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Dirty Laundry

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

I’m not about to air mine, although I can’t deny that if I manage to make it to a ripe old age I may just write some kind of blogging memoir. Whether anyone will be remotely interested in several decades time remains to be seen but goodness…the stories I could tell.

Back to the subject in the literal sense, actual clothes that need a bloody good wash. My question of the day is where the hell do you put them? I’m assuming the vast majority of you are going to say a laundry basket of some description, but where do you keep that? In our previous home we used to have a walk-in cupboard in the guest bedroom that housed ready-for-a-spin-cycle garments in a rather snazzy colours/whites/darks separated canvas bag. Only it wasn’t that snazzy. In fact it didn’t actually hold many items at all. When we moved to our family abode I vowed to have invented some way of keeping our washing hidden discreetly whilst actually keeping on top of it in general thus preventing the requirement for several giant storage options.

I am half way there. For the most part I do keep on top of it, especially as I am buying Mabel less (because let’s face it, she grows so quickly it seems such a waste) so if I didn’t put a wash on every day she would be going to nursery naked. And also because now I have a re-decorated and altogether more aesthetically pleasing utility room, it doesn’t seem such a chore.

I have this rather cleverly shaped two section folding laundry hamper that I keep behind the aforementioned utility door, it’s actually quite chic/minimalist so I don’t really notice it’s there. I use it for towels and bed linen. Our clothing is currently in the matching rectangular hamper at the bottom of the bath in the family bathroom. You can’t actually see it as you enter the room, and we seem to be in a routine where we put a wash on as soon as it appears to be a tad over loaded.

I’m not sure this is the best solution but it’s working ok for us so far. I’m hearing more and more about utility rooms being housed on the first floor, which makes sense as that’s where all of the washing (bar tea towels I guess) essentially is. I’ve still not mastered the separation of garments based on their different temperature requirements/colours – I find myself sitting on the bathroom floor on a regular basis sorting through everything and then trying to carry a pile of stuff down the stairs, trailing socks in my wake. Hand-washing in particular seems to get thrown in with everything else willy-nilly and I find myself accidentally chucking a pretty bra in with a selection of denim only for it to be spun to the point the underwire pokes out. First world problems and all that.

Where do you keep your laundry? And what efficient process do you have in place to make sure everything is separated? Do you manage to keep on top of the washing?

This might be the dullest feature I have ever penned. I promise to share lovely shiny covetable things with you all next week.

EDIT: Our thoughts and prayers are with those effected by the devastating attack at Manchester arena last night.

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42 thoughts on “Dirty Laundry

  1. Haha it’s the little things! So important though- who wants a guest to come face to face with dirty man pants laid casually on top of the bathroom laundry bin?!

    With two small people I do a wash every day and sometimes two- the 15 minute quick wash is amazing if there’s a couple of whites or delicates. We have two identical baskets so I just bring one down, and sort it on the utility floor. Glamorous it ain’t but I’m ok with it.

    My nemesis is putting clean clothes away… they seem to hang out in ironing baskets or on the drying rack until the last possible moment… can someone invent a magic wand that whisks them into the wardrobe please?

    1. I would love a magic wand Lucy! and I also worship the quick wash, although we don’t have a 15 minute one, that sounds amazing?! Think ours is about 30 mins x

  2. This is not dull! I suffer from this problem all the time! I don’t even have a utility room, imagine that! We have a laundry basket in our hallway but I love the idea of having a seperate place for towels and sheets because they take over! More importantly Charlotte, where do you keep your recycling? It’s taking over our kitchen!

    1. Oh gosh Jess, me too. We have a big bag that hangs on the butchers block but it is constantly overflowing and does not look pretty at all I really should walk outside and empty it more often! x

    2. Yes this! We are just about to be moved to three weekly waste and weekly recycling collections that is going to mean a lot more sorting…. I want to be green and all but aaaaargh!

    3. Jess we actually have a special pull out bin with separate containers – it came with the kitchen so I can’t take any credit for it. However this obviously needs emptying and we have various council donated containers outside the front door (hidden by the bush) that they get decanted into. We always find we have far more recycling than we do storage bins though, it’s often over flowing.

      1. We really struggled with recycling too until we bought a Joseph Joseph totem bin which was expensive but worth it not to have bags and boxes of recycling over the kitchen.

