Mama in the City

A blog about raising my family in downtown Vancouver

My Dirty Laundry: Seeking Advice

People, I need your advice about my large amount of dirty laundry please. I want to do spend less time doing laundry! It might be the fact that living in an apartment doesn't lend itself to extra room for a big laundry room. I imagine hiding away the piles upon piles of laundry that accumulates in a lovely appointed laundry room. As far as apartment dwelling goes, we are lucky to have an in suite stacked washer and dryer. A sliding closet door closes the whole thing off so you can't even see it. However, I'm finding myself using it every day and I think something has to change. It drives me nuts to see the laundry basket grow full over night but it is the reality.

I know having a baby and a preschooler in the house naturally adds to the amount of laundry, but I also know I have some habits that don't help with decreasing volume. Ben and Josie wear new pajamas every single night. This means I wash 14 pyjamas each week. I did this to myself, I know. I got into this habit of having clean pajamas every night back when Ben was a newborn and there was frequent diaper changes going on. I rationalized that since the baby wears diapers it was a good idea to change her sleeper every night. However, in Hawaii I packed only 3 pairs per kid for the 12 days and it worked out just fine.

Please give me your laundry tips so I can spend less time doing it! To cut back I've only been half dressing my kids, as evidenced in these photos taken by my husband this afternoon. How often do you do your laundry? Do you have a schedule of when you change your towels and bed sheets?

My dream laundry room would be big and spacious with counter space and shelves! No more stacking my cleaning products on top of the dryer. I might just like an old fashion yellow, blue and white colour theme and I'd love to hang some chunky frames with cute posters from Etsy. Check out this laundry room that rocks a chandelier. Hello!


Melissa said...

and who wouldn't love a bit of glitz in the laundry room. I too would love a chandelier. :)

November 3, 2012 at 10:02 PM  

Ooh, did you change your comment form? I had the hardest time ever leaving them before and now it is simple.

Anyway, I find I have to do a load everyday plus cloth every other day. I do have a big laundry room now, but letting it all pile up doesn't help things much. The laundry basket still migrate to the bedroom where they sit while I ignore them. I'm trying to keep up on one load a day so I don't fall behind and get too overwhelmed.

Sheets & towels once a week-ish.

My daughter goes through 4 pairs of pajamas a day, but I refuse to wash them each time!

November 4, 2012 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous said...

You are lucky to have an insuite laundry. O have to go down and up 5 flights of stairs to get to our building basement where the shared laundry is. And then, surprise! Someone beat you to the only available drier and you are left with a batch of wet clothes until the drier is free, in an hour or so, if the owner is on time. Sometimes, I've had to take out someone else's clothes out because they just leave them there way after the cycle is finished. Sorry, I'm ranting.
Needless to say, I stretch our time in between laundry days as much as possible. We only wash payamas once a week, unless there is a milk stain or diaper explosion.
Sheets, once every two weeks. Again, unless there are stains/spills/accidents.
Good luck!

November 4, 2012 at 8:32 AM  
Anonymous said...

There are a couple of things I've done to reduce the amount of laundry I have to do for our family of four. The first was putting up an over-the-door hanger for us to hang our bath towels to dry so that we weren't using a new bath towel every time we took a shower. I wash one load of towels twice a week now, and reusing our towels has really cut down on the bulk of our laundry. Sheets get washed every 1-2 weeks.

The second thing I've tried to focus on is having less clothes, both for the adults and the children. I don't mind doing laundry, but I don't like putting it away, so having less clothes really helps - if they have ten tops and half a dozen bottoms that can all mix and match, dressing them is less of a headache and so is the laundry situation. At least one outfit that they can wear to a dressier occasion is good, but the kids don't need much more than that.

I do still tend to do one load of laundry each day for our family of four. But I do think that's a result of the fact that the washing machine in our condo is tiny! When I go to my parents house for vacation and use their machine, I can fit three times as much stuff in there. :)

Good luck!

November 4, 2012 at 10:38 AM  
Kristin said...

Grrrrrr laundry.
I was like you, when I came to my senses, I finally stopped the "new pair of jams every night thing" Geesh. I was so in that routine for far too long. I do laundry once a week and most often than not, its not put away yet from the week before. I am a whiz at sorting and doing, but NOT at putting it away. my goodness it makes me crazy! I have learned to significantly cut down on what i am washing by actually considering DOES THIS REALLY NEED TO BE WASHED? I would just throw the girls' stuff into the laundry like i did for jams. but now that i really look at it, most of the time it can be worn again (without mud, food, stains of sorts) Also, my laziness of not putting the clothes away sooner forces the girls to choose clothing that doesn't get worn as much. i like that part. but that's all that i like. i try to blend loads as well to reduce the number of loads. Lights and whites, bright colours that sometimes work with dark colours, blacks that sometimes go with denims. i have found that i do have less loads when i really consider if the clothes need to be washed or not. ;) Also, I do one load of towels and add all other towels and clothes to it from around the house (other bathrooms, kitchen etc). I am all about gettin'r done rather than making it perfect. ; ) although i would love that perfect laundry room! oh, and thank gawd i am no longer washing diapers. that was $hitty!

November 4, 2012 at 7:55 PM  
Sarah M. said...

Ah yes the never ending quest to conquering the laundry situation. Kids=laundry, no way around it but I refuse to do laundry everyday.

