Casual Friday + Deep-Dive Into Laundry

  • John and Abby picked out our family pumpkins last weekend. Somehow she managed to talk him in to getting what were surely the three biggest pumpkins in the field. For real. They filled the entire trunk. The idea is to make a snowman out of pumpkins. We shall see how that goes. I’ve gladly delegated the whole task and am sure whatever they come up with will be fun and…memorable.
  • We also spent a not insignificant portion of the weekend working on Abby’s costume. Normally we do hand-me-downs or thrift store finds. This year she was determined to make her own costume and very quickly settled on creating a life-sized box of Kraft Dinner. Mac n’ Cheese is her favourite meal, especially when it’s made from scratch by Grammie. But the boxed version works too and it’s a favourite special treat on a weekend Date Night. This project involved glue (of the hot and stick variety, so bonus points?), paint, toilet paper rolls, a box, bristol board, and lots of tape. It ticked all the homemade crafting boxes. It was a lot of fun (I had been dreading the process) and she’s so happy with the end result. Levi will be going as Superman and his costume took approximately 30 seconds to select from a rack.
  • If there wasn’t already enough reasons to love fall AND our morning walks to school…John snapped this picture of the leaves on a trail we take to get home after dropping off the kids. October at its finest. Hard to beat the scenery on our commute!
  • I talked last Friday about the ups and downs that cycle through a week. Sometimes even within a day. Last Saturday was up and then way, way down. Sunday was all up. Monday was great. Wednesday was tough. I’m just writing this here so I can read back and realize the roller-coaster is real. It’s also normal and, for the most part, unavoidable.
  • Last weekend had some real highlights. Our quaint little town hosts Devour – a food and film festival. Some of our closest friends (who live just far enough away we don’t see them as often as we’d like) bought tickets for the Chowderfest. For $20 you got 5 samples of chowder and then you voted, via an app, for your favourite with a winner crowned by the end of the night. After their feast, they walked up to our house and we spent the remainder of the evening getting caught up. It’s always fun to sit and chat with other adults and feel…like an adult! They’re also a bit older – with kids having recently flown the coop – so it gives us a glimpse of the future when attending things like a Chowderfest won’t involve copious time and money related to arranging childcare!
  • Abby hosted her first in-home sleepover the same night. We made homemade pizzas on Naan bread and served homemade chocolate sauce (with coconut oil, so it hardens on contact with cold) to go over ice cream. The girls kindly let Levi hang out and watch a movie with them. The sleepover was a huge success complete with a movie, stuffed animals, snacks (of course) and a breakfast of fluffy stacked pancakes with maple syrup, peanut butter, nutella, chocolate chips and – because there clearly wasn’t enough sugar involved – a dusting of icing sugar (all masterfully prepared by John). Not quite on par with our family Whole30? I do think all that sugar and lack of sleep definitely helped derail parts of Saturday. Win some, lose some. And Sunday was great.

Laundry Deep-Dive

Okay, okay. Maybe “deep-dive” is overselling things a bit.

I’m no laundry guru – I don’t actually separate my whites from my darks (clearly a satisficer in this category). But I do try to stay on top of laundry and minimize the time it takes. Because, quite honestly, laundry isn’t one of my favourite things to spend time on. I’ve heard that some people actually enjoy ironing. I’m sure they’re lovely people…but wow.

To me, laundry is a necessary evil. It doesn’t taste good, like food, which helps offset the time invested in grocery shopping and cooking. Much of the time laundry doesn’t even make an aesthetic difference. My sheets don’t look dirty when they need to be laundered.

Yet, since I spend several hours a week doing various tasks related to laundry, it’s not an insignificant chore.

I’ve tweaked my approach to laundry various times over the years. When Abby was younger, I’d aim to do 2 loads/week (both on Saturday).

Now, with two much larger children in tow, I do one load almost every day.

Last year I did most loads in the evening, now I aim for the morning.

