Saturday, April 19, 2014

Laundry Sanity

Laundry:  it never ends.

The more people you have, the more of it is generated.

At some time when the kids were little, I found some pop-up hampers and we used those for a while as the receptacle for dirty clothes. Then those ended up just being utilized as laundry baskets, and I found another pop-up hamper that I could use as a dedicated laundry hamper because it hung from the closet doorknob (found it cheap cheap cheap in the Target Dollar Spot).

And that worked.  Until the kids got bigger, messier, and their clothes took up more space, and then essentially broke the pop-up hamper under their weight.

After Christmas I was at Target looking for some solutions for toy storage, and they were having their big storage sale, and I happened upon the Lamper.  It's basically a tall laundry hamper that could double as a laundry basket when needed.  So, I bought one in black for the kids' room.

And then, I saw that they had it in teal.  And upon further research, I found that Walmart had it in white.  That gave me an idea.  Over spring break, I went and got one in each color (white, teal, black), and now these lampers are what we are using as our dirty-laundry-sorting system.  The system hasn't been in place long, but there are no and have been no dirty clothes on the bathroom floor for a couple of weeks, and I'm telling you that this is amazing, and a step in the right direction (not tripping over Mount Washmore on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night)!

I've had various sorters before (one a pop-up tri-compartment thing from when I was single/unmarried, another one from FlyLady that I used when Eli was away at JAG school), but after being married and putting two people's worth of clothes and linens in there, they were too small, and Eli wouldn't use them.  I think I like having the three separate baskets because when one gets full, I just have to take it to the laundry room, put the clothes in, and then leave the basket there for the duration of the wash/dry cycle, and then use it to bring the clothes in to our room, (where, truthfully, they may or may not get folded...hey, baby steps here, baby steps) and return the lamper to the closet.  Also, the lampers are just the right size to have one full load of laundry in them when they get full.  And they're large.  And they're being used.  Need I say more?

The other sanity-saver in my life these days is one that I give all credit to my oldest sister.  We've been using it for a couple of years, but I am still amazed at the wisdom.  Stacey mentioned to me, back when Elsie and Oscar were little little, that when her two were little she used a shoe organizer to put their clothes in "tacos" to plan for the week.  So, I went out and got this self-standing 10-compartment shoe organizer from Target and have been using it ever since.

We fill the compartments with "tacos" on Sunday night after doing laundry on the weekend, and there are five outfits for Oscar and five for Elsie.  The element of choice is there, but I get to pair the outfits.  On school mornings, they wake up, go to the organizer and grab an outfit and get dressed.  The end.  You know, when we keep up our routines.  It's not perfect, but it's waaaaay better than sorting through the clean laundry pile that lives in our room.  :)

Something else that I tried this fall that worked well was to have only 7 outfits for the kids--seven pants and seven long-sleeved shirts.  Period.  So, yes, they wore the same clothes to church every Sunday.  Didn't bother me.  This worked great until it started getting warmer and each child, in each a separate week, came home two of the days with holes in the knees in two pairs of their pants.  I knew I could send O to daycare with holes in his pants.  But, it gets a little more tricky to navigate sending E to school with holes since there's this whole dress code thing.  Turns out that the elementary schools don't have as aggressive a stance on holes as the middle and high school--thank goodness.  Now we're into warmer weather, and shorts and short-sleeved shirts fit better in the organizer.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do when their clothes get too bulky for the organizer (because they've GROWN)--this system is just working so well for now!  So, if you have any ideas, let me know!!


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