this is actually a post about laundry

but what do you take a picture of when you are blogging about laundry?  i didn’t think any good could come of it.  these are the mother’s day flowers i got at church instead.  how nice.

i’ve joined a group of women in boise called “keepers of the home” and it is amazing.  last monday i went to a two hour lecture on laundry – to the glory of god.  seriously.  one of things that drives me crazy is listening to sermons on practical subjects where they pretty much say, “we’re not going to make you a list of rules.  we’re not going to tell you what to do.  we just want to give you principles and like work it out with jesus.”  oh comeon, just tell me how long you want my skirt to be.  just say it.  well, this lady tells me how to fold my towels.  i am glad.  finally, someone.  so i was just going to pass on my notes.

the first things she showed us was her linen closet for a family of eight.  the backs of the shelves were painted seafoam green, three baskets – one each for towels, washrags and hand-towels.  a container for soap and one for bath beads.  she said before it was a leaning tower of towel pisa.  her solution was to pare down to two towels per person, like 4 hand towels and 6 washrags.  done.  she does laundry every night and only keeps enough towels (and clothes even) for a 2-3 day supply.  i’ve waded through my kids rooms enough to see the genius in this.  so the first rule is to pare down.  if you do laundry every day, how many clothes do you actually need?  she does a whole season with two pairs of pants for every kid and 5 shirts, 1-2 dress outfits and 2 pairs of jammies.

so the next morning i woke up, marched downstairs and ripped everything out of my kids’ drawers.  i was practically ecstatic.  do you know how nice they close now?  i just want to stand there and slide them open and shut with a big fat smile on my face.  why was this so hard?  i have no idea.  i gave half of it to the refugees up the street and the other half i boxed up for shadrach and phinn.  although supposedly you’re not supposed to keep anything.  if you only have a few clothes for each kid they wear them out by the end of the season and you can be justified in getting rid of them.   then you can buy new/used clothes for the next season.  seriously, if you only have to buy a few things per child it almost seems feasible.  and i didn’t know this, but shopko and sears guarantee jeans for as long as your child is in that size.  i have never bought clothes.  i just file away whatever people pass down to me.  which results in a somewhat elaborate storing system.  but if you shop anyways, i love the idea of this “fly by the seat of your pants” method.  it sounds so liberating.    the other thing that was so nice is that my kids look better now.  because the five things that are in their drawers are my five favorite things and the shirt with gaping tyrannosaurus on it lives no more.  it’s not like they don’t wear the same thing every day anyways, they might as well wear the things i like.

and of course, the key to the system is doing the laundry every day.  she says i should only have two loads a day so i’m trying to believe her.  and in order to remember to faithfully do these two loads of laundry you have to attach it to something you do already.  so i put the first one in as i’m making dinner, the second one in as i’m cleaning up dinner and switch it to the dryer when i put the kids to bed.  the boys’ first job in the morning is to take the laundry out of the dryer and sort it into piles on the living room floor.  after breakfast, folding laundry has become a part of the good morning ritual.  the boys fold their piles and the towels, jael does washrags and i do the rest.  this way all the laundry is done and put away before 8:30.  oh the sanity!  before i would work on laundry throughout the day and it was in a constant state of migration.  now it only comes out at night.  and of course you have to have clothes that are easy care, which is fine by me.  not to mention, i love my pink rowenta and it loves me.

but really, it was that hard?  that hard.  i tried it, it works.  laundry is always done.  yay.  another thing she touched on was color coordinating bathroom/kitchen towels so small inebriates can figure out which piles to sort them too.  that and buying each child/size  easily identifiable pairs of socks.  get this – so you never have to match them.  yes, that hard.  if they are all the same then it doesn’t really matter if they are even or odd, now does it?  she also said this ritual has to be performed daily.  she even does it while they are visiting friends or on vacation.  next month’s talk is on chore assignment, which i am really looking forward to.  for instance, she assigns her kids a bathroom to maintain and part of their morning ritual is to spruce it.  what is funny is that they do this on vacation too.  so her kids will wake up in the morning and ask their host where their cleaning supplies are.  ahhh, feeling the love now aren’t you?  and then she recommends a few books each meeting, this month it was doorposts – a checklist for parents and instructions in righteousness, so you could check those out too if you want.  or if you live in boise you could just come with me to the next one.  (they even feed you.  i can’t get over it.)

oh, and i almost forget.  she is also anti-hamper.  i just threw mine in the attic.  i have a laundry sorter in my laundry room.  the kids bring their clothes directly to it and sort them.  i do the same.  that way you are always ready to throw in a load and you don’t ever have a pile going on on the floor.  for little things, like washrags or baby clothes, i have an easter basket sitting at the top of the stairs.  i can chuck laundry in there if i am in a hurry and bring it down when i am going anyways.  so far, i haven’t looked back.  try it, you’ll like it.

