I have a secret Super Power: I am the only person in my house who knows how to do laundry. Oh, I wish this weren’t true, but no amount of written instructions, coaxing, bribing or threats has taught my family how to launder their own clothes. Here’s how I keep up, without going insane. (And for those who like visuals, there’s a free printable at the end.)
Everyone has a hamper.Mine is in the walk-in closet of our master bedroom. The kids’ hamper is upstairs in their bathroom. I don’t wash clothes that don’t make it to the hamper. Period. The first time my son’s Band shirt wasn’t clean the night before his concert was the last time he forgot to put his clothes in the hamper. (Fortunately, he caught this the night before and got his shirt to the laundry room the next morning.)
Every hamper has a stain stick attached. I tie one end of a string to a Resolve Stain Stick, and the other to the hamper. As we undress, we check for and treat stains. This saves me a lot of headaches on Laundry Day.
Use a sorter in the laundry room. I bought this sorter from Amazon, and absolutely love how sturdy it is. Also, it has four compartments instead of the standard three. So every day or so, we all take our hampers to the laundry room and sort them into the darks, brights, lights and undies/socks slot. (I have signs posted, because they forget.) As they sort, they check and turn out pockets.
Do laundry at least twice a week. I go through the house and gather sheets, pillowcases, towels and wash cloths to wash early in the week, then launder them all on the same day since they take up so much room on the line. The rest of our clothes get washed on other days, depending on how full the sorters look.
Know the length of your wash cycles. My washer takes 25 minutes for a full load. Knowing this, I’ve built it into my daily house tidy routine, just as I’ve built in the time to switch from the washer to dryer. If you’ve got to be at work early in the morning, you might need to start laundry as soon as you get home so your wet clothes aren’t sitting in the washer mildewing all day. Switch it to the dryer before you sit down to dinner, and they’ll be ready to fold by the time your meal’s done.
Speed up drying time. Remove clothing items from the washer one at a time, giving each a good shake before tossing them in the dryer. This helps reduce wrinkles and makes sure your clothes can freely tumble-dry, so they’ll dry faster.
Remove from the dryer properly. Don’t simply haul the entire load of clothes into a basket. That’s how stuff wrinkles! Take items out one at a time, spreading on top of the washing machine anything that needs to be hung. Put the clothes that need folding in your basket and go fold them.
Sort items as you fold them. Sort each family members’ clothes as you fold them, and make separate stacks for bathroom and kitchen towels. Next, go back and put the other items on hangers, then separate the hangers by family member. Now you only have to make one trip per room to put things away.
Put away each load as it’s done. This is the big secret laundry trick, folks: do NOT wait until you’ve finished every load of laundry to put things away! If you’ve got kids who aren’t around to put their stuff away, place it where they’ll have to take care of it as soon as they get home. (Stairs are great for this.) Put everything else away as soon as it’s dried. That way your kitchen table is clear if Aunt Edna unexpectedly shows up, and you have a built-in stopping point should something more interesting than doing laundry come up.
Want an easy way to put it all together? Help yourself to my free Laundry Day Routine printable!