If you have been homeschooling for any length of time, you already know how important it is to stay on top of the household chores. With [often] more people in the family who [usually] spend more time at home, laundry in particular can really begin to take over the house if not properly tamed.
In a previous post, I talked about how different families handle laundry day. Today, in a follow up, I’ll talk specifically about sorting. Hearing what other families do can go a long way to streamline your own laundry operations. Whether you adopt another family’s method entirely, or just incorporate little tips and tricks here and there, it can be useful to get ideas you might not have thought of on your own.
With sorting laundry, there appears to be 3 different schools of thought on the subject. These are:
- Sorting at the source
- Sorting in the laundry room
- Not sorting at all
Since each method has its own merit, I’ll quickly review all three:
1. Sorting at the source
With this method, the laundry is sorted before it ever reaches the laundry room. To make this work, family members must each have a hamper, basket or other receptacle to collect his or her dirty clothing. In cases where family members each create different kinds of laundry (regular vs. delicate, for example), more than one hamper may be required per person. This method may also require a common hamper for wet towels, dirty bed sheets, kitchen cloths, and other kinds of linens that are collected during the week.
With this system, on laundry day, it’s easy to go around and collect colors, whites, or delicate fabrics, since they’ve already been sorted for you. Also with this method, it’s easy to wait until a hamper is completely full and then run a single wash just for one person – thus making it easy to run baby clothing all together or use a different detergent for a single family member who requires unscented or allergy-free.
The drawbacks to this system are few, but include the need to create more places in the home to hide dirty clothing while waiting for wash day as well as the possibility of a longer lag time before clean clothes are returned to each wearer (if hampers are forgotten or children don’t bring them in on a regular basis).
2. Sorting in the laundry room
Sorting can also occur right in the laundry room. Families can either purchase some kind of sorting hamper or create a system of their own. Since store-bought sorting systems are often limiting (as they only usually offer 3 sections), some families create a system of bins, laundry baskets, hampers, or even drawers to accommodate different types of dirty laundry. As long as these areas are clearly labeled (using tags or sticky labels), the clothing can immediately be sorted as it enters the laundry room.
The benefit here is that whomever is running the wash that day can be fairly certain that related items are already grouped together, making it easy to select a wash cycle or temperature for that particular pile of clothing. Though an occasional mix-up is bound to happen (and younger children may need help at first), for the most part, this system is fairly fool-proof when done properly.
3. Not sorting at all
Finally, though our mothers and grandmothers may cringe at the suggestion, something that very busy families may consider is not sorting at all. Given the way that much modern clothing is manufactured, the kinds of laundry soaps now available at the supermarket, plus the forgiving nature of today’s fashions and styles, it may not be such a radical idea.
All things considered, if most of the clothing worn by a family seems to be in the “darks” category, or (when wearing the lighter colors of summer) much of the clothing can be washed in hot water anyway, there may be less of a need for sorting anyhow. Considering that the only risks involved in mixing colors involve occasional [rarely] colors that bleed or slightly dingier whites when mixed with colors, some folks feel that sorting just isn’t worth the additional time and aggravation.
Ultimately, the choice is yours to sort as you wish (or not). If you have a system that I haven’t talked about here, I’d like to hear about it!
Post your comment, below!