Saturday, May 04, 2013

I Rock Laundry (Part 2)

<<< Continued from part 1 (yesterday)

Step 5: Washer to Dryer

A silly step, to be sure.  Another step I regularly enlist my young autistic son in helping me with.  Where a front loader is great.  We pull it out of one machine into one of the "clean" baskets and then slide it over and load it into the dryer.

We have five laundry baskets.  The first two are the "dirty" baskets that are upstairs to collect the laundry.  The other three are "clean" baskets that are used in various situations.

All the sweaters get laid flat to dry on the rack next to the bins.

Step 6: Dryer

Again, a silly step to list out.  The "Custom Program" setting is also my friend here.  Load in the laundry, grab a dryer sheet from the drawer below, run the load.  Timer on the phone so you can grab it as soon as its done so you can get out and hand up the wrinkle-prone stuff before it has a chance to wrinkle.

Step 7: Remove and Sort

Once again, grabbing a "clean" basket, I empty it into the basket.  Then I turn around, set the lip of the basket on the counter and sort.

I have a large basket clear labeled basket for each person.  If they need a specific article and can't find it, this is a good place to look.  The baskets have lids so I can move them around the house if i want.

Those hangers that I sent down with the dirty laundry can come in handy at this point - I can grab one and quickly hang it up.  This is where the system breaks down a little bit - if it doesn't seem like something that can wrinkle, it just goes in the bin.  Then it may end up somewhere else when I'm doing folding and yet I'll have to go downstairs for hangers.  A minor pain, but proof that my system still has kinks.

I will often drop single socks back into the dirty pile and let them go through the wash again, figuring eventually they'll reunite with their mate, either here or in the other world where lots socks go to play.  (I also have an empty tub that used to have cat litter in it.  There's a bunch of single socks in there.  Every so often I'll drop a bunch in there.  And when it seems like there's a decent amount, I'll dump them all out and look for matches and toss the rest.

There's no separate stack for towels, they go in my bin.

Empty the lint filter.  Every time.  It'll make the dryer work better.  I think most people know this, but it goes without saying.  If it's done every time, then you won't have to check when you load in new clothes.

As an added bonus, my daughter will beg me to let her clean it.  I think she likes how you just wipe across it and end up with a fuzzy warm ball.  A small trash can right by the dryer captures all the fuzz balls and used dryer sheets.

Step 8: Folding

So now I've got sorted bins of clean laundry.  So this is another natural stopping point.

When I am ready to do some folding, I'll grab the bin (usually the fullest one) and one or more of the "clean" baskets.  (If I'm in the middle of running a bunch of loads, I'll transfer everything to a basket and leave the bin behind.)

Now, this is what makes folding less onerous - the "clean" baskets.  Get a flat surface like a table or bed, put a chair next to it, put the bin on the chair and put the baskets on the floor.  Decide the "type" of clothes you're going to fold (shirts, underwear, socks, towels, whatever).  Pull things out of the bin one by one.  If it's the type of item you're going to fold, fold it.  Everything else, into a clean bin.  If you've brought up multiple clean bins, then you're sorting at the same time into the different baskets.

Again, you can stop there, having folded some items.  Or, drop the bin to the floor, pick up a basket and repeat the fold/sort process.  You'll have stacks of clean items and it's fast because it's all the same kinds of items.

Items I No Longer Fold

Bath Towels - ok, minimal folding - fold in half longways, then shortways, then just roll - you end up with a a log.  Then the logs just stack like firewood.  Makes it easier to pull out one of a certain color, too.  (We decided on color schemes for the bathrooms and then bought two full sets of all towels so that when one set goes to the wash, there's a clean set ready to hang in their place.

Wash Cloths - We go through so many of those in a day it's amazing.  I used to fold them, then I tried rolling them.  No, they just lay flat in a bin.  They don't always lay perfectly flat, but it's still really easy to just pull one out of the bin and use it.

Sheets - Got this great tip from Lifehacker or Unclutterer and it changed my life.  I just take one of the pillowcases, flip it inside out and shove all the sheets and the other pillowcase inside.  So much less work.

Step 9: Putting Away Laundry

We have these hooks on a lot of the doors around the house.  This allows us to move clean clothes closer and closer to its destination as we move about the house doing other stuff.  So even if we're not going into our bedroom, if we're heading upstairs, we can grab stuff from one hook and move it to the next.

If we're not expecting company, clean laundry can sit for a day or two (or more) on the dining room table.  Sometimes someone looking for a particular article will look there, or they'll grab a stack of their laundry and put it away.  (That was also a step I didn't enjoy, putting it all away.)

Sometimes I may take a single stack or two of like items up and leave it on Lori or Rachel's bed for them to put away.  Sometimes I do that for myself, too, grabbing a stack (or all the stacks) and leaving on my bed to later get all put away.

It's also easy when it's all laid out on the table to grab a clean basket and load it up with stacks of clean laundry to put away, even if it's not all the stacks at once.


So there you have it.  Way too many words describing the process of "doing laundry."  But then I think my process works really well, keeping our family of four and its massive amounts of laundry caught up so that it's never an overwhelming challenge and no one ever runs out of clean socks.

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