Ready to get organized? This 52 week organization challenge starts with laundry. Now don’t get this confused with the ‘laundry-room organization’. We’ll hit that challenge in the coming weeks.
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So why laundry first? Well, I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and one of the first thing she starts with is organizing one’s clothes. But before we can tackle that, it makes sense that we at least have most of our laundry done. So, let’s get started on how we can organize our laundry and our laundry routine.
Like most people, I am sure you have a hamper for collecting your clothes. Pretty simple, right? However, if you have children or other people living in your home, chances are you need a system or routine for gathering your laundry.
For example, a few years ago, when my boys were younger, we kept a hamper in our hallway next to their bathroom. That made it easy for them to keep their dirty clothes from ending up on the floor. However, my husband and I were somewhat inconvenienced by having to carry our dirty clothes from the bathroom/bedroom into the hall every day. What I really didn’t like was that it was an eyesore in my hallway.
The simple solution was to get the boys their own hampers and take ours back to our bathroom. But now I had to create a routine for gathering all the clothes to take to the laundry room. Here is what I suggest:
- Make one hamper, your ‘main’ hamper
- Designate a specific time for ‘hamper dumping’
- Don’t neglect that pile of dry clean only
The first thing you want to do is make one hamper your main one. That is, this hamper should be bigger for holding a day’s worth of laundry from everyone in the home. And it should be portable. I found the perfect one a few years ago and it is great.
Not only is it flexible which makes fitting into a small space in my already small bathroom, but it is also tall, light, and has handles for carrying it around easily.
The next thing you want to do is to designate a routine time for hamper dumping. In the morning, I put the main hamper into the hallway where my boys empty theirs into it. They do this everyday after they get up from bed and before they head to the kitchen for breakfast. That way, I only have one hamper to carry and sort in the laundry room.
Finally, when it comes to dry clean only, I suggest getting it done as soon as it needs to go. If not, these pieces end up taking space in the laundry room for weeks or even months until you realize you need them. This happens to me a lot especially when it comes to winter coats and comforters. One trick is to put them in the car so that they are unavoidable. Then, the next time you do errands, you can drop it off at the cleaners.
Sorting the Laundry
Sorting one’s laundry can sometimes feel like a science class when dealing with clothes made of different materials. I’ll be honest, I’m probably doing this wrong but I sort my clothes into 4 main categories: darks, whites, colors, and towels. Naturally, bath rugs, blankets, and kitchen linens are done separately but I’m talking about daily everyday clothing. Click here for expert advice on how to sort your clothes properly.
When sorting clothes, I put them into large pop-up hampers that I have labeled so that hubby (and eventually the kids) know where to put what. To get these labels you see pictured below, click here. To make these labels durable, I laminated them first then pinned them to the hampers using safety pins.
Once a hamper gets full, I sort through them further. For example, I put jeans in with the darks clothes. Once the hamper becomes full, I pile up the jeans and wash them separately. By the way, I really love these collapsible pop-ups. If I ever need to make space I just fold them out of the way and they are also great to take along when vacationing.
Folding Time is Family Time
Before I hit the next topic I just want to suggest that you make doing laundry a family affair. It isn’t an easy thing to sell to other members of the family but I promise it will make doing laundry easier.
First, you should teach your family members, or at least your husband (if he doesn’t know how) to sort, wash, dry, and fold clothes. We don’t like to think about it but if anything happens to the only one who does the laundry then chances are family members will end up wearing smelly clothes. Or someone will end up breaking the washing machine because they didn’t know how to use it properly. Two years ago, I tore my rotator cuff and hubby ended up having to do it all while I was recovering.
As my shoulder got better, folding became family time. My husband would carry and lay out the dried clothing on my bed. Then everyone gathered around the bed and folded their own clothes. Well, eventually, I did recover and guess what? We still gather around the bed and fold our own clothes. We get to talk about our day and sometimes have fun like throwing balled up socks at each other….ahh, fun times!
Create a Laundry Schedule
I’ll be honest I really do not have a laundry schedule. This is because I do approximately one load of clothes a day which has kept my laundry piles from accumulating to the point of no return. However, this might not be the case for you. Chances are if you have a large family or work outside the home during the week, you are left with more than my one pile a day situation. If this is the case, then you may need to create a schedule.Let others in on the 52 week organization challenge by clicking here to tweet!Click To Tweet
Again, I cannot stress the importance of getting other family members involved. If you have more than one pile a day, you should not be the only one doing it all. Work outside the home during the week and just the thought of laundry is enough to make you cry? Then it’s time to delegate.
If your kids are old enough to be at home alone after school, then chances are they are old enough to handle at least one load of clothes per day. Just remember to show them how to sort, add detergent/bleach/softener, and know which clothes to dry and which to not.
Now, if you are absolutely the only one that can and has to do the laundry, then I suggest setting aside one weekend, and knocking all that laundry out. Once the piles become manageable, create a schedule so that you keep up with it.
Well, that is it folks. Remember, create a system for gathering your dirty clothes, learn to sort your laundry, get the family involved, and lastly, prevent clothes from piling up by creating a schedule that works for you and your family.
So tell me, how is your laundry organization coming along? Leave me a comment below. And if you aren’t already a part of the 52 week organization challenge, join us by signing up below and I’ll email you the next challenge with tips, tricks, and other bonuses.
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