Operation Laundry

Operation Spring Clean:

Daily Tips:

If you’re like me you let the laundry pile up until it turns into a clothing monster.  With my busy schedule, getting to the laundromat is not on my priority list.  Admit it – have you ever been one of those people who runs out of clean socks and goes to Target to buy more?  That is a clutter and budget no-no.  Well today I braved the laundry piles, stuffing five huge bags into my car and driving to the Medlin Davis laundromat in Raleigh Cameron Village.

As I struggled to carry the heavy bags of my entire wardrobe into the Medlin Davis – I thought there has got to be an easier way, especially for those of us who do not have the luxury of a washer and drier unit at home (oh Lord, I am praying).   The benefits of doing laundry at the ‘mat is 1)people watching and interesting conversation 2)you get to watch your favorite soap – did you know there is a new Phyllis on Young and the Restless? I’m way behind on the soap dish – retail is enough drama on its own 🙂 3) in good laundromats the machines are state of the art and wash and dry quickly.  The laundry on site in our apartment complex eats about a dozen quarters and floods – hence my decision to go to Medlin Davis

I have not devised the best way to do laundry yet – but I know simplicity and keeping it organized is key.  Whether or not you do laundry in your home or take it to the laundromat – keep your system simple.  I’m not saying your dirty laundry has to be perfectly folded and immaculately tucked away, rather simplicity means keeping a system you can repetitively use that cuts your time of doing the task in half.  There is an opportunity cost involved here.  The longer you have to sort laundry – the less time you have to do more important things umm like watch Y&R 😉

I’ll admit right now my laundry is relegated to throwing clothes into a closet (I confess #MessyCloset) and then throwing it into large bags from Pier One, Belk and Bed Bath and Beyond and sorting my clothes at the laundromat.  I’ll admit it hurts my ego a bit dividing up my underwear and bras in front of the ‘village people’ who frequent the Medlin Davis cleaners.  I have taken to the internet and did a little Village shopping today to figure out solutions to my laundry dilemma.

I realized in my situation I need to have different bins in my closet so I can separate the darks, whites, delicates as I go along.  This saves me time at the ‘mat and only takes a second when I do my dumping in the darkness of the hall laundry closet.  Because I don’t have a laundry area in my apartment I am faced with the dilemma of should I look for storage containers I can take to the mat, or have bins for dumping and bins for the mat.  I’m still undecided.  I think having a unit you can roll and organize for laundry in a closet makes things simpler, the closet looks neater and you stay ahead of the game.  In an apartment situation a collapsible or fold up laundry basket is nice if I need to move it.

This was one option I liked on The Container Store, as you can take the bags out when you are ready to do laundry.  Practical and easy:

Chrome Triple Laundry Bag Stand

Another idea:

Keep this in closet:

Heavy-Duty 3-Bin Laundry Sorter

& use laundry bags (you could be bold and get them monogrammed by color/laundry type or just pick a white bag for whites, print/dark bag for darks and mesh bag for delicates.

Clothesline Laundry Bag by reisenthel®

If you have a laundry room – your have great possibilities.  In my mom’s condo growing up she moved the washer-dryer unit upstairs to the third bedroom.  She paid for doors to be built around the W-D to keep them hidden.  The closet with the W-D had built in (affordable Elfa – only a few hundred dollars) shelving space to keep laundry detergent, an iron and other necessary laundering tools.  We could tune the ironing board and fold out dry rack in a side slit)  It was practical and did not cost a lot of money.  You wash clothes on average 2-3 times a week (I recommend once a week or twice a week to save water – I’m a little eco-friendly – not a slob 🙂 Although it seems like a lot of money to invest in good laundry organization – think how often you have to do laundry – the simpler it is the more time you have for other projects.

Overdoor York Laundry Utility BasketWood Dowel Drying RacksBlack Micro Mesh Wash Bag

far right mesh laundry bag from The Container Store ideal for delicates

One dilemma is keeping laundry sorted when you have multiple family members – my mom and I don’t have much trouble sorting our items, but you may want to have separate baskets for each family member – at the end of the day it depends on what is easiest for you.  To me I prefer sorting as I fold and dividing into bags, but it may be helpful to have a laundry basket in each person’s room…find a system that works for you consistently and effortlessly.

