Friday, June 8, 2018

"Laundry Boot Camp" - Laundry in ONE Day!

This is the post you've been waiting your whole life to read. Let me tell you a bit how it got started. A few months ago I saw a meme on a friend's Facebook page about laundry going all week long and never really being finished. Everybody seemed to identify with it. It was one of those cases where you assume everyone does things the same way you do - until you realize they don't! I had no idea so few people do their laundry in one day. I've always done it in one day, even when I had 4 small children.

Back to my friend's thread, I detailed how I do laundry in one day and someone else (Shannon Sands, Birth Boot Camp Instructor in Omaha, NE) commented and said it was amazing and called it Laundry Boot Camp. At our Birth Boot Camp Be Amazing Retreat in April, I promised to write a blog post about it, and here it is! 

First, I've always done laundry in a day since I first started doing laundry as a young teen. Washed, dried, folded, hung, put away. If I had laundry going all week long, I imagine all of those steps would never be completed. It's a commitment, no doubt. But your life will be simpler, tidier, and more organized. You'll have extra time and more sanity, I promise.

Step by step to have your laundry done in a day:

Step 1: 
Pick a day and stick with it. You cannot run errands on laundry day. This is a day to stay put. I love laundry day. I get so much done on this one day.

The day you choose might change during different times of the year (soccer season, school year, summer, etc). My schedule revolves, largely, around our electric co-op. We are charged for the highest 30 min (and then multiplied) over each month between the hours of 5AM-9AM and 5PM-9PM from Oct 1 - May 31. From June 1 - Sept 30, we don't run laundry between 2PM-8PM. Crazy, huh? Weekends are a free-for-all, so that's when my kids do their laundry.

My laundry day is Monday. 

Step 2: 
Be sure your laundry room has everything you need. 
*  A pole to hang laundry and hangers
*  Hangers 
*  An extra place to hang drip-dry clothes
*  Detergents, etc are probably already in your laundry room

Detergents, etc
Pole and Hangers! A must have!

Step 3:
Start first thing in the morning.
In the summer, I start laundry, often, before I even make my bed. I need to get it all washed and dried before 2:00 because of the co-op. In the winter months, I have the laundry all sorted by 8:30. I do usually throw a cold wash in at 8:30 so I'm ready to start the dryer by 9:00.

Step 4:
When you sort, put your piles in the same place every week. 
This step may sound silly, but I can sort laundry super fast because I don't have to think about it. These are my piles: whites, blues, gray/olive, dark, jeans, reds, towels, and delicates. Sometimes there are 2 piles of whites and darks. I always have at least 7 loads per week, sometimes close to 10.

Sorted laundry

Step 5:
Decide who you are doing laundry for. 
Of course, you'll decide what is right for your family. I've washed, dried, and hung laundry for my kids until the summer before high school. I know many families have their kids start doing their own laundry before this. Whatever works for you. I've only done laundry for 3 people for 3 years now. It's bliss! 

The night before laundry day, I have baskets and hangers brought to the laundry room or wherever I sort laundry. In this house, my bedroom and laundry room are side by side, so laundry gets sorted in my bedroom. If they don't bring their baskets and hangers before laundry gets under way, their laundry won't get done. I don't gather it for them. Trust me, it'll only happen once.

Step 6:
Stay nearby and aware of when your washer, and especially your dryer, stop. 
This doesn't mean you sit in front your washer all day, but you don't go do yard work either. I am upstairs most of the time anyway, but even in my other houses, I was just ... aware. When the dryer stops, DROP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and deal with laundry. You must keep it going.

Step 7:
Appropriately deal with the clothes from the dryer.
When taking clothes from the dryer, do not dump it all in the laundry basket. This is where the breakdown will occur if you let it. The clothes should still be warm and "fluffy." If you are removing something that would typically be ironed, hang it immediately, like the minute you pull it from the dryer. I do NOT iron, so this is crucial!

If it's not something that has to be hung right now, place it on top of the dryer. All folding laundry goes in the basket. 

Hang dress shirts, etc. immediately!

Folded laundry in basket; hanging laundry (t-shirts, etc) on the dryer

Step 8:
Start the washer for the next load.
I use Scentsy Washer Whiffs so I throw those in with my laundry detergent before adding clothes so they can dissolve. My washer fills for a few minutes so I make use of that time by hanging the clothes on top of the dryer. I always have enough time to do it, especially if I'm hanging clothes from just one load. Do not get behind on this! Resist the temptation to do something else while the washer fills. 

Some people put their clothes in first and then the detergent (my children included and they SUCK at getting their laundry done in a day!) so they don't have that "fill" time. If you do that, fine, but don't walk away until the clothes from the dryer are hung. Again, this is crucial is getting all the laundry done in one day. It won't be a big deal if you hang it now. If you wait to hang all your laundry at the end of the day, it really will be overwhelming.

Up next in the washer!

Step 9:
Be mindful of the time and what you are putting in next.
If I have to run to town to pick up a child (only one left without a drivers license!), I need to be sure that what sits in the dryer will be ok to sit and not need to be hung immediately. Perfect loads are jeans or towels. I am always calculating and looking at the time.

Step 10:
Delicates - two for one.
My delicates all wash together on a cold hand wash cycle and I hang everything to dry. I can easily get a load of delicates washed and hung and then another regular load washed in the time a load goes through the dryer. Again, watch your time and listen for the washer to stop if you have delicates in.

Step 11:
Folding laundry.
Once my kids were about 3 or 4, they started folding their own laundry. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I take that basket from the laundry room and dump it right in the middle of my bed. It actually sits there until most, if not all, of the laundry is through the washer and dryer. And then it's back to sorting. Each child had their spot on the bed. Well, my mental spot. I just sort and throw. I fold mine and David's laundry, as well as the towels AND THE SOCKS! The whole process takes about 15-20 min. All that is left on the bed are piles that others need to come get. I let them know when their "folded laundry" and "hanging laundry" is ready. Let's face it, they are terrible at folding laundry. I taught them. They know how, but they usually just pick it up, take it to their rooms, and stuff it in drawers. I don't care.

The pile of laundry to be sorted and folded

Step 12:
A few tips regarding hanging laundry.
If you are doing laundry for several people, have their "spot" on that laundry pole. I've had some laundry racks that had dividers, and I liked that a lot. It was easy to keep track for me and for them. I don't have that in this house, but since I'm only doing laundry for 3 people, it hasn't been a problem. I do find myself taking hanging laundry to the closet (mine and David's) a few times during laundry day so there continues to be enough room on the pole for items as they come out of the dryer. 

Step 13:
Put all the baskets away and enjoy your week! 
Congratulations on all that you got done today in addition to the laundry!

Empty baskets ready for the week!