The L Word

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While I was pregnant with the twins, I did a lot of reading.   I didn’t read too much on multiple pregnancy itself, as it scared the you-know-what out of me!  Tons of negative and downright scary information.  Instead, I focused mostly on the challenges I would face once the babies were born.  I read about breastfeeding, feeding schedules, sleep training — all the tough stuff.  Although I would never sit here and tell you I was prepared for what was to come (because who the hell could be?), I will say that I had a vague notion of my impending challenges.  However, there was one topic that was woefully overlooked and/or underdiscussed in all of the books, blogs, and newsletters that I got my pregnant paws on.

The L Word.  Think about it for a minute, ladies.  You all know what I am talking about.

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

LAUNDRY. 

Holy @#*&!  Why did no one discuss this, like… ever?  Why did no one advise me to buy a house with a built-in laundry shoot??  Because, let me tell you: I would have seriously considered it.  To any of you out there who have a laundry shoot, please don’t brag.  I am ridiculously jealous.  Over the past two years, I have stepped over (and on) dirty clothes and hurdled baskets full of clean laundry like an Olympian. 

Yes, no one so much as casually mentioned that two babies equals at least double the laundry than a singleton.  And neither one of my girls had reflux.  Oh, you poor, poor souls who experienced reflux laundry.  There is a spot already reserved for you in Heaven.

I think the sudden barrage of laundry in my home was especially surprising and/or challenging to me for two reasons: 1) Prior to having twins, I probably did the laundry once every two weeks, or as long as I could possibly scrape by without buying new underwear (and I openly admit to doing so on more than one occasion!);  and,  2) I have never EVER in my life spent so much time and energy on the act of doing laundry.  Before twins, I would just toss a bunch of stuff (colors, whites, who cares?) into the machine and call it good.  Now, I pre-treat every.damn.thing with my beloved Oxiclean spray AND I add a heaping cup of the Oxiclean liquid to every load I wash.  That stuff is magic, I tell you.  Magic.   I mean,  a typical outfit in our house is stained beyond all recognition by 5pm, assuming it is dark enough to mask the stains from lunchtime. 

Since leaving my job at the end of June, I have become a lot more focused on laundry and on establishing a good system so as not to have clothes strewn about the house waiting for me to either pre-treat and wash or fold and put away.  You see, I have no problem tossing the clothes in the washing machine and/or transferring them to the dryer; it’s the before and after parts that really get my goat.  Truth be told, it has been much easier to keep up with the laundry now that I am no longer working outside the home.  But, still, my system could use some improving to be sure.  

So, how do you handle laundry for multiples?  Any ideas or advice from those of you who aren’t hurdling laundry baskets on a daily basis?  What’s your secret?

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21 thoughts on “The L Word”

  1. I’m sorry to be laughing … but I am. I agree … why doesn’t anyone tell you about the laundry !!! … and it’s not just the kiddos. It’s my clothes as well. I used to buy 2 of every color shirt (the $5.oo wal-mart t-shirts). One went on in the morning and the second went on if I had to leave the house (this system came about after returning from errands multiple times with all kinds of substances on my clothes…which had been there prior to leaving the house).

    Now it’s better … I’m back to wearing nicer clothing. The stains are still there though … and my husband has suddenly added to mayhem by eating in bed. He fell asleep with a handful of raspberries … rolled around in them and couldn’t figure out why I would be upset about that …. sigh …. and it goes on.

    My sister (who had 4 boys) has assured me that it only gets worse … the clothes get BIGGER and the result is more loads of laundy …

  2. My washer broke 6 days after mine were born- you can imagine the piles the delivery men found once they finally arrived!

    I have a bucket filled with soapy/oxycleany water in my kitchen. Anything wet or icky goes in there to sit till wash day. Saves the pre-spraying all the time.

    Oh, and I have a chute. Will NEVER buy a house w/o one again. Ever.

  3. The L-word indeed!

    My solution is to separate washing/drying from folding. The former gets done regularly, the latter infrequently.

    Laundry is the one thing that has never felt under control since our daughters were born … except when my MIL visits, bless her!
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Fly in the ointment =-.

  4. No kidding — I had no idea either! Once they start solids it all goes downhill. Thankfully , they are not yet playing in the dirt. I have no great system other than my amazing husband who does a lot of it when he leaves/comes home from work since we have to go outside around the back of the house to get to our basement [I would give anything to have the w/d INSIDE our house let alone a laundry shoot! Surprisingly, our cloth diaper laundry are the easiest loads since they don’t require any folding!

