Monday, June 7, 2010

Even less housework

If the kitchen is king of housework, the laundry is the constant, nagging queen.   How do we keep our royal couple from getting too big for their britches?   Because although we do have a regular flow of laundry, we do escape the dreaded laundry mountains that I do hear tell...

My kids are messy but not very smelly yet (with obvious exceptions).  If their meals missed their clothes and the bark from the park shook itself off, fold that darling little bundle back into a drawer to fight another day.  Yes, I can do this with some of my clothes too - using a few of my common senses. Absolutely, positively, put clothes for rewearing back with clean clothes because that's the point.  They're clean enough, and I don't want my furniture or floor wearing my clothes.  
  • The clothes examination happens at the end of the day when the light is dim - every once in a while I discover my mistake in the morning light.  Oops!
Of course I don't do this with underwear or smelly clothes except for my exercise clothes.  My exercise routine is such that only I could possibly be bothered by them.  More on my minimal exercise routine later, and apologies if anyone finds this icky.  But I'm clean after my shower, I promise.

Drying?  (Hanging up, of course!)

Put it where the sun does shine!  Especially in winter, our yard surrounded by lovely trees gets very little sun.  If you should spot some sun, note also the small sad empty socket where the previous owners removed the clothesline.  (They left the trampoline, so why quibble?)  There's another sizeable frame line - underneath the deck, where only the feeblest of filtered rays venture.  So we started drying all clothes indoors one winter and just kept going.  We are as lucky with our indoor space as we are unlucky outdoors, and I don't have to take heavy baskets in and out.  I certainly don't miss the "peg it up, take it down, is it going to rain?" game I've lost countless times.

A plastic airer lives permanently in the dining room for the small and short clothes.  Uncool?  Very, as it has direct sun most of the day and the airer can be trundled to follow it if necessary.
You can see it in full use in this pic. 

While our table looks darned good here, I'm pleased to report that it isn't usually much worse than this, clutterwise.  (Stickiness?  That's another story.)  This is one successful example of "make it clear and keep it clear" and I enjoy having a clear table enough to chase off stragglers!  Like the kitchen zoning, I like being able to use it for dining without having to clear away everything else first.  Obviously the airer spoils the minimalist look, but so far no visitors have reacted visibly.  And I was heartened to glance up at a neighbour's east-facing window and spot another laundry airer basking in the beams.

Another funny little storage room houses our Victorian airer for the grownup clothes.  We bought this on special for about $90 from Early Settler and I don't care how you estimate your dryer costs, this baby has paid for itself long since.  (Unlike our other babies :-)  And one line strung by DH in the laundry room does well for sheets and towels that aren't needed urgently.  Those that are needed may end up over chairs on the deck on a day with any hint of sun.

We run laundry at bedtime: DH hangs them to dry - one of his many valuable contributions.  I (and my short team) put them away when dry. Most go on hangers (and some can go straight to the closet that way) and we don't need to use clothes pegs as it's not very gusty in the house.  I even try to load dry clothes into the basket roughly split into piles for their destination rooms.

We do have a dryer for emergencies, but almost never use it.  I last used it to try to shrink some comfy elastane trousers that are too big.  I have to try again, carefully.  Usually the advice is aimed at not shrinking clothes, so I'm fully experimental here.

Dressing direct
Like most people, we reuse the same favourite clothes in a cycle of a few days.  So they're often still drying when we look to wear them again.  It makes perfect sense to dress from these clothes, dry but still hanging about, instead of getting more clothes out of the closet to wear and also having to put the clothes we really wanted back in the closet (to be taken out again later...)

Try doing that when your laundry's hung outside!

I've read the opinion (might have been FlyLady, whom I do enjoy) that this is just not on.  Your laundry isn't done until it's put away.  That is true, but some things around our house just do not get done.  I accept that and I'm saving myself work, so I win!

Full but not fully full
When your drawers and closets have more than they can hold, you're making more work for yourself and often more laundry.  It's harder to put away laundry (especially if you're enlisting short help) and things can often fall out!  It's worth your time to sort for those clothes that are really doing their duty, and re-house the rest as appropriate.  Seasonal storage, donations, online auctions...

I'm very pleased!  Although I bought some gorgeous new clothes for my gorgeous growing girl, I immediately took unnecessary clothes out of the drawers to make room.  Also: spending more on girls than boys largely due to fashion - has this happened to you?

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