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Refactoring life - Why get dressed in the bedroom?

 
pollinator
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This is just a crazy thought, but why, as a culture, do we keep our clothes in, and get dressed in, the bedroom?

The reason I ask is that it seems like most of the process of "doing laundry" involves toting clothes from one room to another.
(And, full disclosure, a lot of bending over to pick up stray things the family left all over the floor.)

I'm thinking:  why not keep the clean clothes/dresser right there in the laundry room?
Provide a dressing screen in there as well, and viola!  The only place laundry is ever found is on your back, or in that one room.

You take off your dirties, toss them in a hamper (or better yet, right into the washer), grab the new clothes right there, and put them on.  Zero steps.  Zero baskets of stuff going up and down the stairs.

On the other end of the process, it's only a couple of steps from the dryer to the dresser again.
(NOTE: clothes lines aren't in the bedroom either, so our favorite free solar-powered method doesn't gain or lose much either way.)

I may be missing something (let me know) but just seems like it would be less messy and a lot more efficient all around.
 
pollinator
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I think it will depend on your family and the layout of your house.  Our laundry room is in the unheated basement with bare concrete floor and no ceiling.

Now and then I dress off the line down there, but I can't see it working as a permanent set up. I'd need to build a wardrobe down there or clothes would get dusty. In summer it can be damp. Itd be an uncomfortable changing place in winter.

Only way to get there is through the kitchen, also. So four family members all tromping down there in the morning rush seems frustrating.
 
gardener
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Our bathroom is accessed by walking through the laundry room. There is a closet in the laundry room, too. Its an 'ugly' setup because it means guests walk through the messy laundry room but I have grown to like it.

I usually get dressed in the bathroom/laundry room. Very little clothing gets brought back upstairs, only stuff that's not in frequent use.  Works great!  Basically 4-7 days worth of clothing in constant use is kept downstairs, anything else upstairs.
 
pollinator
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I think it is an extremely efficient setup for one person or a couple. A pretty cool idea. Personally I've always like the idea of a walk-through dressing room to get to the bedroom. Just stick a washer or dryer in there :)

However, in our family we have 6 kids along with my wife and I... So we would need a pretty big laundry room to hold all the dressers. Plus it would be waiting in line to get ready in the morning or at night.
 
gardener
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I wanted to put the washing machine in the bathroom - but apparently that's too dodgy electricity wise...having an annex though, that makes sense I should think. I'd not want to get dressed too far away from my bed in the morning though, the house is too cold to be wandering round without several layers of clothes on!
 
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I've seen newer houses that have the washing machine and dryer in the master bedroom closet, or at the very least, located in the upstairs / near the bedrooms.   Sort of the opposite of what you're talking about but a similar concept in spirit.
 
pollinator
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Nancy Reading wrote:I wanted to put the washing machine in the bathroom - but apparently that's too dodgy electricity wise...having an annex though, that makes sense I should think. I'd not want to get dressed too far away from my bed in the morning though, the house is too cold to be wandering round without several layers of clothes on!



Almost all Danish flats and many smaller houses have the washing machine in the bathroom, every house in Finland I visited did as well.

Why do we get dressed in the bedroom?
1 I don't want to do a mad naked dash through the house in the morning, we do sometimes have guests or the postman knocks..
2 conversely I don't want to have to run upstairs in the cold and dash into bed either.
3 We don't heat the house very much.. it would be a cold dash down the upstairs corridor, down the stairs past the front door (coldest spot in the house) and into the cold utility room.
4 The utility room is used for everything dirty, for tools, for buckets that are grubby for washing dirty vegetables, the floor is always a bit suspect it's not somewhere you want clean clothes to live.


We use our second hallway as a winter drying area and then we do tend to grab outside clothes directly from it before going out.
 
master steward
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I like getting dressed in the bedroom because I like to sit on the bed while getting dressed.

I've tried getting dressed in the bathroom and just am not happy not having something to sit on.

Even if there was a chair in the bathroom or laundry room I just would not be comfortable sitting in a chair.

I do like the idea, as I have seen on Remolding TV shows of having the washer/dryer in the bedroom closet.  What I don't like about that idea is if something happens like a hose getting broke or the washer over flowing my clothes might get ruined.
 
