I get asked questions a LOT.
I guess I should specify that I am talking about questions from adults as I am sure you aren't interested in the 17.423 BILLION questions I get from my kiddos each day!
Of course the all-time NUMBER ONE question I get asked is:
Are ALL these kids yours?!?!? ***"Ummm...yes?"***
Followed closely (by the rude ones) with:
"Same dad?" ***"YES!!!"***
The SECOND most-asked question is:
"How in the world do you manage with 8 kids?"
Oh! That's an EASY one (pick me, PICK ME!!!)
"One word: GOD. The end."
Since both of those questions (assuming you wouldn't be one of the rudies to ask about my baby daddy), are now both answered & settled, then I guess this post can be over.
Nah...that's too easy!
After the nosy questions, come the more practical ones like the one I am actually blogging about today:
How do you manage all of that laundry???
Whew! That one is so much easier to stomach, although not one I can easily answer in a casual conversation in the aisle of Wal-Mart. Especially since, I don't have the pictures with me to make it more interesting!
So, now you know the topic of this blog for today...it's decision time...
Do I want to keep reading & wonder if my life will be permanently altered?
Do I just not care how all of those kids stay looking & smelling clean?
For those of you who would like to be enlightened, here we go.... (for the others...see you next time).
This is the meager wall of décor in my room of toil. It is meant to cheer the place up, but let's face it, laundry isn't cheery. Although, I do confess...I really do not mind doing laundry! For reals!!
Dusting...well....I enjoy drawing pictures in dust...but not cleaning it up. Don't judge.
I have a method for my madness: a schedule. For those of you who know me well, stop rolling your eyes. For the rest of you, go ahead, be impressed...the others are just rude.
Here it is:
Mondays: Towels & Linens & such
Tuesdays: Mine & hubby's (and most of the little girl's) laundry from the basket in my bathroom.
Wednesday: Kiddos #3-#8's laundry
Thursday: Iron & have them put away
Sunday: NEVER on a Sunday.
OH, and rarely in the evening, although I have been known to throw something in overnight.
If you are wondering about girlies number 1 & 2, well, I do believe that 17 & 19 year old young women can take care of their own laundry. We are fortunate to have an older set of washer & dryer at our guest/game house so they go there unless they can sneak under my laundry radar & put a load in & push GO before I yank their ears. (Their clothing tends to ahhh....linger....in the machines....) Before we got a new set & moved the old ones next door, the girls had assigned days to do their clothing, usually the weekend.
First Things First: Sorting
I would like to say, the following system works like a charm. Goes off with out a hitch. Floats like a butterfly (?)
It really isn't flawless considering the users, but it is a HUGE help to me, to say the least.
Here it is, in all it's brilliance:
I know, RIGHT???
Take a moment to compose yourself, I'll wait.
Seriously, there is a method here that may not be instantly obvious to the casual observer. Here's what we know that you don't:
1. The basket in the foreground is for JEANS ONLY. Not random denim. Not blue jean skirts. Not a denim shirt. Jeans. Just. Jeans. With three rapidly growing boys who like to do all manner of disgustingly boyish stuff, it was a great idea to relegate one whole basket for this purpose. They get nasty. I don't want to sort nasty. The end.
2. The next basket is relegated to DARK CLOTHES. This is a fuzzy area for the smallish & uneducated bunch, but they get it right more often than not. Really. When I first set these baskets up, I tied bits of ribbon, fabric or embroidery floss in the colors that I wanted to see in these baskets. This went a long way towards the success of this program. It was also educational...and, hey, that scores one for me in the amazing mom category, right? Anyway, dark clothes can also be heavier stuff like jackets in the winter. I may or may not do a further sort depending on how much is in there on Wednesdays.
3. Next comes the BRIGHT CLOTHES basket. See above for how I let them know what I wanted to see in here. Then keep reading as to the success of said plan.
4. Now we come to the LIGHT CLOTHES basket. Surprisingly, this is the one they make the least mistakes with. I guess brights & darks are a bit random for the elementary crowd to differentiate. Anyway, until this week, this is where the undies, jammies, socks & the like have found their resting spot. Now, we have a new plan for the undies & socks & the basket is for all other light colored clothing that don't fall in the sock/undie category.
5. The very last basket by the refrigerator is for TOWELS, CLEANING RAGS, & APRONS. I believe that list is pretty self-explanatory.
And THAT, in a nutshell, is how our laundry is sorted by the little people in our home. I do have to make some adjustments as I wash &, when I see a consistent faux pas, I call them all in the laundry room & point out the discrepancy & how to avoid it next time. That's all it takes!! I mean, after the 4th or 5th time, that is.
