Here it is: My Laundry Day in all of its Glory

Last week when I made the shocking statement that I was beginning to enjoy Laundry Day, I was asked by MJ to explain the day in more detail. With all of the things going on in the life of a busy woman, the thought of devoting an entire day to laundry is daunting.

I know this. Because remember, I’m no expert here. I’m just a woman who has struggled with laundry forever, trying every “method” of keeping it under control that I found. So far, this method is working for me.

laundry day

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that focus is one of my big problems. Since there are a million (often worthwhile) things that I’d rather do than clean house, housekeeping issues only come to my mind when they are a total necessity. And although a bathtub or closet can go a VERY long time before my slob-brain deems it a total necessity, laundry doesn’t work that way since my husband refuses to go commando.

So when the necessity arose, he or I would do what was absolutely needed. Undies, socks, kids’ school uniforms, etc. were given top priority and everything else was given “if I can” status.

I rarely “could.”

And even when I felt inspired to do several loads of laundry, I was never caught up. I did try the one-load-a-day method, but even though I made it the focus of my non-negotiable tasks for weeks on end, I would still forget (either entirely or one step here-and-there) and get behind, never to catch up.

A while back, I decided to do a Laundry Day. Years ago, I did this, and I look back at it as the only time in my life when I had laundry under control.

So here it is . . . my Laundry Day:

On Sunday night, I go through the house and collect dirty clothes. Then my little not-a-real-hallway in front of the laundry room becomes my dumping/sorting ground. For the last several weeks, I’ve counted my loads, and there have been 6 to 7. The first week I did this, there were more loads, but that was much more than one week’s worth of laundry. I now feel like I actually know how much laundry we create in a week as a family of 5.

Yes, I’m literally posting a picture of our dirty laundry for all the world to see. For some reason, the piles don’t look as big from above (standing-on-a-chair-above), but they are full loads of laundry.

Sunday night, as soon as I have sorted, I start one load of something that takes longer to dry. Towels are good because the laundry room is right next to our bedroom and jeans have snaps and rocks-in-the-pockets which can be quite noisy. I put this load in the dryer before we go to bed, and load the washer to be started in the morning.

Here is how today went:

6 a.m. – Got up, started the washer and turned on the dryer for a bit longer.

6:30 a.m. – Took the towels out of the dryer and dumped them on the loveseat. Transferred washed load to dryer and started another load in the washer.

6:45 a.m. – Kids got up and had breakfast.

7:20 a.m. – Took boys to school.

7:45 a.m. – Returned home and worked on my Bible Study while my daughter played with friends whose mom had just dropped them off at our house.

8:20 a.m. – Dryer buzzer went off and I switched over the load. Dumped dry clothes on my (made) bed, laying school pants/shirts flat to reduce wrinkles.

8:30 a.m. – Made multiple scheduling phone-calls. Began pulling years’ worth of “stuff” out from under my bed, pausing often to dress Polly Pocket.

9:30 a.m. – Dryer buzzer went off and changed over a load of laundry. Dumped dry clothes on my bed.

9:40 a.m. – Cut up fruit for snack-time and went back to playing the part of archaeologist as I cleaned underneath my bed.

11:00 a.m. – Made lunch.

11:30 a.m. – Dryer buzzer went off and changed over another load. Dumped clothes on bed.

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Folded towels that were on the loveseat.

12:00 p.m. – Turned on computer and started writing (and playing).

1:05 p.m. – Dryer buzzer went off and changed over load, dumping dry clothes on bed. The load that I put in at this point is my next to last one. The jeans are in the dryer and since they’ll take longer to dry, I’ll actually wash two small loads while they’re drying, and then dry those together. One load contains a king size sheet and a pillow I found under my bed. The other is made up of three dark towels that I didn’t want to wash with anything else.

So, by the time I return from picking up the boys at 3:15, I should be ready to put my last load in the dryer. Then, at that point, I’ll work on folding and putting away. And since the folded clothes are on my bed, where I’ll want to SLEEP tonight, I’ll get them put away before bedtime.

