Laundry Cycles

I still read a lot of blogs (praise be to Feedly for filling in after Google Reader died - RIP). Recently one savings/couponing blog wrote a post about a not-worth-it product. It was about a laundry divider that ended up not working (too big, so heavy when full of laundry and not breathable so got mold on the inside). She ended the post with a question for readers to share their laundry basket tips because she threw that one to the curb!

I went to post my comment and saw there were already 99 comments! Who knew laundry would be such a conversation starter?! Instead of writing out a comment I decided to hold the idea and just write my own post about it, as it ties into my ongoing struggle with laundry here in our sabbatical apartment.

My system at home is great. My husband built a wooden rolling cart that holds a mesh divided-in-two pop up laundry hamper. We sort lights and darks there (undies kept separate for their own load, a tip from my sister that I never would have done otherwise). Then I can wheel the whole cart to our laundry room for weekly washing, almost always Saturday -- four loads with lights, darks, jeans and undies. I have a separate regular plastic basket for towels (dirties only) and do that wash about twice a week (after my breastfeeding yeast stuff I go through a LOT of towels). Each girl has her own smaller pop-up mesh hamper and I wash their clothes separately -- a load per girl, also about once a week, sometimes on Saturdays but also other days -- they each have a lot of clothes and could easily go 2-3 weeks before NEEDING clean laundry.

Laundry never felt daunting, per se, at home, although the folding and putting away is never my favorite chore. Hanging up stuff is the worst, and I keep a lot of things hanging because I hate ironing even more. We have a huge washer and dryer -- side by side and front loading, and they're raised on pedestal drawers, so the strain on my back is minimal even moving wet towels or jeans from washer to dryer. I can do huge loads, and get almost all the laundry done in one long day of washing.

In this little apartment things are different. I get the lamenting and struggle of "the laundry is never done"! We are also in a colder climate, which means more layers, effectively doubling or tripling the laundry output! (Although we don't wash the outer layers often, and even the middle layers can be worn two or three times before washing ... except for the girls who are prone to spill ... who are we kidding, I spill a lot on myself too!)

The washer and dryer here are in the unit, which is a blessing, as I remember lugging laundry up and down to the basement in NYC (don't get me started about the bed bugs!) and to a completely different building during undergrad and grad school apartment living! They are stackable front loaders here, and in a small closet. But they're not at an outside wall, which means the dryer is "self-venting." This also means that the clothes don't get dry quickly ... and sometimes at all. The dryer has some kind of moisture sensor and if it thinks things are dry it won't dry anymore even if they feel slightly damp to the touch. At that point I have to shake them out and hang them or hope for the best. (At least the air is dry here and mold isn't really an issue like it is at home in the swampy south.)

The actual machines are very small, which means about half-size loads that I'm used to at home. I'm washing the girls clothes 2-3 times per week to stay ahead of it. They have fewer clothes here (although I'm always shopping ... at first to get more warmer clothes and now to give Jane more choices and to size up for Liv who keeps hulking out of her pants!).

Basically I'm ALWAYS doing laundry now. It's not the end of the world, of course, and I can stay on top of it without a whole lot of effort. But it's still a constant hum in my brain. And I regret ever scoffing at the memes or comments of complaint. Also, before we know it I'll be back in my big suburban lifestyle and missing all the brilliant parts of apartment and city living...

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