When I taught school a few years ago, I felt the need to immediately get out of my work clothes when I got back home each afternoon. After being snuffled and sneezed on, wheedled and wheezed on, I just needed to shed the germs and the stress before I could move on with my day. Unless we had somewhere to go late in the day, I usually just changed into pajamas at 3 or 4 in the afternoon, to avoid dirtying another entire outfit. Still, that created a lot of laundry. Add a cloth-diapered baby to the mix, a baby that we allowed to serve himself table food when he started asking for it around 6 months old, and we had quite a pile to wash every day or two.
I like doing laundry (even though I know that it uses up energy and clean water and expensive eco-detergents). I do NOT like folding and sorting and putting away laundry. So here are a few things my family does to reduce our laundry load, at least a little –
1. Rewear pants and pajamas and sweaters and the like more than once.
2. Use a moist washcloth to spot clean obvious problems areas in clothes that don’t need an all-over clean.
3. Air out anything that has a slight smell but isn’t really dirty.
4. Potty train early.
5. Keep a set of dirty playclothes by the back door, and only wash them once a week or so.
6. Encourage your child to wear washable bibs to keep outfits clean longer. (Mine refuses.)
7. Hang towels to dry after each use.
8. Wear loungewear that can be worn as daytime attire and pajamas.
Well, I totally failed today. I am still wearing the same outfit I put on this morning, but that is not the case with my son.
-Outfit 1 – covered in frosting and paint from preschool party
-Outfit 2 and shoes – just missed the potty
-Outfit 3 and sheets– Mama forgot to put on a diaper before naptime
-Outfit 4 – had an accident at the park while having fun with a friend
-Outfit 5 and shoes and coat and towel – splashed and bathed in mud puddles at the park
-Outfit 6 – caked with spaghetti sauce
-Outfit 7 – flecked with globs of homemade play dough
All of these are important little boy experiences that I wouldn’t want to take away for the sake of doing less laundry – especially the mud puddles. But this is an entire load of laundry from today that I can hear spinning in my front-loading washer. Well, maybe tomorrow the Kelly Green Giant will at least remember the diaper at naptime!
How do you lighten your laundry load?