Monday, January 30, 2012

Keeping Order in the Laundry Room

I love order and structure. Acutely (visually) aware of my surroundings, I find myself perpetually putting things in place as I walk about the house going from task to task.

When I think back to my early years, I'm not sure where the strong desire to have order began, but as long as I can remember, I have functioned best when things around me were neat, clean and organized.

I know some of my readers are looking for ideas to bring more order to their homes, so I thought I'd share a few tips that have helped me.

First, the laundry room.

TIP #1: You need tools to work with.

1. a mesh net laundry cart to separate dirty laundry
(I can't remember where I got this. Maybe Lillian Vernon. It's several years old.)

2. a hanging rack and plenty of hangers
(I think this rack came out of an old house my folks tore down years ago.
It has been such a handy find for me!  Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

4. a drying rack for whites that you don't want yellowed in the dryer
 and for garments that need to lay flat to dry
(I found this one at Target.)

5. a folding counter or table (with a basket to store spare socks till the matching one shows up!)

6. laundry baskets (one for each member of the family and one for linens)

7. a cabinet for supplies like detergent, bleach, Biz-my favorite stain remover, fabric softener, dryer sheets, tennis balls for fluffing large comforters 

8. an ironing board and iron
(I got this hanging ironing board at Target, but I don't recommend it.
It is flimsy. I use a second ironing board that is in my master closet much more often. It is handy to have one in the laundry room though. It works well for light weight cloth napkins and the like.)

9. a deep laundry sink for soaking and hand washing

To keep on top of laundry and my laundry room:

1. I have trained my family to drop laundry down the laundry chute (well, most of the time they do it for me) which lands in a closet at the back of my laundry room.
Checking it daily, I sort it as soon as I see it.

2. Once I have enough darks or whites to do a decent sized load, I get it started.

3. I set a timer sometimes since I have a large home and have trouble hearing the laundry "we're-all-washed " song from my washer.

4. As soon as it's washed (almost without exception) I tend to it; put in what belongs in the dryer and get it going, at the appropriate temperature, while I hang or lay flat those kinds of items which do not go in the dryer.

5. At that point, another timer is set, or I just stay where I can hear the dryer "song," and when the clothes are done, I immediately--as often as possible--tend to them. I hang everything I can so that it is less likely to have to be ironed. I fold each person's to-be-folded items and place them in the appropriate basket. Of course, there are times when I am not able to get to the dryer as soon as it finishes. I always set it on "wrinkle prevent" so it'll keep tumbling off and on till I can get to it, and every once in a while I have to use my "steam wrinkle care" setting if I just cannot get to it before wrinkles are set deeply.

One thing I've never done is iron everything that needs it immediately after doing laundry--I have one friend who does that. I admire her but have never been able to get myself to do that. I iron as I need an item right before wearing it if it needs ironed.

Well, that's the system and the tools that help keep order in my laundry room.
 I'm always looking for suggestions to make my system better.
 Feel free to share in the comment box!

I hope this helps someone catch the delight in laundry duty. Make sure you buy yummy smelling detergent and fabric softener; that adds a extra sense of delight. I see laundry as just one more way to bless my family. I have a favorite sign in my bathroom which says:

"I will be a blessing to my family and my home, and there shall be showers and showers of blessing."

Doing their laundry is just one way to shower them with blessings.