cleaning, time management

Laundry Lessons: Starting Small – How to Keep up


Our house came with a stacked washer/dryer set.  It was small, but it worked well and we were blessed to have it.  I exploded a blue pen in the dryer once…  It was a good starter set.

With three people and a small apartment-sized washer/dryer, I eventually got into a routine… because I had to.

Sorting Laundry:

Each morning, I gathered the dirty clothes from each bedroom and bathroom.  I sorted the clothes into whites-darks-and-delicates.

Washing Laundry:

I washed a load of whatever was fullest.  I had to do our sheets in two separate loads, so I did that on Saturdays.  I put a tablespoon of homemade detergent in the washer and turned it on to fill.  When the detergent dissolved, I loaded the clothes.  There was no fabric softener or bleach dispensers in the machine, so I just didn’t use either product.

Drying Laundry:

When I got home from work, I switched the clothes to the dryer.  If I got it in early, sometimes I hung the clothes outside to dry all day.

Folding Laundry:

My favorite part of that washer/dryer set was that the dryer was above my head.  So as I pulled clothes out of the dryer, I folded them and put them in the basket.  I didn’t have to bend up and down and up and down.

Putting Laundry Away:

The loads were small, so I carried the basket upstairs and put away all the clothes.

Washing a load every day may seem like a lot of work, but it keeps the workload small.  I find it overwhelming to wash every thing on one day, because of the mountain of clothes that needs put away.

Next week, I’ll share what I do now that we have a bigger family and a bigger machine!




XBox Giveaway Event Announcement


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time management

Time Savers: Folding Laundry

Do you fold your clothes right away?  Or, if you use hangers, do the clothes go straight to the hangers?  Or do they sit in a basket for a few days hours before you get to them again?  Try this time saver to keep your laundry routine efficient!

time savers

If you use a clothesline…

In the summer, and on sunny winter days, I use an outdoor clothesline.  I recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to use one.  I’ve even seen them strung-up around porches, when no yard space is available.

Your clothes are so fresh and clean after being in the sun, and they should last longer.  All the lint you pull out of your dryer’s lint trap is just a pile of pieces that came off your clothing.  Eventually, they will just wear out.

If you’re using a clothesline, use this time saver.  Take the extra 5 seconds to fold each piece as you take it off the line.  Unless you are scrambling to get the clothes inside because you didn’t know it was going rain… it won’t take any extra time to fold as you go.  It will take extra time to pull each piece back out to fold if you wait until you get inside.

If you use a dryer…

Sometimes you just have to use the dryer.  I use the dryer all winter — and when it’s raining.

When we had a stacked washer/dryer set, I always folded the clothes as I took them out of the dryer.  Now that our set is side-by-side, I hate bending up and down and up and down to get the clothes out one-by-one.

Sometimes I’m in a hurry to get another load in, so I set the basket in front of the dryer and throw everything in there without folding it.  Then I always regret wasting time it when I have to go back and fold the clothes later.

What do you do to make your laundry routine go smoothly?



Easy Fried Rice – Just Like Take-Out

Chinese take-out was the first major budget cut that we made.  We used to get Chinese take-out every Friday night.  Every.single.week.  I learned to make a lot of the dishes we liked (like General Tso’s and Chicken Teriaki), but for me, it wasn’t the same without fried rice.

I tried the instant flavored rice packs, but it wasn’t the same.  Take-out fried rice isn’t fluffy or sticky.  It has that nice yellow coloring and it’s so yummy!

So I tried frying it.  Yes, it’s that easy.  Easy-peasy.

Instant Brown Rice
Instant rice, made in the microwave

Make some rice.

Any kind of rice.  Sometimes I make instant white rice.  Sometimes I made instant brown rice.  Sometimes I make good ol’ fashioned rice… but not usually, because it takes forever.