  5. After about a year of being overwhelmed by laundry I decided to do it three times a week. I do my daughters’ laundry Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. I do Hubby and my laundry Monday (so that day is set aside as “major laundry day.”) Basically each time I do my daughters’ laundry I’m doing a week’s worth of “singleton” laundry. As soon as I bring my girls downstairs for breakfast I throw the contents of their laundry basket in the washer so I’m done before lunch. It really has made the chore of laundry a lot less overwhelming, even if it means that I feel like I’m doing laundry every day. A relative is selling her house and has generously decided to give us her front loader washer and dryer… I’m hoping for at least a week or two after we receive the appliances that laundry might even seem (gasp) fun.
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..I Heart The Wiggles =-.

  6. I’ll admit it – I have no problems with the kids laundry. Their nanny does it 3x a week and puts it away. Sure, there are shirts with permanent stains on the collar but I just “look past it”. My husband is another matter – I can’t seem to train him to put his clothes in the basket or to put them AWAY when they are CLEAN. Even though our nanny occassionally does our laundry.
    .-= Mommy, Esq.´s last blog ..Beauty and the Brute =-.

  7. We have three baskets: darks, whites, and kids. Whenever one gets full, we do that load. I always wash and dry (and fold) laundry while watching tv after my boys go to bed. I figure I can justify being a couch potato if I’m doing something productive.

    Towels and sheets get washed on the weekend.
    .-= LauraC´s last blog ..The best of the best of the vacation pictures =-.

  8. hilarious post!!! oh how I hate laundry, but LOVE my oxiclean. I don’t have many tricks or tips because to be honest, I suck at it. We usually undress the girls downstairs at night and throw their clothes in the hamper in the laundry room, then trek upstairs for baths, pjs, and bed. That seems to help the piles of their clothes to not form in their room. I do one load of their laundry a day and mine and my hubby’s loads usually twice a week… but like I said… getting it ALL done and ALL put away at one time is still a challenge for me! Someday I’ll be organized…
    .-= amy o´s last blog ..Reese =-.

  9. I am a godawful laundress, I must admit. I totally procrastinate. Growing up, my mother was obsessed with laundering everything not nailed down, and there were 5 of us kids, so we would take turns doing the 3 LOADS A DAY, 7 days a week. My shifts started at 5 years old, and by the time I was 18 I decided that for the rest of my life, I would try to do as little laundry as possible. When I lived in the city I would have it picked up and dropped off. Not an option in the jungle, so I’m slowly making peace with the fact that laundry will be a major part of my life FOREVER.
    .-= Jungletwins´s last blog ..Garden Party! =-.

  10. I have b/g twins 11mths old. the only thing i’ve found to keep me sane with the mountains of clothes these lil boogers go thru every day is.. dare I say it? boys can wear pink! girls can wear truck tshirts. for months I spent endless days sorting his and hers sorting colours, washing folding. now they go into whatever my hand grabs first. Now when I buy clothes for everyday wear it’s unisex both of mine are reflux babies so the mountain of clothes can be daunting. I’ve also taken to wearing a mans shirt over the top of my clothes it doesn’t leave me completely chuck free but it does save me smelling of sour milk etc when the doorbell goes and I strip it off before answering.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..purple monkey highchair =-.

  11. I hear ya on this one. I definitely have spent way more time and attention on laundry in the past 17 months than in the last 17 years. I’m good with the washing, drying, and putting away. It’s the pretreating stage that I procrastinate on. I hate scrubbing out the dirt and stains, so I let it pile up. Can’t even think of just throwing it all in the wash and waiting to see what comes out and what doesn’t. Will have to try the soapy Oxiclean bucket suggestion.

    However, my pile of clothing to pretreat has shrunk drastically since I started feeding my kids in diapers only (a suggestion from my daughter’s nutritionist). It only takes a minute to skin the rabbits, and saves tons of time worrying about what’s dirty. My daughter is so used to this routine that she cries and pulls on her clothes if someone puts her in her seat with her clothing still on. Now most of our stains are from outdoor play and come out more easily than blueberry and spaghetti sauce stains.

  12. The day my ultrasound revealed a double pregnancy, I left the doctor’s office, went straight to Home Depot and bought the biggest, most energy efficient washer/dryer set I could!

    I do 9-12 loads a week, and split it up over 3 days. And, yes, one kid had reflux for ONE WHOLE YEAR!

  13. Ok second comment … I didn’t leave any tips.

    I’m an advocate of a little every day…mostly because looking at large piles of laundry makes me crazy. One load goes in the washer every night. If I wake up during the night, the load goes in the dryer. Otherwise, it goes in the dryer in the morning. Like Krissy, I purchased the largest capacity machines I could find, waited for them to be on sale, then checked on line and discovered that our state was giving a $300.00 rebate if you purchased these energy saving machines … sold the old pair and reduced my overall cost by just over $500.00.

