Day 3: Home Organization Laundry and the Linen Closet
Originally I thought… hmm.. I should do one post for the Linen Closet and a second post for laundry. But then I found (since I really talk too much anyway) that I had more to say than I thought I did so I need to combine topics. And then I realized my laundry system isn’t really working now so maybe I don’t want to draw attention to it. If I reveal my laundry secrets then you’ll know I’m not perfect. (and if you’ve been reading my Home Organization posts then you’ll know I really struggle with that inner perfectionist.)
Well since we’re talking about laundry (and you’ll know I’m behind in laundry cause the linen closet picture has a big empty space. That’s where the clean towels would go. You know once the ones in the clean basket are folded and the ones in the hamper finally make it through the washer and dryer and get folded). Oh right we were talking about laundry.
As with all other areas of my life,, I’m perfectionist. Fortunately, I’ve come a long way when it comes to washing clothes. (*sh* don’t tell. I’ve regressed with the folding and putting away part.) So here’s my old system (the one I do NOT recommend). Grab a gazillion laundry baskets to use as hamper/sorter things. And if you’re a perfectionist you’ll want them to be the same size and brand and type and all that jazz. Make sure you have plenty of space on your laundry room floor to line those babies up. Now sort your mountain of laundry. Are you ready? Cold wash: light, cold wash: dark, warm wash: light, cold wash dark. cold wash: whites, warm wash: whites, cold wash: baby clothes, warm wash: baby clothes, sheets, towels. Are you exhausted yet? Now you’re going to do a marathon of washing and drying and folding. Why? Because mom always did laundry only one day week so we have to do laundry only one day a week. Except that the baby will cry or need to be fed or something will come up and the laundry doesn’t quite get folded and put away. Laundry sucks. But we’ve got to do all that sorting. The TAG says we have to wash it it in warm water with like colors. The earth will stand still if we don’t follow the tag and do laundry one day a week like mom.
Thank goodness the smell of laundry detergent or something woke me up! I have a love/hate relationship with Flylady (maybe I’ll blog about it someday.) One thing that I did take away from Flylady was that I could wash ALL of my laundry in COLD water. Yes, it’s true. You can wash those items that “wash in warm water” in COLD WATER. Amazing! And despite my deepest fears that I would ruin the clothing, the laundry didn’t get wrecked.
But before I made the amazing discovery of washing ALL clothes in COLD water, I was introduced to the idea one load of laundry a day. Some people are B.O. That is Born Organized (Pam and Peggy explain this concept in the Sidetrack Home Executives book.) I’m not B.O. But my B.O. friend shared with me that she did ONE load of laundry a day. EVERY day. Her house was always clean and tidy and organized. She did ONE load of laundry every day. Really. That’s not how mom did it. But the idea stuck.
<confession time> When we lived in the apartment, I didn’t have a gazillion laundry baskets or space to put them but I did sort all the clothes into piles and continued to do that when we moved into the house and had space for the all the laundry baskets. But by the time the military moved us across the country I was ready to ditch those laundry baskets. < end confession time>
So I had a gazillion laundry baskets but now I did one (or sometime two. I had a growing family.) loads of laundry every day. I just looked to see which basket was the fullest and that’s what I washed.
Did you see the confession above? By the time we moved I had streamlined my laundry and I had a new system. I didn’t sort clothes. I sorted out sheets and towels from the clothes but I did not sort clothes. They all got washed in cold water. Whites, darks, colors. All mixed up. (are you cringing? I did when I read that Flylady did that!) But this made laundry so much easier. I just brought the dirty laundry down and threw it in the washer. I had a system for getting it folded and put away too. And then we moved again. (such is the life of a military family.)
I really do prefer to sort my clothes into darks/colors and whites. We’ve been in this house now for 11 years. Though I’ve regressed with the folding and putting away the basic system I’ve been using is still set up. In my laundry room I have one of those hanging mesh basket thingys. (very technical term). There are two baskets. One holds darks. One holds whites. I have a hamper that holds sheets and towels. Once upon a time I had second mesh basket thingy but it didn’t fit as well into my laundry room. A hamper works better. I just dig through to grab the towels or sheets whichever I am washing.
I do 1-2 loads of laundry Monday through Saturday. I tend to do 3 to 4 loads on Monday and 2-3 on Thursday. I try to avoid doing laundry on Sunday. This method means that you will never be “caught up” with laundry. There will (most often) still be dirty laundry in mesh bag or hamper but I have learned to get over that. I have learned to define “caught up” as not having enough in any category for a FULL washer load. I used to define “caught up” as “nothing dirty but the clothes on our backs.”
Now for the really helpful laundry tip of the day: pin your socks. Yes, with a safety pin. My least favorite part of laundry was socks. I hated mating them. So now we pin our socks. Each bedroom has a magnetic “pin cushion”. When you take your socks off you pin them together and put them in the laundry. They go through the washer and the dryer together. No mating necessary. Just grab the socks and put them in the drawer. It took some time to train the girls but generally speaking it makes finding a pair of clean socks so much easier on Sunday morning when you needed to leave 10 minutes ago for church.
Hm, this post was supposed to be about organizing the linen closet with a short rabbit trail about laundry. Guess it’s more laundry rambling with an after thought of “oh that’s right I’m talking about linen closets.”
I love linen closets. It is hard for me to imagine that there are houses without them. Who designs these things? Certainly not people who value a place for storing clean sheets and towels. And what’s up with NO bathroom storage and NO linen closet. I am thankful that I have a linen closet.
My linen closet is actually not as narrow as this picture implies. It’s not that skinny. The towels go on the empty shelf. There is a lot of space at the top. So I have curtains and mattress pads, quilts and blankets up there. On the next shelf I have tablecloths, some of Supergirl’s blankets and different sheet sets. I don’t do anything fancy with them. I do try to make sure that the sets are together and I have read somewhere a tip where you put the top sheet and the fitted sheet together inside the pillowcase but that doesn’t work for me. There are some blankets on the third shelf. I really should go through them. They are mostly baby blankets. My baby is 13 YEARS old now. They do make great “take outside and sit on the ground” blankets so we keep them around. Yes, those are toys and not linens but I don’t really have a good place for them and Supergirl still plays with them.
I need a new system for getting laundry folded and put away. I’ve conquered Mount Washmore’s sorting and washing and sock side but the folding and putting away grew a new forest that must be remapped.