Category Archives: Laundry

Having a Tough Time Letting Go of Stuff?

hangersWhen I think of organization, the first word that comes to mind is flow. According to Merriam-Webster, flow means to move in a continuous and smooth way. Think of water flowing from a stream- if there are barriers, it will overflow. If not, it will continue to flow to the river and on to to the ocean. And, even when you don’t see any disruption in the surface, the water is still flowing and moving. Now try to apply this concept of movement or flow not only to getting stuff done but also to the flow of stuff into (and out of your home/life). While we often don’t have many obstacles to acquiring things, whether it’s paper, books, toys, clothing, gadgets, etc. we often have barriers to letting go. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the top three obstacles to getting and staying organized. It’s important to focus on finding ways of letting go that work with your personality and way of processing.

I mentioned one method for letting go in a post last month and thought I’d share another today. If you’ve watched any of the home organizing shows on TV you’re probably already familiar with the “hanger trick”. This comes in very handy when deciding what to let go of in your closet. In my experience, most people don’t have an accurate picture of how often they wear something or when they wore it last. This method will provide you with visual evidence. It’s much easier to let go of something when you know that you haven’t used/needed it.

Hanger Trick

First, hang all of your hangers in a reverse position so that the open part of the hook is facing you. After wearing and washing an item, hang it back up and switch the hanger to the standard position. If an item gets pulled down but not worn, make sure it goes back on the hanger in the reverse position. Then, in 1/3/6 months or whatever time frame works for you {put a sticky note in your closet to remind you of your designated deadline}, scan your closet for any items still hanging in the reverse position. I highly recommend putting those in your donate bin. Obviously, seasonal items need to be addressed in the season they are worn.

Basket Trick

OK, so what about clothing and belongings that don’t live on hangers? My basket trick is a variation on the hanger trick and works in a similar way. Take your sock drawer, for example. Simply dump {or place} everything from your sock drawer into a bin or a basket. Each time a pair of socks gets worn and washed, return it to your sock drawer. At the end of a month or so, whatever is left in the basket needs to go, again seasonal items may be an exception. This method can work with just about any item that you use on a regular basis. Come to think of it, it can work well to thin your DVD collection, craft supplies, paper/digital files, etc. You just may want to extend the time frame and have the ability to store the “holding basket” in a closet or out of the way space.

While you’re at it, check out this fantastically helpful post on closet organizing by my friend, Geralin Thomas. There are lots of nuggets that you can put to use. Though, I’m not sure about the list from The Pocket Stylist {even for a wardrobe illiterate like me} but I do love Geralin’s advice on MIA’s!

My wardrobe is definitely my hot-spot in that I have difficulty letting go. Are you with me? Or do you have a different hot-spot? Or is all of your stuff your hot-spot?

Loathing Laundry? 4 Reasons We Love to Hate Laundry

This is really the post for Day 26…I was busy yesterday enjoying family time and then felt crappy last night so I ditched writing and went to bed early. Real life happens. Thanks for understanding!

LaundryLaundry has been a hot topic on the Professional Organizers forum I’m a member of lately. And, many moms would list laundry as one of their top three home organizing challenges. It can seem impossible to keep up with the endless cycle of mounds of dirty laundry, folding and putting it away. And it’s only compounded by the need to manage incoming and outgoing clothing for growing children. And, don’t they always happen to need that thing that’s at the very bottom of the pile of folded clothing?

There is {or needs to be} a cycle or flow to the laundry: wear, collect, wash, dry, fold, put away, repeat. If there is a bottleneck at any one {or more than one} point in the cycle it will cause everything to get backed up. I believe that there are four major causes to a bottleneck in the laundry cycle:

  1. Volume of clothing
  2. Process too complex or broken
  3. Insufficient manpower
  4. Laundry Loathing

By addressing these problems, most people can make things operate much more smoothly. Maybe you’ll never love doing the laundry but it won’t make you want to pull your hair out.

Volume– The sheer amount of clothing in the average household is the number one contributor to laundry woes. Now, of course, if you have a family of 8 with 6 growing children, you will always have a larger volume of laundry to do. Most households, however, have plenty of room for improvement and don’t even realize just how much they own. According to Pareto’s Principle, most people only wear 20% of the clothing they own.