Skandi Rogers
pollinator
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I have to say that putting a washing machine through a bedroom seems very silly to me, one when you come in with dirty clothes you have to carry or wear them through the house and the bedroom before you can throw them in the washer, the same goes for animal towels etc and two if you want to run the washer overnight you're going to have to put up with the noise for hours.
 
gardener
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One, I sleep naked so having my clothes in the same room beats having to put on a robe to walk to another part of the house and back. Two, it seems less time consuming to dress/undress in the same room as I sleep, and carry a basket of clothes to the other room once a week. Compared to walking back and forth twice a day, 7 days a week, to save that one trip with the basket.

I've seen houses that have a clothing duct in the wall that goes from the bedroom down to the basement, and the basket is left in the basement so clothes land in it. That seems over manufactured to me but the people that used it liked it. Saved them going down two flights of stairs carrying the basket.
 
gardener
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Interesting idea.

I don't have my clothes in the room I sleep in unfortunately. Sometimes it makes it hard to get dressed when I want to, because my clothes are in a closet with a noisy door I have to open when my kids are sleeping...

Putting them in the laundry room wouldn't work well in Japan for space reasons. Like some others posted, the washing machine is usually located just outside the bath/shower room (not combined with the toilet here). The reason for that is one of efficiency too though! Japanese washing machines are set up to be able to take hot water from the bath tub and use it to wash clothes.

We always just cold wash anyway though...

Our "laundry room" is about 1.5x1 meter and barely has enough space for towels.
 
master gardener
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I met a lady years ago who was single-parenting twins. She used to bath them at bedtime in a plastic laundry sink (didn't have to bend over!!) and she kept the children's clothes on shelves above the washer/dryer. I thought that was brilliant once I was old enough to realize what that meant from the back and efficiency perspective.

My first child did not like being "helped". His bedroom was near the kitchen, so I'd lay out his clothes on the floor in the order and orientation he needed to put them on and by the time he was at the kitchen door, he was fully dressed and rarely was anything back to front or inside out. The days I was working, that was a definite win!

Like so many things, there's no reason people shouldn't think outside the box based on their own needs and preferences. There doesn't need to be one right way, and there are plenty of reasons to figure out what works for them.
 
pollinator
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Mark Brunnr wrote:I've seen houses that have a clothing duct in the wall that goes from the bedroom down to the basement, and the basket is left in the basement so clothes land in it. That seems over manufactured to me but the people that used it liked it. Saved them going down two flights of stairs carrying the basket.


A laundry chute is lovely and handy, but it is also a rocket stove in the event of a fire. I have been told that code outlawed them up here.
 
master gardener
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A - I wouldn't want to keep my clothing in a room that was always humid, like a laundry room, because musty smells and molds are a huge issue, for me.
B - We often have overnight houseguests- awkwardness, to say the least.
C - Like Anne, I sit on the bed - and like it.
D - Our floor plan is set up so that our bedroom, the main bathroom, and laundry are all in the same 5ft 'hall', that opens to the kitchen, and our bedroom closet is only the width of the door, from the laundry.
E - I'm not going to subject anyone to my nakedness, without their express consent.
 
pollinator
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For maximum efficiency, I just sleep in the laundry basket next to the washer. It gets more comfortable as clothes are added and makes the clothes warm for morning wear.
 
pollinator
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Some many people had some interesting things to say but I haven't heard folding mentioned. I sit on my bed to fold my clothes. I've never had a laundry room that had space for me to fold everything. So for me, that would mean, bringing everything into my room to fold and then taking everything back out to the laundry room to put away.
 
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Matt McSpadden wrote:A pretty cool idea. Personally I've always like the idea of a walk-through dressing room to get to the bedroom. Just stick a washer or dryer in there :)



That's how some smaller single-wide trailers were designed -- closet, laundry, and hall to the back bedroom were all of a piece, a good use of limited space. (I admit to a fondness for the early 8-wides, and their extremely efficient layouts.)

 
gardener
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Cris Smith wrote:I've seen newer houses that have the washing machine and dryer … located in the upstairs / near the bedrooms.



Yep, that's what I did. I designed the house to have the washing machine in the upstairs corridor, so it's easy to take clothes from the bedrooms to it. My sister had lived in a house in the US that had that, and I thought it was good.

