Making Laundry Day Work in Your House

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The concept of a designated “laundry day” is one I resisted for a while.  I generally did two loads a day, preferring to keep up with the laundry rather than letting it become a big chore.

There were two minor problems with this approach:

  1. The noise drives everyone crazy, as our machines are just off the kitchen and are super loud, so doing laundry on weekends was not ideal
  2. Sometimes I would find that I had a build up of laundry that needed to be tackled right away, and this always seemed to happen when I was busy with grocery shopping or getting ready for guests.

 

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So I started a laundry day and never looked back.  It solved these problems and freed up more time for other things during the week.  Here are some tips that have helped me.

1.  Choose the right day of the week for you

Monday is our laundry day.  I chose it because we have normally been out over the weekend, and staying home all day on Monday works for us.  Don’t choose a day where you will be out a lot.

2.  Lump in all your laundry-related chores

Ironing, mending, and cleaning the laundry room itself are also done on this day.  Thankfully I do very little ironing as I am terrible at it and my husband takes his shirts to be pressed at the cleaners.  Our laundry room is also our mudroom so it needs the scheduled weekly cleaning.  Clutter gets tossed, the machines are wiped down, the shelf of laundry products is organized, the boots and shoes and jackets are corralled.

3. Think about the order your loads need to go in

For us, we do sheets and towels first so they can be hung outside.  Then I do our (me and Matt’s) darks since they are the biggest pain in terms of folding and putting away.  After that comes baby laundry, kids clothes, our whites.

4.  Accept that there will be other laundry throughout the week

I still do a load a day Tuesday through Friday.  I normally do six on laundry day (master sheets, all white towels, kids sheets and guest sheets if needed, our darks, our whites, kids clothes).  This takes me though early afternoon and by then it is time to think about dinner and be done with laundry.  So kitchen towels are normally done on Tuesday, baby clothes and linens together on Wednesday, and by Thursday and Friday our darks and the kids clothes will be full again.  I also have a baby in cloth diapers so I do those every other day or so.

5. Simplify where you can

Less clothing =  less to wash.  Hang up church clothes to be worn again.  Kids clothes can be worn a few times unless they are actually dirty.  I strip the beds and then put the sheets right back on after they are washed.  No folding or storing of sheets necessary.  I hated washing our bathmat since it throws the machine off balance, so I threw it out.

We store our laundry baskets in bedroom closets.  Matt and I have two, one for lights, one for darks.  We get dressed and undressed in there so tossing it in is easy and it is sorted automatically.  The kids toss their clothes in before their bath.

My only laundry products are powdered Tide, Gain dryer sheets, Oxiclean, Resolve spray, and bleach.  I used to have a real collection but it just looked messy and I only used half of it.  Throw out what you don’t use.  Babies don’t need special detergent, just an extra rinse. And stop washing in cold water!  It is gross and forces you to use liquid detergent.

6.  Try a little gratitude

Try praying for the person whose laundry you are folding.  Or listening to the radio if that is not your thing.  All those dirty and grass stained clothes come children who are healthy and eating berries and playing outside.  Thank God for them, and for the job that your husband wears all those annoying pleated pants to.  There are people in the world who are not so lucky to have either thing in their life.  Pray for them, too.

 

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Lazy Garden Days

As summer winds down, Matt and Maddie are on a cross country road trip with Matt’s dad, so it is just me and the two littles.  Camilla’s favorite foods are yogurt and pasta, so without any big dinners to make we have had a lot of free time.

After church on Sunday I got her a new bag of play sand to cheer her up, and we enjoyed a nice sunny afternoon outside.  From now on I will make it a priority to have Sunday dinner prepped ahead of time so I can enjoy the afternoons too.

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She is easy to please.

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So sad to think we are buying school supplies this Thursday.

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Laughing as the cat stalks the chickens.  It has no desire to actually eat them, just watch them flap.

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Alas, they are doing a terrible job of guarding the garden.

 

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The poor tomatoes are self destructing anyway, which I am okay with.  No bushels of tomatoes waiting to be canned and stressing me out.

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(What even is this disease?)

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Still plenty of tomatoes for two tomato sandwiches a day.  That plus two Chobani flips per day is keeping me alive.

Our July planted carrots seem to be doing ok, we will start a new planting on Saturday for mid fall carrots.  Lately the grocery store ones have just been gross.

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Not sure what I did wrong with my celosia, or “the brain plant” as Maddie calls it, but it never really had stems long enough for cutting.  It is just gorgeous though, and I will do more next year.

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(Red velvet cake variety, from Burpee.  The seeds were slow to germinate but the color is beautiful.)

Any corn that is past its prime when it gets picked is tossed to the chickens.  A terrible idea, as they now think the garden is a living food land for them.  I am begging for a fence in the spring.

