Alright, stage two of the great unfucking of the weekend was laundry.
This gets pretty ugly.
I have serious laundry problems. It’s not so much doing the laundry. It’s folding the laundry. And putting it away/hanging it. I will seriously deposit piles of clean laundry on nearly any surface available.
Top of the dryer? Check! Top of the bathroom counter opposite the dryer? High as I possibly can before it starts spilling over (I only use that bathroom for showering/laundry). Giant oversized chair in my bedroom? Yup. In the laundry basket on the floor even though the cats then believe it’s really a bed for them? Absolutely! The couch in my “den” (aka the room I never use)? Sure, why not?
So I wandered around and picked up every single piece of clean clothing/towel/bedding I had in any place around my house and dumped it all on the sofa.
It looked like this:
I turned on Netflix and began the horrid process. Which, as I discovered, really isn’t even that horrid. In fact, it’s super easy.
Now, as I was doing this, I was also doing laundry. Since I was in the middle of catch up folding, I was guilty of not immediately folding the laundry rolling out of the dryer, so when I finished the first round, the second round was dumped right on top.
Phase Two looked something like this:
I kept at it, and low and behold, after not that much time at all…..
At this point my mom popped over to drop some things off and laughed, “You know…. If you just did that after every load, it would take you maybe ten minutes…”
And she’s right. Lesson learned.
So have I put it all away? All the things that go away folded: blankets, pants, t-shirts, etc. yes. Things that are hung up (that pile in the back of the last photo) are waiting for a 20/10 when I get home from work.
As a side note, I have way too many t-shirts. Way, way, way too many t-shirts.
Unfuck Your Habitat is saving my life. (again)
Damp cloth is good (remember to get filters and rubber seals and gaskets, too). Electrostatic cloths (like a dry Swiffer cloth) work, too. If the machine is dry, you can vacuum the hair out. You can also vacuum the items before you wash them, which can minimize the amount of hair going into the washer in the first place.
Oh, man, I feel you. I was dependent on the laundromat for YEARS, and hated it so much that pretty much my only requirement for when I moved was MUST HAVE WASHER AND DRYER DON’T CARE WHAT ELSE. I do try to write most things and do challenges without making the assumption that everyone has a washer and dryer, but I will fully admit I’m spoiled these days and sometimes forget.
That said, your first weapon in this battle is going to be something with wheels, because holy crap, the carrying is the worst. Those collapsible shopping carts on wheels have sort of a bad image, but dude, they are so useful. I’m not going to pretend I never loaded up my biggest wheelie suitcase with dirty laundry and took it to the laundromat, though. Whatever gets you through in a pinch.
If you can enlist help, it might be worth it to do one huge trip and get as much clean as possible at once to give yourself a starting point, so that the weekly (weekly is a good interval) trips aren’t as intimidating. The one good thing about the laundromat is that you can do six loads in the same time as it takes to do one, so plan an extra hour or so for folding and putting away, and give yourself a good reset so that maintenance is easier.
Also, figure out what you can hand wash at home. Washing a few things in the sink and hanging dry will help keep the sheer amount of laundry down a little bit and save you the hauling (and the money) of washing it at the laundromat.
Approximately twenty kabillion people will say, “Drop your stuff off at a wash & fold and they do all the work!” It’s not a bad solution at all, but it’s not feasible for everyone, because it’s more expensive, and not everyone has one accessible to them. But if it’s in your budget and there’s one nearby, it might be a good alternative.
I also always had a “laundry only” book; something I only allowed myself to read at the laundromat. This only works as a motivation/reward if it’s something you really want to read. Same rule could absolutely apply to games or podcasts or whatever else will make the whole experience less terrible.
Good luck. I feel you, and long for the day when technology has sufficiently advanced so that everyone has access to clothes-cleaning equipment without having to put on pants and go out in public.
Not bleach! Bleach is way more likely to turn stains yellow than to whiten your whites (bleach turns protein stains yellow rather than removing them). Try something like OxiClean instead.
This week, we’re refocusing on the third step of laundry and dishes: put it away, goddammit! Washing and drying are great, but until it’s put away, it’s not done. So this week, as soon as the dryer or dishwasher’s done, or once your air-dried clothes or the dishes in the drying rack are dry, put them away! Our goal is to have nothing lingering in laundry baskets, dryers, dishwashers, or drying racks. Everything gets put away as soon as possible.
