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27 November 2006 @ 04:36 pm
There is a big discussion on ParentHacks about "best" laundry practices. I started writing a reply, and when I ran off the page I realized I should just post it here.

Cut for long post and boring day-to-day details.

Glad to read I'm not the only one struggling with the laundry. Our system has been working well for about 6 years, other than the baskets breaking. We have 2 stacks of laundry baskets, the "1 bushel" round simple kind (like these). Dirt cheap, so easy to replace, although I've been hunting for the same design but lots sturdier. And preferably square, because they optimize space when piled.

Aside from shape or durability, the system is 2 stacks of baskets, all nested. One stack white for all whites, one stack blue/non-white for darks. All of us toss in laundry - even our 3yr old can recognize the white/non-white distinction.
As soon as a basket is full, anyone who notices (usually the person to fill it up) will bring it down from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor, by the stairs to the basement. Whoever has the time, or is bothered by it sitting in the way (which is always a good method of getting attention) will take it to the basement to get washed.

The color of the basket determines the type of wash and dry. Basket goes on top of the laundry-rack that's over the washer/dryer, on the washer-side. When the washer is done, use the basket to remove laundry from washer, stuff into dryer, and put basket back on rack, now moved over the dryer-side. That way, you can tell what state the washer/dryer are in by just looking at the baskets on top.

When drying is done, empty into its basket, and haul back up to 1st floor and stack full, clean baskets in the corner by the TV. Where folding will happen, sometime in the near future. Usually when we're out of baskets, underwear, or socks. The folding is usually my chore, which I don't mind as much when watching tv. It's a mindless task anyway, and I tend to sit on the carpet to watch anyway. A side effect is that the carpet will get vacuumed as well, to keep the clean laundry clean.

The only exception to this system is the "special-wash" bin. When I lived by myself, they just went in with the regular wash and I picked them out myself, because I remembered which was which. With 2 laundry-clueless males, it is too much to ask to recognize specific fabrics that can go in with the regular wash, just not into the dryer. We do have a laundry-line hung right by the washer/dryer, and use it to hang dryer-unfriendly things. Like fleece, delicates from the mesh bag, etc. In order to separate those from the bulk, we have a small solid plastic handwash container. Anything in there *can* be washed on cold/delicate cycle and hung to dry. Or, if it's a lot, I'll start it with a bulk load, but make sure I then put the actual bin into the basket on the rack. That way, when clueless-male tries to put things into dryer, a red flag goes up that there is something special in there, and they'll ask me.

Of course, now that we're re-doing our 2nd floor bathroom, which happens to be right over the 1st floor one, which happens to be right over the washer/dryer, I've been seriously thinking about a laundry chute. A wide, clear tube that runs from the top all the way to the bottom, with a basket underneath. To avoid hauling it all down. Might as well use gravity. Big enough for those sheets and jeans, but small enough that a toddler won't fit. Would be really cool to see the laundry come swooshing by on the first floor! Oh, and while I'm dreaming anyway, make it 2 tubes. A clear one for whites, and clear-but-slightly-blue-tinted one for darks.

Yikes, this post has gotten long. Kudos if you made it all this way.
Current Location: work
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Plan for Pandemoniumroozle on November 28th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC)
This is kind of similar to what I do, only yours is more like a system. I've just deleted a long ramble about how *not* like a system what we do is. Come to think about it, the similarities are that (1) laundry (2) gets carried up and down stairs (3) in buckets. Also, no laundry hampers. A laundry line by the dryer would be a big help for us, I'll have to figure out if there's a way to do it.

John Angelo Gnassijohngnassi on November 28th, 2006 11:32 am (UTC)
"when clueless-male tries to put things into dryer, a red flag goes up that there is something special in there, and they'll ask me"

Well, actually, I usually just either set it aside out of the normal wash stream (across from the dryer, where clothing normally does not live), or hang everything up on the line (how the hell am I supposed to know which things in there are "special"?@!). Asking for help with laundry is akin to asking for directions...
(Anonymous) on November 30th, 2006 07:54 am (UTC)
And what a post it turned out to be! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this up. Asha