I have a whole pile of sweaters that have been on my laundry room floor for a year. At this point I should probably toss them. The sweaters are dirty and fuzzy so I do not see myself wearing them again.
Bet you’re wondering why I never washed them?
Aside from the fact that I am so obviously ADHD, the answer lies in the labels. All of the sweaters have one thing in common: they have to be hand washed to prevent pilling and shrinkage.
I’ve become one of those people who only buy machine washable clothing. Gone are the days of cashmere sweaters and silk camisoles. These days I prefer blends, preferably anti-wrinkle.
The pile of laundry mentioned above is actually the only aspect of my laundry system that I have not refined. Since having my son I’ve gotten pretty good at handling the laundry.
I really only spend about two-three hours per week gathering, washing and putting away my family’s clothing. Tom Nardone and I had a hard-hitting conversation about laundry management, and he was surprised that I am so organized with laundry. I thought perhaps I should share my system.
If you do it right, you will not have to spend more than a fews hours per week on laundry.
4 laundry shortcuts guaranteed to save you time
Each family member gets a basket
It doesn’t matter if the basket is plastic or wicker or decorated fabric, the purpose of the laundry basket is to have a place for dirty clothes. Some people like to get fancy and make name tags, but that’s too much work for me. Just make sure every person has their own basket.
My son has a canvas basket with handles on each side. He enjoys dragging it to the laundry room himself, so I let him do it.
My husband has a wicker laundry basket that he fills, and I just pile my dirties all over the place. No really, I have piles of laundry all over my bedroom, including on top of my husband’s basket. When I dump the whole thing into the big plastic laundry basket it all gets mixed together anyway.
At least once per week I take a large plastic laundry basket and dump each person’s smaller basket into it so I can carry it all downstairs at once. When I get down there I do not like to waste time.
Do not spend Your time separating
I only have 5 categories of laundry in my house. Colored clothing belonging to my son, colored clothing belonging to my husband and myself, work clothing, sheets, and towels. I do not use a laundry sorter, I just throw it on the floor.
There is no white category. That’s because we have so few whites. Every so often I do a load of white shirts, but that is quite rare.
My son’s clothing is all washed together in one load. It doesn’t matter if it is light or dark or tops or bottoms. It all goes in together. My casual and gym clothing is all washed as a load, and my husband’s colored clothing is another load.
If I am really lucky I can combine my husband’s colors with my own in one giant load. Luckily I have a high capacity washer that accommodates my laziness and time constraints.
Sheets are done in a load by themselves, as are towels. If you are doing the math that is a total of 5 loads per week. It is rare for me to wash a bunch of tiny loads, it’s just not my thing.
Do not save all the laundry for one day
Generally, I wash the large load of my son’s clothing on Thursday or Friday. When I get home from work I throw his load in and then put it in the dryer after he gets home from school. If at all possible, I put away his clean clothing that same day.
On Saturdays I will wash my colored clothing and my husband’s. Colored clothing includes jeans, mix and match tops, pajamas, and gym clothes.
If the Hub’s has been traveling and using work clothes I will do those on Saturday as their own load. If I have at a load of work clothing I will wash that. Most of the time there are not enough work clothes so I hold off until I have a full load.
Sundays are for sheets and towels.
If you start a load finish it the same day
This is the cornerstone of my laundry system. The rule is – you wash and dry the clothing the same day. In a perfect world, the laundry would go back into the drawer or closet the same day also.
In my home we have a bad habit of bringing the clean clothing upstairs and then just leaving the basket in the living room.
Lately I have had to be more disciplined to get that basket out of my line of sight. As in, I have to start folding as soon as I come upstairs. I have also forgotten loads in the washer for days at a time, resulting in stinky clothing.
If I start a load at 3 p.m. and forget about it, I go back to the laundry room and make sure it is put in the dryer or on the drying line. No excuses. Setting a timer has helped me with this because I cannot hear the dryer chime from upstairs.
Bottom line: wash, dry, and if at all possible put it away the same day.
At the very least wash and dry the same day, then bring the load/s out of the laundry room as a visual reminder to put it away. Put it somewhere that it will be right up in your face.
As moms, we can refuse to clean up our kid’s toys or ignore the animal hair on the carpet. But if we never do laundry eventually everyone in the house will run out of clothing. When that happens who will they complain to?
Hint: take a look in the mirror.
You absolutely do not have to spend half of your life waist deep in soiled clothing. With the right set-up laundry will become a manageable task that you can complete in a few hours per week.
If all else fails, have a glass of wine while you fold. Works for me.
Any laundry tips you would care to share?