Everyone has it. A bin or pile of single socks, whose mates somehow disappeared between the hamper and the dryer. Where do all those socks go? Here is a simple solution to the problem. Purchase a small mesh laundry bag (like the one pictures which we got 3 for $1 at the dollar store) for everyone in the house. When socks are put into the laundry hamper, they go in the mesh bag. The bag, socks still inside, goes into the washer and dryer (unless you hang laundry to dry, which means the socks have to come out on the line). When you go to fold laundry all the socks are still in the mesh bag, eliminating the lost sock problem!
Yep, a second post about patching jeans. The way my kiddos seem to tear through knees requires a lot of creative sewing to keep coming up with new ways to make the jeans wearable. Plus they have learned that this is a great way to personalize their clothes, so now they have requests about patterns, shapes, and stitches!
Step 1: Make the basic patch. I cut pieces of off old jeans that are still good and use these as the base for patching the kids clothes. These mostly come from the lower legs of my husband’s old jeans as that is usually the best material left. Cut this good denim into a circle that will cover the entire knee area. Think of the way a suede patch is on the elbow of a jacket. This is what you are going for.
Step 2: Reinforce patch and add a pattern. Using scrap fabric (i.e. “good” parts of a shirt that has been ruined) cut a circle the same size as your denim base. I tend to use blues, reds, and yellows for the boy, and purples, pinks, and teals for the girls as these colors match most things in their wardrobes. Using fabric glue, attach the decorative fabric to the denim base. Allow to dry 24 hours before continuing.
Step 4: Embellish! Depending on if you have boys or girls, the shapes might change but I usually stick with hashes, stars, and twinkles. You can use embroidery thread for this or if you are like me and never have that around, just quadruple up the thread through the needle. Use a pencil to draw on any shapes you don’t feel comfortable doing free-hand with thread. Secure everything well with knots on the back. I also add a dab of fabric glue over the knots to help hold them. The embellishments look cute and also act to hold the patch in place.
I love portable stain treatments and removers because we are always on the go and we are messy. However, I very much dislike the cost and the added chemicals that we don’t need. Simple solutions that do the job well are my choice. So I was very happy to stumble acrossMeAndMyDIY.com and their instructions for making your own gel bleach pen. All you need is a cleaned-out school glue bottle (or something similar), corn starch, and bleach. Follow the easy instructions to make your own bleach gel!
You may have seen FlipFold on The Big Bang Theory as Sheldon carefully folds even his socks in it. Or you may have seen them in retail establishments, helping keep the clothes looking neat. The FlipFold is a great laundry tool. At our house, folding shirts has always been an issue. For some reason, I was the only person who could fold a shirt neatly. I got tired of the fighting and ordered the FlipFold (adult and junior sizes).
This product is easy to use - our 4-year-old can now fold shirts neatly. The older girls are now fighting over who gets to fold the laundry. After two weeks of use most of our clothes have cycled through the laundry and everything is now neatly folded. I love it because clothes are less wrinkled and easier to put away and keep drawers neat. The kids enjoy folding the laundry using the FlipFold.
I would highly recommend the FlipFold, especially for homes where there are a lot of kids, or where kids help out with laundry. The cost is generally under $30, and deals can be found through sites like HSN.com and Amazon.com
(The Organized Wife received no compensation for this review.)
Alas, we are to organizing the laundry room. A room where you likely spend more time that you wish. But having an organized laundry room (or space) and an organized process for doing laundry can greatly reduce your time investment in the process.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to get the kids involved. By age 9 all my kids can do all the laundry!
When you have the room organized and the schedule established it is time to take on some other organization and money-saving laundry room projects. Consider line drying all your clothes. It will cost you a little time, but save you a lot of money. To make up for the time spent line drying clothes, check out the 7 Time-Saving Tips for Doing Laundry. For fun and whimsy (because every room needs a bit of whimsy) consider adding a ladder on which to hang clothes to dry.
Once you have the room looking and running the way you want, jump into the money-saving ideas of making your own laundry soap and fabric softener. And check out these tips for getting stains out and making your own stain remover.
Regular readers know I am all about saving money. At our house, we patch clothes, sometimes many times, before we consider getting rid of them (often into the scrap pile to patch other clothes!) Previously I have written about ways to patch clothes with denim. But what if you want to patch the jeans instead of turning them into patches for other clothes?
Adventures in Dressmaking has a great tutorial for how to patch blue jeans. I have used this technique and it works, while also giving your jeans that great “used” look that so many people pay a lot of money for these days.
In a family of 5 with three active (code for messy) kids, we make a lot of laundry. I get a lot of questions on how to keep up with it all. The answer is simple…a schedule. Here is a great laundry schedule and distribution of labor for families
Distribution of Labor for Laundry:
Mom: Deals with stains, Starts washer, fluffs line-dried clothes, ironing, putting away parents laundry, helps kids as needed
Oldest Child: In charge of hanging to dry and folding clothes, underwear, putting away their own laundry
Middle Child: In charge of hanging to dry and folding towels, linens, socks, putting away their own laundry
Monday – Darks
Tuesday – Whites/Hot water items
Wednesday – Towels
Thursday – Bed linens
Friday – ironing, mending
Saturday or Sunday – one load as needed for special items (swim suits & beach towels in the summer, scarves & hats in the winter etc.)
