9 Ways to Make Laundry Easier
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that, if you’re reading this, you feel bombarded with laundry. No matter how much you do, there’s more accumulating EVERY DAY! But since it’s one of those things that has to be done, and not the easiest to outsource, here are some tips for getting it done faster and with less effort.
Get a hampers with multiple compartments.
How much faster could you throw a load of laundry in the washer if you didn’t have to sort it? Instead, sort as you go and all you have to do to start a load is get the contents of one compartment. Light, medium, and dark? Even little kids can handle that! At my house, we have one hamper designated for special fabrics—delicate things, hand washed items, etc.—to keep them from getting mixed in with everything else.
Consider one central hamper (with those compartments!).
This was an accidental yet hugely helpful discovery for me. Over the summer we refinished our upstairs floors, so I consolidated the hampers from each bedroom into one central hamper in a bathroom. Guess how much less effort is involved in gathering laundry when you only have to go to one hamper?!?! I loved it so much that the floors are finished and we still have one central hamper (with compartments!) used by everyone. No more trekking around from room to room to gather everything.
Enlist your kids.
Even the littlest kids can match socks and sort colors. The older they get, the more they can help fold. (Towels are a good place to start.) My older daughter will fold laundry with me if I read to her while we fold. Weird, but it works for us! For some reason, my younger daughter loves to pour the detergent into the washer. No, it doesn’t save me a ton of time, but she’s learning how to do laundry—and since she’ll be doing her own as a teenager that’s important!
Buy a box of Shout color catcher sheets.
These little miracles really do work…and if you need to wash things that are a mix of light and dark in one load, they’re a lifesaver. I’ve never been brave enough to try them with a new black shirt and a load of whites, but they absolutely give you more leeway with mixing colors.
Don’t wash clothes left on the floor.
Because I dislike feeling like the family maid and also want to teach my girls good habits, I will not pick up their clothes from the floor—or bed, or chair, or… If they want their clothes washed, they’d best be in the hamper when I’m ready to do laundry. And if their favorite sweatshirt has been in the corner and dirty for 3 weeks, well, lesson learned. Sometimes a little tough love is a good thing!
Don’t wash things that aren’t dirty.
If my girls so much as touch an article of clothing, they toss it in the hamper. It’s a habit I’m trying to break. Washing clothes that aren’t dirty wastes water, electricity, and your time, AND it wears out clothes faster. So the pajamas that were put on right after a bath and then slept in for one night? Not dirty. Wear ‘em again.
Set a schedule for things like sheets and towels. I know, I know…it sounds really rigid. BUT—it gives you one less thing to think about. Instead of wondering when the towels were last washed, you only need to remember that Monday is towel day. And if you miss the day? No sweat—just do it the next day. Bonus points if you can train your kids to get up, strip their beds, and drop the sheets by the washer on your designated sheet day!
Teach your kids to put away their own laundry.
I’ll wash, dry, and fold (for now), but my kids are absolutely old enough to put away their own clothes. I leave clean folded laundry in a neat pile and it’s their responsibility to put it away.
Find a system that works for you, whatever it may be.
I (usually) do one load per day. I set it up the night before, and then in the morning I wake up and hit the start button. It runs while I’m getting ready and I transfer it to the dryer before getting on with my day. (One caveat: some safety experts will recommend not running your dryer unless you are home, just in case a fire starts. Because my husband works from home most days this is not really an issue for us, but you might want to keep it in mind.) Sometimes I fold it during the day if I’m home; sometimes while reading to my kids at bedtime; sometimes before I go to bed. Because it’s only one load, it doesn’t take that long to fold and doesn’t build up into a massive backlog of clean, wrinkled clothes. And does it occasionally stay in the dryer overnight and get folded later? Absolutely! Life happens!
Maybe the thought of doing laundry every day day sounds absolutely horrible to you, or it just does not fit in to your week. You could do it on the weekend instead, and intentionally save all the folding for, say, Sunday afternoon. Put on a movie, enlist your family, and fold it all. Then send everyone off to put away their clean clothes. Look forward to the movie instead of dreading the folding!
If your kids are older or there are only adults in your house, you could designate a laundry day for each family member and have everyone handle their own (without arguments over who gets the washer when).
If your washing machine has delayed or programmable start times, load in the morning and set it to start on your way home from work. When you get home, switch it to the dryer and fold before bed.
In the market for a new washing machine? Buy the biggest one you can fit in your space—fewer loads!
So there you have it—a few tips for making laundry less of a chore. Do you have a great tip I didn’t list? I’d love to hear it!