I’m a problem solver. So anytime I’m dealing with a frustrating issue, I try to find a solution. I’ve had several frustrations pop up this week.
Rolling Grocery Cart
When I was unloading my grocery cart this week, the cart wouldn’t stay put. But I needed both hands to unload the groceries. No matter how I positioned it or what it did, it kept rolling away. Finally I gave up and retrieved the ice scraper from my car. Problem solved. Continue reading “Solving Household Problems Makes Life Better!!!”→
Hanger bumps are one of life’s little annoyances. But I don’t have to deal with them anymore thanks to the folks at Hang Rite Plastics Corporation who sent me samples of DryRight! Hanger Forms to try. The Hanger Forms solved the problem.
The forms are plastic and come disassembled. It’s your job to put them together and attach them to your own hangers. Unfortunately I have about five different kinds of plastic hangers and the forms didn’t work well on all of them. Also, I have trouble following directions so I had to get my husband to help me. It’s not that it’s that hard (he didn’t use directions at all) – it’s just that directions don’t always make sense to me.
Anyway, you put the form over the hanger, line everything up, push the tabs on each end to lock it into place and put another tab over the top to hold it all together. It’s important that the tabs are pushed all the way in or the form will flop around on the hanger.
I keep these hangers in my laundry room where I hang my clothes to dry. After the clothes are dry, I switch them to a regular hanger. My plan at first was to hang the clothes in the closet on the hanger form but I don’t have enough of them.
I’ve been using the hanger forms for about a month or so and have hung a LOT of shirts on them. I’ve only had problems with one shirt still getting a hanger bump. Interestingly enough, it was one that got a hanger bump on the regular hangers, too. I don’t think it’s the hanger’s fault – I think it’s the way the shirt is made.
Would I go out and buy these hanger forms? Maybe. They work well and aren’t horribly expensive but I also don’t consider them a necessity.
If you’re interested in checking these out, they’re available on Amazon and at select Ace Hardware stores. On Amazon a package of five was $15.98. Hang Rite also has hanger forms for jerseys and Hang Rite Straps to double your closet space. I also received both of these products but haven’t had a chance to try them.
How do you dry your hang-to-dry or lay-flat-to-dry clothes? Regular hangers or something special like these DryRight! Hanger Forms?
I want to start out by confessing that I’m not as good at laundry as I used to be but I’m still pretty darn good. It’s one of my few claims to fame as a homemaker.
So I thought, just for fun, I’d give you a glimpse of my typical laundry routine. Here we go:
1. I usually do laundry on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
2. I gather the laundry and dump it all in one basket. We have a basket in our bedroom (mainly for my stuff) and a basket in Calvie’s room where David keeps his clothes. I usually also grab the towels from the bathroom and any dish towels in the kitchen.
3. I head downstairs to our pretty ugly laundry room. The laundry room has a 10-year-old washer and dryer, a sorter, a large trash can, an ironing board I never use, a drying rack and a rug to stand on.
4. Using the sorter, I sort the laundry into colds, darks and whites. I know it’s not really necessary to sort this way, but I still prefer to. If I have small loads of whites and darks, I sometimes combine them.
5. I usually start with the darks because it’s the biggest load and I want to be sure to get it done. If I can’t do anything else, it’s the most important. I don’t buy expensive laundry soap – usually something inexpensive but not the cheapest. I always buy fragrance free soap and dryer sheets. For a while I was making my own laundry soap using this recipe (you can see it here) and I really loved that. But I ran out and I just haven’t taken the time to make more.
6. I start the first load and come upstairs and set a timer for about 40 minutes. If I don’t set a timer, I may or may not remember to ever deal with the laundry again. Seriously. Timers are the key to getting laundry done.
7. When the timer goes off, I go down and move the darks to the dryer and put the whites in the washer. I make sure the buzzer is set on the dryer.
I also take this opportunity to clean out the lint trap before I turn the dryer on:
I usually also take this opportunity to tidy up the washer and dryer.
Then I go upstairs and set a timer for about an hour. Yes, I set the timer on the dryer but it never hurts to have a back-up just in case I don’t hear it or I ignore it.
8. When the timer goes off, I go downstairs and start unloading the dryer. I hang up shirts and pants immediately. Everything else is tossed in the basket. If the loads are really big, I might go ahead and take the darks upstairs and fold them and put them away. But if the loads are small, I usually just wait and do them all at once. Once upstairs, I set the timer.
9. After the timer goes off, I go back down and unload the whites, again hanging up any shirts or pants and dumping the rest in the basket. If I have enough colds, I’ll go ahead and do those next. If not, I’ll wait until the next laundry day.
