Friday, May 1, 2009

Plans for moving forward

I am horrible at running a household. I've never even been able to keep my room clean when it was just me. Add in the halfdozen, a husband, a +, and the multiple distractions and you still can't begin to imagine the disaster that is our home. I want our home to be a haven. I want to be able to have people over. I want to teach my children to do things differently than me. I'm doing this with baby steps. I am very easily overwhelmed and if I tried to throw out all the old habits and routines I would be paralyzed and unable to implement any new plans. Right now my plan is to deal with laundry.

My Mom did the laundry once a week. Every Monday we sorted our dirty clothes in the hallway and she would wash them. If you didn't sort them, you didn't get your clothes washed. She did the clothes all day then in the evening we would all gather in the living room and fold and sort the clothes together then put our own clothes away. That's the "right" way to do it in my head. I can't do it. Not only can I not physically handle that much carrying of laundry in one day, I don't have that much time. I don't know how she did it. I struggled with this for a very long time. I was finally able to convince myself that it was ok if I did things differently. Things improved a bit.

I still had to sort the clothes by color the way my Mom did, and I was still chronically behind. I had no real way to figure out which clothes should be washed which day. Then a friend mentioned a "revolutionary" method that had helped her master the laundry battle. Each person has their own basket and when the basket is full, you wash that basket of clothes. No sorting AND, a huge plus, all the clothes are can be sorted and put away quickly since they all belong to the same room. This has also helped our laundry issues a bit.

The major problem with this system for us is that I'm the only one who actually washes my clothes when my basket is full. The halfdozen each have a basket in their room. It's their responsibility to bring the basket out with them in the morning if the basket is full. Even when I ask them @ breakfast, it seems their baskets don't fill up (probably in large part due to the fact that every item of clothing that they own is on the floor).

One final small (actually huge towering about to crash on my head pile) problem is that I simply can't keep up with the linen laundry. The halfdozen are constantly spilling things. Kids do that. No problem. The problem is that they feel the need to constantly toss a clean bath towel on the spill (only when told that they have to stop what they are doing and clean up said spill) and walk away. We also go through 5 bath towels each time the children bathe because there is simply nowhere to hang up the towels so they get tossed in the laundry. We also use tablecloths in an effort to save our table. They manage to spill and make huge messes with every meal.

So, here's my solution. I'll have to update you after we've attempted to implement it and let you know how it's working for us. Each child will continue to have their own basket. However, instead of waiting for the basket to become empty, they will have an assigned day that they must do their laundry. Also, to help with the linen problem, we will cover the table with shelf paper (it has a split down the middle where it folds outward to double in size and the spills and crumbs inevitably end up down there. Shelf paper is sticky enough to stay in place, and also water resistant enough and provides a barrier to help keep things from getting down there. With the shelf paper, I won't need to use 3 tablecloths a day. We will also be downsizing the number of bath towels we have. I will purchase one (possibly two) towel for each child in their color. We will keep a couple of our towels that are in better shape for David and I to use as well as for guest use. The halfdozen will each have a hook in their room that they can reach (with the possible exception of the littles, they need help anyway so David and I can help them hang their towels up) to hang up the towel(s) between uses. Then, it will be included with their laundry on their laundry day!

I know you're supposed to sort colors, and towels with laundry may be a bit rough, but, there's a possibility that this could help me finally conquer the laundry beast. (or at least maybe tame it enough to eat out of my hand?)


DCW said...

I like the sound of that.

Tamara said...

That's what we do. Sort of.

Nate (8) and the girls (6 and 4) have hampers in their rooms. I have a three bag hanging sorter in my bathroom. One is for me and dh, one is for the little boys (3 and 1) and one is for towels.

M: dh and I
T: Nate
W: Little boys
Th: girls
F: dh and I
Sat: towels.

I also have a laundry basket next to the washer for dish rags, table clothes and the like. They just get thrown in whenever there is room in a load.

I wash everything on warm (except towels on hot). I fold the clothes and each of the older 3 kids has a bin on a shelf in my room. One of their morning chores is to check their bin and put away any clothes. Obviously, the morning after their laundry day their bin will be full. But often there is an item or two on other days as well.

Next to those shelves we have another three shelf unit of bins. One for outgrown clothes that need to be sorted and put away. One for clothes to donate. And another for unmatched socks.

Keeps Mt Washmore from arising on the master bedroom floor.

Most days.

Niecey said...

What a great idea! As I type this, we have 3 baskets full of CLEAN clothes in the basement waiting to be sorted and put away. Plus one basket and a tote upstairs of clean laundry also waiting to be put away. The clean clothes in the basement keep falling onto the floor, which is covered in hay (we have 4 bales of hay down there for the bunnies...that's another story), whenever someone rummages in there to look for a clean pair of underwear or whatever, and then the clothes get covered in hay.

I can totally keep up with washing clothes, it's the putting away bit that gets me. I love the baskets idea. I'll totally give that a shot.

Erin said...

Those are GREAT ideas, Sacha! I'm going to have to consider how I can implement a few of those things here. Laundry is always chaotic! I gave up sorting by color once we had 3 kiddos... that just became way too many loads and sorting. So I just wash everything on cold except for towels and linens.

Yay for your baby steps!! Homemaking is a struggle for me, as well. By the Lord's grace, I've improved, but I can still do better.