The clothes are clean - do I have to put them away?

usafarmerJuly 25, 2006

Laundry, every day. I hang it on the line, or hang it on clothes hangers and I hardly ever use the dryer. My mother who I support just turned 91 Wednesday, its amazing how much laundry there is. Once I take the laundry off the line, its in a laundry basket. It's clean; I'm proud of myself for another well-washed load. And that's the end of my energy. I don't want to put it away; I sorted it into the load and sorted it onto hangers or pinned it on the line, I don't want to sort it out into closet or stack or hangers or drawers. Is this bad? How bad is it? Is this my road down into a mess? Why do things have to be sorted out of the laundry basket? Is leaving it in the laundry basket my protest against being made into a perpetual motion machine? Or am I just not walking that last mile to finally finish the job off?

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I'm with you, but if you don't put them away, then the basket is full when you need it and it can get in the way of doing more laundry. It's just easier to put it away, and takes less time to do it than to complain. Really.:)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 10:09PM
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Yep, have to put them away unless you want to just ditch the dressers and closets and have the clothing kept in the laundry baskets. My 22 yo son does that. Of course, I'll bet we can all guess what his room looks like once he starts digging through those baskets!

Try this. When you are sorting the clothing to wash, think about how they have to be put away. Wash your mom's clothing together, so when you pull them off the line you only have one stop in her room. As you are taking them off the line, put them in the piles needed. All undies together, blouses together. Then when you go in to put them away, they are already in a neat pile. Do the same and wash your clothing together. Just do kitchen stuff together, linens together. If you really have to do much sorting for dark clothing, then just yours one day and your mom's the next day.

I pretty much do this with out clothing and it means less running around to all of the bedrooms.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 10:26PM
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I've finally made it a habit to put clothes away immediately when they come out of the dryer. If I don't, I know they will stay in that basket for a long time.

Like Gloria suggested, I try to wash in similar groups. Much easier to put away!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 2:57AM
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I should really just go to bed.

I was also thinking that the put away phase doesn't have to be the last step. You could start your laundry routine with putting away yesterday's clothing. Then throw more clothing in the washer. That would allow you to put away while you have energy, instead of feeling worn out and having to do "one more thing."


    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 4:11AM
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I do what makes sense. During summer camp, if its her camp clothes, I wash, dry, and fold on top of the dryer so I can grab them and put them in her backpack during camp week.

Otherwise, I put away the freshly folded clothes.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 10:17AM
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I hate putting clothes away. I don't mind washing or folding, but somehow, after those baskets of clean clothes get back upstairs, I just become completely unmotivated. It all does eventually land in closets and drawers, but it's rarely prompt. The clothes usually get put away when I'm in need of an empty laundry basket.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 8:15AM
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Sheriz, You've pretty much described my scenario as well. And while we are not buried in excess clothes in our house, I know if there were even less, then piles of clean clothes wouldn't have a chance to accumulate because we would need to be wearing them again.

My kids are getting better about putting them away, but if left to their own devices, their pile would get carried from my bed to their dresser top.

My Mom used to leave clean clothes on my bed, the idea being that they would need to be put away in order to sleep that night. My kids seem to just shift them to another flat surface in their room.

Instead of a dresser (as pretty as they are), I think there should be a second closet in bedrooms revealing just floor to ceiling shelves so that piles of clothes have a better chance of being put away.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 10:06AM
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I had to do the laundry, then pay attention to what I was doing, to know how I get the laundry put away! LOL

The laundry room is in the basement. Since a lot of things are hung up to dry (or finish drying), they arent put away the same day. When I carry down a basket to start a new load, I bring up a load of dry clothing from the previous day. When I go down to put the first load in the dryer and the second load in the washer, I carry up more clean clothes. When the first load comes out of the dryer, I hang it up as it comes out and put the folded clothes in different baskets by person and those get put away when IÂm all done. ItÂs just not a big deal to me and I donÂt really think about it.

