Spring Cleaning/organization Advice Needed!

Updated on April 07, 2011
J.S. asks from Allentown, PA
20 answers

I'm knee-deep in Spring cleaning and am looking for some creative solutions to some of the many dirty problems that plague us moms.

First, I am looking for a solution to all the laundry piles. How does your family handle this? Do you have one family hamper in a common place or multiple hampers throughout the house? Is there a good way to disguise your hamper?

My second problem is stinky diapers. We live in a rural location and don't have trash service, instead we take our diapers to the dump on a regular basis. But what do I do with them until then? Right now I have, again, multiple diaper trash bins throughout the house and I feel like stinky diapers are everywhere (I have 1 in diapers all the time and 2 in diapers just at naps and night). I use cloth diapers some of the time, so this reduces the amount of diapers but I still have a problem with this. Does anyone recommend the diaper-genie-style trash bins? Or something else?

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answers from Bloomington on

Laundry: I have a 3 section sorter in the laundry room and we take everything there. But, I still dress my kids, so I am in charge of where the dirty clothes end up. My oldest is 3.5, so he will take clothes to the laundry room if I ask, but I usually just do it.

I have The First Years brand odor free diaper pail and all the diapers go in there. I have 1 in diapers and 1 in pullups at bedtime. I have had it for over three years and I love it. You can use regular trash bags and I do not notice any odor when it is closed. We empty it about every 4-5 days.



answers from Pittsburgh on

We have a laundry chute, so we don't use hampers at all. Just baskets for the clean, folded clothes.

I think with diapers, the secret is getting them OUT of the house right away. I think you're right that by having multiple diaper bins around, that stinky diapers ARE everywhere! LOL To me the diaper genie was a waste because you could still smell the diapers. What we did was a dirty pee or poopy diaper (poop gets flushed first) went into a small plastic bag and then OUT either into a trash can in the garage or (better) outside.

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answers from Philadelphia on

We have hampers in each bedroom with flip lids. It really depends on how your house is set up. In our new house the laundry is on the main floor instead of the basement. So we have a hamper in each bedroom (6 people, 4 bedrooms) and one in the main bathroom where two of my triplets bathe so they're not walking through the house naked, lol. I also have a hamper in the laundry room where the stand up freezer is so I can easily slide that hamper around in the small area. That hamper is for left over things like a stray towel or shirt. Also, when a hamper is brought in and I load the washer and there is some left in the bedroom hamper, I'll put the excess in the rolling hamper so the bedroom hamper can be immediately brought back to it's own room.

I found a nice hamper at Walmart where the back side is flat to go against the wall and has flip tops to keep toys out and not looking directly at people's dirty clothes, lol.

Your best bet is to set up a laundry schedule. Let your family members know when it's their turn to bring their hampers in so you can basically do one hamper a day. We have a very large capacity washer so one tall hamper can fill the washer. If we don't do at least one load of laundry every day we're swamped. We have a family of 6. We also reuse our own towels as well. My SIL thinks it's gross but I know more people who reuse their own towels than not, especially to cut down on laundry. I can't imagine if each person in our family got a clean towel every day! 6 people, 6 towels a day x 7 days in a week = 42 towels a week! I don't even own that many towels and I'm not racking up my electric bill for all of that. Course, my SIL has no children so that works for her, lol.

About the diapers. If you have to haul away your garbage (kitchen, food, etc) away to the dump, where are you storing your regular garbage? It didn't bother us to pump dirty diapers in the regular trash can in the house. The poopy ones just got double bagged. If you take them outside then get a small garbage can for the outside with a lid and put a bag in it and toss the dirty ones there. Keep a can of bug spray and fragrance spray next to the bin and use as needed. Then tie the bag up when it's time to go to the dump. I have used the Diaper Genie years ago with my now 15 year old, back in '95 - '97, but they weren't as nice then. I assume they're better and I see they are larger. I does hide the smell some but I found it no better than double bagging and putting in the trash in the kitchen.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets



answers from New York on

Each person needs to have their own hamper, bin or basket for their dirty clothes, it should be kept in their room. We have several different styles in our house. The boys have plastic ones. While hubby and I share a fashionable and sylish wicker one. We also have laundry bags since we have to go to the laundry mat to wash. All of the dirty clothes are placed in the bags or even the overflow from the baskets are placed in the bags and taken to the mat for washing.