More than half the year it's so dry here that we dry our clothes on a drying rack right there in the same corridor, but when the air is damp inside, then we have to carry it downstairs and outside.
 
master gardener
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We have less than one guest a year. My norm is to sit in the LR in my underwear at 5:00 AM with a hot cup of coffee in my hands and staring off into the distance like a zombie.

I understand the “be nice” mandate and did not intend to offend any zombies.
 
K Eilander
pollinator
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Dc Stewart wrote:For maximum efficiency, I just sleep in the laundry basket next to the washer. It gets more comfortable as clothes are added and makes the clothes warm for morning wear.



That's my cat's philosophy. ;)
 
John F Dean
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Re the op.   I do keep 2 changes of work clothes hung up in the laundry room
 
pollinator
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Main reason, privacy. Each bedroom has a door and it can be closed.
Second BIG reason (also sort of privacy), QUIET. Closets are often located to separate bedrooms from one another or from the rest of the house. Two walls and a "tiny room" full of clothes is good isolation.
Next, comfort. Ability to be dressed however you wish before leaving the bedroom.
Fourth, Quiet again. Laundry machines are loud.
Fifth; Dirt, spills, water, and drains... Utility rooms in basements keep problems with these from affecting "cleaner", "dryer", finished (wood, plaster, carpet) areas of the house.
Sixth, multi-tasking. Laundry in the bathroom = no access during showers, or "calls from nature" (or a loss of privacy).

 
gardener
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Where I live, for reasons of moisture as well as logistics (only hang outside here, no dryers) our laundry area is outside. My neighbors already think I'm nuts enough without me changing out there!!!


(ETA: more realistically, clothes here *must* live in the cabinets in the bedroom to avoid/specifically reduce humidity and resulting mold, and also to discourage brown spiders from getting in the clothes. Anything "out in the open" is asking for trouble. I love how all the answers in this thread are illustrating the joy of permaculture: each environment has its own challenges and requires its own responses.)
 
gardener
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I find this thread very intriguing.

Though not exactly a Permie idea, I knew a person who tried to combine the “efficiency” of not carrying laundry up and down from bedrooms to the laundry room.  

It was a large family in a state away that moved into a large, custom built home.  Apparently the mother got tired of doing laundry for 4 kids so the new home had a stackable washer-dryer in each bedroom in addition to a main laundry room.  Each child did his/her own laundry in his/her own room.

This is well beyond my budget and I am thinking about all the money going into the plumbing for all those washers plus all the dryer vents that need cleaning. And these things do eventually break and need repair or replacement.  And of course I think of the energy consumed.

So I guess everyone in that house got dressed in their own personal “laundry room”, but this hardly counts as reordering one’s life.  Definitely not a Permie idea.  Interesting perhaps, but well outside my means and since I obsess about energy consumption and efficiency, this option is not for me.

Eric
 
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My son has his laundry off of the hallway where all the bedrooms are.

My washer is in the bathroom, which is in between the bedroom and the dressing room/closet, just a few feet away. We're naturists, so we use more sitting towels than clothes. The towels are stored out where they're used. The bedroom sheets are right there, too. There is a door across from the washer to solar lines, or I just hang stuff on any chair back, etc.
Jbeegoode
 
pollinator
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My old house had the washer, dryer and water heater in an approximately 8'x10' bathroom.  There was a path to the toilet which was situated between the tub and water heater and not a set-up I liked.  We replaced the floor once before moving to our current house due to the water heater leaking and it had been replaced before I moved in.  Our basement idea was quickly shot down on our current house so we opted for an add-on utility room with a concrete floor.  It was a wise decision as we've had the water line blow apart twice due to pressure from the municipal water supply and a shortcut the plumber took and two more issues dealing with a vacuum hose on the washing machine which left the floor soaked.  I hesitate to think of the thousands of dollars in damages if we'd had a wood floor.

