For the first few years after my diagnosis in 2017, I often wondered about seemingly odd things like how to organize and do the laundry with a chronic illness like CVID.
Sounds weird, right? However, I guarantee you that in spite of you having CVID your family can not be convinced to walk around naked and the laundry will not magically do itself! So, you’ve got to create a what? All together now! S-Y-S-T-E-M!
Before We Get Started…A Public Service Announcement
If you’ve stumbled upon this blog post prior to reading 5 Systems to Get and Stay Organized with CVID, I’d suggest reading it as it provides an overview of the CVID Life Hacks series.
In this series, I’ll share and help you put systems (i.e. routines) in place that will make your life much easier, conserve your energy and keep your household running on autopilot even if you are having a difficult day managing symptoms from CVID.
The 5 systems we’ll work on are:
- Daily Basics of Survival: Food/Toiletries/Medicines
- Laundry-Don’t Be Naked
- Bills-You’re gonna want to eat!
- Appointments/Your Calendar-Doctors’ Appointment Anyone?
- Minimum Daily chore List-just so you don’t go crazy
I’ve said this before, but If you have these five systems in place, you will be more organized than most people. These systems take care of the routine and basic duties that are necessary to complete in life especially if you have a family!
Now, back to the laundry!
A Little Background on My Family’s Laundry Situation
I am the Queen of my castle. In my castle, this means I do most of the laundry. I have two sons that play baseball and a hubby that coaches baseball. So, in addition to their regular laundry, I also must wave my magic wand and turn dirt-covered baseball pants white again several times each week.
The alien (read teenager) one also works out daily, goes to high school and works at a pizza joint. The younger one regularly runs around outdoors in only his socks, wades knee-high into creeks and must roll around in mud on a consistent basis when I’m not looking.
In short, our laundry’s super dirty!
My Laundry System
Supplies I Use (For more information see pics below and links.)
Since my castle has a small laundry room, I outfitted it with only the most essential organizational items:
- A small rolling laundry cart with three bins and hanging bar
- A couple storage bins like these
- A couple wall hangers – this one is functional and this one is so cute!
- A thin, rolling wire shelving unit
- A rolling laundry basket
- Small trash can for lint or this lint bin is adorable
- Over-the-door or wall-hanging ironing board and iron holder
- Bin or laundry basket to go in each family member’s room (these are cute and lightweight!)
- Stain Remover
- Hanging laundry tags
- Fabric Softener
- Shout Color Catchers
- Wrinkle Release Spray
My Laundry Room Supply Organization
Readers, please meet my small laundry room. Small laundry room, please meet my readers.
Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Never, Always! These are the variety of answers I hear when I ask people when they do their laundry. I’ve tried each and every one of them also! (Yes, even the never and always!)
CVIDiva’s should do the laundry whenever they feel they can.CVIDiva’s should do the laundry whenever they feel they can. Click To Tweet
How often you do laundry will also depend on your family size and needs, obviously. When my two sons were babies, toddlers and even young preschoolers I could get away with doing our family’s laundry once a week. The loads were smaller and their activities were practiced/played daily.
Now, however, I couldn’t get away with doing laundry on just one day a week for several reasons. First, my sons play baseball games every-single-day and even though they have two pairs of game uniform pants, those last, well…two days. Second, it’s too much for me to handle literally 8-10 loads of laundry all in one day. Third, I’ve tried it and I got too easily overwhelmed because I wasn’t feeling well anyway (thanks CVID!), went to lie down, didn’t do any of it and then got even more behind.
Currently, I’m trying to do one complete load daily. By complete load, I mean wash, dry, fold or hang and put away. One load. That’s it. That’s my threshold nowadays, but my kids do have what they need for school and activities and my dear hubby has what he needs for the week.
Quit Sorting the Clothes
Yep! You read that right! Quit sorting the clothes into colors, darks, lights, etc… Use the Shout Color Catchers and throw everything in all together. I am here to testify that my whites have stayed white and my reds have not bled!
Put Laundry Baskets or Tall, Pretty Baskets in These Key Places
Place a laundry basket or a tall decorative bin or basket like this in each bedroom. Also, place one in your main living area. Of course, you could go overboard like me and put a bin in each bedroom, family room, at the bottom of the stairs and at the top of the stairs (our laundry room is on the second floor of our two-story house where all the bedrooms are located).
When I do my quick 15 minute cleanup each day (a tactic I learned from The Busy Budgeter!), I throw any clothes I find lying around the house in these bins. This tactic will also help you keep your house clean with less effort and energy!
Doing Your Laundry Step by Step
Step 1: Gather
Every morning I use my rolling laundry basket to gather any clothes, towels, sheets (whatever is in each laundry basket or bin). Sometimes there is just a small amount of laundry and I’m tempted to not do a load that day. Sometimes there is obviously more than one load of laundry and I’m tempted to do two loads of laundry that day. DON’T DO EITHER! Just do one load of laundry each day. If there are items that must be washed to be ready for an event the following day, make sure those get put in that day’s load.
