Friday, February 23, 2018

Marching to the top of laundry mountain

I always hear people refer to their "mountain of laundry" and it makes me think of the Backyardigans song "Dragon Mountain." This is the link in case you're hard up for entertainment:
I'm a bit of a Backyardigans geek and I turn lots of my life into parodies of their songs. File that under things you probably didn't need/want to know about me.

Anyways... back to laundry mountain. It's insurmountable. It somehow manages to grow no matter how many loads you do. It'd a never ending enigma that can ruin you every time you're forced to look at it or deal with it. It's literally days and days of your life gone as you slave away at it.

Taken from

Or so I thought.

I used to have a laundry day every week where I'd do as much as I could, be overwhelmed by the idea of putting it all away and then try to forget about it til the next week. Then, I created a laundry system that consisted of 6 laundry sorters in my laundry room, several laundry baskets for transporting clean laundry and 2 laundry bins upstairs to collect dirty clothes. I switched to it several years ago and it took my laundry problem from insurmountable to merely never ending. I thought I had it mastered, as much as you could master laundry. Every day I (or one of my kids) put a load into the washer, moved a load into the dryer, and took the load in the dryer out to be folded and put away. With this method, the laundry stayed contained to the sorters(mostly) so it was organized chaos, and though the laundry wasn't always put away, we weren't completely running out of anything. I slowly started to realize that when I felt the need to buy clothes I should do the laundry first and see if I really needed it or if it was just out of sight, out of mind. Basically, my laundry routine started to have very adult like tendencies. Good stuff right?


I'm going to write another post about how I discovered the solution to the great laundry conundrum, but in a nutshell, it was "less clothes equals less laundry." I read this over and over in facebook posts during the past year as I was waging my personal battle with minimalism. A lot of times the post came with questions and doubters saying that you wear the same amount of clothes so your amount of laundry doesn't change if you have less clothes, you just have to do laundry more often. I sort of agreed with this for the first few months and laundry wasn't even on my minimalism radar yet. As  I reached the halfway point in my year of minimalism, I was really starting to see change in my life, and things were getting easier, so I started to think about other stuff that needed to be minimalized. Laundry kept appearing as a passing thought, but not a legitimate concern, after all I had it under control right?

Then we reached the last part of the year and decided that we were going to move and sell our house. All the last little minimalizing things that had been gnawing away at the back of my brain now had to be confronted immediately. All year I had been getting rid of clothes bit by bit, for both myself and my kids, but I hadn't really seen much difference. So, I made my most brutal cuts yet. My kids all had to go down to what would fit in a suitcase and I had to make my clothes not just fit in my closet but look nice (i.e. have some space or room to grow, like in a magazine picture.) The initial difference was remarkable. We quickly got better about putting our clothes away because there was more room to do so, it wasn't a stressful jigsaw puzzle of how to make it all fit. I found myself more excited than ever to pick out outfits because I could see them all (and I have always had a bit of a love affair with my clothes.)

The real amazement has happened in the last 2 months. We can't have laundry piles, filled laundry baskets in our rooms or even 6 completely filled laundry sorters in the laundry room. Although it is contained, it doesn't look (or sometimes smell) nice when people are viewing our home. We kept up our schedule of the once a day laundry cycle 6 days a week (Tuesday is my moms day to do her laundry) and quickly found that we were only needing 3 or 4 of the laundry sorters at a time. A laundry basket broke and we were down to two for folding and transporting clean laundry. We've found that we now actually need only one. Amazing how that works when you put the laundry away immediately. It's reached a point where now, even with washing our bedding, curtains etc... weekly (we have allergy issues that require this) we run out of laundry to do in just 4 or 5 days and have to search for something to wash. As all of our clothes now spend more time living in our closets and drawers, and less of their life living in our laundry room, we're carefully continuing to cull and if we want something new to come in, something old goes out.

It's an amazingly freeing thing to be out from under the spell of the laundry beast. It really came down to a little organization, a little follow through, and a lot less clothes. We're not doing capsule wardrobes, or flylady schedules or anything fancy. I never even read the actual Allie Cassaza blogs on laundry, just the comments about it that less clothes equals less laundry.

Who would have guessed.

Taken from

P.S. In case you want the nitty gritty details:

15 minutes: It is Curly's chore to switch the laundry everyday and bring me the basket of clean clothes. He empties the upstairs laundry bins once a week when he's run out of downstairs laundry to do.

20 minutes: I fold them and put away the adult clothes and household laundry (towels etc..)

10 minutes: Each kid (even the 4 year old) takes their pile (if they have one) and puts it away.