Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hampered by Hampers no More!

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I used to have a basement laundry room. Yes, it was cold down there and I had to fend off the occasional centipede or other basement bug, but I was able to sprawl out. My laundry mountain was less of a mountain and more like rolling hills of laundry. I had piles here and piles there and plenty of room to maneuver.  When we moved I traded my basement laundry for a first floor laundry room right off of my kitchen. I can see the usefulness of a first floor laundry. The convenience of having the laundry room nearer to our living space allows me to get things done and still keep an eye or ear on what the girls are up to. The convenience is nice. But the conundrum that quickly presented itself could not be ignored--what do I do about my rolling hills of laundry?

It is no longer feasible to store dirty laundry in the laundry room. First of all, in a family of six, where five of the six are females, I'm sure you can imagine that the laundry situation can quickly get out of control. Between potty accidents, and multiple outfit changes (some necessary and some unnecessary) there is no where in the new laundry room to "stage" the laundry process. Secondly, I certainly don't need my guests viewing my dirty laundry--literally.

What to do?  First I thought about placing a dirty clothes hamper in each of the bedrooms, but the idea of digging through four hampers to gather up a like-colored load of laundry seemed like too much work for me. Then I began eyeing up a closet in the master bedroom to use as the dirty laundry station.  Thankfully, there is plenty of closet space in the master. This closet is in the main part of the room, so it is easily accessible and I couldn't think of what we would need it for since there is already a his and a hers closet right outside of the master bathroom. So, I began to pile up the laundry in there.

There are a couple of problems with this set up. Because baskets must be stacked on one another it is difficult to expect the little ones to sort clothes into the proper baskets. It was even proving difficult for my husband. And it was really irking me to find one of his gray work t-shirts in with the whites or a pair of jeans in with the towels.  Plus, this picture doesn't really illustrate the depth of the disaster when the laundry would begin to take over. If I skipped a day of laundry and or the girls each had more than their usual outfit changes (like the days when they play "dress-up" with their "real" clothes instead of "dress-up" clothes and I have no idea what has been worn for the majority of a day versus what has been worn for ten minutes) the laundry would begin to spill out of the hampers and into my bedroom and the closet door wouldn't close. I would begin to feel claustrophobic, sloppy, and irritable.

So I got the bright idea to change out my laundry baskets so that everything was of similar size and would fit into the closet space.  I added (actually Jim added at my request) an additional linen shelf and I created a map of sorts so that the family could help me sort the laundry when they came to toss it in the closet. Here's what we ended up with:

I'm excited about this project! The baskets are the perfect "load" size. So when I see that one is full I can easily carry it down to the laundry room and wash it.  We used up some of the dead space in the closet by putting the baskets on the shelf.  Also, now everyone can see what goes where and put it there (hopefully?).  There's enough room in the closet that we could add another shelf if we need the space for laundry related supplies or linens or anything else.

I plan to keep up my habit of doing one load of laundry per day from start to finish so that the closet doesn't become overrun. Here's the side by side:


I feel less stressed about my laundry situation.  Dare I say, I'm looking forward to doing laundry?

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