For starters, loads get mixed: darks and colors get put together as well as mine and my hubby's clothes, but this also depends on your personal wardrobes. The boys' clothes get washed together but baby gets her own load. I am the same with towels and sheets, once a week(ish). We've learned to live without and this could be good or bad but we all only have 1 set of sheets per bed. Ok the boys have 3 between them for emergency middle of the night bed changes.

The boys' laundry I do 2 times a week, always on a Sunday to start the week fresh and then usually again mid week. I agree with cutting down on the amount of clothes for all. And yes you did get yourself into a pickle with the pj thing. =)

My philosophy is if it isn't that dirty (shirts or pants) and we are just hanging out at home, then it gets worn. Shirts get taken off when certain foods are eaten and sometimes loads consist mostly of socks and undies. I find pants tend not to get as dirty so quick around here. The baby wears her sleepers usually 2 nights in a row.

Having less is always a good thing. Just like we do toy sweeps, do clothing sweeps every few months and ask yourself, "how often does this actually get worn?" It's easy for all of us, especially kids to have many unnecessary items, just because.

Good luck!

November 4, 2012 at 8:05 PM  
mitzi said...

im not sure what to tell you, but i do a wash every week. 1 load for baby, 1 load for me. husband does his own wash too. baby gets a new sleeper every 2 nights, but a new outfit every day. lots of wash cloths for when baby poops. i definitely don't find myself overwhelmed with laundry! however, i really loathe folding clothes so once it's in the dryer, it takes me a couple of days or so after it's done drying for me to bother with folding and putting away the load.

November 4, 2012 at 8:20 PM  
Nat said...

I usually do a load everyday or second day and am really good about putting it in the washer and dryer and then I have to husband does all the folding and putting away. He doesn't mind winding down the evening watching a show after the kids go to bed and folding all of our clothes. It has been like this as long as we have known each other and I am grateful to have a very involved husband! Don't get me wrong, it does pile up sometimes but I try not to stress about it!

November 4, 2012 at 9:48 PM  

I hate the folding/putting away/hang dry parts of doing laundry, but I'm happy to throw stuff in the washer and dryer. ;)

We reuse our towels so that I'm not doing laundry daily. I also wash Baby's stuff separate from Hubbs' and my clothes (which are separated into light/dark, and we do a linens wash separately as well). Baby's load is done once or twice/week because she has enough clothes to last that long, and with her stuff being so small, it takes a while to create a "full" load.

I also distinguish between "going out" and home clothes. Home clothes get worn all day, and "going out" clothes are only worn to social engagements. Sometimes, if I"m only out for an hour or two, those articles get reworn before they are washed.

But I still do laundry every 3 days. And I don't love it.

November 4, 2012 at 11:47 PM  
CdnPsycRes said...


Do you have apartment sized machines? We just moved and our new place has full sized machines which is amazing.

This post got me thinking about our typical weekly laundry:
1 load baby clothes
2-3 loads cloth diapers
1 load each: lights, darks, colors (mine and husband's clothes together)
1 load towels
1 load of sheets

That's a lot of laundry!!

My daughter is 13 months and only recently did I start letting her wear pjs two nights in a row rather than changing nightly. I don't know why I felt she needed new pjs each night but like many of you I was in this trap too.

It helps that our nanny usually does my daughter's laundry and 1-2 loads of diapers/week. She also folds our towels and sheets if I wash them on a day she works.

Does that count as a helpful tip?

November 5, 2012 at 9:04 PM  
Erin said...

When we lived in London (sorry, sorry, too many of my comments start like this!) we didn't have a dryer, only a washer - this is quite normal. It's amazing how limited you are when doing your laundry if it has to fit on a drying rack and all your assorted radiators! Especially if you also live in a 550 sq ft flat with a baby and another adult. So! I got quite used to only doing laundry when absolutely necessary. Hilariously, about one third of conversations with other mums at the playground in spring/autumn was whether it would rain before we got home and the laundry we had all put out in our gardens to dry would get soaked and require drying all over again.

Now we're in an apartment building with coin-op washer/dryers in the basement. Dryers still strike me as a bit.. self-indulgent??

Like most people commenting, we only do our bedding once a week, more like once a fortnight probably. Towels we hang to dry after use and those get washed once a fortnight. Pyjamas my son wears until he hits critical mass of porridge stains or four or five days goes by. I'm a big spot cleaner - so if something gets something on it, I clean it off as soon as possible. Unless it properly smells, it's still clean in my books. Excluding underwear, obvs.

I couldn't do laundry every day - it would do my head in! Takes forever as it is...

November 5, 2012 at 11:50 PM  
Marisa said...

My best quick tip for reducing the amount of washing and drying ...

... any clothes are worn but not soiled/stained, simply spritz/mist them with some water (using a dollar store spray bottle), toss in the dryer for a few minutes (add a dryer sheet if need be) and then promptly remove. VOILA! "Refreshed" clothes fresh out of the dryer! Something about the misting of water and dryer time seems to pull the shape back into the clothes. BONUS: getting dressed in warm clothes on chilly fall/winter mornings!

(Credit to my Mum for this tip ... I can still hear her saying to me when I was a kid: "They don't need to be washed, just fluff 'em in the dryer!")

November 6, 2012 at 9:17 AM  
Michelle said...

As long as clothes don't smell we keep wearing them ; )

November 8, 2012 at 8:30 AM  

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