Laundry Organization…..Ok, a work in progress, but I am finding things are working better and I don’t think that it is because I am just surviving the passage of todlerhood. I started out with identical twins…followed 20 something months later by a boy…followed 3.4 years later by a living tornado…it was all downhill from there.
I have seen, I have learned, and I shall conquer the clothing monster!! I have learned that I am strong enough to DO. And the doing isn’t just acquiring a few well-placed bumps on the noggin. (Truth be told, it just hurts but doesn’t change anything) Remember creation is an ACTION. Follow the leader. God did it. I am sure He can help you do it too. Decide what is important and keep working the plan. This is what we came up with and we add to it all of the time. I am finally feeling like this is my home and not purgatory.
So, come on down to the dungeon laundry storage area and let me show you around…
We have stacked labeled bins. These plastic bins have lids! They are labeled on all sides. They are not handled by anyone without a permit or a note from a qualified parent!! (stress is mine I assure you…)
The bins are labeled as follows:
- baby clothing (very little divided by boy/girl unless it is obvious) wrapping outfits around each other so the pieces stay in tact. accessories (like socks)in a bag in that box…(I have several cheapie new cloth bags I got for free that I use for this)
- toddler clothing
generally speaking one bin for the little ones bigger than toddler but under 8, and one for 10-14ish, and then adult sizes. each bin is labeled by type:
- dress clothes boy
- dress clothes girl
- Christmas sweaters
- t shirts and shorts
- long sleeved shirts
- winter coats
- lighter weight coats
- swim wear
I have a drawer next to my dryer that I place the clean winter accessories in during the winter and clean bathing suits in during the summer so the items stay in ONE location. Even though I wash clothing in a dungeon, they aren’t there long enough to get damp or musty smelling.
…so far so good and I have a 9mo up to 15yo teens and an almost 14yo ds who is now…gulp 5’8″ and built! (my baby!)
I try not to put things away that are too worn. A few worn things that still have a lot of mileage in them due to great fabric or something will go into the bin for play clothing, but that is about it.
I love shopping the thrift store and I am very picky about what comes home…I don’t want to bring home anything that won’t last or wear well….that would be more trouble than it is worth. On days I do shop there, I end up putting clothing that is not in season or still too big for someone in the bins RIGHT away…or it will be in the round-and-round laundry monster for endless days[:s] I have a bin at the bottom of my stairs that is labeled PUT AWAY. Even my 4yo knows where her outgrown pants go….in THAT bin and the teens put it away in the appropriate place…
I am learning to look at wear spots before I put them away too. I have been known to use a sharpie(my favorite tool!) on the tag in such garments to label them as play clothing so that I don’t see them wearing them to a gathering without me cking them out first (oi! with several children and hand-me downs, it would be easy for ANY of my kids to dismiss things like this as not important.. [LOL]) I even check the tips of winter dress gloves!
Sweats with holey knees are cut down into sleep shorts (my boys love this)
You know how to make this work?
Have a huge basement flood when you are hugely pregnant.
Then try to bribe…ahem…delegate an adult family member to bring alll of the soaked clothing to the laundromat
(because you didn’t get a chance to put a lid on your already over-flowing bins and the kids decided to dive through the piles and play dress-up in them for weeks before you catch on….) Make sure you make a great dinner for them when they are done complete with a good bottle of wine… ahem…
Then, examine all of your piles of neatly folded clothes! Put them in like piles and then go through with a give away bag for all of those things that you KNOW your kids will never want to wear…and put in the front seat of your van (and wherever it will fit)….say a prayer of thanksgiving for the hard work…“Dear God, thank you for blessing (name child here) with this item”….
Remember…laundry isn’t a curse.
God gave to you out of His abundance. And if the God of this abundance created order out of something as small as the universe, you can handle your little share of it…it make take time. You may have to cull the pile over time like peeling an onion…but you CAN do it! I did. and I got to tell you, 15 years ago, it would have been impossible for me too. Necessity does funny things to some people.
…make a firm purpose of amendment NEVER to let things get this out of hand (yet again[:s])
Then, BRIBE your teenage daughters to maintain the clothing bins spending one time a month putting the outgrown or out of season stuff away.
This bribe MAY look like ( but may not be limited to) time alone with mom or dad at the book store for a few hours about once a month…not a bad deal for ANY of us…(I could use some adult time too! [LOL] See? Win-Win situation??! (Delegation can work under the right circumstances….[;)]
Don’t get discouraged if it gets dumped. You made a system and it will be easier to put away the next time if anything happens because it has a PLACE TO GO!
Have a clothing swap-out day twice a year. Make it festive…serve something easy for meals/snacks and get a family movie or play a family game that day!
Take out the bins ONE AT A TIME and go shopping…give them a list. Give them a “shopping cart” aka a laundry basket or….whatever. Make sure you bring the bins out in a clean room and when finished, ALL of the pieces get put away, and that means EVERY thing!
Each ‘shopping basket” gets placed in a neat pile next to the washer and as soon as the items are washed, they get folded right into that basket and they get PUT AWAY right away!! It helps to have some kind of incentive for each child when they show you where everything is neatly away.
For those of you without teens…
I will come over and help.
(I always wished someone would do this for me… lend a non-judgemental hand …and I think I will spend my life after the littles grow up doing unto others as I LONGED for them to do unto me [LOL]