Laundry Routine

I’ve been struggling to do the laundry since Little Miss arrived. The thing that drives me nuts and stops me from even starting is the fact that it just takes all day.

Round up washing…take it downstairs…put it in the washing machine…turn washing machine on…wait wait wait…get it out…hang it out to dry…take it off the clothesline…fold it…(iron it – um, not likely)…put it away – All with a baby and toddler demanding attention, not easy!

After getting completely overwhelmed with housework, I decided I needed to build up my cleaning routine in small steps, and the laundry was the place to start. The key to keeping housework in control is to do a little bit often, but how could I apply this to washing the clothes? Here’s what I’m doing:

First I needed to identify the specifics issues: I really struggle with:

  1. Having a 2-storey house, getting the washing downstairs (with a toddler and a baby in tow).
  2. Our front-loader washing machine takes forever.
  3. The washing line is down the side of the house, surrounded by concrete and in full sun most of the day. I really don’t like having my lily-white kids out there with me, and I don’t like being out there when my kids are napping (I have baby monitor issues!).
  4. I know it would be quicker if I used my tumble dryer, but I’ve had it drummed into me that it’s wasting power/money. We have so many sunny days, it’s even harder to justify. Plus the clothes get seriously wrinkly if you don’t take them out straight away (even with the wrinkle guard mode on my dryer).
  5. Patchy rain is pretty common here in Brisbane, and I can’t easily do the dash outside when the sky gets dark with the toddler and baby.

I’ve set myself the goal of spending 15 minutes doing the laundry 1 or 2 times a day. Here are the little tasks:

  1. Load the washing machine (either before I go to bed, so I can quickly switch it on in the morning or when I find time in my morning routine).
  2. If I put the washing machine on, I try to get it hung out as soon as possible. This usually ends up being at the start of my toddler’s nap.
  3. Here’s the big change for my routine though: I don’t hang it up outside. I hang it on an airer in my laundry room. It takes longer to dry, but I feel much more relaxed knowing I can leave it there as long as I like and it won’t fade, get rained on etc. I also find it much easier taking 1 or 2 kids into the laundry than going outside.
  4. Fold the laundry and put it in the basket. This is usually the day after I’ve washed.
  5. I leave the basket at the bottom of the stairs to get taken up sometime during the day.
  6. When the clothes are put away, I fill the laundry basket with dirty clothes from our hamper and leave it at the top of the stairs.
  7. When it’s brought it downstairs, and it’s sorted it into my hampers (colours, whites/lights/hand-washing/towels) in the laundry room. A full hamper is one load of washing, so I can easily tell which load needs to be done next.

There are a few reasons this works for me:

  1. I have a decent-sized washing machine so I only have to do 2-3 loads a week.
  2. I have a big laundry with plenty of room to keep the airer set up, so my washing isn’t out on display in the house.
  3. I also have a bouncer set up in the laundry to plonk the baby, and my toddler loves sorting the pegs for me!
  4. My kids and I don’t wear clothes that need ironing, and hubby is on his own with his work shirts!

It’s funny how the realisation that I don’t have to do everything in one day has made me so much more relaxed about my laundry routine. Once I’ve actually started just folding clothes, I feel much more motivated to continue on and get the job done. It’s not a perfect routine, and certainly won’t suit everyone, but is working well for me in this season of my life.

How do you manage your laundry (particularly if you have small kids)?

Comments

  1. OneMama says:

    I’ve got a 3 yr old and a 15 month old. We have just recently moved from a 2 storey to a single storey and washing is sooooo much easier! However, my laundry is now half the size and is a through way to the main toilet!

    Means I have to keep my laundry clean and tidy or else it’s just annoying!

    My kids are able to help me out a bit by dragging their laundry baskets (kept in their bedrooms) to the laundry and they like to help load it in the machine, as we have a front loader too.

    I’ve found a 46min cycle for ‘mixed’ and using cold water which is perfect for us. I have learned to think of hanging out washing and folding it up again as theraputic ‘mummy time’. My kids get left inside (there’s not a huge amount of things that can go wrong now!) and spend some time in the sun!

    Ironing I can’t stand, but has to be done every week. I find that once I start I just keep going and it’s done without too much bother. One time I set a time to have it finished by and actually had it done in half the time, meaning it’s only half as bad as I originally thought!

    Oh, and I don’t bother trying to get anyone to help put the washing away because, particularly in my husband’s case, he wouldn’t put it away the way that I would and all his nicely ironed shirts would get smushed up by the pile of jeans and tshirts stuffed in his side of the wardrobe!!

  2. So interesting to hear how someone else copes. Sometimes my washing seems endless! My goal is to complete one load a day – even a small load.

    My kids are bigger now so I don’t have the issue with leaving them in the house, but I do have to have the school uniforms ready to wear – we don’t have enough for a whole week. My laundry is next to their bathroom so I often load the machine at night while they are in the bath. Then in the morning I can turn it on before I have breakfast and by the end of breakfast and kitchen cleanup its ready to hang.

    I too struggle with using the dryer for the same reasons, but I’ve given myself permission to use it on wet or will-be-wet-soon days. At least then the stuff gets dry.

    I bring it in and dump the basket on the couch in front of the TV. At some point in the evening I will try to sit on that couch and automatically start to fold it all. Then I stack it back in the basket to put away and leave it in the hall near the kids rooms. I live in hope that one day they will put it all away but these days its about 50% of the time.

    If I’m really good I’ll do the little bit of ironing straight away each night – usually only 2 or 3 items and then I’m a happy girl!

    A fun tip for when your kids are older: have them throw their washing down the stairs to a basket at the bottom each day. We had stairs as kids and I can remember dropping washing over the stair rails for mum. My hubby’s family had a laundry chute in their house to drop the washing down!

  3. Ladybird Ln says:

    What fabulous idea, I keep finding the laundry piling up, and am trying to find ways to make a routine that works for me. I am trying to get a complete load done a day… I am queen of leaving it in the dryer for a while!

    Carlee
    http://www.ladybirdln.com

  4. Celes :) says:

    Hello! You can’t imagine how useful was this article for me. I have a 1 year old girl, and laundry is definitely the most difficult part of my housekeeping routine. I don’t like doing it and I don’t have enough place to do it easily, so I always find excuses to do something more interesting instead of washing our clothes. I’ll take some of your ideas, and of course I want to read the rest of your blog!
    Hugs from an Argentinian mother 🙂

  5. I just discovered your wonderful blog! Well done to you! Can I just ask where did you get the laundry hamper in this post? Does it have 2 compartments? It looks like exactly what I’ve been searching for for months! Thank you