Laundry on a Clothesline
When my children were very young, I didn't really have any sort of a system for laundry. I just did loads when we ran out of clean clothes to wear. :) We were constantly searching through the laundry basket to find some item of clothing. I don't know that I saw the bottom of that basket for years. This, of course, resulted in lots of tension around the house when Peter needed a baseball uniform for the game in half an hour and it was crumpled up on the laundry room floor, or Mike needed his blue dress shirt to wear to work and it was wet and sour because I left it in the washer all night.
I was finally forced to change my ways when we put our first little house on the market. Cindy was a tiny baby and all seven of us were crammed into three bedrooms and 1300 square feet. I cleaned and de-cluttered like a madwoman for a week before the "for sale" sign went up (with lots of help from retrohousewife).
I soon came to realize that often realtors would only give 15 minutes notice (if that) before bringing clients by to see the house. I HAD to stay on top of things. The large laundry room was a great feature of the house and I wanted to show it off. That couldn't happen if they had to climb over a mountain of dirty clothes to even get in the door. :)
That was when I decided to get a system in place to make sure that my laundry stayed done. My goal was to keep the laundry done often enough that there was never a huge pile or laundry forgotten in the washer or dryer.
The first thing I did was to buy a larger laundry basket. Seven people make a lot of laundry and even if I did laundry every day, one of those tiny round baskets wasn't going to work. Next I had a talk with the kids. Everyone but Cindy was big enough to put their laundry in the basket every morning (even two year old Marcia). If their laundry was found anywhere but the basket...early bedtime.
I decided that with the size of our family, I needed to do laundry EVERY day to stay on top of it. I got into a routine of starting a load first thing in the morning (I still do this) and I also realized that I had to fold and put away the clean laundry immediately. No more piling load ofter load on the couch or my bed to fold "later". I had the kids help me listen for the buzz of the dryer and remind me to get the clothes out.
Once I got into the habit of doing laundry every day it was such a relief! It was amazing how it lessened the stress level in our house. No more frantic searching for matching socks, no more clean clothes left to wrinkle. I finally mastered the laundry and it was no longer mastering me!
Each aspect of housekeeping has to be planned and thought about. I guess my plan was hoping that if I ignored Mt. Washmore long enough it would go away. :) If you are in a laundry nightmare, I want to encourage you to learn from my mistakes. Sit down and work out your own laundry system. If you have lots of small children at home, as I did then, your system will of course be different than an empty nest couple or a couple with teenage children.
Let's conquer Mt. Washmore! :)
P.S. We sold the house in only four weeks and got our asking price.