Friday, August 3, 2012

Dirty Laundry

I'm about to air my dirty laundry on the internet.


When I'm doing some normal everyday task, I often wonder, "How does everyone else do this?"  Sorting dirty laundry is one of those tasks.  It took us a long time to come up with a system that works for us.

This might be a weird thing to share on the internet, but it would have been helpful to me to see how other people sort their laundry to give me ideas for our little system.

Keep in mind:
  1. We have five people in our family.  Kids clothes are smaller, but it seems like they each go through several outfits per day.  Each kid also adds to the number of bath towels, hand towels, sheets, blankets, etc. that need to be washed.
  2. Our washer, dryer, and dirty laundry bins are all downstairs in our creepy, gross, unfinished basement.  Try not to be frightened by the photos.
Ok, so we have a laundry basket in our closet for collecting our dirty clothes.  The kids put their dirty clothes down the laundry chute, which is located in our bathroom and the clothes drop down to the basement.

Once the dirty laundry is down in the basement, we sort it by color.  We bought hampers at Target a couple years ago, and we started figuring out which colors to put in each bin.

Here's what our dirty laundry area looks like:

The color bins are as follows:  bleach white, non-bleach white, blue (x2), green and gray, red and pink (x2), and yellow/orange/brown.  Purple clothes go into either blues or reds/pinks, depending on the shade or which bin has more room.  There's also an unlabeled bin that is used as overflow if one color gets out of control.

To be completely honest, this is actually what our bins looked like just before I gave them a mini-makeover:

The old labels were printed on cardstock, and I used clear packing tape to attach the labels to the hampers and also protect the labels somewhat.  Over time, some of the labels curled and one smeared from wet clothes being up against the ink on the label.

I peeled off the old labels and took all the hampers outside.  Dust and lint had collected in the bottoms, so I used my hose and a scrubbing brush to clean them out.  Once they were dry, they were ready for their new labels.

I used Microsoft Word to create the labels.  If you know me at all, then you know I loved choosing the fonts and colors.

I printed four labels per sheet (on cardstock) and cut them apart.  Then I fired up my handy dandy laminator. 

Sidenote:  the warnings on the top of the laminator crack me up:

I cut around each laminated label and used clear packing tape to attach the new labels to the newly cleaned hampers.

When one of the hampers is full, we simply lift it out of the little hamper grid, take it over to the washer (to the left of this photo), and load the laundry into the washer.

This system works well for us.  We've tried various layouts for the hampers and different ways of separating our laundry, but this seems to be the best fit so far. 

I know it probably seems absurd to many people that I wrote a whole post about how I sort my dirty laundry.  I'm just curious how other people do mundane tasks such as this.  I'd love to hear if any of you have different methods/systems for sorting laundry.

Is there a task that makes you wonder "How does everyone else do this?"?

P.S.  If you would like me to email you my Word document of labels (completely customizable), simply leave me a comment with your email address.

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