Laundry is easy; cooking things with more than 5 ingredients will make me dizzy.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 7:04PM
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"Instead of a dresser (as pretty as they are), I think there should be a second closet in bedrooms revealing just floor to ceiling shelves so that piles of clothes have a better chance of being put away."
My proposal is to have a dresser with an open front, with open [laundry] baskets, so that the clean laundry goes into a basket, the basket gets carried upstairs, and gets slid into position in the dresser with no further sorting.
Another thing I've thought of seriously is taking a drawer out of a dresser, and using it as a laundry basket. One drawer is one clean load. [obviously this isn't the most practical idea on earth, some dressers are too fancy furniture to be using their drawers as totes].
"Laundry is easy; cooking things with more than 5 ingredients will make me dizzy."
Actually even 3 ingredients is my limit, I count like the primitive tribes 1,2,3,many. But I do make one marinade with 6 ingredients, and I have just discovered putting all the ingredients to the left of my mixing bowl, and moving them to the right as they are added, means I get all the ingredients in. Especially useful when I make again and again.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 11:34AM
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I dislike putting away laundry, too, even though there are just two of us. I find that if I break the task down, it's less daunting. So, I dump the basket of dried clothing in a pile on the bed, then quickly and with both hands, sort it into piles all over the bed -- a sock pile, a kitchen stuff pile, my shirts, his shirts, towels, etc. Then, I can move around the edge of the bed or reach over and fold the stuff into neater piles. It feels like I'm being more efficient, and I guess I am, the way an assembly line is more efficient. If I get bored, distracted or annoyed with the job, I can walk away and whenever I come back to it, it looks like I'm almost done and I might as well finish up and put it all away! This method seems to take the bother out of putting laundry away.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 10:49PM
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Years ago in a SOuthern Living article a couple had a great system - they had two sets of laundry baskets, one color was for dirty, one for clean; about four baskets of each color. In between the laundry room and the master closet was a set of bi-fold doors that opened onto a set of shelves with the baskets on them.

As they undressed, the dirty clothes went into the appropriate dirty basket. When they washed, the clean clothes were folded into the appropriate clean clothes basket. That was IT for putting clothes away!

I'm planning to have my laundry room open into our master closet and will have a series of baskets just like this in our new house! Of course, this works much better for childless couples than for families with lots of members scattered all over the house...


    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 3:18AM
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Most of the time I find myself picking out from clothes for the day from the dryer. LOL. As in I don't empty it.

I sort the clothes since zippers can tear shirts etc.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 11:16AM
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I had the same problem with energy level and getting the clothes put away. Then I started hanging everything I can on hangers. I bought a couple of rolling racks with shelves and hanging space. I keep hangers on the racks ready to hang things out of the dryer. It gets hung as soon as I take it out, then immediately to the closet in which it belongs. Somehow I find it easier to cart the hangers and hang them in the closet than to distribute to the drawers. I think because the drawers inevitably needed straightening in order to put more in. Too much to handle when I didn't want to do it anyway. So.....with the hanging, all I really have to put in drawers is unders and socks. Not much reorganizing to do there. Maybe some of the kids pj's. Anyway, it's not perfect, but it keeps the piles of clothes to be folded off the couch and out of the baskets that would always get dumped onto the floor as one of the kids flung clothes out of it to find something. Even if I don't get the hanging clothes right to the closet, at least they won't end up all over the place.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 6:31PM
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my Mom had a houseful--four kids, her sister and mother(my gramma) and my Dad. Everybody was made to feel useful. Gramma sat down and folded the clothes and sorted. We came and got our stuff, and put it where we could find it.
Since you support Mom, you are working I would guess. How come you are hanging the stuff outside? That lovely smell is overrated because it means you must hang when wet and take down when dry. Using a dryer means that you put the wash in and move it to the dryer on your schedule. Anybody in the family is capable of throwing a load in an automatic washer and then transferring clothes to the dryer.
If somebody in your family is telling you that hanging clothes outside is more wonderful -- try telling them you heard a rumor that West Nile virus mosquitos are attracted to wet laundry hanging outside. Save a life and use your dryer.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 1:12AM
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My solution is something like reagentmel's - I hang almost everything. Underwear and tights (I only wear socks to work out) go in cubbies in a hanging shoe rack in my closet.

