Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Simplify Your Load (the full article)

I love finding ways to simplify my life. Any tip I find that will make my life easier, I am all over it! Some of the best tips I use are related to laundry. I’ll now share the wisdom and creativity I worked so hard to steal from someone else.
My kids 5 and older do their own laundry. I’ve put stickers on the control panel of the washer and dryer so they know where to turn the dials. With the stepstool that stays in the laundry room, it isn’t hard for them to reach the knobs. We don’t sort clothes at all. All our clothes are washed in cold water, so nothing bleeds. Towels and sheets are washed in hot water.
In my laundry room are two baskets: one for stained items and one for clothes that need ironing. Instead of treating one stain at a time, I’ve found it much more efficient to collect the stained items until they make a small load. Then I let the washer fill with hot water, plenty of Oxy-Clean and the stained items. After an all night soaking, they all look amazing and I only have to turn the washer on to finish the job. Oxy-Clean is my best friend in the laundry room. Dawn liquid is my other buddy since it’s perfect for grease stains.
My girls wash their clothes on Tuesdays; the boys wash theirs on Wednesdays. I wash my husband’s and mine and that’s all. For a family of nine, my (laundry) load is light!
When the washer finishes, I remind the kids to move their wash to the dryer. (I didn’t want you to think they don’t need me at all!) When the dryer bell dings, they bring their load into the den and start folding while I read to them. Recently we’ve been reading Mary Poppins, so folding laundry is no chore to them; it’s just something to keep their hands busy while they listen to a story they love. Each of the kids has their own mini laundry basket we call their “clean basket”. As they fold their own clothes, they put them into their clean basket. Then instead of taking turns putting away one item at a time from a big laundry basket, they only put away their own small stash. This saves an impressive amount of time and the task of putting away laundry now seems more doable.
Another big tip I learned from big families is to limit the amount of clothes my kids have. It seems so simple, but so many of the clothes they own rarely get worn. Why am I keeping clothes they don’t wear? Generally the answer is because I’ve developed an emotional attachment to an item of clothing! I bought a dress at a great sale. It doesn’t quite fit right, but sure is adorable and I got it for a steal! This kind of silly thinking keeps their drawers overstuffed and their closets crammed. I realized as I was de-cluttering recently that my son had almost 10 dress shirts. Does he really need to go through an entire season without ever wearing the same church shirt twice?? Considering that there’s a charity calling every week or so wanting my discards, I may as well load up that box with good clothes we’re never going to wear.


Becky said...

Thank you so much for your tips. I am SO EXCITED to try your crockpot recipes. I've always wondered how large families do it. Thank you for being willing to share. I want so much to be a good homemaker, wife, and mother but I get overwhelmed easily. It is so great to learn from a pro like you. You inspire me : )

<>< Becky Avella (From AOH group)

Anonymous said...

I too have found how easy it is to teach your kids how to take part in the chores in the house. It does help out a lot.

Take care.
ZMommy (Zinnada Hodges)

The Herd said...

I love your ideas! All of them, actually! Thanks for putting the full article on:). I love reading your posts

shipra said...

more great tips. Thanks