will mainly be practical ideas of how I am simplifying my life. Often, when we hear about simplifying, we think of clearing out the clutter and all of the non-essentials in our homes and removing things from our jam-packed calendars. However, the basic premise of simplicity is organization and that is the direction from which I am coming.
Today's topic: Laundry.
The never-ending, time-consuming, oft-overwhelming monster in each mother's life. The laundry room is usually the off-limits room in an otherwise hospitable home. I have illogically tried to conquer the unconquerable in this never-ending battle. Unless we go back to the Garden of Eden, we will always have dirty clothes, towels and sheets. It's just a fact of life.
A few months ago, a friend told me about a new laundry system she was implementing with her family and, to be honest, I wasn't sold on it right away. She was having each of her children do their own laundry. I wasn't against the idea, but I was unwilling to try it as, by doing so, I was admitting defeat in the Laundry Wars.
However, after a couple of more months and continual piles of laundry I could not keep up with no matter how hard I tried, I was ready to surrender. So, one day in October, I went to Walmart, picked out 7 collapsible laundry sacks and distributed them out to each of my children with the instructions that, once their sack was full or near-full, they needed to get their clothes washed.
For those who did not already know how to run the washer and dryer, add soap, and dryer sheets, I taught them how. Then they all were on their way to independent laundry care and I was on my way to semi-freedom!
Here's a run-down of how this works and has benefitted our family:
1. For my six-year old who is too small to reach into my top-loading washing machine, I change his clothes from the washer to the dryer. I also fold and hang his outside clothes while he takes care of his underclothes, socks & pjs.
2. All the other children are to keep track of the washer, get their clothes switched to the dryer and out in a relatively decent period of time in order not to occupy the machines when someone else needs it.
3. The children are responsible for folding their laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer.
4. The girls and my oldest son are responsible for their own ironing.
5. I don't care if they wash colors & whites together. In fact, I prefer them to in order to consolidate loads. Shocking, I know. We love to walk a bit on the wild side around here.
6. I don't have assigned days for my children to do their laundry. They do it as needed. If a couple of them need to do it at the same time, they work it out.
6. For the most part, I wash the towels and sheets they use, but that is it.
If my children don't have a certain item of clothing, I tell them they only have themselves to blame. This is teaching them to take responsibility for themselves and their things a bit more and also teaching them a bit of foresight.
I am amazed at how much stress this has relieved me from and how much more free-time I have to do things I truly enjoy each day. Clothes are clean, the laundry room isn't a disaster, and I am able to keep up with the relatively little laundry for which I am responsible. I am grateful to have friends from whom I can learn and who encourage me to try new things.
So, how about you? Are you willing to give this system a try? Maybe you have a system that works for you and you'd like to share. I would love to hear it!
Meanwhile, may the whirring of the washing machine and the rhythm of your dryer be music to your ears!