Laundry sucks. Plain and simple. Even the neatest people sometimes get loads behind (pun intended) or have a perpetual "clean laundry chair" in the corner (you know what I'm talking about)! It's time to take a look at the laundry process and see if we can make it any less painful.
Gathering & Scheduling Your Laundry
- First things first. Keep easy-to-carry laundry baskets in each family members' closet (or bathroom if there's a built-in hamper). You shouldn't need to hunt around for your dirty laundry to begin with! If your laundry room is fairly visible, pick cute laundry baskets to make your space more appealing. Lost on where to find attractive laundry baskets? I'll be sharing my favorites on the blog next week.
- Own the right amount of clothes. Hint...if you can go weeks and weeks without washing clothes, you probably don't have a capsule wardrobe (in case you're not familiar, it's a smaller-than-average, mix-and-match wardrobe of basic, higher quality pieces). If you have to do laundry all the time because you run out of underwear you like, it's time to stock up!
- Set a schedule. I designate a particular day each week (Sunday) to wash towels and sheets so I start the week fresh. I don't schedule my clothing laundry days, but try to do it fairly frequently so I don't run out of favorites.
Prepping Your Laundry
- Always, always separate towels and sheets from clothing. These are entirely different kinds of laundry! How you wash towels and sheets depends on the colors you have. I happen to love the hotel-feel of all-white sheets, duvets, and towels which also comes with the bonus of not having to separate them based on color.
- Use mesh wash bags. These are great for machine-washing bras but can be used on much more than that. I use wash bags on anything that has an exposed zipper to prevent them from snagging my more delicate clothes. In a typical load, I'll have 4-5 bags each with a pair of pants or a zippered top in them. Give each family member wash bags for their underwear and socks that can go straight from their hamper to the washer to the dryer and back to their room!
- My #1 tip: Separate clothes into hang-dry (i.e. delicate) and dryer-friendly loads before they go into the washer. Personally, the only things I dry are underwear, socks, workout clothes, PJs, and tank tops. This method has a bunch of benefits...
- You only run the dryer once (or a few times if you have multiple dryer-friendly loads). This is more energy efficient and will save you a lot of time.
- You don't have to think about separating again after they've been washed.
- It protects your more delicate clothes.
- Anyone in your family can move laundry over to the dryer or hang everything up. No more confusion about what can or cannot go into the dryer! If this is your goal, clearly label the baskets and make sure the entire family knows the system. I always do my dryer-friendly load first so both machines are going at the same time while I'm washing my hang-dry load.
- Clothes that have been hung to dry can go straight into the closet after they're dry. Less steps = better laundry.
The Wash & Dry Cycles
- Use a great detergent. If you don't already have one, I'll share my favorites next week.
- Cold water is the BEST! I can't say enough about how much better my clothes look since I stopped using the dryer so much and started using cold water on the delicate cycle.
- Baking soda and vinegar are your friends when it comes to keeping white sheets and towels extra white! I haven't used bleach in YEARS.
- Throw a dry towel in the dryer with your wet laundry. Everything will dry much faster.
- Skip dryer sheets altogether for clothes. For towels and sheets, replace dryer sheets with dryer balls.
- Once it's time to put clothes away, just do it! Set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes and you'll probably be done before it's even goes off. Putting laundry away is up there on the list of things that seems like it takes longer than it actually does. The longer you put it off, the more painful it will be!
- Enlist your kids' help putting away laundry. The earlier they learn this, the better. Make sure drawers and bins are clearly labeled so they know exactly where their things are supposed to go.
- I'm not a big believer in multi-tasking, but laundry is TOTALLY the exception. Catch up on your favorite show, listen to a podcast, or hang out on speakerphone with your best friend while you fold!