Last year I would dump all the clean, dry clothes on my bed and sort things there. Now I handle everything in the laundry room.

Different seasons have called for different approaches and here’s what’s working for us now.

When do you do laundry?

My preferred time is morning. I like turning the washing machine on before breakfast and then I’ll move things to the dryer when I know I’ll be home for the whole cycle (I don’t like leaving the house with the dryer going + I like to handle clothes fresh from the dryer to prevent wrinkles because above all else I loathe ironing).

Sometimes I’ll leave the washed clothes sitting for several hours in the washing machine, but the whole process of getting clean, dry laundry is usually completed by lunchtime.

where do you store dirty laundry?

We have a single laundry basket at the end of our hallway that everyone dumps into. When it’s full, it’s time for laundry.

If things get taken off downstairs in the laundry room (which connects to our downstairs bathroom/shower), sometimes we’ll leave a small pile of clothes on the floor or put items directly into the washing machine. But, for the most part, everything – clothes, towels, sheets, dishcloths – all go in one spot.

I know someone that has laundry baskets for every bedroom; she does separate loads for each child’s items, towels, sheets, even kitchen paraphernalia! It feels like more work to me but to each their own.

How do you separate clothes?

I don’t. I wash almost everything on the cold water setting. Especially dirty items or things we’re washing during an illness (hello, flu season), I’ll do on the hot setting. I buy detergent that works for cold water and, so far, no one has complained about the cleanliness of their clothes. We don’t necessarily have the highest of standards…

It’s less expensive, colours don’t run and, since I dry most things in a dryer, they’re being exposed to heat!

Who puts away the clean Clothes?

This has changed a lot. For the last few years I had been putting away almost everything. Ugh. But in the last 6 months I’ve gladly started sharing the responsibility.

When I sorted clothes in the master bedroom, things HAD to be put away before bedtime, or we’d have nowhere to sleep. Now I sort laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer. I shake things out so they’re not wrinkled and lay them flat in piles according to person.

Since the items are out of the way and wrinkle-free, there is a lot more flexibility in when they get put away (I usually get the kids to put away their clothes by the end of the day so stacks don’t accumulate and, since two stacks end up on the top of my deep freeze, when I need a bag of frozen peas, those clothes have got to go).

The kids are responsible for going downstairs and carting their pile back upstairs. I put socks together, but beyond that, they’re on their own.

I put away my clothes, general items like towels and dishcloths, and leave John’s clean clothes at the bottom of our bed.

These have been the biggest (and best) shifts in laundry: storing clean items out of the way (where I don’t see them + they don’t get wrinkled or dumped in a pile onto the floor which is about the most maddening experience to behold as a mother who has spent an hour doing laundry) AND passing the buck to every member in the family has been liberating.

what about big items like sheets and towels?

I’m terrible about staying on schedule with washing sheets. I feel like the kids spill or do something to their sheets every 2-3 weeks and I’m content with that washing cycle, but I definitely go longer than I should between washing my own sheets.

When I do wash sheets, I do a separate load (king-sized sheets are…large). Towels we just add to the laundry basket as we use them, and since I do a load whenever that basket is full, towels usually just get washed with other items. These also get washed in cold water, but are dried on high heat.

What about a clothesline?

To my shame, I’ve largely stopped using my clothesline. I was good about using it for a few years…but it’s a lot more work. Carting things outside, hanging them out, bringing them back in, and then dealing with the invariable soap scum on dark items. I’ll airdry big things like sheets (plus they smell so good), but just about everything else is currently going into the dryer. And I’m not letting myself feel any guilt about this.

(The clothesline gets LOTS of use for drying beach towels and bathing suits in the summer).

While I wouldn’t say I enjoy laundry, it’s not that bad. Staying on top of it by doing frequent, smaller loads, using the dryer, and making use of the child labour available in my home have all been important tweaks to help me from getting buried under an avalanche of superhero-themed underwear and pajamas.

