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:
- Having a 2-storey house, getting the washing downstairs (with a toddler and a baby in tow).
- Our front-loader washing machine takes forever.
- 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!).
- 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).
- 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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Fold the laundry and put it in the basket. This is usually the day after I’ve washed.
- I leave the basket at the bottom of the stairs to get taken up sometime during the day.
- 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.
- 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:
- I have a decent-sized washing machine so I only have to do 2-3 loads a week.
- 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.
- I also have a bouncer set up in the laundry to plonk the baby, and my toddler loves sorting the pegs for me!
- 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)?