UNDIES & SOCKS: A SOLUTION
Problem: Socks & Underwear. 'Nuff said, right?
In our house, the middle crowd's unmentionables are crazy hard to tell what belongs to who & sizes & such. To me, THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT AREA NOT TO GET CONFUSED ON!!!!
Two words: shared. underwear.
Excuse me while I run to throw up!
Ok, I'm good.
Anyway, it was a rather troubling situation & one that I could not always count on the proper owners to step up & correct.
To sort socks.
I got a heavenly inspiration one day (or it could have been inspired by Pinterest, but, seriously, what IS the difference?)
Here it is:
Grab a tissue.
Go ahead & be moved.
*sigh* A thing of true beauty.
All I do is take these babies off the hook, zip 'em up, toss 'em in &, when dry, hand the bag to the kiddo to put away. I did myself proud this time. I won't even try to be humble about it. I have amazed me.
Here is the breakdown of this beauteous idea:
1. A magnetic curtain rod (I found this at Big Lots).
2. The side of something metal (I used a refrigerator)
3. Mesh laundry bags (Dollar Store)
4. Embroidery floss (or ribbon)
5. Shower curtain hooks (cheap...don't remember where)
Each child already has a color that they associate with things that are theirs (drinking cups...). So, I just used those colors. I wove (weaved?) it through the holes & the zipper pull.
I explained to the kiddos that, when they take off their undies/socks, rather than put them in the laundry basket, they will put them in their own personalized laundry bag. I told them what my role was in this plan & what I expected from them when my turn was over. We all shook hands & agreed it was an amazing plan & moved forward.
It has worked like a charm!!! HIGH FIVE ME!!!!
NEXT UP: FOLDING/HANGING/IRONING & PUTTING AWAY
This may be where I lose more of you. I do understand that the washing & drying of laundry is necessary, otherwise we would all walk around in our birthday suits....ewwwwwww!!!!
However, some of you (you know who you are) find the next area negotiable...iffy, even. Hey, you might even see drying your clothes as optional. I know who you are...I see you a miiiile away.
Anyway, I cannot STAND laundry that is not completed. Maybe it's the sheer massiveness of the piles 'round here. Maybe it's my OCD to just get a job finished.
DISCLAIMER: Just because I say all of this DOES NOT in any way mean that I always do this. However, this is my blog, so I can lead you to believe I am perfect, if I wanna.
So, in a perfect world (or even a decent week), here's what I do:
As I pull the clothing from the dryer, I immediately hang or fold them. This much is 100% true. I do this every time.
As I hang the clothing, I separate the ones that need ironing...all the while wondering: How in the world did this make it into our closets???? This, I do about 90% of the time.
Then...here's where the percentages drop drastically)...I iron them & have the owner put them away. I am somewhere in the 75 percentile on this one. I do, however, rarely go more than 2 weeks without completing this process or breaking down and paying a teenager-type person to do it for me. It's a win-win situation.
I really don't mind ironing. I like the instant gratification of it all.
Ironing is made even better when you own this baby:
Oh, yeah....best invention ever!
Notice my little iron cubby...cute, isn't it? That part comes with the unit. However, the nifty little button at the top is my amazing husband's input. See, whenever the door comes open, the switch is activated & the plug is turned on, which means the iron is turned on (and vice versa when the door is closed!) ANNNNND, when the door opens, the light automatically comes on, too. Oh, my! SWOON!!!!
I will put in an unpaid ad here: save the coins you find in the pockets while doing laundry & buy yourself a Rowenta iron. It's worth every single penny!!
As for the stuff that I fold, I put them in piles....miles & miles of piles on my dining room table. At their spot.
They may not eat until the clothing is properly put away. Score one for mom!
That may be all...I think it is.
In case you are wondering, no, I don't have a large laundry room. Here are some photos from different angles showing off the set-up. It's not Pinterest-worthy, but it is a very hard working room in our home.
The view from our back door into the laundry room. The door on the left leads to the kitchen. The door at the end leads to the hallway leading to the kiddo's rooms.
This is the view from the hallway towards the back door.
One other thing. My washer & dryer are a Whirlpool Duet. It's my second set. Yes, they are expensive. Yes, they are worth it. I got my first set (now the older one next door) 11 years ago, and I still haven't worn them totally out! When I went to get a newer model....I stayed with what worked for me. I highly recommend the front-loading machines (plus, they can be stacked....saving room). No, I did not receive any compensation for this advertisement. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
This is a total Pinterest hack that has been one of the bestest things ever! I use this shoe hanger for all sorts of stuff!
Here is my view whilst folding laundry at the dryer....right out at the pond. Makes the job just a bit more pleasant, I think.
Ok, I believe that is enough about the Young's dirty laundry.