    As for stains, I discovered that about 50% of the stains come out without pretreating … just check everything before it goes in the dryer … saves money on stain removers.

    Lastly, I recently came across a new stain remover called Oxyclean Max Force … love this product but it only comes in small containers and I sometimes use the entire bottle on a single day.

  14. I’m a WAHM of 9-month girls. I have to admit that laundry is not a chore I’ve ever disliked, but folding and putting it away — that’s another story! And don’t get me started on ironing.

    I go through lots of Totally Toddler stain remover spray (Toys R Us/Babies R Us) and think it’s the best product ever — I wish someone had given this to me when I first got AF; it would have saved many pairs of underwear! I’ll have to try Oxiclean.

    My favorite tip for laundry is to use old-fashioned large diaper pins to pair baby socks before putting them in the wash and dryer. I also use cheap, collapsible mesh bins instead of plastic laundry baskets and immediately sort upstairs (clothes, bath towels) vs. downstairs (kitchen towels, burp cloths, diaper bag clothes) items as soon as they’re out of the dryer.
    .-= Ellen K.´s last blog ..Implant, transfer, reimplant, it’s all the same! =-.

  15. We are in a 3 level townhouse, the hamper is upstairs by our bedrooms, the washing machine is on the lowest level. The stairs are killing me. My best tip is this: Inside our large hamper are these items – some empty plastic bags and our bottle of spray & wash WITH a toothbrush attached to it by rubber band. Before throwing a stained item into the hamper it gets a quick spray and work that in with the toothbrush. When hamper starts to get full (frequently) I separate my darks / whites/ colors into separate plastic bags. Then when a bag is full I haul that bag downstairs and dump it in the washer. We have brand new front loader machines and the washer has a “delayed start”. So if I throw in a load at bedtime, I can delay the start so wet clothes aren’t sitting in there all night. Laundry is WAY worse in winter when long pants and bulky clothes fill the hamper so much more quickly than summer clothes…

  16. It wasn’t the laundry that was killing me, it was putting it away. The solution that has worked for us is to no longer keep clothes in the twins room, which also means no emptying clothes out of the dresser when they should be sleeping. We have a dresser in the laundry room and I just put it right away out of the dryer! Life is so much easier.

    And I agree on eating only in diapers, and sometimes we eat in the tub! Yes, when the house has to be super clean for some reason, dinner is served in the empty tub, easy to clean up!

  17. I’m horrible with my own laundry, but have no issues with the girls laundry!

    We used to do laundry every other day. The nanny does it during the week and I would always do a load on the weekends. Now we do laundry twice a week – Wed & Sat. The laundry goes in in the morning, to the dryer when I remember and folded and put away immediately.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Split personalities =-.

  18. No multiples, but I do have six kids. I also have no advice because in order to sit at my computer after a fun 2 am feeding, I had to clear off the overflow laundry from my computer chair. It shall reside here (or on the floor next to me until I get up) until I have washed enough clothes that I make room for them in a *dirty* basket.
    .-= Viv´s last blog ..Family and pictures =-.

  19. My system is simple, really.

    I do laundry every day, and fold every night. I buy just about NO whites, so heavy staining isn’t a big issue. If there are any stains left after washing (and before drying) I let it go another round or treat it.
    Right now the kids are still small (9 months), so the loads are really only half loads. I expect that as they get bigger the loads will get bigger.
    Oh, and I gave up washing all of our clothes separate. Adults and babies all in the same load.
    I do have a reflux baby, and one with an explosive butt, but rinsing off before hand helps.

    I use to try to do the laundry every couple days or whenever the laundry was full. While that got stuff washed, it also made a massive fold pile. The washing part isn’t the hard part, it’s the putting away. Everyday laundry limits the toughness of that.
    I use this same method on dishes. No dishes left in the sink overnight, dishes run every day.

    Lest you think I’m some sort of domestic queen… perish the thought. This merely keeps things from the massive overwhelming tsunami of chaos that is ever threatening to wash over the household.
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..Week 41 =-.

  20. I don’t have multiples but I do have 5 children 3 girls and 2 boys. The oldest is 9 and the youngest 2 months. The clothes thing is a BIG deal at my house and I still haven’t figured it out. Recently I went through their clothes and only kept enough for them to have for 2 weeks but I was washing every night so that didn’t work and yes I have the mounds of clothes, its like we are constantly tripping over piles of clothes and it makes my house never clean. Loved the comments above glad to know that I am not the only one drowning in piles of laundry by myself. Good luck to everyone if there is a very experience clothes washer out there I could really use your opinion on what I need to do to get a handle on the chaos.

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