Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spring Cleaning- Laundry

Photo courtesy of playingwithbrushes

Laundry has been my arch nemesis ever since I had kids. I just can't seem to tackle it with anything resembling competency and it ends up piled in heaps in closets until at last we run out of clean clothes. In different homes there have been different challenges. At our apartment in Pasadena there was the coin laundry, which we never had enough quarters for and required lugging two babies, a pile of clothes and some detergent outside and around the building. Here the problem is stairs. I live in a house that is split into six levels and in the 23 years since my family bought this house I can count on my fingers the number of times the laundry has made it up the stairs to my bedroom.

For a long time I tried to solve the problem with self discipline. You just have to get better at doing these kinds of things, Stephanie. Stop being so lazy and haul the laundry up the stairs, will you? It's taken 30 years, but I have finally come to the realization that organization isn't so much about self discipline as it is about putting things where you actually use them. Since family members have been getting dressed in the basement since the 1980s I decided it was time to build a dressing area there.

Two days ago we went to IKEA and bought some of their Antonius mix-and-match shelving units to build a laundry storage system. The system consists of a mix of shelving, baskets and clothes hanging bars. Each family member gets three baskets, one for shirts, one for pants and one for underwear and accessories. There is also a basket for kids socks and a basket for adult socks. The kids' baskets will be on the lower shelves so they can get their own clothes. In addition to that, each person gets a small clothes-hanging bar, the kids hung at their height and the adults hung at ours. I want to encourage the kids to be independent with dressing.

On an adjoining wall there will be a laundry hamper for each member of the family, a chair and a full-length mirror. Each person's clothes will be washed individually with cold water to prevent running, folded immediately and put back in their baskets. Because the laundry won't be piling up this should take very little time. Once a week Cheyenne, my five-year-old will be responsible for bringing linens downstairs for me to wash and carrying them back up. Each person is responsible for making their own bed, with help, of course, for the little ones.

If all goes as planned this will revolutionize my daily life. No more hunting around in baskets for outfits for the kids and me. No more mountain of laundry to tackle on a Saturday, and best of all, no more guilt.


  1. I think this is brilliant. Have the dressing area where the family actually gets dressed. It just makes sense! Fabulous!

  2. Thanks Valerie! I wish I'd thought of this earlier. Like in the 4th grade. :) Think of all the hassle this will save me!

  3. I can't wait to hear how this works out for you. I would love the idea of having it all in one place rather than scattered all over the house like it is here sometimes!

  4. The shelves are going up today! The laundry is already sorted into the baskets as of last week and so far even that has helped.