As for the diaper issue. Diaper-genie was the way to go for us. We had more than one because we had more than one kid in diapers at the time. For your situation I would probably have at least 3 but kept in a central location close to the door out since you will be responsible for taking them out. I would also probably mark one for wet only diapers and another for soiled diapers. Once the 3rd one gets full, I would then take them away. I just don't like living with trash.


answers from St. Louis on

We have one hamper in the upstairs bathroom and one in our bedroom. As far as the stinky diapers, we use the diaper genie II or get extra bags at Wal-Mart/Target/K-Mart etc... to put the diapers in. Maybe if you take the diapers out every day that would help.


answers from Los Angeles on

We haven't come up with a working solution to laundry since adding our third last summer. So, no real advice there, lol. I can tell you that I've started having my middle child (age three) take her jammies off in the morning and put them right into the laundry room. They just go on the floor, but at least they're easy to get if I'm doing laundry after she's in bed.

We don't leave stinky diapers in the house. That smell is as bad as having unchanged litter boxes. *gag* This includes pee dipes if they're full enough. One small trash can by the changing table upstairs. If I change her downstairs, it immediately goes outside into a trash barrel.


answers from Allentown on

Hi, The:
Yes, place all your dirty laundry in one area that is
convenient. Ask others to help keep things picked up
and put in the laudry bin.

Yes, A diaper genie is a handy way to keep soiled diapers
in one convenient location.
Good luck.



answers from Harrisburg on

First question-We keep two hampers one in the kids room and one in ours. The one in the kids room is actually large tub I bought at Target. It can hold 4-5 loads if I don't stya on top of it. There is no hamper in the nursery but the boys room is just across the hall so I toss thebaby clothing in there.

Second problem-switch to cloth. LoL OK, I know thats probably not your idea of a good suggestion :) I use cloth and have to offer the choice to everyone!

Did you know it is actually illegal to throw human waste in the garbage? You are supposed to shake it into the toilet and flush it. Hmm. . .not enforced very well, is it?

I honestly have no good suggestions for you on this one since we do use cloth and all I have to do is dump in the toilet and wash the diapers every 3 days or so. . .sorry!



answers from Detroit on

We have one hamper in each bedroom closet. There are freestanding or ones that are like a bag on a hanger hook. Some people keep one intbe bathroom instead.

As for diapers, I thought the diaper genie was fine but my husband was super sensitive to the odor so we kept a plastic diaper pail (cheaper than the genie) in the garage.


answers from Detroit on

We had the diaper genie and never thought it worked. With baby number 2 we ended up putting the dirty diapers in a Ziploc bag and then into the trash. You can buy off brand bags to save a little money. This really helped.

As for laundry, I have 3 baskets in our closet…one for lights, one for darks and one for DO NOT TOUCH (some of my special wash instruction clothes go in here). We also have one basket in the laundry room for anything random that is taken off or dirtied downstairs. I do laundry every other day if not every day…at least it feels that way. So, it's easy to grab the one basket, do a load, fold it in that basket, take it up , put it away and place it back in the closet to start all over again.



answers from Pittsfield on

Ah, laundry- I'm glad you asked because I haven't figured out a sytem for that yet either :) Hopefully someone out there has. What worked for me when I had the space was to keep a few plastic hampers in the laundry room. I had them labeled light colored, darks, etc. In a perfect world each of the 6 of us would bring our own laundry down to the laundry room and put it in the right bin. Then it would be simple to just throw what was in one hamper into the washer. Somehow it didn't always quite work out that way :/

A lot of people seem to like the diaper genie, but I hated it. No one wanted to empty it when it was full because the smell was horrendous. Plus, every time you open the top to put a diaper in, it made the room stink. Granted, I had one 12 years ago- maybe they've improved since then. I think they're good for people who live in appartments.

What's worked for us is to put the diaper in a grocery bag and throw it in the outside garbage can. That way there's no diaper smell in the house. Nice to not need to spend money on genie refills or run out when it's not convenient too. If it's the middle of the night, we'll just put it in the garage until morning so we don't have to go out. If you don't have a garage, you can keep a small pail just outside the back door (locking lid might be good if critters could be an issue), if you want.
Best wishes :)


answers from Erie on

We have a diaper genie and i think it works great for the smelly diapers. we put regular ones in the regular trash. as far as laundry goes, we have a hamper in our room for our clothes and one in the boys room in the closet. i do ours on the weekend and theirs usually thursday or friday. every other week i do sheets, pillowcases and stuff like that. i do theirs separate because i know all their stuff is together (i don't have to separate our stuff and the kids' stuff) and i can wash, fold & put away easier.



answers from Erie on

Hampers - I think it depends on your house and your style. We have a wire-framed mesh hamper for our boys (share a room), which we keep out of sight in their (large) closet. In our room, we have an antique metal can that is about three feet high and two feet across. I have no idea where it came from, but I like that you can't tell that there's dirties in it when the lid's on ;) Just about any type of large container - basket with lid, oversized wooden crate, potato bin - can be a hamper if you decide you want it to be. Hope this helps...



answers from Eau Claire on

We have a hamper with a handle on it in the bathroom and another hamper in our other bathroom/laundry room. We each have a hamper in our room too. I never get a break from laundry and am thinking about reducing the pile of towels in the bathroom so I have less to wash although we'll probably run out sooner. I have to go look at them and see what I can do.



answers from Pittsburgh on

We have a laundry sorter (similar to this: http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=laundry+sorter&a...) with 2 colors and 1 white bin. I also have a "do not touch" basket for stuff I want to make sure I wash... the idea of darks and delicate is just a bit beyond my husband. :-) I keep the laundry all in the laundry room because if everyone had their own hamper I'd never know when laundry needed to be done.

