I am all about efficiency around the home. I like things done well, but quickly. I joke with my Six Sigma trained husband that I’m the real Six Sigma expert around here. (Maybe you’re asking, “What is Six Sigma?” Definition by Wikipedia: a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. My husband uses it in business.) I’m totally not. But with seven members in our family, I needed to apply my efficiency bent to our laundry processes. With that in mind, I was looking for any shortcut I could find. So we stopped folding most of our laundry. Why? 1. If you think about it, much of the clothing we wear doesn’t need to be folded to be kept neat. 2. My littles could help more. and 3. Our new clothing setups are easier to maintain. All of these reasons add up to less work and less stress for me and subsequently everybody. And if I as a sometimes perfectionist can handle this change, I bet you can too.
Without further ado, here are the items of clothing we’ve stopped folding and what we do with them instead:
1. T-shirts, dress shirts, and dresses. We hang these. Now before you start thinking it’s more work, it’s really not. I taught my littles the handy trick of hanging their clothes on the hanger by sliding the hanger up through the bottom and pulling it up by the hook. It took some practice but they can all do it now. Because their shirts hang, they’re easier for them to see and select in the morning so less mess happens. Want to see my hanging trick in action? Check out this video. I too learned it during my laborious days of retail.
2. Athletic shorts, pants, and shirts. We use 2 large rubbermaid bins and 1 under the bed basket to store these clothes. Since performance material really doesn’t wrinkle, these are just tossed into the bins after washing. My 3 oldest boys rummage around to find their outfit choice for the day and the bins look none the worse. Plus the clothes really do still look good when worn. Because my guys are little athletes, these items make up much of their everyday wardrobe.
3. Bathing suits. The same thing applies here as in #2. Performance material doesn’t wrinkle. All the children’s suits are in one drawer in one dresser. When it’s time to hit the pool or pack for the shore, I grab all the suits from one place. They’re easy to take out and easy to put away.
4. Underwear. We not only don’t fold it, we also don’t completely sort it by person. My 3 oldest boys are close in size, so we dump all of theirs in one drawer. They know which ones fit them and pick accordingly. While we match socks, we do the same thing as far as dumping into one drawer. They can pick out their favorite pair from the drawer in less time than it would take me to sort them all by size. Sometimes while trying to find a pair, they pull matches apart. About once every two weeks, I pull out all the unmatched pairs and ask one of the boys to rematch and return them to the drawer.
We still fold jeans and khakis, pajamas, and undershirts plus most of my husband’s clothes. We’ve been using these systems for several months now and they’re really working out. One more clothing trick? I keep a large empty bin in the bottom of my baby’s closet. Whenever something is outgrown by him or my daughter (our two youngest), I toss it in the bin. When the bin is full, I sort into donate, consign, and hand me down piles.
Remember I’m dealing with mountains and mountains of laundry over here. Show some sympathy and tell me your time-saving tricks!