We’re going to start a new series here at Deriving(mommyhood) on how we manage to keep our house from being a complete disaster, despite having small children, animals, hobbies, and lives to attend to.  Personally, I need to have a semi-clean house in order to sleep well at night, but I’m a little crazy if you haven’t figured that out already.  In general I like to tackle at least one space a day, but things like laundry and floors have to happen more often.

I know laundry is a much hated task amongst the average person, but it’s actually one of my least-loathed.  Bathrooms and mopping?  I can definitely turn over to someone else, any day.  Here’s how I survive laundry, hopefully it makes you hate it a little less, too.

First, I do a load of laundry nearly everyday.  Why?  Because 8 loads of laundry on one day is horrible to even think about.  I generally decide in the evening what should be washed and go ahead and start it before bed.  I keep all of our laundry separated, there’s a basket for colors, one for towels/rags, a basket for whites, another for delicates, a diaper pail for our cloth diapers (ah, potty training….that’s a whole other post) and a basket in each of the kid’s rooms.  Whichever is full is up next.

Best case scenario I’ll wake up to a load of wet laundry in my machine.  Sometimes I’ll run the machine in the morning instead, but if it’s all washed when I wake up, I can get a head start hanging it out on the clothesline before the kids wake up, or while they are eating breakfast (normally a pretty calm part of the day for us).  If that doesn’t happen, I just take everyone outside mid morning when the machine stops for some playground time.  I have the kids help load and unload the washing machine–they love that part.

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“Like this mommy?”

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I figure you might as well get them in the habit when they’re happy and willing to help!

I use a clothesline for everything.  It’s out by the playground, so the kids are occupied while I hang up the clothes (when they were pre-walking, I would wear them in a baby carrier for this part).  I turn everything right side out and match socks as I go.  We generally have enough sunny days in the week to never run the dryer.  It might seem like more work, but I’m going to have to take the kids outside to play whether I use a clothesline or not, and I think it saves time when it comes to sorting and folding (which I think is probably what makes laundry so detestable).

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We’re trying to lower our electricity bill and after doing some research realized the dryer is an energy eating machine! You could cut your bill in half if you just use some good old sun outside.

You know Arsenic Hour, that time before dinner when everyone is a little tired, a little hungry, and a lot cranky?  This is when we go outside and get the clothes off the line (here in Florida, they are dry in probably 2 hours, but I leave the laundry out all day anyway).  A little fresh air during the late afternoon makes everyone feel a lot better (including Emmit, the dog).

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I miss those afternoon Florida storms.

As I take things down, they get folded.  Sometimes I even take things down in order and sort as I go so that putting it away is super quick.  Everything is super crisp and fresh smelling from time in the sun (bonus, most stains are removed just by some sunshine).  Even if I don’t get everything put away immediately, I have a basket of folded clothes, not a big clump from the dryer.  Much better to sit around–not getting wrinkly!

I also only have one laundry basket for clean laundry.  This keeps things from piling up since I have to put away what’s in it before I can do another load of laundry.  For the kid’s clothes, I put them in piles and have them help me put them away where they go.

And that’s it!  Anyone else use a clothesline?  What strategies do you use to keep laundry from taking over your life?

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