Does it feel like laundry is NEVER finished? Does it feel like doing laundry is like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing? Feeling like this task is actually complete can be exhilarating! Unlike other cleaning jobs you can do to completion, there will always be more laundry to do.
But, it does’t have to be painful, and you don’t have to hire it out! These 8 tips will help you stay on top of the laundry basket to satisfaction!
- Don’t let it get out of hand! If you let too many days go between washing your clothes, it may become an all day sport. Instead, depending on the size of your family, consider the one load a day method. Get your clothes in the washing machine as soon as you wake up. Move to the dryer before you go to work, and fold before you go to bed. This system, when it becomes a habit, keeps your laundry job manageable.
- Enlist the kids. My kids have their own laundry baskets in their room. They learned when they were very young that if they wanted clean clothes for school, they’d have to wash it and put it away themselves. It’s surprising to me how many of my neighbors are surprised my kids do their own laundry! I’m surprised how many parents are still doing laundry for their kids! Because they have so much less to clean for one person, they can get away with washing their clothes once a week, and it works! I’m pretty confident they started between 6-8 years old, and I have never washed their laundry since!
- Enable the timer. If your washer or dryer came with a sound that goes off when the laundry cycle is complete, use it! That way you will be notified as soon as your clothes are clean. Like other tasks on your to-do list, procrastinating is worthless! This job will hang over your head until it’s done, so stop putting it off, and just do it! My favorite book on the subject is “Eat That Frog”. If you have something on your list you keep putting off, nothing else during your day can be productive. Mark Twain said, “if you eat a frog first thing in the morning, it will likely be the worst thing you do all day.” so just eat your frog, and get it over with.
- Schedule one day for linens. Saturday’s are a great day to wash all the sheets in your house. If you limit this to one day a week, and keep it consistent, you can be confident it gets done, and your kids aren’t sleeping in filth. But trying to do this on random days during the week will contribute to your feeling like it’s never done!
- Let everyone put away their own clothes (if you can’t tell, my motto is always “Independence first”). I remember being a newlywed, and my husband asked if I’d roll his socks in to pairs. Unfortunately for him, his OCD made me turn over all his “sock matching” to him. It has been almost 20 years, and I’ve never put away his socks again. It may sound harsh, or like I’m holding a grudge, but if someone wants their clothes folded a specific way, well, they can do that themselves. If I find clothes that are his, or my kids, it just gets layed nicely on their bed for them to put away themselves. While your kids are too young, of course help them… but never do the job without them. They can learn from a very young age how to put away clothes.
- The color coded sorting. Another way to encourage independence if your kids tend to leave their clothes in the dryer when the next person wants to use it, is to have a color coded bin to add their clean clothes when they are done. The Humbled Homemaker does this with her family, and it’s brilliant!
- Keep all supplies handy! Organized your laundry room or closet so the detergent, stain removers, hangers, baking soda, and anything else you need for laundry is within arms reach. Even a step stool to help your kids get it done. This homemade unit can fit in any closet (and mine is small, so I love it!)
- Keep the lint trap clean! Nothing causes a dryer to run longer than is necessary than a dirty lint trap! Clean it out after each drying session for the ultimate air flow. Also, keep the hoses clean and free of debris as well.
Don’t let this job get out of hand! If you stay on top of the laundry basket, you won’t feel overwhelmed by it. Good luck!