And, for now at least, I haven’t discovered a way to keep active, outdoor-loving kids clean. And that’s fine. Run free. Get dirty. Every load is worth it.

8 thoughts on “Casual Friday + Deep-Dive Into Laundry”

  1. Your daughter’s costume is AMAZING!! So creative and impressive! Our son is going as a dinosaur again – same costume as last year, which he has worn throughout the year so we definitely got our money’s worth. The baby is wearing the hedgehog costume that Paul wore as a baby. I got it for $10 at Target so also getting our money’s worth and I will try to sell it for $5 next October. This is the first year Paul “gets” Halloween. He’s very excited! But he’s naturally very shy so we will see how into it he is when it comes time to trick or treat. We are going with some neighbor kids so that will help w/ the shyness thanks to safety in numbers!

    Everyone’s laundry routines are so unique so it’s interesting to hear how people do it! I used to split between darks and whites before I moved in with my husband but he doesn’t find it necessary and it doesn’t seem to impact the cleanliness of our clothes so I’ve let it go. We do about 2 loads/week. There isn’t a set day they happen. This week I did a load mid-week; the week before I did 2 loads over the weekend. One load always has to happen on the weekend as I need to wash Paul’s naptime blanket for school. We have a large capacity front loader so can get away with only 2 loads/week most weeks. And then once a week, I wash our cloth diapers which takes A LONG time because of the length of the cycle since they get washed on the heavy soil setting. I did more laundry in the first half of Will’s first year of life since he would often out-pee his cloth diapers so went through several outfits a day. School provides cloth diapers during the day so we wash diapers less often than we did when I was home w/ Will on maternity leave. My husband and I both throw loads in/switch to the dryer. I fold my clothes and the boys’ clothes. He folds his, unless I do laundry on a week day. I’d rather fold his clothes and put them on his dresser v leaving a pile of unfolded clothes for him. I put the boys’ clothes and mine away – I set a stack of Phil’s on his dresser. I used to wash our sheets every other week but that has fallen to the wayside! Now it’s probably closer to 1 month. The boys bedding gets washed more often since they are in the stage of life where they could out-pee their diapers/pull-ups. Doesn’t happen much w/ the toddler these days, though.

    1. I feel like when the kids were newborns I did SO much laundry (how can such tiny clothes fill up a load so quickly), and then things evened out (though preschool clothes were often filthy!) and now we’re back to a lot again.

      I think some of it is…their clothes are just…bigger. A sweater or pair of jeans from Abby doesn’t take up that much less space than something from me. I’m also very bad at encouraging my kids to re-wear clothes. Levi is always too dirty at the end of the day to reuse his main outfit, but I know the laundry basket becomes a dumping ground for a T-shirt that was worn for 30 minutes because it’s a lot less effort to pop it in there than get a hanger and put it back in the closet. Sigh. I’m picking my battles on this one…

      We have such a great neighbourhood for trick-or-treating (we actually used to drive here and trick-or-treat BEFORE we bought a house here); it’s big enough the kids get enough candy to be satisfied, but it’s very quiet and safe and relatively small. We only stick to our neighbourhood. I could 100% avoid Halloween and be happy about it, but the kids love it and it is fun to see their enthusiasm. Our neighbourhood also has some older couples whose kids are grown who get very in to wearing costumes and decorating and just love seeing the kids, so it’s fun to support those relationships as well.

      Gold star for getting all the use out of your costumes!

  2. I love that your husband took a picture of the leaves!!! My husband is just not “into” stepping back and stopping to admire nature, really…or taking photos. haha. Totally something I would do, though!

    And mac n’ cheese- what a great costume! Everybody loves mac and cheese. My kids are totally into the Easy Mac lately, since they don’t even need to use the stove. lol! Just add water and microwave. Perfect for lazy kids. 😉

    I can’t chime in much on the laundry. My husband, God bless him, does ALL the laundry at our house. I think this stems more from the fact that he doesn’t think I do a good job at the laundry. hahaha! (I do have a tendency to “forget” about it in the washing machine…or the dryer….and then it sits and gets all wrinkly. And he hates that!)