  3. 2 laundry baskets shoved in the wardrobe. One for colours and one for lights and whites. O has a lovely canvas bag with gold dots on it in her nursery. The dream is to have a house with a lovely Pinterest style laundry/utility room…….. One day

    1. Claire I’m planning on one just for Mabel I think, maybe a bag hung on the back of the door? She has so many delicates/hand wash items (I’m paranoid about shrinkage) that she may as well have her own. SO grateful for my utility but what I would say is, you actually need quite a lot of room for drying/sorting washing and storage, ours actually isn’t that efficient – we are thinking of extending it and pinching some of another room next year.

  4. Laundry is my nemesis and I’m super envious of anyone who has a system that works for them. We only have 1 small laundry basket that sits in the corner of our bedroom, but laundry also regularly builds up on the utility room floor 🙁 I find I’m great at getting laundry in the machine when it needs done… what I’m not so good at is getting it on the washing line or finding somewhere in the house to hang it all when it’s raining outside. Then there’s putting it all away when it’s dry… I don’t really iron, so it should be easier, but there always seems to be a pile of laundry on our bed or the dining table….I swear it multiplies!

    And do not even get me started on the level of education it clearly takes to open the laundry basket and put something INSIDE rather than on top! Every night for 12 years my other half balls his shirt up and places in on top of the basket…. why can he not put it inside!?!

    1. Sara I used to lose the plot with James on a regular basis in our old house, stuff was flung on the floor and not IN THE LAUNDRY BIN. Now we have hampers with lids and I’ve said that if ever I find something on top of the lid I will simply throw it in the waste bin or out of the window. And I mean it.

      Ditto on the pile of clean washing always on the bed…there is just never enough time!

  5. I’m sorry to be totally frivolous…but where are those beautiful undies in the header image from? I need more pretty undies in my already over-flowing underwear drawer!
    As for dirty laundry – as it is just me – I have no excuses not to be organised – and I do have a lovely white wicker basket in my bedroom so the dirty is pretty well hidden and generally gets dealt with before it overflows – the worn but not dirty however I do have a bad habit of draping over my laundry basket & also putting away of the clean? I also need a magic wand!! 😀 x

    1. Janey not frivolous at all! These are all from H&M (!) I know I would probably be taken to task by underwear specialists but the bras are really comfy and fit me super well. I really rate their 2 pack for £12.99 :
      http://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0325087025.html#Light%20beige/Dark%20grey

      Also I love the “Undiz” brand at ASOS – I have some lovely colourful pieces from there:

      http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=5678&awinaffid=195689&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.asos.com%2Fwomen%2Fa-to-z-of-brands%2Fundiz%2Fcat%2F%3Fcid%3D20010

  6. Getting on top of laundry is the ultimate goal isn’t it? Our solution is far from ideal with the bathroom being too small to house a laundry basket so we have one in our bedroom and one in our utility room (think a fairly narrow hallway leading up to the downstairs loo and the garden). I like the idea of a double basket for sorting but I tend to sort into probably 4 different washes anyway so not sure it would help me that much – plus it’s not allowed to be very big to allow access through the said narrow hallway. My major revelation is washing one load every day – I’ve only been religiously doing it over the last couple of weeks and it really does make my life easier with a small load taking a lot less time to hang out and put away even though I’m with Lucy on the putting away part taking far longer than any other stage and that’s even with having someone do the ironing once a week.

    1. Yep I’m with you on washing every day Kat, definitely seems to negate a huge wash day at the weekend…

  7. the question isn’t how do you store it, it should be where the hell do you dry it!!! I’m grateful that we now have a washing line but you can’t put it out every day. We have one of those heated dryers which is a god send, however hubby is fed up of it being on the kitchen (plus your clothes smell like food), so we moved it to the ‘office’ but when we are not using it, where does it get stored? We don’t have the luxury of a utility room. It’s the one thing I hate and if I was ever organised enough to get to the bottom of my laundry piles and put on a small load every day it wouldn’t be too bad, but I work full time, take medication that makes me feel exhausted and have a 2 year old so forget it. Some days I can’t even be bothered to move my coat off the chair to the hook in the hall 2 metres away so I can’t see the everyday washing/drying situation working out too well for me!
    Nice to think of something else today, I work in Manchester and the morning has been strange to say the least. 🐝 ❤️

    1. Claire I need a heated dryer, I keep mentioning it to James. And I know what you mean about drying in the kitchen – we had to do that in my old house and sometimes I would just have to re-wash stuff if I didn’t time it right with what we were cooking. Do you have a hot water tank cupboard/boiler cupboard? We have shelving in ours and it’s been amazing to store clean towels and bed linen before we “use’ them, I genuinely don’t remember what we did before, probably just left it on the bed….x

    2. Yes! Drying is the worst! Back bedroom is now a nursery and we can’t get into the box room for Andrews junk! Making the most of the sunshine and a busing the machine. When did I get old ?!

