Many of my friends tell me that I'm a super-mom. They tell me that their not sure how I do it all and seem so completely unstressed by it and relaxed. I completely disagree with the moniker. I'm no different than any other mom, I just have found what works for me and that has made life all the more manageable. One area that I had to change my approach to was laundry. I've been doing laundry for years, but I do it differently now.
When I was in high school, my mom had me do my own laundry. She felt it was important that I learn this life skill before heading out on my own someday. (Now as a mom, I think she also wanted to lighten the amount of laundry she was managing.) When it was just me, in high school and then in college and as a young adult, the laundry was just mine. I had one hamper, everything went in. When it was full, I did all of my laundry. Usually 3 loads, towels and socks, lights and darks.
When I got married, I found that one hamper filled way to fast, so I moved to two hampers - one for whites/lights and one for darks. It still seemed to be around 3-4 loads per week and I would tackle it all one day.
Now, as a mom, I have found that there is just too much laundry to do in one day. Over Christmas break, I did my best to catch up completely on laundry - doing 2 or 3 loads some days, so I have the week off. But, normally, I try to do a load every/every other day. I tend to alternate a load that hangs to dry (we use an indoor metal rack - much better than the old wooden dowel ones) and a load that dries in the dryer. This allows my clothes to have two days to hang before I give them a quick tumble and fold them. One load a day also is very manageable for me. Frequently, I throw the load in the washer when I get up and then put it in the dryer when I go up for my shower. After dinner, I can give it a quick tumble and fold it.
Not only does daily laundry keep me from feeling inundated by laundry, but it also helps balance things so that we don't run out of anything and things that need to be cleaned in quick turnaround can make it into a load on time. In fact, uniforms and the like, generally skip the hampers and head directly to the laundry room where they can be added to the next appropriate load.
Another benefit of my approach is that I am using power, water, gas in a period of the day that is regularly low usage (peak periods are 6a - 9a and 5p - 9p). Something that is advised (and even compensated with some plans) by power companies because they purchase off peak power at a cheaper rate than peak periods, they just don't all pass this on to the customer - unless you consider that a shift to off-peak periods lowers the total cost and in turn can keep the costs lower for the customers as a whole. Plus, with daily laundry, I can allow my clothes to dry without the need to run the dryer, saving more energy (read dollars).
I do save sheets for the weekend, finding it easier to strip and remake beds on the weekend - especially since all of my beds are still occupied with sleepy kids/spouse when I am up and doing my daily laundry and the evenings are too busy already to add in bed changing.
Now, if only we could put away laundry on a daily basis, we might be in good shape. The baskets tend to hang out for a couple of days before they make it back to the appropriate drawers and closets.
To learn more tips and tricks, that others find to work in their life, check out Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer. Shannon has a great tip on memory boxes today.