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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Laundry Pre-Sort System

Some time ago, I mused on the question of Is Organization Frugal?  Having determined that sorting through your junk makes you less wasteful (as anyone in the tiny house movement could attest), we have continued on, slowly fighting the encroaching chaos in the house that comes from daily lives.

But, I was surprised a couple of weeks ago when Mr. FC&G suggested we buy some laundry hampers that allow for sorting clothes into loads at the time of consigning them to the dirty clothes pile rather than just before laundering.  Am I glad he did!

We had always done a little bit of laundry pre-sorting.  Mr. FC&G's work uniforms (which he wears when he will be physically working with wiring or machinery rather than designing and programming) go into a hamper in the closet that holds his clean uniforms, and he takes care of that oily load.  Towels, sheets, and table linens go into the laundry room.  Delicates (in our case, the black load), go into a hamper in our bathroom that doubles as a bench seat.

But that left a mass of undifferentiated laundry that piled up in a basket on my side of the closet.  We would sort and wash that pile every time it started to obstruct my efforts to extract my own clean clothes.  System-wide, we did about 5-7 loads of laundry a week.  Plus, the laundry chore was impeded by the fact that the sorting went on in the bedroom, the only open space near the baskets of doom.  If anyone was sleeping in (and Mr. FC&G and I tend to sleep on slightly different scheduled when he is on a big project), then the other person couldn't do laundry.

With the introduction of this three-bin hamper system, many of these problems have diminished.  Either of us can sneak into the bathroom and extract a pre-sorted load; it also makes it very visually clear if we are truly "out" of a certain kind of laundry or if we just are amassing laundry at a consistent but manageable rate.  Over the two weeks we have used this system, we have done one fewer load per week, and the sorting time is down to practically nothing.

Right now, these bins hold whites, underwear/socks, and "undifferentiated," a load that still needs to be sorted but which can be dealt with fairly quickly by someone standing over that bin.  When things warm up and I am hanging most of my laundry outside again, the bins will become whites, things that can line dry, and "undifferentiated" that needs to go through the dryer.  I'm really glad Mr. FC&G made the suggestion to try this system!

The Analysis

Fast:  Here's your big benefit.  This system cuts a good chunk of time off your laundry tasks for the week, which is always a bonus.  Pre-sorting also makes it much easier for either of us to do a quick load of laundry without disturbing the other or being uncertain of sorting protocols.

Cheap:  We did buy the bins for $30 at the hardware store, and it will take a lot of foregone water and homemade detergent usage to pay for that.  But your savings are in time, in this case.

Good:  I don't dislike doing laundry, but I don't want to do it every single day.  This system makes it easier to only do laundry when needed and to share the task more equally between us, a very important factor when we both are very busy with our jobs.
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