If I do make “ol’ fashioned rice”… I make a whole stock pot full of it and I freeze some for next time.  If it’s going to take 20 minutes to make two servings of rice, then I’m going to made eight servings of rice while I’m at it!  I let the rice cool, in the fridge, and then I put it in gallon freezer bags.  I flatten the bags and lay them in the freezer.  That way, if I only want enough rice for one person, I just break it in half and thaw half of it.

add soy sauce to rice in skillet fried rice in nonstick skillet

Fry the rice!

I know, it’s almost too easy.

I heat up a nonstick skillet and toss the rice in.  I’ve never done this with a stainless steel skillet or a cast iron skillet, so I’m not sure how well it would work.  I don’t add oil or anything.

Stir the rice around until it’s no longer sticky.  Add some soy sauce for a nice color and flavor.  Add some stir-fry veggie mix, if you’re husband isn’t as picky as mine!

homemade fried rice

All done!!  Enjoy!!




Introducing… The Help Meet Corner

Stop by Simply Helping Him today and say, “Hello!”  I’m so excited to be a part of the new Help Meet Corner!

Even though my passion is organization and planning… Chris could care less about organization.  The way to my husband’s heart is through his stomach.  I could clean the house top to bottom in one day, and it would go unnoticed.  But, if I try a new recipe that he loves?  He tells everyone he meets.

Each month I will be contributing something “culinary” to the corner.  Make sure you subscribe at Simply Helping Him to receive update from all of the Help Meet Corner Contributors!



cleaning, time management

Laundry Lessons: “How Mom Did It” – Learning to Use a Routine



The never-ending chore.

I read somewhere that it’s like shoveling during a snowstorm.  You work and work but the workload never seems to get any lighter.

You think you have everything clean… and it only lasts a few hours before everyone changes into PJs and you have almost a full load waiting for you in the morning.

And, do socks multiply?  Or do they walk off?  Because I think I’ve witnessed both…

It took me a long time to get into a laundry routine that made sense.  Finally, I found something that worked for us.  Then something would change, and I would have to readjust the routine.

Growing up, I only did laundry occasionally.  I learned to use the washer and dryer when I was young — but then Mom got a new washer and a new dryer and it was a lot more complicated than the old set.  The front-loading washing machine was so intimidating!  I avoided the chore for fear I would either ruin the clothes or break the machine.

This is what I remember…

Sorting Laundry:

We sorted our dirty clothes into darks-lights-and-whites upstairs in a three-compartment-hamper that sat in the room next to the bathroom.  It was a central location between all of the bedrooms.  When one compartment was full, it went down to the basement to be washed.

Washing Laundry:

Mom had instructions on the washer for what settings and measurement to use with different types of clothes.  We used Era detergent and a fabulous smelling fabric softener.  Whites got bleached, and I always managed to spill some on myself.

Drying Laundry:

We had a dryer, but we also had a clothesline that we used whenever we could.  Mom always laid sweaters out on the radiators and the dining room table to dry flat.  She also had a rail in the laundry room where she could hang shirts and dress clothes right away to keep them from wrinkling.

Folding Laundry:

Once dry, clothes went up back upstairs to be folded.  Sometimes we dumped them out in a pile on the bed.  Sometimes we folded them while watching TV.  I have fond memories of helping Mom fold… or just sitting on the bed talking to her while she folded alone (oops).

Putting Away Laundry:

While folding, clothes were separated according to owner.  Then, each pile was delivered to it’s owner for that person to put away.  My piles just stacked up all over my bedroom.  Mom finally started delivering clean clothes in a clothes-basket, because my clean-clothes-piles were getting out of control.  The clothes-basket at least kept them in one place instead of being scattered everywhere.


Looking back, that’s probably the worst habit I brought to this marriage… What would you call it?  Never-putting-away-clean-clothes syndrome?  Wearing-clothes-straight-out-of-the-basket syndrome?

Next week I’ll share the routine I finally settled into for our family of three with a very small washing machine.  Don’t miss a post!!  Subscribe to Trial and Error Homemaking.