Keeping Laundry Under Control

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Keeping Laundry Under Control

Do you ever feel like you are drowning in laundry?  I know that with 2 boys, a husband plus myself I feel like I am never done with our laundry.  Over the years I have tried different systems to see which felt more manageable and I want to share with you what works best for me.  Yes, I still do laundry often but rarely do I feel like it’s out of control.  Of course there are the exceptions like when we go on vacation or someone isn’t feeling well, especially if that someone is me. :-)

What works for me may not be what works for you.  It is important to take into account work schedules and personal preference.  Some people prefer to pick a laundry day and get it all done in one day.  I prefer to do a load a day and sometimes, especially on the weekends, I will skip a day.  I find that this method works best for me and it doesn’t allow laundry to accumulate.  I will place a load in the washer in the morning and I will complete that entire load, meaning washing, drying, folding and putting away.  I resist the urge to put another load in the washer because I know that I won’t have time to complete a second load, meaning it would stay in the washer or dryer waiting for me.  I prefer to finish one load in it’s entirety.

Also, I use one detergent for the entire family.  Although detergent can’t treat or prevent allergies, I do have one son whose skin can be sensitive, so I choose the same hypoallergenic detergent for all of us – all® free clear detergent is 100% free of perfumes and dyes of any kind.

Here are my tips for keeping laundry under control:

1.  Keep it pretty

This may sound silly because laundry is laundry, right?  Well, I find that if I am doing laundry in a neat and cute space, I am more likely to want to do it.  At the very least, it makes a mundane task more pleasant.  Organizing doesn’t have to be expensive.  I used the same type of plastic baskets to organize my laundry room and I placed a metal label on each one naming the contents.

You can’t tell in the picture but this laundry closet is in a dark area of the house.  With the green walls and the bright white bins, laundry time is not dreaded.

Keeping Laundry Under Control

2.  Keep it practical

Just because the area is pretty, doesn’t mean that usefulness goes out the window.  If you have a bunch of little items for stain removal, consider placing them all inside a canister so that the laundry room remains organized.  Also, one of my favorite tips is to add a little trash can for disposing of lint.

Keeping Laundry Under Control

3.  Maximize your space

I wish I had a large laundry room but instead I have a closet.  I have used all the vertical space on the side walls to add function and to decorate my space.  Here is a book about housekeeping tips, including laundry tips.  You will also notice a pair of scissors and a little bucket (from the dollar section) with clothespins.  The other metal piece is part of a clothesline that I sometimes use inside the closet.  I mean it when I say that I use every inch!

Keeping Laundry Under Control

4.  Separate laundry by colors but not as much as you think

I would not wash a white shirt with a red pair of pants.  However, if an item has been washed many times and does not bleed, colors can easily be included in the same load as lighter colors – maybe not white, but you get the idea.  The only item that I like to wash completely on their own are towels.  Because of their texture I notice that they can make clothing pill faster.

Also, if you have the space, consider placing 2 hampers in each bedroom so that everyone can already keep their clothing sorted, which makes washing easier.

Keeping Laundry Under Control

I purchased this large container of all® free clear detergent at Sam’s Club because it is such a good value!  However, I will probably transfer the detergent to a smaller container for ease of use.

Keeping Laundry Under Control

This will last us over a month!

Keeping Laundry Under Control

Of course if you use it this way, it is also convenient.  I do follow the directions for use on the packaging as to not over use the product by putting too much product in one load.

A little tip –  this detergent also comes in the form of all® free clear Mighty Pacs®.  If you follow my Instagram, you know that a couple of weeks ago we stayed in a cabin in NC.  They had a washer and dryer in the cabin and I took a few of the pacs with me.  I was able to do laundry everyday and basically came back home with a suitcase full of clean clothes.  Pretty. Awesome.

Keeping Laundry Under Control

5. Maintain your space with a little Spring Cleaning

Although your laundry room’s primary role is to clean items, it can get pretty dirty.   Extend the spring cleaning into the laundry area.  Detergent bottles get full of residue, as do the trays that hold them.  Canisters gather dust.   The washer and dryer also get dirty.  It is important to keep the washer clean so that it keeps doing a good job keeping the family’s gear in top shape.

There are lots of other tips that I can share with you (and I will very soon) but these are the top 5.  We all have to do laundry and the task is never 100% complete (well, maybe for 10 minutes or so) – why not make a space that gets so much use both pretty and functional?  Do you have any laundry tips that you can share with me?  Are you a “laundry day” kind of person or “a-load-a-day” like me?

For more ideas and laundry tips, you can visit the laundry hub here. 

 

How to Fold Towels

That sounds kinda silly right?  I mean we all know how to fold a towel quickly and put it away but don’t you love the way they fold them in the department stores?  Beautiful white towels with no seams visible…Sigh…

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It’s actually pretty easy to fold them like they do in the stores and they look so nice that its worth the extra step.

