Household Organization Tips: How To Use Hampers

Laundry hampers come in a wide range of styles and have many uses. Tips are included for keeping the hamper fresh smelling.

In organizing your family's laundry system, a hamper or two makes a valuable addition. The hampers of today hardly resemble the traditional utilitarian furnishing, which sat in the bedroom waiting for the day's contribution of dirty laundry. Instead, modern hampers are available in a wide array of styles for many uses.

The traditional hamper is useful for hiding an accumulation of laundry. In fact, that is one of its drawbacks. "Out of sight, out of mind" is too often the case, and the laundry piles up! If the hamper happens to be in a child's room, it may also be accumulating toys, snack wrappers, and any number of personal belongings. After all, what better place is there to stash out of place things when a parent says, "Clean this room"?

For these reasons, it is important to follow a laundry schedule when using traditional hampers. A laundry day can be assigned to each member of the family. Each family member is then expected to bring his or her laundry to the laundry room on that assigned day.

The modern arsenal of hampers include portable plastic bins that resemble lidded laundry baskets, removable mesh bags hanging from chrome or hardwood frames, and collapsible hampers that can be easily stored in a carrying case when not in use. In addition, there are hampers that are essentially laundry bags that hang from a rigid ring, and can be suspended from a door or wall. These encourage children to pick up after themselves because they can practice shooting baskets with their laundry. You can even get one that looks like a frog who "eats" laundry! The hanging hampers are useful in that they conserve floor space for other purposes.

One advantage to the new fabric hampers is that they are washable. The collapsible type has a frame that is removable, making for easy laundering of the hamper. This solves the problem of cleaning out a dirty hamper and finding a way to deodorize it.

The collapsible hamper can be set up and taken to a messy bedroom for a quick session of picking up. This collection can be easily toted to the laundromat or washing machine. The hamper can be stored away until needed again.

All hampers can be a breeding ground for mold if they are not kept dry. Always take wet clothes and towels straight to the washer, or hang them somewhere to dry. Never put them in a hamper and leave them for more than a few moments.

An item on the market, which can help reduce humidity in laundry areas, is a special mineral pack that is able to absorb excess humidity and odors. The mineral is zeolite, which comes from volcanic ash. A two-pound pouch costs about $6. When needed, leaving it in the sun or in a low oven will recharge it. These packs are non-toxic, natural, and environmentally safe.

Two other ideas for cutting down the smell of laundry that develops in a hamper are to place an unused dryer sheet in the bottom, and to sprinkle a little baking soda into the laundry. The stick-on type deodorizers are also useful for this purpose. The best solution to laundry odor, however, is to keep up with doing the laundry and not let it pile up.

For safety reasons, if laundry items have been soaked in gasoline or some other flammable substance, hand wash them separately or carefully discard them. Do not put them in the hamper at all.

A particularly useful type of hamper is the rolling cart with three sections for sorting laundry. This can be a real time-saver as you push it from room to room gathering and sorting laundry in one movement.

The conventional rattan and wicker basket hampers are elegant looking and fit well into classic and country style rooms. They can be used for other purposes as well as laundry. Try one near the entrance to collect hats, scarves and gloves. Another can be kept in the family room to store games and puzzles. Craft supplies, such as quilt scraps, can be tucked away in one. These hampers can even be purchased with dividers, in case you wish to sort laundry or other items in them.

One fabulous new design for bathroom organization is a sleek chrome cart, which features three shelves and a towel bar above and a tilt out hamper below. The hamper has circular holes throughout, which serve to add style as well as facilitate ventilation.

Whatever style you prefer for home d├ęcor, you can find a hamper to complement the look. Whether modern gleaming steel, vintage country wicker, or earthy wood and canvas, hampers have a place in today's interior decoration.

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