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.

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Comments

  1. Lenetta @ Nettacow says:

    Good point on the septic. I'll be facing that someday, and have a loooooot to learn!

    • Majestic says:

      Ok so, from someone who has spent all my life in the country, (and when I say country I mean still have close neighbors country, not 10 miles from the nearest land-line country) I’ve never had to deal with a septic system because we’ve never tied our washing into the system. The pipe extends out from our home in an area where we don’t walk too much and ends preferably about 30 feet up-slope from a tree you want to grow quickly. The 30 feet allows the water to become cleaner before reaching the tree. It’s the best way to recycle.
      Case-in-point: I planted two weeping willow trees on the same day in my yard. One in my side yard which nature keeps alive and one down-slope from the washing pipe. Ten years later my side yard weeper is 15′ tall and scrawny. My down-slope weeper is 30′ tall and so wide that I can park 4 cars underneath it.
      Okay, so, I said all that to say this: Grow a beautiful tree and wash all your laundry in one day.

  2. Lenetta @ Nettacow says:

    PS – I know you read Money Saving Mom – I just downloaded this free ebook and now I just need to actually read the darn thing. :>)

    http://moneysavingmom.com/2010/04/living-organized-proven-steps-for-a-clutter-free-and-beautiful-home-free-ebook.html

  3. mom2priceboys says:

    I try for the load a day system but it seems more like it is 2 loads every other day really. And love the idea of putting the laundry on the bed so it gets put away before bed I may have to try that and see how hubby handles it since he is the put away guy. (I sort, wash, dry and fold – well, boys move from washer to dryer then dryer to me)

  4. That is awesome! I love the little glimpse into how your day runs (Polly Pockets and all!). How long does all that folding take? My husband and I have this "system", where I do all the washing and drying and he does the folding. Only it can take him a week or longer to fold it all (not that I'm one to talk). So, if I need clean underwear, I have to go digging in his office, where the clean loads end up somehow. Anyway, I'm thinking that I should take back the folding aspect of things, but I really loathe that particular task! I guess if I can just make it my Monday night activity, and know that I won't have to fold anything else for another whole week, it might not be so bad!

  5. P.S. I love what you say about seeing what's left in the dresser as being unnecessary. Such a huge plus of this once-a-week system!

  6. I will totally this is one area I do not have under control. I do have a septic system but so far have not had issues…yet.

    We purchased a new large capacity uses-only-so-much-water washer and matching dryer last year. what a difference!! I get so much more laundry done faster…now if there was a machine to put it all away!

  7. I really enjoy your honesty. I appreciate your honesty, too. I'm sure you are helping so many people by sharing your experiences.

    Keeping up with laundry hasn't been an issue for me, thankfully. I'm curious as to why you don't fold or work on folding the clothes right away? I realize some of it is because you have kids at home and they will naturally cause interruptions, but not sure of the reasoning for cleaning out under the bed or other household chores. I'm not trying to be critical, honest, but would it be easier to take a few minutes after the load is dry to fold and put away? Then you don't have piles to fold that might seem never-ending and overwhelming (to me at least).

    Thank you once again for sharing and your wonderful honesty!

  8. Finding a system that works for you is wonderful. I do pretty much the same thing, except I have 3 laundry baskets that the clean clothes are rotated into so that I don't ever put clean laundry on furniture. I have inside dogs that would love to crawl in it and take a nap, then I would feel like I needed to wash it again. I also hang up adult sized shirts, skirts, or anything that will wrinkle, right out of the dryer. Since your laundry room is close to your bedroom, maybe you could teach yourself to do the same thing right when you take it out of the dryer. It only takes a few minutes with each load. Good job and good luck. Oh, and CLEAN YOUR LINT HOSE!! Very important.

  9. Nony (A Slob Comes Clean) says:

    Jeanne and LB, I agree that the BEST way would be to fold right out of the dryer. WHen I was (unsuccessfully) attempting the load-a-day method, that worked really well when I actually did it.

    As with everything on my blog, I'm figuring things out. Except for the garage sale stuff, I'm no expert. My reasoning for not folding as I take it out of the dryer is that I feel like I'm racing the clock to get it ALL done on Monday, and the racing feeling is actually kind of fun to me. I'm so unbelievably distractable that I'm afraid if I don't immediately get the next load into the dryer and turned on, I'll get off the rhythm. If I were to take even a few minutes to fold before starting the dryer again, I'm afraid if (or when) something distracted me, I'd not think to get back to it until much later. If I can get the next load drying immediately, then I know progress is being made.

