What’s the one household chore you hate the most? If you didn’t say laundry, I bet it would make your top 5 answers!
Sometimes it feels like you’re totally overwhelmed by clothing. You could do laundry all day long… and still have to do it again tomorrow.
According to GE Appliances, the average American family does 8-10 loads of laundry per week. If you have a medium sized family, that number is likely much higher!
The same collection of facts claims that the average load of laundry takes 1 hour and 27 minutes to complete. But I’ve found that one load of laundry takes a minimum of 2 hours for me to complete…and that’s when I’m on the ball!
I’d love to reclaim some of the time that laundry takes away from my day. But until someone invents more machines (I’m thinking one for changing the load to the dryer, one for folding, and one for putting things away), we have to make do with tips, tricks, and shortcuts for making laundry easier.
Here are some awesome laundry tips for people who hate laundry.
Hate to sort?
People seem to be divided into two categories: the sorters and the non-sorters.
Sorters have their own way of dividing clothing into various loads. It ranges from the simple (separating white clothes from colors) to the super organized (sorted by color, material type, and specific washing instructions).
Non-sorters….well, that’s pretty self-explanatory.
For some, the question of sorting is not negotiable.
If the thought of throwing a load of random clothing into the wash makes you squeamish, this is not a method that is going to help you. Jump down to the next section below.
On the other hand, if you resist doing the laundry because of the complications of sorting clothes, ask yourself how important it is to sort?
Yes, it’s true that many clothes will be cleaner and better taken care of in the long run if they are sorted. But some of us are so busy keeping up with young children that this just isn’t a priority right now.
Clothing washed in a random pile will still come out clean. It may not sparkle, but if you’re alright with not looking like Tinkerbell, that’s probably ok.
Hate forgetting it in the washer or dryer?
Do you find yourself rewashing the same load 3 times before you manage to get it into the dryer? You need a method that will help you remember (and keep the mildew monsters away).
I like to start a load in the wash the night before. I set the timer on my machine to go off an hour or two before I wake up. Then I just have to throw it in the dryer in the morning.
You could also try setting a timer for yourself in a way that’s more likely to catch your attention than the sound of the washer kicking off. You could use a kitchen timer like this one.
But an easier, more frugal option is to use the timer on your stove. You could also use the basic alarm setting on your phone, or even download this free Multi Timer app.
If you don’t like to use a timer, try to associate “laundry time” with a naturally occurring part of your day. Before you eat lunch, you always change over the laundry.
Find a big space. My “laundry room” is an ugly portion of our unfinished basement. So I don’t have a great place for folding.
My solution is to use my bed as a folding area. It’s big enough to hold piles for each member of the family. I also sometimes use the couch so I can watch TV while doing this mundane job.
Don’t fold. Once I was washing cloth diapers and would carefully fold them and stack them in a diaper stacker each day. It wasn’t long before I noticed that it took me an awfully long time to fold diapers that would just be used again that very same day. I decided to just throw them into a pretty basket, unfolded, and use that time doing something more interesting instead.
I also never fold underwear (who cares if they’re wrinkled??).
I hang up what I can in our tiny 1950s style closets. But truth be told, I hate to hang clothes as much as I hate to fold them.
Enlist help. When the stack of clean clothes spills over the sides of my oversized laundry basket, I usually dump it all out on a clean floor and ask the family to join me in a folding party. They aren’t fooled by the word “party” anymore, but they get more efficient at it every time!
Hate putting it away?
I rarely put away anyone’s laundry except for my own. In fact, I often fold laundry on my bed while standing next to open dresser drawers. Then I toss my laundry right into the drawer as I fold it. Benefits of being the laundress!
The rest of the family is perfectly capable of putting away their own clothing.
I try to go through the kids’ dresser drawers fairly often to clear out clothes they never wear, don’t fit, are stained, etc. That makes putting things away easier.
Do the kids put clothes away like I would? Never.
Do they get clothes inside closed dresser drawers? Sometimes.
Do I have to regularly redirect them on this task? You bet.
Basically, my choices are to do it all myself and feel a little crazy, or let them do it and feel a little crazy. I prefer to deal with the latter.
How to get them to put their own clothes away? A great method is to put their clothing pile on their chair at the supper table. Food is an amazing motivator for my crew.
More often, we ask them to grab their pile of clothes from our bed as part of their nightly routine.
Bonus Laundry Tips and Tricks
Get everyone on board.
Those kids that create so much laundry? They are capable of helping with it!
If you’ve made peace with not sorting, then let your older children do a basket of their own laundry from start to finish. They will require supervision at first, but over time they’ll get the hang of it.
Motherhood is supposed to be (in part) about working ourselves out of a job!
Young kids can fold and put away their own clothing. Ours start those jobs at the age of 2. (Clearly the 2 year old needs more help than the older kids!)
If you want to make this even easier, check out this awesome idea from Stuffed Suitcase!
Dealing with cold weather accessories
Piles of wet gloves, hats, and scarves make me nuts! This year I finally came up with an awesome solution that I wish I had discovered years ago.
This is actually a sock hanger, but it works really well for winter purposes, too! We’ve been using it for months. It’s easy enough for small hands to use, and has held up extremely well so far. I’m really happy with it, especially considering that it costs less than $10!
Make your own detergent
I still haven’t tried making my own detergent yet, although I understand that it’s a great way to save some money! If you’d like to try it, here’s a recipe for a liquid detergent to try from Southern Mom Loves.
Pick one of these awesome laundry tips to try today, so you can hate the chore of laundry a bit less.
What’s your favorite laundry tip or trick? I know we’d all love to learn from you, so be sure to leave a comment.