Jul 6, 2006

Lean laundry

A lot of people hate doing the laundry, but I like seeing the results.

Time vs. kilowatt hours
It was a slogan created by the wife of a Delmarva Power and Light executive during the oil crisis of the 1970s: “Use your solar dryer.” Is this an example of lean? It takes more time to hang clothes on the line than to move them from the washer to the dryer. More labor too. And space, since you need a dryer for winter and rainy days.

What would I be doing if I weren’t hanging out the clothes? Working? Reading or watching TV? Hanging up laundry gets me out of the house for some fresh air and mild exercise. I save an infinitesimal amount of otherwise-squandered fossil fuel. Sheets and towels get that line-dried crispness and fresh-air smell.


Space? A piece of PVC pipe is planted in the dirt, and holds the base of the drying thing when it’s in use.

My clotheslines are mounted on an umbrella-like folding contraption that lives in the garage.


The invaluable “sock lock”
Whoever invented this humble, handy and hard-to-find device ought to get the Nobel Prize. It does away with the “missing sock” problem and time-wasting sock-sorting. When you take off your socks, you hook them together with the sock lock. They go from hamper to washer to dryer then back to the dresser. Your fresh socks are right there, still locked together.



Mike insisted I include this one
Yes, you can be married to a man for 27 years and not know everything about him. I didn’t know that every time I put his clean underwear in his dresser, Mike took it back out and stacked it in his version of an efficient presentation. The underwear can’t be inside out, and it has to be stacked with the front side up. The waistband is oriented toward the wearer. So, when he rolls out of bed late, he can grab the top pair, have it perfectly oriented in front of him, and step right into it.

Lean at home often amounts to trivial gains. Yet it helps keep the habit of seeing lean opportunities everywhere.

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