Laundry Savings

by R. Kellogg


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Awhile back, we took a good hard look at how we were doing our laundry and asked ourselves what we could do to save space, money, and time on laundry. Here's what we came up with:

Saving space:

Originally our family had one giant clothes hamper in the bathroom, and that was it! Once it was full, we'd have a choice to make. Do we sort and wash all the clothing now, even though there will not be very many delicates and whites and those loads will be small? Or do we try to pull out the colored clothes and wash them, saving the whites for later? When we had a baby, some weeks the laundry would spill over the top and then one of us would finally cave and run a few loads. Well, I didn't like the lack of order to this system or the chaos it occasionally brought to my bathroom. So I came up with a better alternative and asked my husband, who is handy, to build a laundry sorter for me. It has saved on space in the bathroom and eliminated the mess!

Here's how it works: Our washer and dryer are in the garage. I asked my husband to build me a four-bag laundry sorter. Target and other stores that sell home goods often will sell laundry sorters you can assemble with plastic pipes, or they sell laundry bags, which we purchased for our own sorter. With the four bags hanging in the garage, I can take down the laundry bag from the bathroom hamper when it gets full and sort the clothes into the following categories: colors, whites, delicates, and towels. The colors bag fills up faster than the others, so we run that one more frequently. My bathroom hamper no longer overflows and we have a streamlined process in place that takes some of the headache out of laundry.

Saving money:

My mother-in-law pointed out that it does not take a full cup of detergent to clean a load of clothes. A quarter cup of powder or one good squirt of liquid is sufficient to clean most loads. An exception might be when you're trying to get some stains out. I removed crayon from clothing by running a load with extra soap and hot water and after two washes the crayon came out!

Dryer sheets can be used at the rate of one half sheet per load. By regularly cleaning out the lint trap on my dryer, I help the machine run efficiently and the clothes get dry faster.

Using coupons and shopping sales or discount stores is a good way to get laundry soaps, stain removers, and dryer sheets at a good price. Check out the prices as your local warehouse store and see how they compare to the discount stores. Sometimes there is a cost-per-ounce savings for buying in bulk.

Saving time:

Not every item of clothing needs to be washed after each use. If it is smelly, stained, spilled on, or worn more than three times, wash it! But if the pants you wore one day are still clean, you can prolong the life of the garment and save laundry time by hanging them back in the closet and wearing them again another day.

Flylady suggests running a load of laundry a day. I find this works pretty well for me. Or I'll run two loads one day, then wait a day or two and run two loads again. Since my sorter and washer/dryer are in the garage, I can put a load in when I head out for the morning, move the batch to the dryer when I come home, and then fold when I have time in the afternoon or evening. By working it into my daily routine like that, I do not have to be at home for a "laundry day" to get all our family's clothes clean, thus freeing up my schedule and ensuring we always have clean clothes to wear!

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