I have several folks in my family (I’m not naming names, here!) who HATE to do laundry. They will put that job off until the laundry area is piled high with a mountain of stinky, dirty clothes. Finally, the marathon begins but often it is never QUITE done. And then it all begins again.
If you are one of those who absolutely hates to do laundry – take heart. From someone who actually kind of likes it – here are some tips (and my best professional organizer tip as a bonus).
1. Don’t wash so much. I know some of you will think this is heresy, but everything you wear does not need to be washed every time. It’s true! Your pants and shirts usually can be worn more than once. Towels don’t need washing after each use. Rule of Thumb: If it stinks or has spots/stains, then wash. If not – hang it up or put it away.
2. Teach kids and spouse rule #1. It is easier to get Mom, Wife or Hubby to do your laundry for you than to take personal responsibility of that item you are shedding at the end of the day. Years ago I was staying with a young teen when his parents were out of town. He wore at least 3 outfits a day and shed each outfit on the floor between changes. As his stand-in Mom, his expectations were that I’d take care of that for him. He had to quickly learn Rule #1. Or go naked. He learned Rule #1.
3. Big family? Do a load a day. Just as you schedule for meals in your life, schedule for that load of laundry. If possible start it at the same time every day. If your washer and dryer each take 1 hour to run, start a load when you get up, and throw it in the dryer before you head out the door to work. Or, start a load just before you start dinner, then pitch it in the dryer afterwards.
4. Better yet, teach your kids and spouse to do their own laundry once per week. I know this may seem impossible, but if you start early with your little ones, and make it a game, they can learn. They love to help mommy, right? But warning, warning, little fingers will not fold the same way you do. If you are a bit OCD about your folding, you’ll have to get over it. Your spouse will also probably not do it the way you would – but hey, that’s OK.
5. Buy easy to wash, easy to wear clothes. Take all the others to the dry cleaners.
6. Don’t forget to get the wash into the dryer. Set a timer on your phone as a reminder. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen soured laundry due to a forgotten load of wash. And folks, that smell is HARD to get out. (I have had success with 1 cup of baking soda added to the re-wash load.)
7. Fold and put away. DON’T FORGET THIS PART! So many folks get the clothes out of the dryer and that’s where it stops. Piles of clean clothes become piles of wrinkled, dirty clothes when they are on the sofa and on the floor and then they have to be re-washed! If you struggle here, try this, make a commitment to yourself to put that laundry AWAY while you are throwing the laundry into the washer. Visualize and affirm all those neat little piles of clean smelling laundry tucked away in their drawers for the night. (I know that sounds crazy, but it works!)
+1. And lastly, my best laundry trick. If number 6 (above) is your Waterloo, and you are looking at a new washer/dryer combo, look into the “new” all-in-one washer/dryer units. These products are common in Europe, but have had some difficulty catching on here. There are some upgraded products on the market that offer you a single unit space-saving machine that is easy to install (no special wiring and no dryer venting) and the efficiency of one machine that does it all. The Kicker: You never have to worry about transferring laundry from one machine to another ever again. We just purchased a new, small LG model that works wonderfully for our family. They also offer a full-sized version. Be sure to evaluate the Pros and Cons of this system for your family but I give it a big thumbs up. (We are not sponsored by LG but we wish we were!)
Do you have any other laundry tricks you can share? Feel free to add them in the comments below.