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Laundry can be fun!

Okay, maybe laundry can’t ever be FUN, but it can be MORE fun if you let it be.  A few creative additions to your laundry area can create a space that makes you want to be there.  A couple simple organization tips and some really good cleaning products don’t hurt anything either.

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hang washcloths, undies and other delicates from the ceiling using an inexpensive laundry rack. I got this one at Goodwill for $2, but you can get them at Walmart or online for under $10.

This is my laundry room.  It is an old, enclosed back porch on my 1916 craftsman.  When we moved in last summer the laundry hookups were all in the basement.  I know this is pretty standard on homes with basements, but the idea of lugging four loads of laundry up and down those narrow stairs every week was a little too much for me.  So I asked the electrician who was replacing the knob & tube wiring to add a 220 outlet to the existing 110 in this weird little nook on the porch.  I already had the stacking W/D, but had never needed to go vertical (something we do A LOT in our new house).  I extended the dryer venting to the existing hole in the siding, added some drying racks, crammed an old pie safe in there, and voila! a cute little washing area was born.

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A small table or counter of some kind is essential for stacking, folding and sorting. Tip: keep a basket to collect all the socks and when you’re done with all your loads (or if you’re me, once a month), plop down in front of the TV and bundle them up.

Our porch window faces south and that makes it VERY bright and warm in this little room.  I drilled four small holes, added medium sized eye bolts and strung two lengths of rubber-coated wire across the window for an instant, year-round clothesline.  If you have a sunny back room or window, or just an out of the way spot near your laundry area, you don’t have to spend a fortune to add this neat little feature.  I usually hang up my kids clothes on the little “line”, clip my delicates in the ceiling rack, and pitch my regular clothes (plus kid jeans and socks) in the dryer.  Saves $$ for energy and the clothes smell fresh and sunny.

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Artwork hung up near the supplies creates charm and evokes laundry of the past. When you organize your area, don’t forget to add a dish for “treasure collecting” – change and drill bits from pockets, etc.

I never gave my laundry products much thought until I had kids.  I never did anywhere near this much LAUNDRY before having kids.  My previous concerns included, being soft, being static free, and being fragrance free (allergies).  Also, sometimes my terrible cats pee on the rugs so I had to think about that.  Now, add to that list getting out the ammonia smell from baby pee, poop, and whatever unidentifiable stains out of everything.  I have a secret formula – maybe every mom does – that I am so proud of, and would be happy to share for anyone who wants to know it.

  • Pre-treat all stains with Shout! All of them.
  • Use a soap that has “enzymes” or “OxyClean”.  I love Purex, but can’t always find it.  Arm & Hammer makes a good one, too.  I prefer fragrance and dye free for myself and my kiddos’ sensitive skin.
  • Add 1/2 a cup of Borax to EVERY load.  Unless you have a delicates-only load, which I haven’t had in three years.
  • Run that sucker on HOT water, but whatever eco setting you have.
  • For sheets (which for this reason should always be white) always use bleach and run it through the “whitest white” cycle.  It makes a difference.  Also save up your baby socks (which for this reason should also always be white), towels, and any undershirts to throw in there.
  • For things with cat or dog pee… add 1/2 cup of Nature’s Miracle to the bleach section of your soap holder before running the cycle.  If you don’t have access to Natures Miracle, add white distilled vinegar.
  • Save up wools, rayons, silks, and cashmere’s for a cold water, gentle cycle.  All of these fabrics can be washed at home with a little extra care. Spot treat them when needed, use Woolite, the coldest water you can, and the gentlest cycle on your washer.  Just make sure to shake them up and hang them to dry.

Once the wash cycle is done, pull out those pretty clothes, shake the wrinkles out, and hang them up on your line.  Drape them over the porch railing, clip them to tree branch.  I’m telling you, something about the ritual of hanging up my clothes helps me channel my grandmother – my inner farmwife.  It takes only a little extra time, but it makes laundry less of a chore and more of a romantic exercise. Not everyone’s house is set up like mine, but the next time you are in your laundry area, look around and see what you can do to make your laundry more fun!

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My mom brought me this old coat hanger from her place and we instantly put it to work in the laundry area.

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