    Also, selfishly, I actually like the excuse to have to fold for an hour in the afternoon or evening because I watch a show or two at that time. I generally don't watch any tv during the day at all, so it feels like a total treat to do that.

    Like I said, I can't claim by any means that my way is a perfect way, but it's working for me.

  10. Mary Q Contrarie says:

    My family is on a once a day system. We do not have a dryer and dry everything on clothes drying racks. So it is important not to get to far behind. However one warm breezy day can catch us up in no time.

    Since we have gotten rid of our dryer we are saving $100 a year on energy and maintenance. Not a huge amount but in this economy I am happy to have a little extra to put away for a really rainy day.

  11. So, today I did *all* the laundry. My boyfriend and I were leaving to go buy him some dress shoes when he thought to go back inside to grab some dress socks to try on shoes with. He was inside for a long time and it dawned on me that maybe he couldn't find any socks because they are in, get this, his SOCK DRAWER!

    Indeed, when I questioned him on it and he said he checked in the dryer, on top of the dryer, in the (empty) laundry basket and THEN he tried his sock drawer. Duh. GO ME!

  12. Tara Gunn says:

    Laundry is under control here, about 2 months ago I began to allow my 11, 9, and 8 year olds do their own laundry. They have their own day and I dont have to sort any of their clothes. And I am not responsible for their lack of clean clothes. I love this freedom. Oh yeah and my 20 yr old does his also.

  13. Lacy @ Catholic Icing says:

    I SO need to switch to a laundry day. Doing one load a day is not working for me, no matter how long I try and convince myself that it is.

    Love what you said about your husband not going commando- lol! I sort laundry the same way- not by color but by priority of what has to be clean next! So bad! I can remember at our last house, often the only clean laundry was either what was inside the dryer, or what was piled on to of the dryer. So bad!

  14. MH and I have a laundry issue as well. I do agree that a laundry day is best for us. If we do not use one day a week as laundry day, then it explodes and takes weeks for us to catch up. We are currently in the catch-up phase since we have been travelling and doing fun stuff on weekends instead of laundry. We both work, but I hope to be caught up by the weekend to get back on our schedule.

  15. I do my laundry over two(or three) days in a row. I used to do it over one, but there was a bit too much laundry to do that easily. My husband asked me yesterday why I can’t do laundry spread out over 3 days. I told him, “Because it won’t get done!”. I need to feel like I am DONE with the laundry. If I spread it out I will feel like I am ALWAYS doing laundry, go into overload and get no laundry done. :P He didn’t understand. Sigh.

  16. Any suggestions for those of us who still have to go to a laundry mat?

    *Also, the fact that your husband refuses to go commando is weird to me.

  17. This is where I get jealous of all the SAHMs. I wish I could have one day to devote to laundry, but I don’t think my boss would approve that schedule change :) We are in survival laundry mode right now and I totally understand what you mean when you finally get to the bottom of a pile one day and find something like a swimsuit…in December! One of my biggest struggles is that I can’t stand wrinkles and yet refuse to iron. So right now I have 4 baskets of clean laundry sitting on the floor of my laundry room waiting to go back into the dryer for a bit so that they can come out without wrinkles and be folded. My second biggest struggle is putting clothes away. Clean clothes sit in baskets pretty much until all the items in the basket have been worn or until it is small enough that putting them away doesn’t seem like such a hassle.

  18. Jennifer says:

    We have a septic and a water softener. So I have to be careful when washing a lot of clothes. We can fill the septic and use up all our soft water. So I think for me 2x a week would work really well. I used to try for every day, but with only 3 of us in the family (for now) some of the loads were tiny. So I do every other day or every 3rd day based on need. We are having a baby in November, and I intend to cloth diaper, so I will be back to at least one load every day, and 2 loads on the days I need to wash every thing that is not diapers. OH and something that helps with my drying times is to run and extra spin cycle before I put clothes in the dryer, that way they are really “rung out” before they go in to dry. Of course having the hubs clean the dryer would probably be a safer route.