    We usually can make do with just a couple loads per week of clothing. He typically does laundry some weeknight, whenever it piles up a little. He throws it in around dinner time, switches it, throws in another load, repeat and folds it all before bed. (He stays up fairly late, so he has no trouble getting it done.) He stacks mine on the dresser, kids’ in their rooms and puts his away quick usually. I don’t feel like I generate a TON of laundry, besides socks and underwear and workout clothes, because I will wear pants multiple times before washing, and same with things like sweatshirts. I don’t feel the need to wash a hoodie more than maybe once a week….(I don’t wear the same one everyday, anyway, around the house). I just toss the top or t-shirt or whatever I had on underneath in the laundry, and hang the hoodie back in the closet. Same with things like cardigans or sweaters- definitely don’t wash after every use. I don’t wash my jeans after each use either! Ok, now I’m worried I sound gross! haha. I promise I have good hygiene. But I really don’t see the need, especially since many days I shower later in the day/afternoon and only wear the “outfit” that I put on for a few hours before changing back into PJs! (I put workout clothes on in the morning when I get up.)

    I do throw in a load of towels at least once a week while I’m working. And sheets we wash every couple weeks or so, usually on a Saturday. And I wash the cleaning rags when needed, too. So I guess I do a little bit of laundry. 🙂

    1. I re-wear A LOT of clothes, too. It just feels like not a “thing” for my kids.

      I start 90% of the laundry in our house and handle everything…but I hate folding and putting it away the most, so outsourcing that final step to the people actually WEARING THE CLOTHES feels like a step in the right direction.

      At this point it works out to 3 loads/week. I could likely stretch things and just do 2, but I find dealing with smaller loads, more frequently, is less hassle.

  3. Oh, I love the creativity of your daughter’s costume. Well done!

    So interesting about your laundry habits (everyone’s different). While I do separate clothes, we only wash about 1-2 loads a week (we don’t have kids, can you tell?). I do have a lot of workout clothing and wish I could wash more often, but it would just not be efficient to run the washer just for a few things.

    I do like to wash whites on the hot setting… which, in this country, is still not hot enough to keep the white clothes white. Do your white clothes look dirty-white/yellow too after a while?
    I also feel like the toploaders don’t wash as well as the frontloaders I am used to from Germany.

    1. I just don’t buy hardly anything in white. Seriously. That’s my solution. I can’t think of a single thing I own that is pure white (other than some running socks, which I don’t really care about and they do have some stripes on them anyway). Almost everything I (or the kids own) is coloured and, in most cases, dark!
      Our water has some things in it that makes white stuff discolour, and running it on hot might actually be worse.
      My brother in Denmark had a combo front-loading washer/dryer which I found SO inefficient when we visited Copenhagen; I’m curious what the frontloaders are like in Germany.

  4. OK, this is fascinating. I do more loads per week yet it’s just me! 🙂
    I do wash clothing on cold, but sheets and towels on warm. Each week I do a load of towels Thursday when I clean the bathroom. I also change the sheets weekly (always have, even in college!) and so do a separate load with those. I wash my workout clothes on their own once/week. And, I do 2 other loads – 1 clothes-only, and then a clothes+towels on Sundays, because the idea of using towels for more than a couple of days makes me shudder. I also wash my dishtowels more frequently, as well as the microfiber cloths I use to wipe down the kitchen and the bathroom in between cleanings (also weekly).
    In my defense: Apartment. Top loader stacked washer with dryer on top. It’s about 1/2-2/3 the size of the regular washers I have known and loved. I could probably do the sheets and towels together if I did not have that set up! And obviously, folding and putting away is on me. 😉

    1. It’s the folding and putting away I loathe. I don’t mind gathering the laundry or stripping beds…but putting things away is just not that fun!

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