When I renovated my house, I put my washing/drying machine in my "dressing room" (which also has my desk & workout equipment - and other stuff that MUST go somewhere else soon!). The "daily" closet is six feet away from the machine.

Between them is a table which is usually covered with clean laundry. When I feel motivated I fold towels/sheets/tablecloths that go in other rooms and carry them off, or hang any clothes that haven't made it to the closet yet.

To get things *to* the laundry, I have a basket under the bathroom sink, and another in my "sleeping room", which are where I usually get undressed. They get towels & sheets as well. Tablecloths and napkins get bundled up at the end of the meal and carried wholesale to the laundry. I have three baskets next to the machine to sort things by color - whatever hasn't been immediately dumped into the machine.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 9:46PM
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My ex-husband once put his dresser in the laundry room so that I would fold up his clothes and put them away in a timely manner. I am really bad out that. If I would fold up the clothes and put them in everyone drawers they would all have new wardrobes. That's how long it's been. Maybe that's why I am his ex-wife. Never thought about that one. LOL.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 11:32AM
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usafarmer & woodswell... i use a system similar to what you've both described. i take my laundry out of the dryer and put it into a basket. and then the basket goes onto a wire shelf in the closet. saves the step of tranferring to a drawer.

a really great basket for this purpose is the Rubbermaid Flex-n-Carry basket. it's the right size, durable, easy to lug up and down any steps, and can squeeze into tight spots. i couldn't find a picture to post but if you search on Rubbermaid Flex Carry Hamper you'll see a similar product but the basket i like is much shorter than the hamper.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 8:47PM
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We had three girls withiin four years, so we had lots of similar clothes in similar sizes as they got older. Each girl chose a favorite color and I marked all clothes (socks, shirts, pants, etc.) with a permanent marker dot of that color. I had a shelf built over the washing machine and dryer and just put all the clothes on that shelf as I folded them from the dryer. Sox went into a basket. If the girls wanted their clothes in their rooms, they could put them there themselves. Otherwise they dressed in the utility room. They didn't have a lot of extra clothes, so it didn't pile up.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 3:06PM
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I had an aunt who hated housework. She would do the laundry then put it back in the laundry basket. Her kids would have to go to basket to get their clothes to wear. No one over folded clothes. The one thing she did was make sure to hang their uniform pants on those metal things to make them stiff and wrinkle free. Anyone on this board old enough to know what I'm talking about?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 2:09AM
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brutuses, I remember those metal pants stretcher things. My mother always put them on my father's pants. Why don't we see those anymore? What was wrong with them? My mother is visiting me right now. I'll ask her about them when she wakes up.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 10:13AM
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brutuses - they are called pants stretchers. Still made today. Very useful if you have someone who wants creases in heavy pants or jeans; also just to hang pants up to dry, especially during snow or rain storms.

usafarmer - you have my understanding and sympathy. I found the amount of laundry almost unreal when I took care of my aged mother - even after she had to go into the nursing home, *I* still had all her laundry except for the sheets! (for you others - it's about the quantity of laundry as for triplets, only in adult size). She and I both loved the fresh scent of clothes hung outdoors, but let's get real here: There is only one of you and only 60 minutes in each hour. I timed it before facing facts - it took something like 10 minutes to remove a load of sheets and line-hang them compared to 45 seconds to move them from the washer to the dryer. Folding takes the same time regardless of where you stand; but you never get chapped hands from the dryer. Multiple that by 5 loads a day, and you've spent close to an hour doing nothing but hanging stuff up!!!

