Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How I make time to iron every week

IMG_7638October 2014demillelaundry

I am of the opinion that establishing a laundry system that works for a growing family is an unparalleled feat.  It has taken a lot of work and trial and error to find a way to keep laundry from becoming the reason I cry in the corner every day.  Like dishes and the kitchen floor, it's the sort of a task that comes at you in a steady, never-relenting stream.  Laundry is never done, so for me, I had to set up a system for laundry that doesn't ever pretend to arrive at "done."  Doing all the laundry in one day is a horrible idea for someone like me.  I have to mess with my own head, and convince myself to tackle it in consistent, bite-size pieces.

IMG_7652October 2014demillelaundry

This means I do laundry (almost) every day.  It's just less overwhelming for me to work it into my daily routine as a small thing than to tackle it less frequently as a bigger task.  This means our family hamper is tiny - and in a very visible place.  It's the only way to ensure that I will get around to it every day.  A laundry pile within view of the front door is enough of a deterrent, at least for now. I'm able to have the tiny hamper, because Mr Renn built this for me, and we sacrificed storage space in our tiny laundry room to facilitate it.  My laundry-sorting tower is that important to me.

IMG_7656October 2014demillelaundry

I took a lot of laundry tips from Large Family Logistics, which is sadly out of print.  I make sure everything is right-side out (and zipped up) as I sort, which saves lots of time when I'm folding. And I try to make sure at least one of my kids is with me when I'm sorting and when I'm starting loads (and when I sort the washed cold load, half of which must air-dry). I don't trust any of them to sort or wash on their own, but they will learn better by frequent exposure (and normalization) than by a single lecture and demonstration later on. I'm picky about things like using Woolite Darks on every cold load. (And reading care tags...)

Every clean load gets carried in its basket straight to my bed, where hopefully I fold it right away.  But I try not to let myself go to bed until the laundry on my bed is folded and put away.  When it's only 1 load (occasionally 2), that seems pretty doable.  Also, I love laundry folding boards for neat piles that translate into neater drawers.

The ironing load is just one of my loads that I fit in every week, so I try to have it land on a day when I can spend half an hour on it in the afternoon.  I wash that load in cold water, with liquid starch in the rinse cycle, then I set myself up with exactly the right number of hangers (no extra trips back and forth!) a good podcast, (for light fare I recommend The Art of Simple, and for something deeper try New Yorker: Fiction)and I get in the zone and go to town on the damp, starchy shirts.  If I'm tempted to procrastinate, the wet state of those clothes helps light a fire under me.  I need to iron them before they get too dry - and also a pile of wet laundry doesn't take long to go sour.  Most of what I iron are the dress shirts Mr Renn wears to work (How to iron a dress shirt), and I get an awesome result without ever having to use my iron's steam feature.  (Which is always invariably the way things get ruined by irons, is it not?) Then it's all hung up, ready to wear (after I admire my work for a moment).

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