  19. I discovered your blog today, and I’m really enjoying it!
    We have always done laundry as soon as there’s enough for a load, and that ended up being a good thing, because I’d never heard of problems with a septic tank! With 3 teenagers, I do at least 2 loads a day.
    I have hanging mesh bags and one hamper that we sort laundry into as we go. When the kids were small, I dumped everything on the floor and taught them to sort according to the colored mesh bags. I read another post where you told about making mosaics of colored pieces of paper to teach children which clothes go together. What a great idea! =)

  20. CMS Sultana says:

    Loving your YouTube videos and this blog!
    We are a small family but I have tried several routes to deal with the laundry issue. Kind of nice to have it all dealt with on one day to free you for other things, it is a hangover from when I would take everything to laundromat and take over 5-6 machines at a time.
    My routine now is to have most things on hangers, no folding small items (I just make a stack of the items in question, i.e. socks, bras, panties and they each have their own drawer in a highboy for each person). Each of us has a basket and I just make stacks, fold jeans (only two folds here) and put them out for each person to put away.
    I wait to have enough for a load but then I do sort by color. I’ve even gotten to point of doing whites with light colored clothes just to make a full load. We are short on space where we live so sometimes the last load is sheets which just get to stay in dryer until next laundry day!

  21. I know this post is dated now, but hey laundry never goes away! I do laundry in one day. Mine and my girls’ gets laid out neatly in the living room to be put away THAT DAY. The hubby’s goes in a basket for him fold/hang/put away. He’s a big boy; he can handle it.

    My girls are nearly the same size despite a 3 year age difference, and I have given up sorting their socks, undies and camis. They go into a basket in the laundry room unmatched. That works great.

  22. we’re a family of four and i do laundry almost every day (working, so one full day would not work). we hang almost all our clothes (we don’t even have a dresser in our bedroom, and our boys share one dresser for undies/pjs/socks/swim suits). i’ve found that hanging things helps cut down on time, and drastically limits the amount of clothing we have (and since i do laundry most days there are always clean clothes). we have a 1960s bungalow, so we have some storage, but not a huge amount (ie, no walk-in closets, pantry, etc). i think that we all need to find a system that works, and then tweak it when necessary. i love hearing about how different families deal with their laundry issues!

  23. Jennifer says:

    although many of my bad clutter/cleaning/organization habits comes from my mother, one GOOD habit that she instilled in me and i’ve never had any trouble with was the dedicated laundry day. at least as far as washing/drying goes. my (and her) bigger issue was if for some reason the laundry didn’t get folded ON laundry day (which lets be honest, usually it doesn’t)… it sits in baskets around the house until, at the very least, NEXT laundry day. at worst… well lets just say that there have at times been more laundry in baskets than in drawers…..
    but yesterday, oh yesterday! i decided to try your laundry management tip…. the one where you fold the clothes AS you’re taking them out of the dryer… and OH. MY. GAWD. my life is changed forever! I’ve always folded laundry as i’m taking it down of the line on days when it’s nice enough to hang clothes outside, but i don’t know why i didn’t figure out doing it with the dryer sooner!

    now if i could only stop reading your blog long enough to actually follow any of the tips and tackle the rest of the house….

  24. A time and energy saving TIP, add a dry towel or 2 when putting wet clothes in the dryer. It cuts drying time way down. It used to take me over an hour to dry 4 pair of my jeans. Since I have been adding my towels to them I can dry my jeans in 30 minutes (still testing and checking but may be able to dry them even faster) this helps me to accomplish my laundry when I intend to as well because I don’t get distracted waiting 2 hours to start a new load.

  25. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I always resisted the idea of a laundry day. I own a front loader which takes at least 1,5 hours (depending on the laundy program) which is common here in the Netherlands. And I also don’t own a dryer, because of space-issues. These were always great excuses for me to not do a laundry day, because I simply wouldn’t make it in one day…
    But this weekend was my first totally free weekend in a while, with good-enough weather to dry and my laundry baskets were piling!
    So I decided I should at least try it! On saturday I washed all the clothes, I really love your idea of finding every last piece of clothing (except for that one sock i found under the couch on sunday, boo) because it leaves you no excuses! And then on sunday I washed all the towels, sheets, rags, dishcloths, mops… litteraly EVERTHING that I wash on 60 or 95 degrees (celsius).

    Point of this whole story, I washed every last piece of laundry in the house (except for that one sock and the clothes we wore) and when I went to bed on sunday evening I was sooooo happy and satisfied! So happy I might even try to do it again next weekend, when I have less time, but hopefully also a lot less laundry!

    So thank you so much for all your great tips! And especially the one about finding every last bit of dirty laundry! (And I’ll first check under the sofa next week!)

    • I love it!! It really is so satisfying to FINISH a task that seems un-finishable otherwise! And I encourage you to give it a shot next weekend as well! That second laundry day is the one that will convert you to this method. SO much less laundry when it’s only one week’s worth!

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