Now that the baby is here, I'm struggling to keep up with the laundry. I'm failing miserably. I remember a time when I could see the bottom of any given laundry basket in the house. Those days have come and gone.
I feel as though I have to do laundry every day. If I "take a day off," I pay for it later. I try to do at least a load a day - and several loads on Fridays and Saturdays. I also do the easy loads (linens) on the days I work - "easy" because they are easy to gather, easy to sort, easy to wash and dry, easy to fold and put away.... easy. I also do one load of baby laundry on one of the days I work.
Essentially, the laundry breaks down like this (keep in mind, we don't have a front-loading or extra large capacity washer):
2 loads of baby laundry (with some kid stuff mixed in)
4 loads of kid laundry
4 loads of adult laundry
3 loads of towels
2 loads of sheets, blankets, table linens
... per week. And that's a normal week. However, out of the ordinary events occur cause more laundry; events such as catastrophic spills, basement flooding, snow adventure clothes, etc.
See? There's a reason I don't use cloth diapers... the only thing that would be clean would be the diapers!
Recently, I started a thread on a board where I post occasionally. I asked the moms there how many loads of laundry they wash in a week - and with that, I wanted to know the number of people in their household and what kind of washer they have. I was astonished by several of the responses... not because they wash vast amounts of clothing, but in fact, quite the opposite. Two moms with families of 4 posted that they only do 3-4 loads per week. PER WEEK?! How??? Another mom, with a family of 5, posted that she does THREE loads of laundry a week. WHAT?! Some of these low-load moms said that their families re-wear clothes - or they only wash clothes if they are "dirty." Hello? In my (not so) humble opinion, if someone wears something on their body for 6 - 8 hours or longer, it's dirty. With the exception of jammies. Actually, I would probably have to add one more load to the kid count if they didn't wear their jammies two nights in a row (something I started once the baby joined us).
I don't know... maybe it's because I have a couple of accident-prone-messy-eater children; maybe it's because I have a seven year old daughter who likes to wear a different outfit every day; maybe it's because I like my clothes to feel fresh and, well, clean. We do reuse towels - we each use 2 towels a week. [That's another thing - some of the moms posting said that each person in their house only gets one towel a week. Ick. Maybe it's a bit more humid here than where that mom lives - I can't imagine the mildew smell coming from a bath towel after using it every day for a week. For that matter, I also can't imagine the mildew smell my hair would have!] Sheets are (supposed to be) changed every other week. Table linens are changed weekly. With that, there is no way we could have a mere 4-5 loads per week.
I've also gotten smart and realize that my children can help with this daunting task. For now, all they have to do is put away their clothes. Beside the washer and dryer, I have a plastic 4-drawer cart - one drawer per kid. Whenever I wash their clothes, I fold them and place them into each child's particular drawer. Every day they check their drawer and put away any clothes that have accumulated. Before too long, I'll start the older two folding their clothes... maybe I'll teach them that today! (Who says education should only come from books?!)
Our Last First Day of School
6 months ago