Several baskets for dirty things are a life-saver. Label each basket and train co-residents to use them. I prefer 4 baskets: whites and bleachables; dark stuff including jeans; colored stuff; terry stuff. When a basket is nearly full, it gets dumped right into the washer, from there right into the dryer.

Putting away is divided into 2 groups: hang or fold. Stuff to be hung gets hung immediately from the dryer (which also prevents wrinkling) and foldable stuff gets folded right out of the dryer and stacked into sorted piles. Put the hangared things immediately into the proper closet- it takes the same number of minutes whether you lay them across a chair or put them into the closet, so don't go making unnecessary guilt for yourself. The piles of folded stuff are put into the basket, grouped according to owner (his socks, t-shirts, shorts on the bottom; then my undies; etc.) Kids old enough to be potty-trained were taught to put their folded stuff into the proper drawer (label with a picture until they learn to read). I put away everyone else's, again: because it's quicker!!! Maybe you spend a few seconds more on opening the drawer, but look at all the time saved when you aren't stumbling over piles on the floor, lol. There is one more *very* important reason for putting things where they belong: YOU deserve to live in a neat home. You will also find that you feel better and have more energy when you don't have to climb over [or even see] piles of stuff sitting around.

BTW, a young neighbor of mine cut down cardboard boxes to fit the kids' drawers. She did indeed fold almost everything wearable right into the appropriate box - I think winter coats were the only things found on hangars. Frankly, I never figured out whether she didn't wash until the box was empty, or spent time unloading and re-loading each box.

And, re kids laundry: as soon as they celebrate a double-digit birthday (10), then they are old enough to take complete responsibility for their own clothing, including washing, drying, and putting away. Sorry, I don't go along with letting junior's room get stacked up; it may be his room but it's in your house. Any out-of-place item found on *any* floor, sofa, or chair, goes into the chore bag [an old pillow case a good bag] - and the item can be redeemed in trade for any chore out of the job-jar; while any item left in the bag for more than a month is either given to Salvation Army or put into the trash on collection day. If they don't want it enough to earn it back, then it doesn't need to become clutter in your house. The job-jar starts along with toddling and should be age appropriate, from helping mommy dust chair rungs to a teenager washing X number of windows. The job-jar's point is not to punish, but to enable an earned value on time and effort which can then be traded for a mis-placed belonging out of the bag.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 10:55AM
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So do you put date stickers on the items in the bag? How do you know they've been there for a month?

On the pants stretchers, my mother says you can get them through catalogs like Vermont Country Store, Walter Drake, or Carole Wright. She has a set and uses them on jeans that would otherwise come out of the dryer wrinkled. Personally, I'd rather iron than keep track of another special purpose gadget, but her back isn't up to ironing these days.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 1:01PM
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I really don't like ironing :) I'd rather use the stretchers.

I used 2 pillowcases, one striped and one plain, and alternated emptying them -- that meant some things could be claimable for two months, but to be honest, after the first year, there was rarely anything in either bag. Although DD did go through a stage of picking up my knitting and depositing it in the bag [fair enough if I didn't put it away properly], so I can tell you the training works just as well for adults as for toddlers, lol. It's a training method, and I found it easier to do than fussing every night to get the toys put away -- anything left out after bedtime disappeared overnight. The first month was the worst, I think partly because they thought I'd forget and partly they had to find out that there were no exceptions - the chore *had* to be done before redemption.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 2:09PM
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I'm impressed! I don't know if I could be disciplined enough to follow through on that. Can I come live at your house? I'll keep my stuff picked up, and do the chores anyway. :)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 11:16AM
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The only things I put in drawers are panties, socks, and bras. Shorts, pj's go in their own baskets in the closet. Most other clothes are on hangers and go on the rod above the tub and I roll towels and put them on the shelf right away.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 7:59AM
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