Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Laundry, my way: Part I

I have had this laundry series brewing for a while. I like to share what's good and helpful, and I think I have been doing laundry for long enough that I have gotten pretty good at it. I have also read quite a bit about laundering (odd, yes) and I even have friends who call me and ask "how to get out such and such stain." Let's just say it's my thing.

When it comes to children's clothing, little girl's clothes 
are infinitely more "fun" to launder 
than little boy's and I never thought I'd say that.

The point behind sharing my laundry tips is not so your clothes can be clean. Obviously you wash your clothes and they are clean, at least clean enough for you. We all have different standards. The point behind sharing my laundry method is to help you keep your clothes in great shape for longer. Maybe you like buying clothes and you don't want them to last. That's fine. You may be excused from class. ;-)  I don't buy cheap clothes. Nor do I buy expensive clothes. I just buy good clothes. Good meaning made to last. I usually buy them on sale and they are made to last if they are taken care of properly. By helping them along in that regard, I stretch my dollar a far as I possibly can. Cheap clothes don't last and they don't look good. I care that my husband looks professional in his job, and I care that my children look taken care of. Cheap clothes stain, and twist, and their seams pucker. They never look good, so it doesn't pay at all to buy them. One quality item is worth ten cheap ones, and you can take that to the bank.

Taking proper care of clothes means they last a long time, 
and that means they can be passed down over and over.

It's not difficult to take good care of clothes, even if you wash for a lot of people. It just takes a method, and I think my method is good. I won't bombard you with my entire method all at once. We'll take it one step at a time, starting at the beginning.

 Choose quality over quantity every time.

Before we actually get to my method, I want to talk about the psychology of doing the laundry. For many, many years in my marriage I avoided laundry. I did it, yes. But I was always doing it as needed. When the whites piled up and somebody ran out of undies, I did the whites. If my husband was out of dress shirts, I did a load of colors. Essentially I was getting up every day and asking do I have to do laundry? Then one day I had a revelation. I decided that every day I do have to do laundry. Just like beds must be made and meals must be prepared every day, laundry must be done every day. At least for my family.

Some items can last for entire lifetime, or more, if taken care of properly.

If you don't have a large family, then you might be able to establish three laundry days in a week. But with three adult-sized children and two adults (plus a child-sized child), laundry every day is necessary for me. If you can get away with three days a week -- set those days and don't put it off. Laundry must be done. The only thing that happens when you put it off is somebody runs of undies, and that's never good.

Once you realize that you just have to do it, you'll stop running from it.

Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home. --Mother Teresa



  1. Very interesting. I'd be interested in where you buy the quality clothes.

    I think you might think different about girl clothes if you had 4, 3 of whom take their socks off and put in the wash some kind of sock ball (I was going to do a post on this) and clothes where the underwear is still stuck in the pants (as are the sock balls)!!

    I actually enjoy my son's clothes better. (because there is only one maybe?)

    I never tire of folding my baby's clothes. Love it. All the time.

    Can't wait to read more!

  2. Jamie,
    I do get all of the above -- balled up socks (male and female) and undies inside the pants (male and female)! I recently provided a laundry bag for socks of each color (white, color, and dark) and am getting moderate cooperation.

    I actually enjoy folding all the clothes, but I get more fun out Faith's. Maybe because they are the only girl's (and still smallish and cute!).

  3. Wait until she hits the teenage years and creates all that "fake laundry" (things worn for 5 minutes or less, then discarded in a heap on the floor--usually on top of the dripping-wet towel she used for her hair.)

    Or keeps her school uniforms over a long weekend in her stinky sports bag.

    What I want to know is the secrets for getting out the "greasies" that Little Brother leaves behind when he uses his sweatpants for a napkin (even though he has a napkin right there to use).

  4. I LOVE this post. Can't wait to read pt. 2. I would like to know how you KNOW which clothes are good quality. I absolutely DESPISE clothes shopping. I usually thrift for brands I think are good like gymboree or oshkosh or children's place...and other times, if I really need something ASAP, I will get cheap t-shirts/shorts from Target/Walmart (I just have boys). So far, they have lasted, although I'm sure they're not the best quality. I have some baby clothes with stains (we hand everything down) - like burp stains...not sure how/if they will ever get out.
    I do laundry at least once a day...sometimes I'm a slacker and then I get overwhelmed with the folding...so it's better just to do a few loads a day, even if they are smaller loads (I also cloth diaper). {Sorry if this comment is WAY too long.}

  5. I like laundry. I like what the finished product brings and the smell of clean. I do Wed and Sat laundry, and it seems to work for us. I look forward to more of your wisdom, Barbara. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I like the beginning of this thread. I'd also like to know how to find and buy good quality clothes. I've also found out that the dryer is a bad thing for many clothes that do better dried flat. We can't rush a good thing. SFO Mom made a great point: fake laundry. I sure get a ton of that!

  7. Barb,
    I get tons of "fake" laundry from both sexes. My children are inherently lazy (are all children?) and it's just so much easier to put an item in the laundry than to fold it or hang it and put it away. Right? At 8 years old Faith makes plenty of fake laundry, but so do the boys. I'm notorious for fishing jeans out of the hamper and folding them up and putting them away. You don't wash jeans after one wear.

    I think I will have to do a post on clothes, though I speak only from experience.

    Martha, We are kindred spirits. ;-)

    You are so right about the dryer and that's a huge part of making clothes last.

  8. I am looking fwd to your posts too. I have been investing in better clothing lately and thinking too about how to best care for it.

    What are your thoughts on detergents? I have never ever used expensive detergent because I couldn't tell a difference. But part of that may have been very poor water quality which was affecting our clothes too. Bottom line - what do you recommend? I will spend more if it makes a difference.

  9. My son doesn't do the sock balls, but he does do the underwear and socks still in the pants, as if he melted out of his clothes. Every time.

    I have one daughter who (still and always) has everything inside out. I give them back inside out, she doesn't care.

  10. Back to say I bought the Tide and we are already happy 24 hrs later. We washed one of two bed's worth of bedding in the old detergent and one set in the Tide. I will buy the Tide again just for the fresh smelling laundry if nothing else. Teen daughter is thrilled.

    but geeeze - 3 times the cost. Ouch. Wondering how this will add up over laundry for 11?


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!