musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Keeping It Clean and Being Green

Do you ever wonder where all that dirty laundry comes from?  I know I sure as heck do.  I mean, there are three of us in this house - but you'd be hard pressed to guess that from our laundry load.  We do at least one load a day and average about 9-10 a week.  And these are BIG loads - so what's up with that?

We have established a routine that seems to work pretty well for us - though it seems about as odd as the amount of laundry we do a week.  We do a load every weekday and 'catch up' on the weekends.  Now, this is not set in stone - but it does help to keep the dirty laundry at bay.  Also makes it easier for everyone to help out.

Another part of keeping this routine rolling smoothly is our Laundry Closet.  Luckily, this old house has an abundance of closet spaces on the second and third floors - where the bedrooms are located.  In one such closet in the second floor hallway area, I have four laundry bags / hampers. One each for:  denim, whites, dark colors, and light colors.  Oh, there's also a towel hamper right outside the bathroom. 

Everyone has been trained as to what goes where - and it's been working now for over 10 years.  Amazing!

Keeping the rhythm going. . . whichever bag is to 'capacity' (that does NOT mean overflowing. . . thank you very much.) is the one that loses its load to the washing machine.  The only exception is the denim bag - a washer load is 5 - 6 pairs of jeans.  Period.   But no sweat - it still all works perfectly in the system.

So, every morning, I choose the lucky load for the day and a bundle of dirty laundry finds its way into the washer.  Then sometime later in the day,  the now-clean laundry gets hung up to dry.  Yup.  Not tossed into the dryer - unless it's towels or bedding - but hung on drying racks.

We are very lucky that our laundry area is in a large unfinished basement with plenty of room to stretch out.  In addition to the washer, dryer, and laundry sink, I have four drying racks (there's one in the little wall-cabinet painted with birds that I use for delicates) and a heavy-duty pipe Hubster installed for clothes on hangers.  I also keep a basket in the area for clean clothes that need to go to the dry cleaners to be pressed.  When the basket gets full - off it goes. . . That step is usually Hubster's job.

Hanging the clothes up is one of the ways we are 'green.'  We're saving electricity (and money) by not using the dryer and our clothes last just a little longer by not fading or shrinking as fast.  Nice.  Yes, it took some time to get used to it, but, frankly, there's no pressure to hurry up and get clothes out of the dryer before they wrinkle.  I mean, typically, the dry clothes are folded every night before the wet clothes are hung up, but, if something comes up, it's no issue to just let them hang.  Keep them hangin', man!  Much more convenient than being a slave to that darned buzzing dryer.

From the racks, the dry clothes are folded and put into a laundry basket.  When that basket is full - back upstairs to the second floor it goes to be sorted and put in its place. 

Dress items, (such as button downs and dress slacks), polos, etc., are put on hangers to dry. When dry, unless they're going to be professionally pressed, simply migrate to the appropriate closet. Otherwise, they find their dry-selves in the dry cleaner's basket to get pressed. 

Jeans also get hung up on this rod using clip hangers with built in clips (you can sometimes get these free from department stores by just asking).  When dry, they get folded with the rest of the clothes.

Now, towels and bedding get the privilege of the dryer services. . . but only because there's just not enough room to hang them up AND we prefer the softer feel that linens have when dried in the dryer.  We don't use fabric softener in the washer (though I do like that fresh smell), but we do use dryer sheets in the dryer.  So, actually, we run the dryer for one, maybe two, hours a week.

To help things get dry in this wet climate we deal with, we have an oscillating fan set in the area to blow on the hanging clothes.  We also run a dehumidifier.  That is more for the overall humidity that can accumulate in the basement - but does also assist with drying the clothes.

Ah, there is one last aspect of this laundry thing that I haven't talked about.   We do have rugs, dog beds, and kitty blankets that need to be washed on occasion.  I monitor that (joy. . . not!) process and typically will implement the full orchestration from washer to drying rack to rubbermaid.  I have two of everything for the 'zoo', so as one is being washed - there's already another out and being used.  No stress.  I'm into dealing with as little stress as possible, aren't you?  Keeps all the creatures happy.

I may be the one who oversees the entire laundry operation - but everyone pitches in.  By establishing a sense of organization and a routine, the family knows (or should know, eh?) what to expect every day.  And, hopefully, just takes care of it.  Yeah. . . I still have to do the boss-mom-wife thing to get the cogs moving as they should sometimes - but it all gets done in the end.

What's your laundry routine?  A little every day?  A lot of it one or two days a week?  Do you use your dryer? 

Have a Green and Clean kind of day!


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