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8 Responses to “this is actually a post about laundry”


  1. 1 tiffany May 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    This is brilliant! I am in the process right now of packing away the winter clothes and hating every moment of it. I am definitely paring down as I pack.

  2. 2 angela May 9, 2011 at 9:12 am

    So, did you get rid of your clothes too or just the kids’? And what about babies!? My baby goes through that many clothes in a day, easy. And how do you keep the grandmas from just filling the drawers up again? My MIL brings a new outfit every time she visits! This sounds so tempting but…. I’m scared! lol.

  3. 3 mavis May 9, 2011 at 11:06 am

    ah yes, the rule really only applies to kids 5 and up. younger than that you have to minimize at your own discretion. however, i am really tempted to try it out on myself. all my clothes are of the “found” variety. and getting dressed is an exercise in desperation. i would love to go through my closet and keep the two things i love. and then go shopping! all i really need are five well-fitting land’s end tops to pair with my two new jean skirts. then i would have a uniform. that would, of course, accessorize nicely with my apron collection. for when i have a waist…. suffice to say, it would be an improvement over what i do now and not a sacrifice. i am sure some people are a bit more fashionista, in which case it would be a problem.

    also, if you find you keep getting new clothes for your tot i would file away your excess for baby number two. grandmas get less spendthrift as they have more grand-kids to keep up with. so just keep breeding, i’m sure you’ll wear her down eventually. 😉 and of course, the whole system is really only for those who are desperate. if you get by fine as is then you don’t have to worry about it, right?

    p.s. i am terribly worried.

  4. 4 Liz Boyd May 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I honestly was standing in my kitchen making pancakes this morning thinking about this very thing, and thinking about you! I have had good intentions to write to ask you to have some place on your blog for serious housewife questions that need answering, some examples I thought of are: How do you really get your whites back to the original white? I have heard some tricks, but none seem to really work.. discuss! This morning it was “How do I make a lighter, fluffier pancake, could I use my regular recipe and just add an extra egg yolk? So, needless to say I was pleased to hop on your blog only to see an answer to laundry blues… in Jesus’ name!
    Thanks

  5. 5 angela May 9, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Love LOVE LOVE the site you referred me to! I can see my son in most of them, for sure!! Thanks for the laugh!

  6. 6 mavis May 9, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    ha, liz! i was just threatening to bring my mother-in-law all my whites. she told me to pony up and sent directions instead. here they are:

    Fill your washing machine tub with HOT WATER. Put in 1 c. of bleach. Put anything cotton in there and soak it overnight. Run it through the whole cycle in the morning. Then wash again in hot water with laundry detergent.
    You might have to do it a couple of times. Then, put a little bleach in every load, if it’s just cottons.

    For anything else
    Fill your tub with cold water. Add 1 c. BIZ. Put in whites. Soak overnight, spin it out, then wash with hottest water possible and laundry detergent.
    When I had my old washing machine, I always, every time, soaked my whites overnight in Biz and cold water, then washed them in hot. Same with any pastel color.

    Don’t wash your whites with anything but other white stuff. Soak white socks in biz before you put them in with everything else. Be fanatical.

    it’s a hard life. that’s what i say.

  7. 7 mavis May 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    (angela, your son and my daughter should get together. we could give them scissors and see what happens.)

  8. 8 jupiterbuttons May 12, 2011 at 4:34 am

    I definitely agree with you about wanting specifics. Principles sound nice, but they’re often just not very helpful when it comes to running a household. Seeing that half of our family are/will be under 2 and we don’t really have a laundry room, I’ll have to file a lot of this away for later. But I love the idea. And doing laundry more often (for me that’s 2x per week, instead of whenever-we-run-out-of-clean-clothes) was extremely liberating. When I have a waist as well, I look forward to being ruthless with my closet. You probably shouldn’t forget to mention shoes as well: who doesn’t own a bunch of cute shoes that are only comfortable for 30 minutes and thus never get worn? Or little girl shoes that only go with one outfit?


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