I have not tackled that floordrobe/closet. It is there. It mocks me. I don’t have it in me. Maybe it is because every single other unfucking effort from the last week has fallen apart and become refucked. Totally refucked. What’s the point if that’s what will happen? Yet…. I need clean clothes. Hmm. It is a dilemma.
We all know the UfYH system is awesome, but everyone’s clear that it’s not actually magic, right? Getting a space clean is a great habit, but it’s not going to stay that way unless you immediately shut the door and never go in it again. Keeping a space clean is an ongoing process. If you use the space, it will get messy unless you work on keeping it from getting that way. That means, on an ongoing basis, you need to make sure trash is making it to the trash can, clothes are being put away or put in the hamper, and that when you use something, you put it away when you’re done. There’s no magic wand that’s going to make your space stay clean without you putting any effort into it. It doesn’t have to be much, but unless you work at it at least a little at a time, yeah, it’s going to get messy in between.
Put a load of laundry in. Do it before you have the chance to get discouraged by it. Wash it, dry it, and put it away, goddammit.
I hang my skirts, but vertical folding works well for jeans and any pants that don’t wrinkle easily. I detest ironing, so anything that might wrinkle gets hung up.
I’ve seen the idea of using white distilled vinegar as a fabric softener bandied about, particularly by #unfuckyourhabitat , but not so much on how it works (like, quantities, how/when it goes in the machine, and so forth), and things I’m finding on google are contradictory. Can anyone tell me how it works?
Use between 1/2 and 1 cup, depending on the size of the load. My default is 1 cup. If you have a dispenser for fabric softener in your washing machine, put it in there. If not, add it to the rinse cycle. It will hep to remove residue from other fabric softeners, so it’s a good solution for towels, since fabric softener can interfere with absorbency.
If you’re using vinegar to de-funk musty or stinky clothes, you can just add it in (same quantities) with the detergent, or if you have a bleach dispenser that you don’t use for bleach (don’t mix bleach and vinegar), put it in that.
Put it away, not down.
Wash your dishes as soon as you use them.
Put your laundry away as soon as it’s dry.
Take five minutes a day to pick up in one room.
Most of the things that we do for maintenance are less about recovery and more about prevention. If you deal with your dishes, laundry, trash, and the things you use on a daily basis as you use them, there will be very little to have to recover from when you have more time.
Here’s my theory on once-worn clothes: if it’s clean enough to put back on your body, it’s clean enough to put back in your drawer or closet. If you’re really skeeved by it, you can designate a shelf or a drawer just for once-worn stuff, but honestly, I don’t see the need.
As to why no one taught you (the general you) this, I have no end of theories about that, but no one wants to read my thesis, so let’s just be glad we’re all learning about it now. :)
Run an empty load with hot water and use a cup of vinegar instead of detergent. Make sure you clean out the detergent cup and around any seals or gaskets. Once the cycle has run, wipe out the inside of the machine with a water/vinegar mix, and let it air dry with the door/lid open. Vinegar’s safe for clothes, so you don’t need to worry about rinsing or re-cleaning it before your next load of laundry.
If you try all that and it doesn’t work, repeat using half a cup of bleach instead. As always, I think bleach is generally overused and underdiluted, so save this only for if the vinegar doesn’t work. As bleach will discolor your clothes, either run another empty load or one with whites when you’re done.
You have a bunch of clothes sitting around. I know you do. Whether they’re clean and piled in a basket, or dirty and on the floor, or probably a bunch of both, they aren’t where they belong. Take 20 minutes to put that shit away. Clean: in drawers, hung up, or folded and put away. Dirty: in the hamper (or even better, in the washer). Vanquish the floordrobe.
Sweat stains are caused by the aluminum in antiperspirants mixing with your sweat and adhering to the fabric of the shirt. There are very few effective antiperspirants on the market that don’t use some form of aluminum and I DON’T WANT TO HAVE THE ANTIPERSPIRANT FIGHT: USE THEM IF YOU WANT, DON’T IF YOU DON’T, I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL TURN THIS BLOG AROUND.
Anyway. Don’t use bleach. Bleach will make yellow stains more yellow. I swear by Oxi-Clean. You can add it to the wash, or make a paste of it and apply it directly to the stain before washing.
As far as prevention, if it’s not prohibitively hot, consider a fitted undershirt, which will take the brunt of both the sweat and the discoloration. No need to get fancy; a 6-pack of men’s undershirts in your size will do just fine. Otherwise, be diligent with treating stains and washing your shirts as soon as possible. The longer you let them sit, the worse the stains will be.