Laundry…it’s a total pain in the rear, right? Even with fewer and fewer clothes I somehow continue to have a constant pile of clean laundry to tend to. I have no one to blame but myself though – I’m the one creating it. The pair of jammie shorts or top thrown in the laundry basket after one use. Sports bras worn out for a walk/jog where I baaaarely broke a sweat. Jeans or sweaters that are a little stretched out. Then there’s teenie’s stuff. Putting a top in the wash that got wet playing outside instead of just letting it dry out or a pair of pants she wore for only a couple of hours getting tossed into the laundry pile at the end of the day. Meal times are always a mess yet she never gets covered up with any sort of bib or stripped down to eat. But when its pretty much a guarantee that whatever she’s wearing will end up having to go into the wash afterwards (resulting in frequent outfit changes and often food related stains), then its time to rethink our system. Finally, all the reusables tend to get run through quickly. Things like a crumbly cloth napkin or a wash cloth used to wipe teenie’s face after each use being put into the hamper rather than just rinsing it out and using it again at the next meal. When I’m traveling I manage to make these things stretch just fine but at home there are many more at my disposal that care free usage occurs. All this laundry eats up time, detergent, not to mention all the water and energy it uses to wash and dry, squandering valuable resources.
While I’m not sure how many loads I’m doing a week, I know its too many. I have started trying to change this, because in reality its not like our clothes are often that dirty (except teenie after meals). The most frequent causes for my clothes getting physically soiled is working in the garden or cooking but even that’s not every time. Then there’s the occasional (not so occasional) spilling something on myself… But most stuff I don’t even wear that long – I typically reserve wearing my nice clothes to when I leave the house and then change immediately upon return to “bumming it” clothes. You know, the clothes that you don’t mind if they get stained or washed over and over again? Those clothes get washed, a lot.
Given my ongoing effort to make life easier, conserve resources AND desire to get a lot of use out of the stuff in my closet, I’m going to be conducting a mini challenge for the month of November. For the next 30 days I will not be putting a single item of my clothing (excluding underwear) into the washer or hamper! Instead I’ll be trying various tips and tricks used to lengthen the time between washes to make it through. At the same time, the rest of the laundry is going to be scrutinized and stretched out with a goal of one laundry day per week. I know this is going to be tricky with certain items (a leaky teenie’s sheets, un-paper towels, etc) but I think that by challenging myself not to do it I’ll be forced to figure out whether something is truly dirty enough to go into the washing machine, if it still has plenty more use left in it or if an alternative exists other than sticking it in the washer.
My sister-in-law and I are going to be joining forces over the next month to test out other strategies as well, aimed at keeping clothes looking their best for longer! We will be sharing our findings in December so stay tuned to learn how to make the most out of what’s in your closet! 🙂