Process too complex or broken– So what’s so complex about putting laundry in a hamper, bringing it to the laundry room, putting it in the washing machine, turning the washing machine on, etc.? None of the steps are inherently complex… but what if you are tripping over laundry and can barely reach the detergent? Or what if you need to carry three laundry baskets overflowing with laundry down two flights of steps? What if you first need to scour every corner of the house to collect all of the dirty clothing, socks and underwear carelessly tossed on the floor by your loving family? A broken process can be where one step just isn’t getting done. Maybe it’s a dryer that doesn’t dry well or no place to hang items to dry, etc. All of those things can make a seemingly simple task, well, a real chore.

Insufficient manpower– I’m a believer that the family is a unit and everyone needs to contribute to making it run smoothly {especially if they have no problem to contributing to the mess}. If mom is busy taking care of everyone’s needs and responsibilities she may have run out of time or energy to do the laundry, as well. Even very young children can contribute here. And, if you start teaching them at a young age, there will be less fuss about doing it as they grow. My two year old certainly doesn’t help fold the laundry but I do enlist him to help with things like:

  • putting dirty clothes in his laundry basket as appropriate
  • placing folded laundry in drawers and on shelves
  • loading and running the washer/dryer {he loves to press the buttons!}

Additionally, I ask him to “help” mommy fold the laundry and he shakes things out and busies himself. Young children can help by sorting & rolling socks, underwear, towels, putting laundry away and putting it in the hamper to begin with. I do need to lift him up, wait patiently while he grasps what needs to be done and sometimes have to collect clean items he ran away with. t does add a bit of time to the process but I believe it pays off in spades. By involving him in the process, he knows what is expected of him and he’s learning as we go. I don’t want to spend his first five or ten years telling him not to touch or that he can’t help and then the next ten nagging him to do so.

Laundry loathing– I guess this really relates to a broken process but I thought it deserved its own mention. If you really despise doing the laundry and consider it torture, then maybe it’s best to farm it out. Pay the laundromat, pay a college student or task your kids with doing it in the comfort of your own home. I do think it’s a valuable exercise to go through the first three causes before doing so to avoid simply complicating the process more.

Don’t forget to check back for Part II

31 Days of Real Life Organizing

Last week I posted about whether or not your organizing measures up to what you see & read in magazines, blogs and on Pinterest. I feel strongly that you deserve to have a home that is organized, warm and welcoming for yourself and others who live and visit there. In addition, I am just as convinced that you can have that without putting the rest of your life on hold. There are lots of simple ways to start making progress towards that goal. I’m sharing what I’ve learned on my journey as a professional organizer and in organizing my own home.


I just learned about TheNester’s 31 Days Annual Writing Challenge and I thought it would be a good way to push myself to write more on the topic. I realize I’m a day late but I figured it’s better to get started late than not to do it at all, right? {a bit of foreshadowing into my second post…}

So for the next 31 days {well, 30, since I’ll post two today}, I’m going to share insights, projects, tips and tools on Real Life Organizing.

You can follow my blog in your RSS feed or follow the 31 Days of Real Life Organizing on Pinterest or you can even pin this post so you can refer back to it throughout or at the end of the 31 days.

Once it’s published, I’ll link up each day’s post in the list below:

  1. How to Get Started Organizing at Home
  2. Perfectly Organized
  3. Oops! 9 Most Common Home Organizing Mistakes
  4. Get Organized. Get Inspired.
  5. How Long Will It Take to Get Organized
  6. RA-RA For Organizing Paper!
  7. The Four Step Foundation for Real Life Organizing & Free Printable
  8. Redefining The Inbox
  9. Are You a Perfectionator?
  10. Get Organized in 15 Minutes or Less?
  11. My Top 10 List of Organizing Myths
  12. Get Organized. Get Inspired. {Useful & Beautiful}
  13. 11 Reasons Your Home Organizing Projects Fail
  14. Create Clutter-Free Holiday Decor: Halloween Edition
  15. How To Organize Product Manuals & Warranty Information
  16. What Organizing Isn’t
  17. How Long To Organize a Room?
  18. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room
  19. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part I
  20. 10 Steps To Organize Any Room- Part II
  21. My Favorite Containers- The Basics
  22. Organizing Rules For Results
  23. 3 Reasons To Think Outside The Box {Or Bin or Container}
  24. Get Organized. Get Inspired.
  25. Take Action On Your Paper Piles
  26. Loathing Laundry?  4 Reasons We Love to Hate Laundry
  27. Organizing Quickie in the Closet
  28. Baby Steps for Tackling Paper Clutter
  29. How Do I Get My Spouse Organized?
  30. Organizing Solution for Kids Activities and Gear
  31. Simplify For The Holidays

Ciao for now!