Now that we have discussed the psychology of laundry and we agree that it must be done (we wear them every day, thus we must wash them every day), let's get down to business.
This is one of those areas where everyone does it differently. I would guess that most people sort their laundry, at least to some degree, but there are a few people who don't sort at all. I have known people who don't sort their laundry, and I'm sorry to say, if you are one of them, there's a good chance that all your clothes are gray. I think that young people most definitely fall into the category of non-sorters. My college-age son sees no value in sorting clothes. To him, it just makes more work. He also sees nothing wrong with gray socks and gray undershirts. I hate gray clothes (unless they were originally gray). If I buy my daughter a pretty pink shirt, I want it to stay pink. And if I buy my husband a nice blue dress shirt, I want it to stay blue. You get the picture.
Even dish towels should look clean and cared for.
Sorting is, in my opinion, one of the crucial areas where, if you don't do it right, your clothes will not look good for long, and that, is a waste of money (unless you don't care how your clothes look, and in that case you probably aren't reading).
I sort by several methods, and then, if needed I will combine piles to make for efficient washing. I have four adult-sized people in my house however, so it's really not all that hard to make large piles of fairly well sorted clothes. If you have a large family of little people, or a medium family of large people, it's probably not hard for you either.
All clean laundry should be fresh as a daisy.
My piles generally are sorted according to method of washing, color, fabric and wearer/use. Today we'll talk about method of washing, or Care Labels.
By and large, Method of Washing for me means: Dry Clean Only, Hand Wash Only and Machine Wash. One would think that this is pretty self-explanatory but if you looked at clothing care labels lately, you see it is not. Care Labels these days are complicated and might as well be written in Greek. Some have only odd-looking symbols on them and good luck deciphering those! It helps to have a page like this bookmarked, just in case you really need to know what those symbols mean. Print it out and hang it over your washer for quick reference.
Faith (age three) and her Mimi (my mother) looking very spunky in their red, white and blues.
I read the care label of an item usually once, when it is brand new. Unless is has some pretty picky instructions, it gets washed with other like items. What most people don't know about Care Labels is that a manufacturer is only required to give you one set of instructions. An item could potentially be dry cleanable, hand washable or even machine washable, but the manufacturer may just put Dry Clean Only to cover their you-know-what. It helps to know a little bit about fabrics if you are going to test the water, so to speak. Usually manufacturers put the safest instructions on the Care Label, and that's the best method to use for washing. However, for the sake of efficient washing, you may want to put an item to the test and wash it with other like items. Look to see what the fabric is and if you have other items like it that go through the wash, and are willing to risk any damage, go for it. I have rarely ruined an item completely. Occasionally I'll decide that an item didn't test so well and I will refer back to the care label in the future. If an item was expensive, however, it's not worth the risk and you should care for it as the care label states.
You can see we have our favorite colors.
To sort according to Care Label usually means removing from the bulk of the laundry any item that needs special care. It's best not to include these items with the bulk of your laundry, in case it would slip through to a machine wash pile. In my house dry clean items go on a special shelf and hand wash items go in a special bag that hangs on the hamper. Every thing else then gets sorted according to wearer/use, color, and fabric, all of which take in to consideration that one little line on the Care Label that says "wash with like items."
To be continued...
We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry. -- E. B. White