We have a diaper champ and it works great for us. I like that it uses regular trash bags. I always flush the poop from diapers, however, which might be why mine doesn't stink. My son is in cloth some of the time, so we can easily go 2 weeks without emptying it, and it doesn't smell. It isn't sanitary to throw poop in the trash anyway, so flush it, and see if your smell problem doesn't go away...



answers from Chicago on

We have a hamper in the bathroom (a tall basket style with a lid, looks very pretty) and then a small hamper in our room for our clothes. When my children are older I will probably put a hamper in their closets.

As for diapers, I had the diaper champ. I never really liked it. It was fine for cute little newborn messes but not toddlers. So now I just toss the diapers in a regular pail in the day and hubby dumps the pail into the large outside trash can when he gets home from work. If it's really bad one day I'll put the pail in the garage (it's right off the kitchen).



answers from Pittsburgh on

We always dumped the poop in the toilet before throwing the diapers away. Obviously, sometimes it isn't solid enough, but that combined with the diaper genie really cut down on the stink.



answers from Dallas on

We had the diaper champ, it didn't work. We just started taking the diapers and sticking them straight in the outside trash. We had a little bucket in the garage for times I couldn't make it outside and it would get emptied in the evening, it just worked better.

For laundry, we have a large laundry basket in our closet for the four of us. I tried a hamper and the lid tore off two of them, so hiding it in our walk in seems to work best. We don't have a full sized laundry room, so that isn't a choice for us either. Thursday in laundry day...otherwise I'd be doing it all the time. I did take many of our towels out of the bathroom to a secret location. :) I noticed that with them so accessible, my family was tearing through them and adding to the pile.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hampers - We have one hamper in master bed, one hamper in boys room (they share a room) and one hamper downstairs in the living room. I also have a bag on the back of the basement door (which is in the kitchen) for my kitchen towels, napkins & downstairs bath hand towels. We each use our shower towel & wash cloth for a week. At the end of the week I will bring a hamper to the bathroom & fill it with the towels & washcloths.
Trash - we have a large trash can in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, this is where I throw all poopy & most wet diapers. We have small trash cans in the downstairs & upstairs bathrooms. There is a small trash can in the master bedroom & a larger trash can in the upstairs office. If there is a wet diaper in the middle of the night it will go into the office trash. The kitchen trash fills up about once a day & so I empty it each day & take it outside. The rest of the cans get emptied at the end of the week. We too take our trash to the dump each week. I throw the diapers right in the trash, I do not double bag them. I have not had an odor problem. Even the stinkiest diapers don't seem to have their smell escape the cabinet. You will smell it when you open the cabinet, but not when the door is closed. I think the key is daily removal of diapers to outside.



answers from Philadelphia on

I have a 3 yr. old boy and a 3 month old girl. My son has been going thru the toilet training phase this week so I'm on my way to having one child in diapers. In my son's room I keep a diaper genie (soon to be in the baby's room) and I love it. Gets expensive with refills but the trick to making it work is to not put poopie diapers in it. I keep the plastic bags that the daily newspapers come in and tie the stinky ones in them (perfect size for diapers)and then toss them in the regular trash since it gets put out every other day or so. For the baby, I got a box of diaper bags at BJs. They are small light blue bags with handles and I hang one on her changing table and toss it when its full. Her diapers aren't too stinky yet.
For laundry, I'm always on top of it and there are never piles of clothes anywhere (I'm a neat freak). We have one in our room and I do me and my husbands wash together (separate and clean by darks, colors and whites). I have a regular hamper that it all goes in plus I have 3 pop up hampers that I pull out when I'm ready to do wash and organize the 'groups' in that. Makes it so much easier when you have 'big people' clothes. And for the kids, I have a white pop up hamper in each of their rooms. I do the kids wash together and just separate the darks and lights. As they get older I may split it up into 3 groups like I do my wash. I personally don't care about disguising the hampers. No one sees them but us. I suggest getting a couple pop up hampers... they fold flat to store, have handles and are easy to carry. So much better than laundry baskets. I also make a point to put away the was within 2 days after it's done. As with any chores, if you keep up with things, they won't pile up or get out of hand.

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