Laundry DOESN’T have to be a CHORE: If you simplify your laundry organization – you can enjoy the 30 minutes of each cycle with a book you’re dying to dig into or listen to your iPod…or if you’re like me today – I used the time to meditate and be content to have a few minutes of quiet time in the chaos of the week.  I used to have a book I only read during the laundry – it would be a thriller so I would want to do laundry so I could keep reading it.  Don’t turn your laundry from a molehill of dirty clothes into a mountain of contempt.

One of the biggest pet peeves people have with laundry is that they dread what the washer and drier will do to their beloved favorite piece of apparel.  We all have our laundry nightmare stories.  Mine is when I was in high school I accidentally washed my mom’s favorite wool Talbots jacket – oops – never heard the end of that one.

I work in clothing and the first thing I check out when we get shipments in is how to launder the article of apparel.

In Tommy Bahama – most of the silk shirts are machine wash cold and low-heat dry OR dry clean.  This is a no man’s land area for many people – they don’t know how to wash the piece of clothing.  The Dry Cleaners treat clothes with certain chemicals that actually can damage some clothes and sometimes washing a sweater or delicate piece in the machine is its death sentence.  For these hard to figure out pieces of clothing, I’d recommend hand wash cold and hang dry.  For crinkly linen, silk and other wrinkled material AIR FLUFF is your best friend.

While it seems daunting to hang clothes up to dry – it doesn’t have to be.  You can even hang them in the shower or a pop out folding dry rack – usually less than twenty dollars.

Your clothes are part of your STYLE – each article of clothing is an investment of your budget – no one wants to keep losing clothing to a maniac washing cycle – so take care to research what the directions are for each article of clothing before you wash them.  It will save you $$$ in the end.  I also recommend steering away from dry clean only clothing unless it is work/suit wear – the cost of getting a pair of slacks dry cleaned is around $10-$20.  I bought a pair on clearance ($200 pants for $20 bucks) – frankly I rarely wear the slacks because the dry cleaning bill is not worth the investment.  So how clothes launder – do they hold up when you wash them should be a critical piece in designing and constructing your wardrobe.  You do not have to spend a lot for good quality, but your will pay a lot for items that tear apart after one wash – Quality is always worth the investment – even if you have fewer items in your closet.

Washing delicates: Container Store and other organization vendors have delicate bags – I wash a merino sweater this way in cold water.  Because each delicate wash bag/dry cleaning bag is slightly different – I remind you to read on the literature of the garment and washing system/special care bag – these bags can save you a bunch of money on dry cleaning though.

Maximize your STORAGE SPACE:

In addition to organizing/sorting your clothes it is vital you keep your laundering tools (detergents,stain sticks, etc…) effectively organized.  I went to Target and purchased a small tub bin with handles where I keep my detergent, suds, downy softeners – all of it is in this bin.

If you go to a laundromat like I do I recommend going to the bank once or twice a month and getting several rolls of quarters you designate for laundry – this is your laundry budget.  It is not a fashion faux pas to wear an outfit twice before washing it as long as it doesn’t stink.  You can wear jeans several days as long as you are not in 100 degree weather and working at a sweat lodge – and NO I do not buy Levi’s crazy freeze your jeans instead of cleaning them – Wash your jeans – just maybe not after one wear.  Saving water, saves you money.  Less washing saves you quarters.  Stay clean, do so wisely.  Got it?

I take an ethical and green approach to most things in life.  Most people are realizing you don’t have to be an extreme hippie to love your mother earth and want to protect its resources.  I actually learned to respect my environment at church – as a Christian I think it is our duty to protect God’s creation – if you are not religious – scientifically protecting our water is important.

I bring this up in the laundry article because Washers and Driers use a lot of energy – and they use a lot of water.  W-D’s are more effective each year – but we can still be proactive in being GREEN and aware in our laundering without being dirty.  A washing machine still uses less water than hand washing.

I do laundry once a week.  I understand some may need to do it more.  Just be conscious that your clothes really do smell/have a stain/are dirty before you wash them.

I use Eco-Laundry Detergent (although I do have a secret love of Tide when the stains won’t come out) – ECOS is one of the best Eco Detergents on the market and is affordable.  You can also look at Whole Foods 365 brand.  I’ll do a post on Eco Cleaning soon.

I hope this quick post into organizing your laundry helps you manage the stress of another load.  I’m always willing to hear tips and tricks from your laundry room and closet…Keep following as I blog about food.organization.art.life.style.love

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