Limit the Piles: Dishes and Laundry

Limit the Piles: Dishes and Laundry

Be sure to check out the super cute Fireflies and Jellybeans today where we’re guest posting on our friends’ Jeannine & Fawnda’s blog!

And now on to our post!

I’m probably the last person in the world that should be giving cleaning advice.  Just ask anyone I’ve ever lived with.   Dishes and laundry are my undoing.  But perhaps because I struggle so much in this area the few little hints I have learned are worth passing down even more.  This simple idea keeps me from being completely overtaken by dirty clothes and plates!

And I will admit from the beginning, this idea was not birthed in my own little brain…it evolved through circumstance.  Well, circumstance and my kids’ favorite colors.

See, we have a set of colorful munchkin plastic plates for the kids, and they each have a favorite color.  That’s the plate they want for every meal.   They each have their favorite color plastic cup…and they want that cup for every meal.   They each have their own cereal bowl, the kind with the straw built into the side to slurp up all the yummy sugary milk (thanks, Dad & Jan).  And you guessed it, they want that bowl every morning for breakfast.  And as much as we battle over food with one or some of the kids, dishes are not worth the fight. So I wash the plates and cups and have them for every meal.  Then I started realizing how helpful it was.

One plate, cup, and bowl for each child!  What a concept!  It forces me to wash those plates a lot, but it takes up less cupboard space.  I also can’t let the dishes stack up too long.  It’s like setting up my own built-in warning system.  I must wash the plates to have them ready for the next meal.  Brilliant!

Laundry, I’m not so successful at. However, we received lovely Christmas gifts this year of different colored bath towels with each of our names embroidered on one.  (Thanks again, Dad & Jan!).  Now we each have one towel that’s ours.  If the kids don’t hang their towel up when they’re done with it, they’re not too happy about having to streak around the place cold wet and naked after bath time looking for it.  But it only takes a few times for them to catch on.  😉 One towel for each of us: that’s less laundry for me!

I haven’t gotten this far yet, but my goal is by the end of the month to purge a lot of clothes from their drawers too.  I’ve limited the girls to one outfit a day.  Some fashionistas out there may consider that cruel and unusual punishment, but until they’re big enough to do their own laundry I call the shots on this one!  (For some reason my oldest son is a different story: I actually have to tell him to wear different clothes after a few days.)   Boy or girl, they all have more than enough clothes, so I will be thinning out their wardrobes in hopes of one day being victorious over my nemesis: laundry!

In the meantime, limiting the available dishes and towels to one per person is helping me out a bit!

How about you?  Any tips for me to keep dirty laundry and dishes at bay?

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17 Responses »

  1. One reason there were SO many clothes in the house when Michelle was the oldest child of 4 was because of generous people; we had BOXES and BOXES of hand-me-downs. One time we actually got caught up with the laundry – folded and separated even! It didn’t fit! There was simply too much.
    What I remember is stacking up all the shirts for each child, and telling them, “Pick out your favorite 10 shirts.” The rest went into the box. Same story with pants, underwear, socks, shorts, etc. Maybe a different number, but same process. When we looked at the pile to keep and the pile to give away, guess which was bigger!! And, suddenly there was enough room in the dresser drawers for each child.

    I also noticed that even though they had 60% less clothing, they were not 60% less happy!
    What also happened was that the eternally-present mountain of unfolded Dryer Produce was a smaller pile.
    When I see those pics and clips of children in 3rd-world countries with very little to wear, and there are still smiles, I KNOW that the clothing we have is a blessing. But having 10-times more than we need isn’t 10-times more blessed!
    It’s a very pragmatic example of how “Less is More.”

  2. I am so glad you struggle with dishes and laundry too. Those are my two main weaknesses (there are plenty of others, but those are the biggest. ha).
    I like the very limited dishes idea and have been wanting to implement it myself. I just have such a hard time getting rid of plates. I might NEEEED THEM LATER!

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  5. Just stumbled upon your site, enjoying it already :) A tip for limiting laundry is to wear clothes more than once. It’s easier for adults obviously, but we have bigger clothes so it makes an difference. I do quite a bit less laundry in the winter since we’re not sweating in MN. For dishes, you’re light years ahead of me. I try to wash a batch daily. The fact that I’m in my first trimester and don’t have a dishwasher aren’t helping! 😛

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  7. Dishwashers – ahh, praises to the inventor!! As a family of five, we lived in a small house without one for over 5 years – that’s when I realized my kids were getting old enough to do chores!! We now have teenagers and a dishwasher, so we’re all happy and have clean dishes (most of the time)! As for clothes, I happily have a large enough laundry room to have color coded hampers – everyone brings their clothes and separates each night before bed, so all that has to be done is to pour in some detergent and dump a hamper — this works well most of the time also…..we’ve had our personally monogrammed towels forever, too!

  8. My kids each have their own color coded cup that they use for the entire day. After each meal they rinse it out and put it in a specific place on the counter. They use their same cup all day until I wash them all at the end of the day. This saves me washing a bunch of cups at every meal.

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