First, you lay out the towel.  I actually just hold the towel under my chin while I fold but that series of pictures was not flattering AT ALL.  I opted for the couch approach.

I always have your best interest at heart.

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Then fold one side towards the middle.

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Then the other side towards the middle.

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Then fold in half.

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If it’s a small towel then you are done.  If it’s a bath towel, give it one more fold.

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You are done!  The department stores have nothing on you.  Except a full staff to keep things tidy of course…

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I want to start doing some mid-week short posts on simple ideas that you can implement right away.  Last week I did the one on “how to fold your sheets” which you can find here.

What do think about that idea?  Are you enjoying these shorter posts as well?

Until next week!  Happy Folding!

Maria 

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Laundry Room Organization

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I love looking at organized laundry rooms in magazines and commercials.  I’m not sure if it’s the fresh white towels, the clean scented sheets, or the little girl running through the wheat field with her hair flowing.  In those adds, all that is stored in the laundry room is a lonely bottle of detergent and two perfectly folded white towels.  As organized as I am, I can never get my laundry closet to look that neat and if that little girl saw all the stuff I pack in my closet…she would surely keep running…in the opposite direction.

My excuse: I don’t have a laundry room, I have a laundry closet.  My goal is to make it look good so that doing laundry doesn’t feel like such a chore, but the closet is definitely packed!  I have so many things in there and it can be a challenge to make it look uber neat.  So here is my laundry closet…

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Here it is open.  The other door leads to the garage.

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Since its a closet in a small hallway, I had to take pictures in segments so that I can share with you what I keep in there.  Here is one side.

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And the other.

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Now a little more detail…

I like to leave some room on top of the washer and dryer to fold items right as they come out of the dryer.  On top of the dryer I have stain removal powder, a Martha Stewart book that shows you how to clean anything and everything, a white tin that contains towels, and a little IKEA plant for no purpose other than cuteness. :-)

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I purchased the little mint jar from WorldMarket.com and it holds oxy powder.  I use a “green” version of the powder.  The jar is intended for kitchen use but I love how it looks in here and it adds charm to the space.  I added the chalkboard label to the outside and wrote the contents in chalk.

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Next to it is the LAUNDRY tin, which actually hides all those ugly looking floor rags that we all have.  They seem to get uglier with every wash so I wanted them hidden, yet easily accessible since they get used daily.

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Right above is a small shelf that holds my detergent and fabric softener.  Shaklee and Method products are my favorite since my goal is to slowly-but-surely go green in terms of nutrition and home care.

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In the first shelf I have these containers that I purchased at Walmart and they hold all the cleaning rags.  Again, I want them handy but hidden.

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Next to the small bins, I have all my cleaning products separated by brand or function.  I like that these bins are long and I can just pull them out and easily get what is in the very back.

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On the other side of the laundry room I have two large wire baskets (from Target).  One holds miscellaneous laundry related products…

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The other one holds cleaning products.  TIP:  Since the second basket is not at eye-level, I decided to label the spray nozzles with the contents of the bottle.  That way I know what bottle I am pulling out.  Since I always purchase the same brand of cleaners I can just keep using the same labeled nozzle.

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I hooked this little basket to the back of the wire rack and I keep all my new sponges in there.  I really don’t have a place for them in the kitchen and my laundry closet is close to the kitchen, so it works for me.

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In the very side, up against the wall (where it’s hardly visible because it is below the washing machine) I have a tiny garbage can where I throw all the dryer lint.  Above it I have a little pail that I throw pocket change into.  I also have a hook that holds a basket full of “clean-and-single-and-looking-for-a-mate” socks.

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At the very top I have three large laundry baskets.  The area above is large but not easy to access so these baskets hold: gallons of water for hurricane preparedness, empty containers that I have for future projects (blame Pinterest), and one of them is empty just in case I need it for something around the house.

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I use foldable laundry baskets and I just place them in between the washer and dryer.  The machines are so close together that the baskets stay in place.

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I promise I am almost done but I have one more tip!  I place a valet hook on the outside of the door.  I use it to hang-dry items or to hang shirts while I fold the rest of the laundry so that they don’t wrinkle.  I like this hook because it is long enough to keep moisture away from the door if I hang dry a shirt.

I purchased it on Amazon and you can find it “here”.

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That’s it!  Lots of items in a very small space can make it challenging to keep tidy, but its not impossible with the use of containers.  Of course, its not the laundry room in the commercials but this is real life and we need to be realistic with our expectations.  However, by mixing practicality and a dash of decor and you will create a laundry closet that you are proud of.  And now the little girl can run through the wheat field once more!

So now its your turn.  Will you be implementing some of these ideas in your laundry room or can you share with me some of your own?

Happy Organizing!

Maria