This post is linked up to my Thursday Question Blog Hop! Please go HERE to see the original question and add YOUR post or read others' thoughts on this subject!
Laundry... How do you do it? I myself do not generate a large amount of dirty clothes, but lets just say that I am the only one who does not! We have 2 toddlers, one of whom is "freshly potty-trained" (you know what that means... accidents do happen! Especially the kind that involve complete bedding changes in the middle of the night.) and the other of who is still in diapers and has a propensity for ... um... well let's just say that diapers do not exist which can hold all night with him. So not only do I wash a high volume of wet britches and skirts, but I also wind up washing a high volume of toddler-sized bedding. And pillows. And... well you get the picture. This is in addition to the laundry associated with the typical yuck that winds up on a child and everything and everyone around them during a few hours of living life. :)
Then there's my awesome husband. His work has a dress code and when he's on a job site all day, often in the hot sun or un-air-conditioned buildings... well lets just say he can't wear the same clothes twice. So, barring the purchase of a dozen expensive wardrope pieces for work, I need to be on top of the laundry all week so he can at least ARRIVE at work clean and fresh. ;)
Then there's the regular non-clothing items like the adult sheets and the bath towels.
And THEN there's my obsessive nature. I have to wash the throw rugs if they don't look fluffy enough, and I sniff the dishcloth every time I use it to see if it needs washed, and I wash everything from the carseat covers to our shoes to my purse whenever it looks less than sanitary and I can fit it in.
So, how do I get it all done so we don't run out of things? I made myself a schedule that hangs on the laundry room wall. This serves 2 purposes. It keeps me on track so I know what I have to do to catch up if I miss a day, and it is there if my husband ever needs to take over for me, like he will probably have to do for a few days or more when this little bun in the oven arrives.
The thing about schedules is that they can help TREMENDOUSLY but they need to change often, and differ from family to family. What works this month might not next month and what works for me might not work for you. I thought this would be a great post because I've started getting out the baby clothes and washing them up for the coming baby (yes I know I still have 3 months to go- I'd rather have things prepared now and be able to relax in those roasting-alive beached-whale final weeks, KWIM? I have a theory about that... but then that's for another post.) and as I'm having to add the tiny baby things into our family laundry it's throwing off my laundry schedule a wee bit. ;) Which means that it's time to redo the schedule in anticipation of our new bundle of joy! And you know I won't be able to sit down and redo it after the baby is here without falling asleep! ;) I'm going to share my FORMULA for creating a laundry schedule sometime next week but for now, here's an example of my current laundry schedule so you can see how it works. Or, well, how it's supposed to work anyway. Now, I took the paper off the laundry room wall not too long ago and it must have run off on 2 chubby toddler legs or something because it has not been seen or heard from since, so this is by memory, which we know tends to not work properly during pregnancy. So lets hope I am remembering it right! If not then hey maybe that's why the schedule stopped working for me! Haha...
-Soak any stained or dingy whites and lights in OxiClean overnight. I just toss them in right before bed.
-Finish washing the Whites that were soaking overnight.
-Bedding day: Wash all sheets.
-Darks; one load of darks a week is the linty kind that fuzz up all the other darks so I wash them by themselves, usually linty's are on Tuesday with the towels.
-Odds and ends; like carseat covers and throw rugs and anything else that needs wash by itself.
-Whites/lights; always after washing every load of whites/lights I examine each as it's going into the dryer and if it's dingy or the stains did not come out I drape it over the edge of the hamper to air-dry and then it will go in the OxiClean soak on Sunday night to make it pretty again. ;)
-Kid bedding that has been soiled since Monday.
-Darks; one dark load a week is just the blacks to keep them blackest and un-linty, usually the blacks are Thursday's darks.
-Whites/lights; as mentioned, I sort and save out the dingy/stained ones before putting the rest in the dryer.
-Greens/yellows. Yeah I know this is an odd color for a wash load but my family goes through enough laundry to make an entire load of yellows and greens once a week. If I try to put the yellows in with the whites it can sometimes make the load too big to wash, and adding the greens to the darks DEFINATELY makes the load too big to wash. It's just the simplest solution to make a seprate load of the yellows/greens. I do it on Saturday because our nicer clothes are worn on the weekends and most of the yellows/greens are not our nicer outfits so we won't miss them if they're in the washing machine while we are out and about. Sometimes I wait to do them until Saturday evening when we're done our Saturday activities so that if someone wants to wear something again on Sunday that got dirtied on Saturday then I can wash it up with the yellows/greens before bed on Saturday.
-Use lingeree bags (you can get 3/$1 at Dollar Tree!) to keep tiny baby and toddler socks together in the wash! No more dryer eating your kids' socks! I have these mesh bags by the laundry room hamper and as I'm sorting the laundry I put the socks in the bags and then in the color-coordinating hampers. I have found that the max amount for baby socks is 2 pairs per bag or they won't wash and dry well, and for toddler socks it's 2 pairs. I imagine, accordingly, that an older child's socks would be 1 pair to a bag for optimal washing and drying. I think an adult's socks would be much too bulky for this to work but hey, I have not tried it, and I have been known to be wrong on occasion! ;)
-The sooner you get the stain treated, the more likely it is to come out in the first wash. I prefer Shout spray to combat stains. It seems to work the best for me, and all my friends call me the laundry queen and bring me their stained stuff to work on so I like that it makes me look good... Haha! I put Shout on everything... well I make sure to wash it out of my Whites very well, see the next tip for why.
-DO NOT put whites/lights that have been treated with Shout into a washload with OxiClean and soak them! For some reason if you do not do an OxiClean-free light wash cycle first to get the Shout out, it reacts with the OxiClean and yellows your whites. I have then tried, and FAILED, to get this yellowing out. It's permanent in most fabrics. So if you're going to soak it in OxiClean, wash the Shout out of it first! Or just don't use Shout on the whites at all. Now, maybe this has something to do with my fabrics, or my city water, or I don't know what. All I know is that this combination has proven unpleasant results for me and I thought I should warn you!
-Tide To-Go Pen is a lifesaver when you have babies and toddlers. A life saver. Seriously. No mom should be without this in their purse!
-Use half the reccommended amount of laundry soap. Seriously. You really don't need that much. I have toddlers too and I know how gross laundry can get and the only time I use the full amount is on my hubby's work clothes simply because they stink.
-White Vinegar is great stuff. Put some in the fabric softener dispenser instead of fabric softener, and splash some in the filling washer to get out stink. The smell evaporates when you dry them so don't worry about your clothes smelling like vinegar.
- Baking Soda is great for getting out stink too. I've gotten hand-me-downs from heavy smokers and alternated soaking them in Baking Soda, OxiClean, and Vinegar until they were fresh as a daisy. I recently had to do that with the fabric parts of my double stroller that had been stored in the garage and the neighborhood tom cat peed all over it. It smells fine now, thankfully!