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Moving inside, all the laundry got caught up with on Monday (seven loads, and yes I still do one load a day as a daily chore, I just do extra on Mondays to stay ahead of it.)  Laundry day also means the laundry room itself gets cleaned.  Windows are cleaned, mudroom bench cleaned and organized, machines wiped down, etc.

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(Isn’t it funny how something can look so tidy in person and terrible in a photo?)

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And a sweet, sweet baby, growing too fast.

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Banana Muffins with Caramel Icing

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Maddie turned six this week, and instead of a party she wanted a day at Busch Gardens.  So she just had a special dinner of Chinese food and ice cream cake, two big purple and pink bouquets of flowers from the garden, and a beautifully decorated dining room designed by her cousin.

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She didn’t ask for anything except a fidget spinner, which her dad refuses to buy because they are ridiculous.  But she was happy with her surprises: books, a Moana lego set, and two new puzzles.

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(The fireplace hearth turned out to be the perfect spot; they fit fully assembled and can stay out a few days to be admired.)

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A good big sister, and mom to her own baby in the corner.

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(Don’t a few dahlias make every garden bouquet that much more special?)

She does not love sweets, and will eat very few treats that I bake.  She is the only person on earth who does not like chocolate chip cookies.  But this is one sweet she is always excited for, so I made it for her breakfast.  They are sweet, delicious, and quick.  They are good without the icing, but it is so simple that it is worth the effort, even in the morning.

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Banana Muffins with Caramel Icing:

For the muffins:

1/4 cup shortening

1 cup white sugar

1 t. vanilla

1 t. baking soda

1 egg

3 large, very ripe bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups of  flour

1/4 t. salt

For the icing:

2 T. butter

1 T. milk

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup powdered sugar

  1.  Cream shortening and sugar in electric mixer until fluffy.  Beat in egg, bananas, and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, adding to creamed mixture until just moistened.
  2. Fill paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full (should fill 12).  Bake at 350 for 22 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to cool on wire rack.
  3. To make icing, melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add brown sugar and milk, bring to a boil.  Cool slightly.   Whisk in confectioners sugar.  Drizzle over muffins.

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The hard truth about saving money

Isn’t it funny how there are so many articles, books, blog posts, etc., about saving money?  It is the simplest thing in the world.  Stop spending so much, or make more money.  The end.

Just like losing weight. Stop eating so much, or get more exercise.

And yet somehow both of these goals have spawned huge industries, everything from books on saving money (that you have to BUY), and diet food (that you have to EAT).

The standard advice on money saving is things like stop buying meals out, shop at thrift stores, start a garden, bake your own bread, buy on sale, use coupons.  Not only is this rather obvious, it all involves BUYING things.

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Don’t go rummaging for junk for your house at thrift stores instead of an expensive place.  Just stop buying it all together.  Gardening is a wonderful hobby that brings real joy, but I am willing to bet you are not going into debt buying carrots and tomatoes.  If your children have literally nothing to wear, I suppose getting them clothes at a thrift store is good advice.  But buying them simple clothing, buying them only what they truly need, is not the real problem in your budget, I would guess, even if you buy it new.

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What we are really looking for when we search for information on these topics is, how can I make this thing, this hard thing that I know I must do, easier?  How can I get this done without the pain, without the work, without feeling the pinch and the hunger?

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That is where the “money saving” advice becomes useful, even if it is answering a different question.  Cloth diapers do indeed cost less in the long run over disposable (but still more than not having a baby).  A garden grown tomato costs less than a store bought one (if you garden wisely, not filling up expensive raised beds with expensive soil), but still more than skipping the tomato all together.  I am ABSOLUTELY not saying to not have babies or tomatoes in your life, just that they still cost money no matter how they get here.

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So we are trying to live a life of joy, a life full of babies and tomatoes, and we want to know how to spend the least amount of money doing it.  That is the question I am answering with this blog.  Recording the small joys.  Building a life of contentment that over time, has made me able to leave Starbucks, Target, and Panera in the dust and never look back.  I am happy here, at home.  It took me a while to get there.  I started baking, gardening, chicken keeping, etc. to save money, and if I were to really calculate it,    I’m sure I have saved quite a bit.  But that is not the REAL savings.  What it really did was make me happy with my life, give me a purpose, in a way that buying bread, tomatoes, and eggs never did.   It keeps me away from the constant wanting, fills the hole and the boredom that mindless shopping and driving around never could.

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Saving money. We all know how to do it.  We just don’t know how to do it without being miserable.

And to rephrase that thought, what we are saying is, I am unhappy when I don’t spend money.  That is something that no book can fix.  You must find your own way, your own contentment. (Although I am happy to use this space to record mine.)  And that is the hard truth about saving money.