A Laundry System ~

Does this scenario describe your household’s laundry system?

It is the morning of a family outing with parent’s in-laws. Child appears at breakfast table in stained, torn clothing. Parent orders child to change. Child replies that he has no clean clothes. Parent charges up the stairs to child’s room. The floor is layered with strata of clean and dirty laundry. Dresser drawers are stuffed with wadded clothes in various states of cleanliness and presentability.

Parent rummages through piles on floor, scrounges through dresser drawers, and locates a clean (or fairly clean) and presentable outfit. Parent orders child to put on substitute outfit. Child complains. Parent raises voice. Child whines. Veins stand out on the parental neck. Child complies. The ensemble is not a success. The trousers are the variety known as “high water pants.” The T-shirt sports a cracked and peeling cartoon logo.

Co-parent arrives at breakfast table wearing wrinkled shirt from ironing basket and yesterday’s trousers. Co-parent’s tie does not match either shirt or trousers. Co-parent slips out the door to work over the din of family discord concerning child and child’s outfit. After breakfast, parent rifles through dryer, searching for presentable ensemble for self for outing. Must run dryer 10 minutes to remove heat-set wrinkles. Having only five minutes for this task, parent dons semi-wrinkled jeans and top. Hopes parents-in-law will forget their eyeglasses today. The family is late to the outing. The in-laws, bless them, say nothing. Parent vows to do better . . . until next time.

Yes, this family has a system–but a spontaneous, haphazard one. Clothing is not washed on a regular schedule. Washing routines are interrupted, leaving clothes to sit in washer or dryer acquiring wrinkles and mildew. Clothes are neither consigned to laundry collection points when dirty, nor put in convenient storage once clean. Out-of-season, outgrown or outworn items crowd what storage is available, leaving little or no room to store garments currently in use. New clothing is purchased on an unplanned, impulse basis–and at a higher price than necessary. Because their system is so poorly planned and executed, this family loses time, money and harmony in the daily ritual of getting dressed.

It’s these resources of time, money and harmony your family stands to gain when you develop household systems. How do you craft a system to handle your family’s clothing needs?

~ Begin with the end: the goal or outcome of the system.

~ A complete clothing system has this goal: the thrifty, efficient, and routine provision of clean, well-fitting and appropriate clothing for each family member each day. In any household systems analysis, give some thought to your own family’s goal, and write it down. Beginning with the end in sight is the best way to make sure you arrive there!

1. Break down the goal into the necessary tasks, decisions and actions.

2. List them all! For your goal, write down each thing that must be done, large or small. Here are the basic tasks, decisions and action for a household laundry system:

~Dirty clothing is delivered to collection points each day
~Dirty clothing is transferred to laundry area from collection points
~Laundry area contains adequate supply of detergent, softener and stain treatments, as well as tools like washer, dryer, iron and ironing board, hangers ~and hanging area. Supplies are replenished before they are exhausted.
~Dirty clothing is sorted, laundered, dried and folded
~Necessary ironing is done or delegated
~Dry cleaning or professional laundry is delivered and collected each cycle
~Clean clothing is returned to storage areas
~The cycle is repeated on a regular basis

Strength and honor are her clothing; …she looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”
~ book of Proverbs, Holy Bible

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Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. 😀 Poor family! Lol


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