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Household “Best Practices” (on laundry)

December 12, 2011

At the urging of a friend, I am going to take the next five days to share five household “best practices” that have helped us make it through this difficult fall. They are:

1. Laundry for Seven Days.

2.  8 to 8.

3. Dressed to the Socks with Beds made.

4. Tidying O’ Evening.

I hesitate to post these tips because:

1. They are boring.

2. I’m not a very good housekeeper and if I post on housekeeping someone might think that I think that I’m good at housekeeping, and to be bad at housekeeping but think you are good at housekeeping somehow seems more egregious than not being good at housekeeping but at least knowing you are not good at housekeeping.

3. I’m assuming #2 would have already driven away people who have no interest in the word “housekeeping” but if it didn’t then, #3 who beside my  mother will want to read about my housekeeping?

But,my cell phone is broken, I have ample time on my hands and nothing else to do on this rainy day, so on to my number one favorite practice:

“Laundry for Seven Days”

For years my spirits have risen and fallen with cycles of washing and drying and folding.  I always got interrupted in the folding process and always had piles of unfolded laundry dragging me down.  I would move piles of unfolded laundry off the bed, back into a hamper so we could sleep in the bed only to get confused and wash them again.  It was a vicious cycle.  Until I started… “Laundry for Seven Days”!  This method not only eliminated the emotional drain of the unfinished laundry, but it deals with the morning hassle of missing socks, mismatched outfits, etc.  Let me explain:

1. On Friday, Dan carries all the dirty clothes to the basement laundry room. I keep loads of clothes washing and drying all day Friday.  On Saturday, Dan carries it all back upstairs for me.

2.  I schedule a time during the weekend for the great “Foldathon 2011” as we call it.  This is either while the children are sleeping or when Dan can run interference for me.

3.  Instead of folding the children’s clothes, I bag them in plastic grocery store bags.  All of the outfits for the little children go in one bag for each day.  So I have seven bags of outfits hanging on hooks in their closet ready for each day of the week.

Let me discuss the pros and cons:


-This method allows me to plan the outfits for the children at the beginning of the week so I can make sure their best clothes are reserved for the right days and play clothes for the stay at home days.

-I can weed out clothes with holes and stains and am not caught unawares by their unwelcome presence during the morning rush.

– I can make sure we have enough pairs of matching socks and clean underwear and don’t have to go hunting for each morning.

-If we have a shortage in an area such as socks (my nemesis), I have time to run to Target and fill in.

-Dan can dress the children without weird results.


-To avoid overflowing laundry baskets we had to buy really big ones. (pictured above)

-Everyone needs at least seven outfits which meant I had to buy J. five uniforms, etc.

-Wrinkles.  The clean laundry sits in the basket overnight, then hangs in bags.  To address the problem of wrinkles, we employ a daily spritz of wrinkle releaser. I don’t iron.  I release!  If you have never heard of wrinkle releaser, then I would like to formally introduce you to my best friend.  This is wrinkle releaser:

Perhaps the best thing about my “Seven Days” system is that for six whole days I get to enjoy that wonderful finished feeling that used to be so hard to come by.

I hope somebody finds this useful.

Tune in tomorrow for “8 to 8”.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Not your Grammie permalink
    December 12, 2011 7:09 pm

    Don’t sell yourself short. Grammie B likes to read about how you do housekeeping. It keeps her from having to do her own.

  2. December 12, 2011 7:58 pm

    Dear Lucy,
    I love this! Do you include pajamas in the bag or get those in a different place? Do you just have a week of clothes for each child or are there extras someplace? And if there are extras, do you rotate those into the bags or just keep them as emergency changes of clothes? You are brilliant!

    • December 12, 2011 8:21 pm

      Wendy, I have extra clothes in the closet and depending on how many occasions we have vs. stay at home days I bring out extra clothes or take something out of rotation for the week. I do not include pajamas, they are thrown (unfolded) in a big basket.

  3. December 12, 2011 9:27 pm

    So do your baskets hold *all* the laundry for the week in them? That’s my problem–I can’t stand seeing all the dirty laundry. If I could hide it somewhere maybe I could do this method. Maybe.

  4. December 12, 2011 9:53 pm

    Molly, I ordered the big baskets pictured online. I have one in each room and they have lids so I don’t have to look at it. You just need enough big baskets and a strong husband. I can’t stand overflowing baskets. So demoralizing!

  5. Kristine permalink
    December 13, 2011 6:21 pm

    Laundry has always been my nemesis too. Whenever anyone asks me the biggest difference between having two kids and three I always say “the laundry!” You are a genius and I can’t wait to read the rest of your tips.

  6. lauren goessling permalink
    December 14, 2011 4:10 am

    lucy, i like your style. buying those shelves with a place for an outfit for everyday of the week has saved my life this year. i also decided about 5 years ago i was done matching socks. we have a sock basket in the linen closet and my kids know to go find a match every morning…they don’t know most moms match them for their kids, so don’t tell them. 😉 i did the math back then…5 ppl x 7 pairs of socks=70 socks for me to match every week. i’d rather bake cookies with them. 🙂

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