  8. Love this!! Essential topic of conversation 🙂 We have a VERY unsightly plastic basket thing in our hall landing. It is horrible and I cringe every time I walk past it. I have looked at a fancy Brabantia one that has two compartments but I don’t think it will quite fit. It would, however, be an enormous improvement on the current situation so next time there is a sale I think I will be purchasing one. Hand washing gets put under my side of the bed. Don’t ask… I generate the most hand washing, and it is out of the way there, so I just bundle it up and then periodically get it all out and wash it (as much as possible in the machine, got to love the woollens setting!). We do have one of those ceiling drying rack things though and they are MARVELLOUS. I often forget that there is washing on it as I just don’t see it. Highly recommend. Although we do have one of those x-wing drying rack things that is regularly out (mercifully tucked in a corner of the kitchen so slightly less of an eyesore) for the supplementary washing when I can’t persuade my husband to put things in the tumble dryer (honestly it is on so rarely I’m surprised cobwebs don’t form inside). And I too want a magic wand to put all the clothes away. There is currently a basket of clean laundry to put away waiting for me in my bedroom when I get home, joy…

  9. Great article! Washing drives me bonkers and I definitely need to get in to the routine of doing one every day, but time just escapes. We just have a laundry bin in the bathroom so I would love one that has separate compartments for different washes and a basket to carry it all. At the moment I scoop everything up after sorting and leave a trail of dirty knickers and socks allover the floor – so attractive!! And my husband also dumps stuff on the floor, very annoying!

    What I also need are recommendations for a clothes horse, ours is literally falling apart. Don’t think the heated ones are for us, but need one that can fold away but also holds loads. Is there such a thing?!

      1. Love this winged one Annie! I have a regular fold out version but this looks as though it will hold twice as much x

  10. Laundry – potentially dull but a necessary evil and after my washing machine broke yesterday I have realised how much the prospect of NOT being able to do laundry stresses me out! Regarding systems – we have one that seems to work. One laundry basket in our bedroom (though I’m tempted to buy the rectangle one from JL you cited here Charlotte!) and each time I put on a wash I drag everything out and sift through to separate colours/delicates. I do a wash every or every other day and a combination of a tumble dryer and our heated drying rack (for non-tumble things) means that everything is washed and dried within 24 hours max and we put it away pretty much straight away too. One way to keep the laundry basket from overflowing is washing sheets the minute I’ve stripped a bed so the bulk of them don’t fill up the laundry basket. A tumble dryer has been a godsend and I would tell everyone is struggling for drying space to buy a tiered heated rack from Lakeland IT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE. Also transformative – hand wash setting on the washing machine. x

    1. Sophie my hand wash cycle is used regularly, it was a must when choosing a washing machine. Unfortunately we have a washer/dryer and the drying setting isn’t great, it gives off a strange burnt type smell so it puts me off using it.

      The rectangle hamper is lovely Sophie – honestly, for a laundry basket this is really quite chic (!) x

  11. We have a utility cupboard ( washing machine and tumble dryer on shelves behind doors in hall) due to shortage of space. There are two large rectangular baskets one for everyday washing and one for handwash sheets etc)We live in a bungalow so I simply gather the dirty clothes every morning and evening and chuck in there. Wash almost every day as 3 small kids. Always check labels and try to avoid buying hand wash only or dry clean only. Dry in dryer or on washing line and air on radiators. Husband made good point that putting baskets in bedrooms means washing will just build up there and washing get done less. Sorting is done either in living area or bedroom asap and try to avoid ironing! Must say this works with no problems for a family of 5 – just have to stay on top of washing so baskets never full

  12. Washing – arrh – we totally don’t have enough space for this, and to the comment about recycling, yes that is the other battle! On the latter we have three tough large plastic carriers in a line in our walk in larder that holds cardboard and, the other two for mixed plastics, tins, glass. If I can find the link to what we use on Amazon, I’ll drop the below later.

  13. Everybody seems to have their own laundry hell. I have a basket in my bedroom, as that’s where I get changed. I got an attractive one from TK Maxx. They have a huge selection. I’m particularly envious of bungalows/flats as there’s a great selection of baskets with wheels.