The main things I like about this system is that I don’t have to prioritize. There were items in my laundry room that had been waiting ages to be washed. They would have been used if they were clean, but I didn’t HAVE to have them, so they always moved down on the list, below necessities. This is embarrassing, but usually when I finally got to an item like that, it was too small. Total waste of space and money . . . . and energy.

I also can see easily which clothes are actually needed. By Sunday, I know that anything that is still clean in the drawers is not truly necessary. That doesn’t mean I’ve pitched all but 7 days worth of clothing, but it has made it easier to purge.

I also found it very interesting to see the variety in drying times of my loads today. Several weeks ago when I mentioned that my towels and jeans often took extra time to dry, a couple of you suggested that I should check my dryer to be sure there wasn’t lint build-up in places other than the normal lint-screen. I thought it was a great idea . . . and have been meaning to . . . but . . . well . . . I haven’t.

My dryer has “Sensor Drying” which I didn’t realize could make such a huge difference in drying times. One load above took two hours, while my small socks and undies load took less than an hour. That’s a big difference. Now I’m motivated to check the dryer, and besides, if I pull it out and mess something up, I don’t need to do laundry for another week anyway, so hubby could work on it next weekend! Even the fact that I CAN pull the dryer out is exciting! Now that I have laundry under control, I can see the (ugly) floor of my laundry room!

Also, I do want to point out that if you have a septic system, this might not work for you. I was discussing laundry with a friend recently (not a conversation my 20 year old self ever imagined I would have) and she said that she used to do all of her laundry in one day. However, when they built a house in the country, she had to stop. 7 loads in one day overloaded their septic system to the point that it actually set the alarm off. Once her husband explained how serious that was, she gave up her system and started doing 4 loads on one day and 3 the next.

And for the weeks when I haven’t been home on Mondays, here’s an example of how I’ve still managed to make it Laundry Day.

How to Get Buyers to Your Garage Sale – Tips for Effective Advertising

You can put a lot of work into getting ready for your garage sale, but if no one comes . . . you’ve wasted your time and energy.

Before I share tips to get people there, please be aware that you need to check the regulations for your city. Some cities require permits, limit the number of sales you can have, and even limit what you can sell. I was very surprised to learn last year that many of the towns in my area do not allow the sale of new items at garage sales. Some people said that they had been shut down or fined for selling new clothing or items they had gotten for free with coupons. It isn’t the case in all areas, but you should check beforehand to avoid any problems. It would be frustrating to lose any of your hard-earned profit because of ignorance. Also, many cities limit where you can place your signs and have city workers who will pull them up. You may not know why your traffic suddenly decreased until you go looking for your sign that evening.

Now, for the fun stuff. First, just like with expectations and pricing, you need to learn how things work where you live.

Learn when to have your sale:

Know that generally, your first day will be your best day. My aunt (the queen-mother of all garage sale-ers) lives in Kansas. In her city, it is common to start a garage sale on Thursday and hold it for several days. Where I live, however, a garage sale starting on Thursday is uncommon, and so most people don’t even look for them on Thursdays. Then, when they do look at garage sale listings for Friday or Saturday, if they see that they missed the first day of the sale, they assume that it’s been picked over and put it on their list of “if I can get to it” sales.

Consider starting your sale early. You want people to come to your sale first, while they still have all of their cash. If most sales start at 8 a.m., and you start yours at 7 or 7:30, they’ll hit yours first. Of course, they’ll get there at 6 or 6:30 . . . (Don’t try starting your sale at 10 a.m. People will still be there at 8 am, and you’ll just be mad. If you don’t go ahead and start, they may not come back, and if they do they’ll have already spent quite a bit of their money by 10:00.)

You should also try to find out when garage sales typically end in your area. Here, all garage sales are done around 2 pm, and people don’t come after that. My next door neighbors should have read this post, because they stayed open one Saturday until 6 p.m. I watched and they had maybe 2 people stop by after one o’clock (other than my kids who kept buying things for nickels).

Learn how people find garage sales in your area.

The best way to learn this is to ask someone you know who goes to garage sales, or by visiting other sales in your area like I advised in this post. In some areas, newspapers are the best way to advertise. Where I live, in a smallish town of about 20,000, you can usually hit all of the garage sales in one day. The paper is the primary advertising method. People who want to go to garage sales get a newspaper and then use it to find all of the sales in the area for that day.