10. I take the basket and hang-up clothes upstairs with me. Until recently, I dumped it all on Calvie’s bed and folded there. But his room is currently dismantled while we paint so I have to take the basket upstairs to my bed and fold there. Everything is folded and then put away.
Laundry is done until next time. That’s my routine. What’s yours?
Laundry is one thing I’ve always been good at – until we moved here. Since we moved into this house, I’ve had laundry sitting everywhere:
I never did that before. So what changed? That’s what I decided to find out. After careful evaluation, I discovered several problems:
1. In the past, I had set days to do laundry – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But these days I’ve been doing it whenever I have a chance. That doesn’t work for me! When I’m fitting it in when I can, there’s no urgency to finish it because there’s always laundry somewhere, in some stage of the process. But when I did it on set days, I knew I was doing laundry on those days and my goal was always to FINISH it.
2. My new house is bigger. Well, it’s not really bigger but we’re using all of it. The old house had an upstairs and we didn’t really use it. All the rooms where the laundry went were close to each other. In this house, everything is more spread out so it’s not as convenient to put things away. (Oh, my gosh, this sounds SO lame!!!)
3. In the old house, I folded laundry on my bed. Because it was on my bed, there was more motivation to get it done because I needed my bed clear by bedtime so I could sleep in it. In the new house, I fold laundry on an extra, unused bed. That means, if I don’t get it done, it’s no big deal! So guess what? I don’t always get it done.
4. My husband’s closet is currently located in the same room my grandson uses when he’s here. That means that if I’m doing laundry when the kids are here, I can’t get in that room to fold (that’s the bed I use) or put stuff away. (The bulk of the laundry goes in that room.) I don’t want to fold the laundry in my bedroom because it’s upstairs and most of the clothes and linens go on the main floor. So instead of bringing it up to fold, I leave it downstairs in the basement. And then I forget it. You know, out of sight, out of mind!
So after my evaluation, I was actually encouraged. I thought maybe I had lost my touch but instead I just have a few obstacles to overcome. So the solution I came up with is actually really simple: go back to set laundry days of Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If I do that . . .
I’ll know when I’m doing laundry & won’t have to think about whether to do it;
I don’t get to consider it DONE until it’s all washed, dried, folded and put away;
The grandkids won’t be here on those days so the folding bed and David’s closet will be available.
Simple. But effective.
If you’re having problems getting your laundry done,
Analyze the problem
Figure out a solution
Do you struggle to get laundry done? What obstacles do you face?
If you don’t want a new item of clothing to shrink, it will. If you want it to, it won’t. Has anyone else experienced that frustration?
Blog reader, Isaac, recently contacted me about this very issue and asked for help. Here’s his comment:
“Maybe one topic for your blog could be how to clothes shop. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy and don’t clothes shop often, but it causes me real anxiety. I’ll buy a hoodie or pair of pants after having tried them on. They fit perfectly or are slightly too big. But after I wash them, they either shrink (the perfectly fitting hoodie is now too small) or they don’t (so the too big dress pants I was expecting to shrink into my size remain clown pants). It’s frustrating because I feel I’m wasting money and clothes aren’t cheap. Are there some tips to help with this? I do know that cotton shrinks and I shouldn’t put it in the dryer if it’s the size I want, but what percentage of cotton means that it will still act that way? Will 50% still shrink?”
Here are my thoughts:
1. Cotton does shrink. Regardless of the percentage of cotton in a garment, it shrinks. From ehow.com:
Cotton can shrink up to 20 percent every time it is put in the dryer. Although many believe that it is the heat of the dryer that causes the shrinkage, according to Cotton Incorporated, that is not actually the case. The tumbling of the dryer evaporates moisture from cotton clothing, causing it to shrink.
Testing by Cotton Incorporated shows that cotton clothing that is tumbled dry in a dryer at various heats (100, 150 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit) all showed the same amount of shrinkage. Clothes that were dried at higher heats shrank faster than those at the lower heat.
So the only way to be sure your cotton garments don’t shrink is not to dry them and not to wash them in HOT water.
2. If you’re not willing to keep all your cotton garments out of the dryer, you can slow the process by washing them in cold water and drying them on low heat. It’s even better if you take them out of the dryer before they’re completely dry. They’ll still shrink but the shrinkage will be less each time. It also helps if you wash them on the gentle cycle.
3. Denim, also 100% cotton, seems to be another matter entirely. My personal experience is that jeans don’t usually shrink – at least not permanently. When you pull them out of the dryer, they’re definitely tighter. But after wearing them a while, they stretch back out. If you buy a denim jacket, shirt or dress, it will shrink and it won’t stretch back out.