Step 2: Pretreat
Today’s stain removers are powerful so I spray a little Shout on stains, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then rub them with a clean, dry rag. I use a little scrub brush like this for those difficult stains like dirt ground into baseball pants!
Step 3: Load it Up
I put one-fourth cup of Oxyclean in the washer, a Shout Color Catcher and then the day’s load. I then pour my liquid detergent into the dispenser directly from the container’s spout. If you use detergent pods, throw one in with your Oxyclean and color catcher sheet. I do not use fabric softener in the washing part of my laundry. Instead, I save that for the dryer.
You can almost always wash with cold water on the shortest normal cycle. The only time I use hot water is when I need to wash extremely dirty baseball uniforms. I never wash with warm water. Washing with cold water will also save you money in energy!
Step 4: Switch it Up
At lunch time I move the laundry from the washer to the dryer. If there is something I do not want to dry in case of shrinkage or possible damage (i.e. bras), I hang it up to air dry. I throw one Bounce Fabric Softener Dryer Sheet in the dryer with the load, set the dryer to low and start it up. I almost always dry on the low setting to prevent shrinking. If I’m drying a load of sheets or towels only, I will use the normal dry setting.
Step 5: Hang and Fold
Later in the afternoon or evening, I empty the dryer. I must give my mom credit for teaching me this…hang up as many clothes as you can directly out of the dryer. This means that I don’t fold any pants and shirts. I hang up all athletic pants, leggings, jeans, dress pants and dress shorts. Then, I hang up all t-shirts, athletic and dress shirts. Finally, I lay all other clothes like undershirts, underwear, athletic shorts, socks, etc…flat in a laundry basket just in case I don’t have time to fold and put them away at that time.
If you have the time to fold your laundry as you take it out of the dryer, here are a few tips:
- Fold athletic pants only one time in half
- Lay all underwear flat-no need to fold
- Roll matching socks up into balls
- Fold undershirts only one time in half like shown in the picture below
Step 6: Put Away Laundry…or Don’t!
I choose to put away all the laundry because I have messy boys that if instructed to put away their clean laundry sometimes will and sometimes will just scatter it all over the floor for some unknown reason! Since I’m only doing one load each day, I don’t have much to put away. So, straight from the laundry room I put away all the items. Specialty items like school and baseball uniforms are hung in designated, labeled locations in my sons’ closets (see the pic below).
If I’m short on time, I put the laundry away right there in the laundry room that day organized by person. All hanging items are hung up on the rack and organized by person. My hanging label organizers allow family members to find a shirt they might need for example that just came out of the laundry.
I put all other clean items in their respective owners’ bin. Now, my husband’s undershirts don’t fit in our (we share!) bin when I only fold them in half once so I usually quickly put these in his drawer or will add one more fold so they fit (see pic below).
On another day, when I feel better or have more time, I put away any clothes left in the laundry room.
However, I know you might have a few other questions and I might have a few more tips.
A Few Other Laundry Tips
Let’s face it, ironing takes a lot of time. So, I try to avoid it at all costs, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. Now, hanging everything up right out of the dryer will cut down on what will need to be ironed. For items like dress pants, shirts, polo shirts, cotton pants or shorts, some nicer t-shirts you will probably need to put out the old ironing board and iron.
I try to iron in bulk once a week. As I’m doing my daily laundry I hang items that need to be ironed all together until I have about 8 to 10 items. Then, I go to town ironing!
One thing you can try in lieu of ironing is wrinkle release spray. This will work for some t-shirts and cotton pants or shorts. Keep the items on their hangers, spray the front first and smooth out the wrinkles with your hand from the top of the item down. Then, repeat on the back of the item.
If you have any small drawstring bags lying around unused, hang these up in the laundry room. Then, those family members that need to pack their gym clothes in a bag to take to school or need to pack a small change of clothes for the day can grab a bag and help themselves!
Honestly, we don’t have a lot of dry cleaning on a regular basis. My husband’s work clothes are the only items that sometimes need a trip to the cleaners. I suggest putting items that need to be dry cleaned in a designated small bin in your closet or laundry room. Then, when you have about 5-8 items or more that need dry cleaning you can make that trip to the cleaners. Note: if your dry cleaner offers pick up or delivery, take advantage of that service. That’s one less errand you have to run, and one you can easily automate on a regular basis if you have a fair amount of dry cleaning.
Stay tuned for my next post in the CVID Life Hacks series in which we’ll learn how to organize and automate our bills!
Until then, Stay Strong My Zebra Friends!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Though DIVA as she may be, her path to success was not easy and is always evolving. Go here to read about her journey in “Becoming the CVIDiva.” If you want to send Susan Alynne a quick message, then visit her contact page here.