Ugh, laundry – why does this one chore seem to take up my entire life?! And if I thought it was bad before, now that we’re a family of five I feel like I’m swimming in dirty clothes.
Luckily our resident professional organizer, Annie, is here today with 8 ideas on how to finally get it under control.
Keeping your family in clean clothes can be easier than you think. Here are 8 easy tips you can implement immediately.
1. Make a schedule
Rather than assuming you’ll make time for laundry throughout the week sometime, create a laundry schedule to which you can regularly adhere. Consider how large your family is, how quickly you seem to run out of clean clothing, and how often you’d like to have clean sheets and towels.
Once you’ve determined how often throughout the week you need to be doing laundry and the optimal times to attend to it, add it into your schedule and stick to it.
In general, I find that doing a little bit of laundry more often is the way to go. Devote twenty minutes or thirty minutes a day or every couple of days to laundry. That way, you won’t ever be faced with hours of laundry at once, and you’ll be more effective at keeping those dirty laundry hampers from overflowing.
The best way to ensure that laundry doesn’t eat away at large chunks of your precious time is to multitask.
Attend to laundry when you’ll be around the house for a long period of time anyhow. Whether you’re cleaning, cooking, or lounging around, you can get many other tasks done while periodically checking on the laundry.
You can also take five minutes as you’re heading out or returning home to throw in or transfer loads.
3. Make it less of a chore
Folding the laundry is the real chore for many people, as it’s the component that actually requires a substantial amount of time. But there are myriad ways to make folding the laundry less grueling, and it all comes to down to the preceding item (see: multitask).
Things a person can do while simultaneously folding the laundry could be a post in and of itself. Use the time you’re folding laundry to make those phone calls you’ve been meaning to; your speaker phone will never reveal you’re otherwise busy folding underwear. Or, make folding laundry more entertaining by watching TV as you do it.
Get creative and see how many different things you can do while folding (not all at the same time, mind you).
4. Pre Sort
Throwing laundry in the wash is virtually effortless if the clothing in question has already been sorted. Having to sort the laundry before you put it in the wash can be the difference between the thirty seconds you have to devote to laundry as you dash out the door vs. the five minutes you don’t have that will make you late for pick-up.
If possible, each family member (or bedroom) should have a divided hamper. Darks go in one section and lights in the other right from the get-go. That way, when it gets to the laundry room, the work has been done for you.
Everyone who is capable of helping out with their part of the laundry should be called upon to do so. Older children can be asked to transport their own hampers or laundry piles from their bedrooms to the laundry room, while younger children can learn to put away their own clean clothing.
Think about how much each child can reasonably contribute to the process, and be clear to establish those expectations with them.
6. Gotta have it clean!
Childhood and required clothing seems to go hand in hand, and there’s nothing like a last minute “Where’s my green t-shirt for spirit week?” panicked cry to make everyone flustered.
Consider having a “please wash me first/right away” basket in your laundry room, into which each family member can deposit their most pressing laundry. Be clear about the sanctity of such a basket—only true priority items belong within, and you can even set a limit on how many items each family member can put in the basket per week.
7. Organize your laundry room
Often times laundry rooms, or the rooms washers and dryers get plunked into, aren’t the most attractive or appealing environments.
Whether or not you realize it, the state of your laundry area is impacting your laundry habits. If your laundry room is dark or disorganized, you’ll be far less inclined to want to spend time in it.
A laundry room that’s well lit, on the other hand, that’s cleared of all clutter and set up to support the laundry process, that’s a space that you won’t dread heading into. Check out Laundry Room Organization in 3 Easy Steps from Setting for Four for more help on getting it done.
8. Know your laundry symbols
One final tip for keeping laundry as effortless as possible? Finally decode those laundry care symbols that have stumped you since you learned to operate the washing machine start button.
Download the free printable Laundry Care Symbols chart and get to studying.