I had to get into the habit of doing laundry daily when I started using cloth diapers. Otherwise, the whole house stank of pee and poo. But Flylady says we must do this in order to avoid CHAOS (can't have anyone over) which is also nice. She has a specific system for doing laundry which works well for her, but I do it my own way.
My Laundry Routine
Every night after dinner, I gather up laundry. This is triggered by the wash cloths and towels I have at the end of the day from keeping the kitchen area clean. I have a two year old and don't use paper towels, so it can be a lot. It's not a full load of laundry though; even last Tuesday when he was sick and vomiting all over everything, (carrot juice on my carpet!) it wasn't a full load. So I toss those in the wash machine and grab what's in the dryer and take it upstairs, toss it on my bed and fold it and put it away. Then I peek in the bathroom, around the various bedroom floors, etc. and gather up enough laundry to make a full load, toss it into my recently empty laundry basket and take it downstairs to the laundry room. No, I don't generally sort (I know, this is a crime). At this point we're mostly looking at towels anyway. I start that load and proceed with my evening. Just before bed I transfer that load into the dryer.
In the morning I am usually looking for towels and washcloths to do what needs to be done. Granted, there's often some in the kitchen drawer or on the bathroom shelf, but it's easier just to go downstairs and grab what's out of the dryer. I take those clothes, toss them in a basket and put them at the bottom of the stairs, take the washcloth and dishtowel I need off the top and return to my day. The reason I don't fold them and put them away immediately is because my husband sleeps about two hours longer than me in the morning and I like to fold my laundry on my bed.
When my husband gets up, he wanders in the kitchen and begins puttering around doing I don't know what and generally being in the way. In order to preserve our domestic tranquility, I go back upstairs. I make the bed, bring in the laundry basket and fold and put away my load of towels. Then I gather up the clothes my various family members discarded the night before (often but not always found in their laundry baskets, in their rooms, which I did not previously invade because they were sleeping) and take them downstairs to be washed. Assuming I have a full load, I'll wash them. If not, I just toss them in the washing machine and turn it on later when it's full. By this time, my husband has finished whatever he was doing and wandered back upstairs, so I go back downstairs to finish putting breakfast on. He will return shortly with the little one. Then we can enjoy a nice sit down at the table. This is important, since my husband is rarely home for dinner.
Breakfast is another morning routine that I feel I've got down nicely, but I will share that another day.
Sometimes there is a third load. If I'm washing bedding that day or if there was some extra messy situation or someone just got back from a trip and dumped their suitcase on the laundry room floor. But usually, two loads a day is plenty and sometimes I don't even need to do two.
I am also considering putting in a clothesline. But you see, my dream clothesline is a big circular rotating thing that I can easily reach off my back deck. My back deck is in desperate need of replacing and it's not in our budget. The clothesline of my fantasy would have to be sunk into a big hole and fixed with cement. I'm not sure if its a good idea to do that sort of permanent installation right next to a structure right next to a future major construction project. Not to mention the fact that there's a certain tree that will need to go away in order to create the perfect sunshine/ventilation situation for the drying of laundry. It's size and nearness to the house means we will have to hire professionals; also not in the budget. The result of all of this thinking: Not only do I not have my perfect outdoor clothesline solution, I have NO outdoor clothes drying solution.
As soon as he wakes up, I am going to give my elder son (who will hereafter be referred to by his super hero name: The Iron Panda) one end of a string and I am going to take the other and we are going to string a clothesline between some trees.
One thing I'm learning from the Flylady is that perfectionism is the enemy of actually getting things done.
Seriously, check her website out if you haven't, she's so cool. And no, I'm not getting paid to say that. I should look into that though.
Magic in the Laundry Room
As a kitchen witch, I take great pleasure in finding little ways to insert more magic into my everyday activities, especially my housekeeping. So of course I'm going to whip up some laundry magic.
One thing I like to do (and I'm not sure you'd call it magic exactly) is to take old nylon socks and pantyhose and fill them with dried herbs, tie a knot in the open end and toss it into the dryer. Lavender is a favorite for this, especially for bedding. It scents the clothes beautifully and naturally and the ugly little sachet can be used about a dozen times before I ultimately toss it. It's a good way to reuse old pantyhose. Other nice options might include cinnamon chips, orange peel, lemon peel, or southern wood. Go with what moves you.
Another kitchen witch I know prefers to put a few drops of essential oil onto a washcloth and toss that into the dryer. This also works well and gives you more choices of fragrances to choose from as many herbs lose their fragrance when dried. It's just a matter of preference and budget. Essential oil costs a bit more, but it is also easier to manage and stores more neatly and compactly. But if you grow herbs, you may want to use what you can pick out of your garden at no extra costs. You can also use leftover citrus peels after you eat the fruit.
Here are a few ideas of herbs or oils to use for their magical properties:
Lavender - Soothing, relaxing, pleasant dreams and good sleep. Try it on your bedding. Ahhh.
Cinnamon - Gently increase the libido, draw love and friendship and money and for protection against general negativity. Try it when you go to a new place and are looking to meet new people.
Cloves- Draws money and luck, protects against gossip and jealousy. Your lucky gambling shirt. Or whatever.
Rosemary - When you have to stay sharp and want to be memorable. A job interview, taking a test at school, etc.
Allspice- Maximum manly sexiness. Also for self-confidence.
Citrus- Including orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit peel for energy and clarity
Southernwood- To stay alert and to repel insects. Your ritual garb perhaps?
PS I am in the market for a new laundry soap recipe. I will be experimenting with them over the next few months and will get back to you when I find one I love. If you've got a recommendation, please feel free to share it.