So back to getting dressed in the bedroom. It works well for my daughter as I generally have her clothes sorted and put away.  For us however, it's not so simple as laundry other than towels washcloths and linens seldom make it out of the laundry room.  Maybe it's a bit of laziness on my part but mostly due to my habit of doing laundry in the middle of the night and not wanting to wake everybody.  Then by the time daylight arrives I usually get busy with other tasks and never think about it again.  I did start keeping underwear, bras and socks in a 3-drawered organizer in the bathroom so at least I will be partially covered before dashing to the utility room.  I also keep a few of my daughter's underwear in there as well in case she has an accident.  We seldom have visitors and other than delivery drivers, there's not much chance of being seen in the buff.
 
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If your goal was to stimulate discussion, you definitely succeeded! As for your question, I'd say give it a try, and let us know what you learn. ☺
 
pollinator
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We have a bathroom in the walk-out basement, right next to the laundry room.  Most of my laundry exchanges don't go much further than back and forth between those two spaces.  I do keep dress clothes in the closet in the bedroom, but my undergarments and work clothes all get dropped in the laundry room, when washed, go directly to the bathroom to be put on after the next shower.  Drives me NUTS when my wife takes a basket full of clothes upstairs before I get a chance to pull my downstairs clothes out... they go upstairs and are in limbo until I bring them back down to the room adjacent to where they were washed.  My wife says it's silly, just put stuff away in the bedroom, but I say it saves lots of time and trouble.
 
gardener
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Eric Hanson wrote:I find this thread very intriguing.
Though not exactly a Permie idea, I knew a person who tried to combine the “efficiency” of not carrying laundry up and down from bedrooms to the laundry room.  



Your story up above is bizarrely hilarious and such a good example of misguided "efficiency".  Kind of like the efficiency of massive monoculture farms where everything is plowed yearly and doused with pesticides.  One time when describing permaculture methods to a relative years ago, she said "Wow, compared with modern agriculture methods,  permaculture doesn't sound efficient, at all".  I flabbergasted at the time and didn't know what to say. I was not far enough in my journey to where I had the words and understanding to explain that it is fantastically efficient when you understand all of the variables, ie fossil fuel driven degenerative agriculture versus a low-energy input, mostly self-sustaining and regenerative system.

I thought about what she said for some time, trying to come up with a good metaphor about efficiency that was simple to understand.  What I finally settled on was modern agriculture is efficient the way by pulling off a tablecloth with all the dishes and leftovers and putting it in the trash is is an efficient way to clean the table after dinner.  Highly "efficient" if you only measure for one variable - labor - and you believe you have endless resources.

That said, as for getting dressed where one does, I had a different upbringing.  We lived in a 4 bedroom 2-story un-insulated farmhouse heated almost entirely by a woodstove which was in the living room. The bedrooms were very cold.  Only the bathroom was a small enough space to be effectively heated with electricity.  When very little, we got dressed right in front of the fire.  Hung out there a lot.  But once a little older mom got us ready for school in the small bathroom.  This continued even into teenagehood at a different house, again because of wood heat. So I'm used to getting dressed in small spaces and having to share them with a sister who took ages longer to dress than me. My strategy was to get in there first and be fast, and it worked.  :-) As for comfort beyond warmth, you can sit on the toilet.

The laundry room in that first house was also a typical wet Oregon country mud-room where you dumped off your rubber boots and wet coats to drip dry, and the room had to be mopped up a couple times a day - no way would that be the place to get dressed. Ugh.

I still get dressed in the bathroom.  Our house right now is rather cool because we don't want to heat it unnecessarily,  and I can tolerate that as long as I have a nice warm bathroom.  We don't have a laundry room, our washing machine is outdoors and we use a clothesline.

One thing I learned about how others live - people who never had to get dressed in bathrooms often are okay with leaving water all over the countertops.  That infuriates me! :-D  I was so confused as to why anyone would be that barbaric :-D - since the counter is right where a bathroom-dresser like me might set an item of clothing to wear and then get it wet.  Explaining this to a friend, she replied "Oh I get it now. I've never dressed in the bathroom - we dress in our bedrooms." Ah hah! They had forced-air heating, a luxury I'd not experienced, I realized.  and that made a big difference as to how they lived in a home.

So bedroom-dressing, in-front-of-woodstove-dressing, bathroom-dressing, laundry-room dressing, or as my much more cold tolerant husband does - randomly dressing while walking around the house - it's fascinating to see that people live in all sorts of ways!

 
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