Every so often, I’ll pull a load of clothes from the washer and catch a glimpse of a rectangle of cash fluttering to the ground. I smile as I slide it into my pocket. I guess we get paid to do this chore at least some of the time!
Otherwise, I hate laundry. As a friend of mine likes to say, “You’re never done with the laundry unless you wash clothes while you’re naked.” Kinda sounds like an accident waiting to happen, so I haven’t attempted it myself. (Yet.)
According to the Unclutterer, 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! 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 a change the load to the dryer machine, a folding machine, and a put away machine), we have to make do with tips for making laundry easier.
Yeah, I Hate Laundry. Here’s How I Avoid Spending Time On It.
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 sorting clothes is too hard, ask yourself something. 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 when you’re busy keeping up with young children, this might not be a priority in this season of life.
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. Try an alarm on your phone or use the one on your oven.
If you don’t like to use a timer, try to associate “laundry time” with a naturally occurring part of your day. For example, 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.
Instead, I 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 job.
Don’t fold. In the days when I washed cloth diapers, I would carefully fold them and stack them each day. It wasn’t long before I noticed that it took me a long time to fold diapers that would just be used again that very same day. Throwing them into a pretty basket, unfolded, meant I could use that time doing something more interesting instead.
I also never fold underwear (who cares if they’re wrinkled??).
While I hang up what I can in our tiny 1950s style closets, I hate to hang clothes about 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.
Thanks to these tips, I hate laundry just a little 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.