4. Certain brands shrink more than others. You can read reviews but you’ll probably have to figure it out the hard way.
5. Pre-washed items will still shrink but they should shrink much less – especially if you wash them in cold and dry them on low heat.
6. Shrinkage is usually in the waist and/or length.
7. The most dramatic shrinkage is usually in the first wash – then it slows way down.
8. Sometimes more expensive clothing shrinks less.
9. Using a hot iron on certain fabrics, like wool, can also cause shrinkage.
Now the truth is, I don’t buy a lot of clothes, and the clothes I buy are all very similar. I’m definitely no expert on fabrics and laundry issues. So I offered my two cents and now would love to hear yours. What’s your advice for Isaac?
1. Clean up stains/spots immediately. My granddaughter dripped chocolate ice cream on her clothes the other day. Rather than leave it until laundry day, I wiped it up right then. If I hadn’t, it might not have come clean in the laundry. A Tide Stick is handy for quick clean-ups, too. I keep one in my bathroom closet and another one in my baggies drawer in the kitchen. I think there’s one in the glove compartment of my car, too.
2. Check clothing before washing and pre-treat if necessary.
3. Check pockets before tossing clothes in the washer. You never know what bad things might be in those pockets that can wreck havoc on your laundry! I washed a tube of chapstick once and it ruined nearly every piece of clothing that was washed with it – and most of it was mine – but the chapstick wasn’t! Actually, after that happened was when I made my kids start doing their own laundry.
4. If an item has a stain or spot, treat it but then check it between the washer and dryer. If the stain didn’t come out, another round of pre-treating might do the trick. But if you miss it and run it through the dryer, you might be out of luck. I tend to forget to check so I write a reminder on a post-it note and put it on top of the washer so I don’t forget to check the item before drying it.
5. If an item has a stain or spot and you check it between the washer and dryer but you can’t tell for sure that the spot is gone, don’t dry it! Instead let it air dry and then check. If the stain is still there, you can pre-treat again. If it’s gone, you can throw it in the next load of clothes to be dried if needed. But better safe than sorry.
6. If you know an item of clothing needs special treatment but you’re not ready to deal with it right away, set it aside so you won’t forget that it needs help. You think you’ll remember but you probably won’t. At least I don’t.
7. Don’t let clothes sit too long before washing them.
8. Don’t wash rugs with certain fabrics – like nappy fabrics. I washed my husband’s work out shorts with a bathroom rug and the shorts got lint all over them. I spent 10 minutes getting all the lint off. I haven’t made that mistake again. Now rugs are washed by themselves, with other rugs, or with towels.
9. If necessary, use a little bleach. Here’s an article Ashley wrote about using bleach.
My granddaughter had her first potty training accident today…at my house…while she was taking a pretend nap in my bed. I didn’t know it until she got up and said, “I peed in the bed.” I confess. I freaked out a little. Not at her – just at the idea that there was toddler pee in my bed.
So I ripped off all the bedding before the pee could soak through to the mattress. The pee made it all the way down to the mattress topper but not onto the mattress. Whew! I wiped up the mattress topper and stripped the bed. Then I piled the whole mess into the laundry basket and headed downstairs for some serious laundry.
In case you haven’t washed all your bedding in a while, it’s a good idea to periodically wash ALL of it, and if appropriate, turn the mattress. We have a plain old mattress and box springs and it’s helpful to flip and turn the mattress about once a year (kind of like you rotate the tires on your car). I’m not sure you do that on the newer sleep number and memory foam mattresses, but you do on the old-fashioned models like we have.
And while you’re at it, go ahead and wash all the bedding. My bedding laundry included:
Sheets (I wash the sheets weekly)
Pillowcases (I wash the pillowcases weekly)
I also took the mattress topper outside, shook it out and then put it in the dryer for a few minutes.
It’s also beneficial to vacuum the mattress while all the bedding is off.
And when you’re finished, put it all back on and enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep on completely fresh bedding.
But just in case you have ADD or laundry’s not your thing, don’t forget to finish the bedding laundry and put it back on the bed. You definitely don’t want to walk into your bedroom at midnight, bleary eyed and exhausted, and realize you forgot to finish the bedding. Nope. Don’t do that. Set a timer so you don’t forget and get it done as quickly as possible.
And finally, everyone has different ideas about how often the bedding (not including sheets) needs washed. I do the mattress pad at least once a year (or more if needed – like when toddlers forget to use the potty). And I wash the quilt a couple times a year.
Do you periodically wash all your bedding and turn your mattress? How often do you do it?