However, where my parents live, the newspaper is not the primary advertising method. It is a much larger city, and looking at the newspaper is confusing because people generally don’t know where everything is, like they do in a small town. There, signs are the best way to find the sales. Knowing this can determine how many days you should hold your sale. In my small town, where the newspaper rules, a one-day sale is fine because the vast majority of traffic is informed and direct – they’re looking up my address. But in the larger city, a 2 or 3 day sale may be better as most traffic is “drive-by” and more days open means more people stopping by.

And of course, use Craigslist. It’s free and there’s no reason to NOT use it in addition to whatever other method is the norm for your area.

Get the most from your signs.

Signs should be in neon colors. My aunt and I often laugh and say that this should be required. Bright colors make them stick out from real estate or election signs, and if you can see them from farther away, you’re more likely to be able to slow down in time to make the turn. On your sign, your address should be the main, largest information. It is pretty obvious that a neon home-made sign at the corner of a neighborhood is a garage sale sign, so “Garage Sale” can be written smaller. The driver is trying to catch a glimpse of your address.

The picture at the top of this post shows the best sign method I’ve found. If you don’t have a solid metal sign that you can tape your neon poster over, putting it on a box and placing a brick or large rock inside the box to keep it from blowing away is a good solution. Posterboard on a stick may fold or flop in the wind, which will make it difficult to read.

If you live in a city that is strict about sign placement, you may need to ask permission to put signs in the yards of people who live on corners of streets that lead to your house. A creative and effective solution to this problem that I once saw was a family who moved their vehicles to the street corners where people needed to turn to get to their sale. They put huge neon posters on their cars giving directions.

Get the most from your Newspaper Ad and Craiglist.

Know when your paper comes out. I lived in a small town once whose newspaper was mailed out on Thursdays. Yes, mailed. Therefore, if someone had a Thursday sale, no one even knew about it until Thursday when their mail came. And here, even though the paper comes out daily, it doesn’t come out until late afternoon. Yes, late afternoon. So, if someone has a Friday sale, they need to be sure it comes out in Thursday’s paper. Make sense?

For a newspaper ad, use all of your allowed words, and use them wisely. For my paper, there is a set price for garage sale ads with a 25 word limit. There is no reason to not use all 25 words. “LOTS of misc.” or “Too much to list” doesn’t get people to your sale. They might come to yours after they go to the others who listed the items they were looking for, but by then, they won’t have as much money to spend!

Be specific in your ad. If you are selling any furniture, be SURE to list what it is. Couch, dining table, bookshelves, crib, recliner, bunk-beds etc. are all items that people specifically look for at garage sales. Along the same lines, if there’s anything that you feel is really worth something (and it didn’t sell on ebay or Craigslist first) list it in your ad. Designer purses and Dept 56 Christmas houses will sell much better if people come looking for them, rather than if people just happen to stop by.

I always list general clothing sizes as well. My ad will look something like this:

1234 Anystreet Saturday– 7am-? TONS of clothes, Boys 4-6, Girls 2-4, Women L-XL, riding toys, Books, home décor, teacher materials, videos, fridge, stroller, much more.

It doesn’t have to be beautifully written, it’s the STUFF that gets them there. If you’re in major decluttering mode like I am, you might try what I did last year. I put in my ad that all clothes would be 25 cents and most items would be under 1.00. It worked! I’ve seen other sales do this, and they’re always the busiest.

If you live in a place that is difficult to find, you should use your 25 words to give succinct directions to your house. An example might be: “Bellview Street – at the very end of Park Lane,” or “behind *** Shopping Center.”

On Craigslist, put your city and zip code in the title. You aren’t limited on words there, so you should list all the categories of items that you are selling, and specific directions. Always say “. . . and much more!”

If you plan ahead and make good use of advertising, you’ll have the best traffic possible for your sale. More traffic means more money, and best of all . . . MORE STUFF GONE!

I’m linking this up to Tip Junkie’s Tip Me Tuesday.

I’m also participating in Works for Me Wednesday at Wearethatfamily.com.

--Nony

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