I’m going to air a bit of my dirty laundry. Truth is, I’m pretty fond of laundry. It’s weird, I know. I’m a bit of a control freak, and the laundry room is one place where I can take control and pretty much keep it. In most other things the kids and the husband tend to get in the way, messing up what I’ve cleaned and not conforming to my organizational systems!
Of course this has to relate to cloth diapering. The laundry aspect of cloth is often what is most daunting to new families. Countless times I hear from new or soon-to-be moms that they can barely keep up with laundry as it is without adding diapers to the mix. For those of us who are seasoned parents, we know that it’s not diapering that adds a bunch of laundry, it’s kids in general! My kids are well out of diapers at this point and I’m still shocked at how much laundry our family generates.
Being a working mom I had to get that laundry under control. Trying to get out the door and hearing “Mom! I need socks!” Is not the way to get mornings off to a good start! I am going to share with you what works in our house. Hopefully this gives you some ideas, too, if laundry is something you have trouble keeping on top of.
Each bedroom and the bathroom has a laundry hamper in it. We are still working on making sure all dirty laundry gets into those hampers, but that’s probably a struggle I will have until the boys move out of the house! When these hampers get full I take them to the laundry room and sort them into a set of Elfa drawers. I have eight drawers and sometimes I think I’d like two more, but I make the eight of them work. Each drawer represents a section of laundry: whites, darks, colors, reds, bath towels, sheets, kitchen towels and sheets. (If I added two more they would be for hand wash items and jeans, right now those two categories get piled on top of our Elfa units.)
Having these drawers with the laundry pre-sorted makes it so easy to throw a load of laundry in! I try to do two loads a day, one in the morning and one at night. If I keep up with it, this is more than plenty for our family of four, but aiming for two a day gives me plenty of leeway since we could probably get away with 6-7 loads of laundry a week.
Moving the laundry from the sorting drawers to the washing machine and then to the dryer really isn’t hard and it can easily be done in the morning while we are getting ready to leave the house or in the evening after dinner. What was most difficult, however, was getting those clean clothes folded and put away. And my personality is such that if the dryer was full of clean clothes, more laundry wouldn’t get done because I didn’t want to fold and put those clothes away.
Elfa to the rescue again! Another unit of four drawers saved me from the dread of folding, sorting and putting away all those clothes. This unit has a drawer for each member of the family. When the clean clothes come out of the dryer, I fold them right away and then out them in the drawer for the person they belong to. My kids are old enough now that I can have them take these drawers out and to their room where they can put them away themselves. When I’m feeling generous I can empty the baskets for the kids pretty easily since everything is already sorted.
I don’t usually write about products we don’t sell at Sprout Soup, but since I love our Elfa so much and because the annual Elfa sale is going on now, I wanted to share this with you! Of course there are probably other methods and sorting systems out there, you might find a different one works better for you. I think I saw something like the Elfa drawers the last time I was at Ikea.
Elfa is available at the Container Store (at Easton). I’ve always been happy with our Elfa products (we also have Elfa closets), and the team at the Container Store will help you design a space to fit your needs, just bring your measurements along!
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