Recently I was provided with Woolzies Dryer Balls and asked to use and then review them. These balls are 100% wool and designed to be used in the dryer as a natural fabric softener. The site says that they will last for 100s of loads and reduce drying time by 25%. Of these benefits I was most interested in the natural fabric softener part. Because we line dry most of our laundry things often have a “crispy” texture. We generally throw things in the dryer for 10-20 minutes to fluff the clothes.
Upon using Woolzies I noticed that the laundry was much softer. I would definitely recommend these dryer balls as natural fabric softener, especially for line-dried laundry. This was a great solution. Not only did the clothes get softer, but we also noted that it took only 5-10 minutes to fluff instead of the usual 10-20.
For the purpose of this review, I dried several loads of laundry straight from the washer. Loads generally consisted of 5-8 beach towels, sheets, or jeans and pants. Things dried in 45 minutes on high heat, which is a time savings of about 25%, which is what Woolzies advertises.
Overall I am pleased with Woolzies and would recommend using them, especially as a fabric softener to those who line-dry clothes.
The toothbrush is one of my favorite tools. Whether re-using one that has worn out (you should change your toothbrush every 3 months, or after being sick) or keeping inexpensive (dollar store) toothbrushes around for other things, I love using toothbrushes in non-traditional ways! Here are some great ways to use toothbrushes!
- Cleaning brush – This is especially great for a worn-out toothbrush. Use them to get into small areas and really scrub things clean. Just remember to mark anything that isn’t for use in mouths or that you use with chemicals. Great for grout and corners.
- Cleaning corn – Use a new toothbrush to clean all the little hairs off of corn on the cob. Much cheaper than a veggie brush and works better!
- Painting – Let kids use a toothbrush to try all kinds of fun things with paint. Or use a toothbrush to help you distress a painted piece by adding flecks. Dip brush in paint and rub a finger over the bristles.
- Laundry – Use a toothbrush as a laundry brush to help scrub stubborn stains out.
- Jewelry – Use a toothbrush with this homemade jewelry cleaner to keep all your jewelry sparkling.
Do you have a tip for alternate uses for a toothbrush? Share it in the comments or Submit Your Tip!
I have a set of sheets that I love. They are 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton. We got them on sale at Sam’s Club for less than $35 for the queen set. They are the softest fabric I have ever put my head on. But we took the fitted sheet and pillow cases with us to Taiwan. (Somehow the flat sheet was packed in a storage bin instead of a suitcase!) And now they have what we affectionately call “Taiwan stains”. They are discolored and no matter what we do, they will not get white. So, instead of just getting rid of the sheets, I am going to dye them. And, in the interest of re-using and keeping harsh chemicals out of the house I am going to use left-over coffee.
The process here is pretty simple.
- Brew a pot of coffee or tea. If the item is small, use less. For my sheet set I am using one full pot plus ice cubes of coffee that we have saved from the remnants of pots of coffee over the last 6 months.
- Select a container that will allow you to completely submerge your item and that you won’t hate it if it gets stained. Something with a lighter color will give you a better perspective on the color your fabric is becoming. I have used storage bins, pitchers, and even the washing machine for dyeing projects. This time I am using our large cooler. Make sure that your fabric can be easily submerged into the container. You don’t want to have to force the item in because that will result in uneven dyeing.
- Fill the container 2/3 full with water.
- Mix the coffee or tea into the water.
- At this point most people will tell you to do a test on an easily hidden area of the fabric to determine how long to expose the material to the dye. I didn’t do this and just went all in.
- Wash your fabric but do not dry it.
- Open item so there are no folds or creases in the fabric.
- Submerge fabric into the coffee or tea dye.
- Check regularly, especially if you didn’t do a test on the fabric. Stir regularly to ensure even dyeing. Remember that the item will dry lighter and color may fade over time. It only takes a few minutes for most fabrics to start taking on color.
- When you reach the shade you like, rinse the item until the water runs clear (this is why you probably want it to be darker than your final desired shade).
- Ring out excess water.
- To set they dye, dry the fabric on the highest heat that won’t damage it.
TIP: Remember that commercial detergents are designed to remove stains like coffee or tea. Try making your own laundry soap to extend the life of the dye. If you want the item to stay a darker color, plan on having to redye fabric every 1-2 years.
A great thing about this project is that you can get the kids involved. The kids dyed handtowels for their bathroom because we only had white (which are usually cheaper) and they wanted sand colored to match their beach themed bathroom. It was a science and home ec lesson all in one!
The change is subtle for my fabric but you can see that the original is bright white and the dyed one is a nice ecru color.