We are a family of five and I’m not joking when I say that we create mountains of laundry! My husband is a soldier so he daily wears a uniform, exercise clothes and then casual clothes at home. My three crazy sons practically draw dirt to them magnetically and my youngest is young enough that we still get the occasional accident. Add my gym clothes 4-5 days a week and weekly linens and you can see that I could easily get buried in laundry without a system. Over the years I’ve figured out exactly how to make laundry easier for our family and I’m hoping some of my laundry tips will help reduce your “load” (pun intended!) too!
Sort No More
I don’t separate out my whites and colors, I know-blasphemy! Unless it is new clothing that I suspect will bleed and I’m washing it the first time, I throw everything in together. We’re tough on clothes and if they can’t handle being in the wash together then they won’t last long in this house anyways!
We keep on large hamper in our laundry room and my boys put their clothes directly in the hamper (this is great for us because our laundry room is on the same level as our bedrooms, it obviously won’t work as easily if yours are on different levels.) My husband also empties his work bag directly into this hamper when he gets home as well. I keep another hamper and a delicate bag in my bedroom so my delicates go directly into the delicate bag.
I pretreat stains as soon as they occur-my boys know to put stained clothes on top of our dryer so I can spray them with a stain treatment. (I use Oxiclean to spot treat.)
Set a Timer
Our new washer and dryer have a pretty loud signal I can turn on but with our last set didn’t so I would set the timer on my phone when I started a load so that I could switch it out as soon as it’s finished. I start the washer as soon as I wake up in the morning and can easily get 3-4 loads done if I’m home most of the day by keeping track and switching/folding as soon as they finish. By having a heavier wash day once or twice a week it keeps me from having to do a load or two every day! I know some swear by doing a load a day but for our household, that translates into a lot of unfolded laundry sitting around getting wrinkled, it’s easier for me to commit to one day of intense laundry! For those that work outside the home I know that can be more difficult so if you’re unable to have your laundry heavy day on the weekend you might need to do try a few laundry intense evenings instead! (To read the full story of our crazy path to buying a new washer and dryer click here!)
Be sure to fold the laundry as soon as it’s dry to prevent wrinkling. My kids are 4, 7 and 8 and they help me with this part. They can all fold the towels and sort socks (they started helping with this by age 2!) When I’m folding I fold in piles according to person-so one stack for me, one for my husband, one for each kid. Then I call my boys to put their own clothes away (I don’t hang the majority of their clothes because they can’t reach the hangars and I want them as self-sufficient as possible!) My oldest can take his stack and put it away easily, for my seven year old I sort his stack into multiple stacks by drawers, so he will grab all his jammies and put them away, then come back for shirts, etc. This keeps him from shoving everything into one drawer which he has a tendency to do! I do the same for my four year old with a bit more supervision and guidance as he’s still learning.
So what does laundry look like at your house? Do you do a load a day, are you drowning in piles of unfolded laundry?