    I do a wash every day. One day it’s whites and the next it’s a mix. I have to bring down the chosen selection to the utility room, which is miles away and then I either use the dryer/pulley/washing line. I also have a great laundry bag from Lakeland that has huge handles. I use this to hang out the wet stuff then carry the clean stuff back up stairs. I then sit on the top landing to sort all of the clothes. I don’t always put them away that night but because they’re in the hallway I usually get it all done by the next afternoon. I use the stair/hallway trick for most clutter. If I have to walk past it on my way to the room it goes in, I’ll take it and put it away. If I leave items in the utility room/dining room table, then they can be there for weeks!

    I also have a basket under the sink in my guest bathroom. This is where I hide towels and bed sheets. It also means that my guests have somewhere to put their wet/used towels.

    On the recycling note, ours was always overflowing. It usually meant an extra carrier bag full of junk sat around our kitchen island. I now use a large tall bin in the cupboard under my stairs (next to the hoover & ironing board). I have a longer walk to the bin but I love that it’s out of sight.

    If only we had house maids 😉

    1. Gem I’m the same as walking past stuff, a few times and I HAVE to put it away. I like the huge handles idea, I haven’t looked in Lakeland for ages but I really must investigate x

      1. Charlotte – Lakeland is wonderful for laundry (yes, this is one of the things that reminds me I’m getting older!). And to one of your other comments, a heated airer is on my list for the autumn 🙂

  14. If you’re extending I can recommend ensuring you have a washing bag/basket hidden in a cupboard – rather like a pull out bin within the utility. If you have the room a tall larder look shelved cupboard to house the dry washing/ ironing keeps everything stored neat and tidy. As for drying I’ve never found a solution – other than a line full in the sunshine and copious airers strewn around the house when it’s not! We do have an airer attached to the utility wall that folds flat when not in use – only an IKEA super special but it does look quite cool when both open and closed – and means less airers strewn around the house – and perfect for small loads that won’t take long to dry. I think the only answer to this problem is to accept the utility is the room where all the sins hide and keep the door shut!! Lol xx

    1. Kate loving the pull out bin/basket idea, we have one for waste in the kitchen but never really considered it for laundry. And as you say, with shelving above you could definitely store lots of stuff in there. x

  15. Kids each have a basket in their room. Teen son 100% responsible for his own washing after I got sick of ‘mum where’s my…?’. Small daughter has a geometric patterned pop up basket. We have a tradition wicker basket in our room. My washing machine is in the cellar and I hang it to dry in my dressing room so it’s a pita baking it up and down stairs all the time. If we ever move or build we will def do a first floor laundry room

  16. Ah yes, laundry… I really wish we were better at keeping on top of it, but unfortunately my suggestion of an external laundry shoot from our bedroom down to the utility room (which is currently only half built and by the looks of things is not going to be that big) has been rejected (as has my suggestion of a helter skelter that would deliver us straight to the garden).

    At the moment we have a pretty wooden chest in our bedroom that holds everything until we get round to sorting it, and a couple of plastic baskets for carrying loads up and down stairs. It does the job, but the box isn’t my style and doesn’t go with anything else in the room, and the baskets end up on our bedroom floor, because they don’t really have a proper home. Our daughter has a smart laundry bag from Ikea covered in clouds and swirls, which works pretty well.

    Recycling is always a mess – we have a couple of collapsible boxes either in the cupboard under the stairs or out in the kitchen, and we only ever get round to emptying them when it’s time to put it out for collection. Really we could be much better about emptying it when it is full!

    We’re hoping that once the extension is finished (a little way off yet, but they’ve started putting the roof on today) we’ll be able to find better solutions to some of our problems. And hopefully we won’t just get caught in the same old habits.

  17. Argh laundry drives me nuts! I’m lucky to have a utility room with a tumble dryer but agree with you Charlotte in that the bigger the better, I could definitely do with an extra couple of feet and a big cupboard! One of the best things I invested in was a Julu airer that’s on the wall above the washing machine and keeps everything out of sight in the one room. I do most of mine on one day because of working full time and have a laundry basket in the bathroom that everything goes into and sort it into whites/coloureds in there then have the baskets all ready in the utility. Then when it’s washed I can pop bits straight into the tumble or on the Julu. I tend to be ok until this point and then always have an ironing pile on the go! 😩 I actually think I would iron more if I could do bits in the utility as they were dry but maybe I’m just trying to convince myself! Xx

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