Doing laundry is an essential part of life, but it’s a chore few people enjoy. There are services out there that will do your laundry for you, but they come at a hefty price. However, you don’t have to break the bank to simplify this time-consuming task. Using the resources you already have, you can create a laundry routine that allows you to keep up without feeling frazzled.
Create a Laundry Schedule
Knowing when you’ll do laundry helps make sure that it actually gets done. For Jenae Jacobson, guest writer for Money Saving Mom, it works best to do all of the laundry on one day during the week. “I’ve found this works much better for our family to get it all done in one day rather than doing multiple loads throughout the week. Plus, since I need the dryer to do the next load and get it all done in one day, this holds me accountable to putting the laundry away immediately instead of letting the loads sit in the dryer for a few days,” she writes.
Other families, however, prefer the convenience of washing clothes throughout the week. Better Homes & Gardens recommends washing certain items on certain days of the week. “You might want to wash sheets on Monday so you can freshen bedrooms. Then do the towels on Tuesday, darks on Wednesday, and so on. This system works well for allowing you to be completely done with laundry by the weekend.”
If you have special events, like a dinner party or day at the pool, and you’re left with items like table linens or swimsuits, go ahead and do a special load. Anytime you have items to wash that don’t fit into your regular schedule, get them taken care of as quickly as possible so it doesn’t create stress and become another thing on your to-do list.
Make Sorting Easier
Thanks to higher quality fabrics and laundry products that “catch” colors before they bleed, it’s no longer necessary to sort laundry by whites, darks, and colors. However, sorting laundry and washing like loads together simplifies the entire process, and is especially helpful for the steps that come afterward. For example, washing kids’ clothes together means they dry together, you fold them together, and they all get put away at the same time.
Experiment with different ways of sorting and see which one works best for you. Then have the rest of the family help out. “Set up a central three-bin sorter in the laundry room where people bring their individual hampers. Laundry that doesn’t make its way to the sorter doesn’t get washed,” recommends Real Simple writer Amanda Hinnant.
Put Away Right Away
Help make sure your dryer works at maximum capacity (and that items only have to run through the cycle once) by cleaning out the lint trap before every load. Once clothes are dry, fold them right away. “Allowing clothes to sit after the drying cycle is completed will cause wrinkles,” writes Angie Marie of Made Man. “Even the best and most-precise folding will not get rid of some wrinkles, so save a step and fold as soon as clothes dry.”
Once those clothes are folded, put them away or ask family members to put their own items away. Kids who are in preschool can put away folded clothes with help. Kids in grade school and up can fold their own clothes and put them away. If you have clothes that no longer fit your children, put them in a separate pile to take to a donation center. If you would like to keep those close for possible future use by other family members, take them to your self-storage unit and free up closet space at home.
When it comes to laundry, staying on schedule is the key to keeping it simple. Sorting in a way that makes the job easier will also help keep laundry running efficiently. Finally, putting your clothes away right away means the job is done and you can move on to other things in life that are a lot more fun.