the rise and fall

We have enjoyed the simplicity of farm life so far.  I won’t say it’s been easy.  It’s just not complicated.  We have central AC for the first time in 7 years.  I love it.  It will be more costly though.  I think after working in the hot dry heat all day it’s worth keeping.  I decided not to give myself the option of a dryer to save money.  I know if I have it I’ll use it more than I want, and since we were going to have to buy an electric one (our old one is gas) I figured I could live with nothing but a clothesline.

Nick (we’ll call him future farmer) did a great job of buying, digging, cementing, leveling me a real nice line.  I couldn’t wait to use it…but I did.  Two whole days just to make sure the cement cured well.

Yesterday, I finally put it to use.

It didn’t go as I expected.

I guess the land that’s soft and easy to farm is too loose for a small hole with lots of weight.  At least the clothes were dry by the time it fell.  Here’s to round two.

systematize your laundry: aka, how to stay sane while washing for 7

Do you love doing laundry?  Does the constant repetition of folding relax your mind?  Do you pride yourself on your pressing and stain-removing skills? Awesome! Do you work for free?  I have a never-ending, never caught up, stain-filled, wrinkly mess that would love a helping hand.

Well, at least I did.  I finally decided it was time to take my most overwhelming chore and systematize to make run smoother.  I wash roughly: 49 outfits, 18 PJs, sheets from 5 beds, towels, napkins, 40 diapers and 14 covers each week.  Guess what?  I got fed up with scenes like this one…

Look familiar?  This is a corner of my bedroom filled with baskets of clean clothes.  They got thrown in there because we had company coming over.  They stayed there for days.  Since everyone dug around to find something clean to wear, and to find matches for socks…it looks like I never even folded it to begin with!

Laundry.  You can’t live with it, you can’t live without it.  Me and laundry have a love/hate relationship. I love when I have clean clothes in all the drawers.  I hate putting it there.  I love when laundry gets done in one day.  I hate stacking it in my room because the dinner guests arrived. Love/Hate.

I figured that there had to be a way to do laundry without it in our living spaces.  I did a little searching around to see what other people with large families do. Here’s what I found out.

1.  Everyone likes to show off their beautiful laundry rooms, but few show how they get it to stay that way.

2.  I have a very dreary and unattractive laundry room.

I did glean my main idea from another mom of five over at Clover Lane. The rest of the system is from looking at lots of pictures of beautiful laundry rooms that I don’t have. Some is even my own ideas. So, here’s my system:

1.  I used 4 rectangular baskets I already had for sorting baskets.  I labeled them with all the colors that go in each, and tied coordinating yarn around them.

2.  I labeled 2 more rectangle baskets “Linens” and one “Dad and Mom”.  Then I purchased 5 small round (shape doesn’t matter) baskets and put each child’s name on it.  They cost $2 each.  I call these the destination baskets.
3.  I then nailed yarn above my folding table and attached clothes pins.  (Is there anything that can’t be solved by yarn and clothes pins?)  This is for the missing sock station.  When I fold a load I match up socks in the load, look for the other on the wall, clip on the sock if I can’t find a match.
This looks pretty bad.  It’s a good sign that I need to toss socks that have been there for over a month…I’m never going to find the match am I?
4.  Since I already had a single line running from wall to wall in the garage, I put it to use.  The section above the folding table holds empty hangers.  Further down I placed 7 clothes pins with every persons name.  Clean shirts go here.  When I’m really on top of it, I pull out all the shirts/dresses/jackets and hang them there to dry straight out of the washer.  Less to hang outside or put in the dryer.
If you happen to have a pole instead of a line check out this smart way to divide your sections.  You can also use these in the closets to divide seasons, sizes, ect.
On Sundays and Mondays I usually do laundry.
Sunday afternoon the dirty clothes from the bedrooms get dumped in the laundry room.  The baskets go straight back tot the rooms.  Then the kids and I sort.  This is why I tied colored yarn and wrote the colors on the baskets.  Even Josie who is 3 can help.
When the clothes are dry, I put the load on the table and fold– tossing each persons item in their basket.  I hang up everyone’s shirts– even the baby’s onesies.  Pajamas, Pants, socks, underwear, and under shirts get folded.
I explained already how I do socks…it’s a wonderful method.
When the laundry’s finished and the baskets are full, the clothes go straight to the rooms to get put away.  All empty hangers from the closets get placed into the empty basket.  The older kids do their own clothes.  Nick and I work together on ours.  I do the linens.  I put away the younger kids’ or employ Isabel to do it for $0.25.
Empty baskets go straight back to the laundry room stacked together, and wait for the next week.
That’s right.  I only “do” laundry once a week.  I don’t like doing laundry everyday.  If you don’t mind that’s great.  You can still have the putting away part happen once a week.  Sheets are washed on a different day than the main loads.  Diapers are washed every 3 days.  So, I guess I do laundry more than once a week, but not the clothes.
I hope you enjoyed a peek at the laundry.  It’s pretty exciting for me to not feel like curling up in the fetal position every time I see clothes.  I no longer feel like the laundry monster is going to eat me.  Also exciting, is actually being caught up on laundry.  Oooo…another exciting bit is that you can be caught up too.
This system took only a couple hours to set up and start.  I spent $12 on baskets and more hangers.  That’s it.
Happy folding!