No one likes laundry, but these tips will help take the drudgery out of America’s least favorite chore.
I am not a great lover of any household chore, but laundry may be my least favorite!
It’s the chore that never ends, unless you decide to join a nudist colony! And since most of us aren’t going to go that route, it’s time to get that dirty laundry monster under control, once and for all.
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Establish a laundry routine
I don’t know anyone who likes to spend all day doing dirty laundry. But we’ve all been there when we let the dirty clothes pile up. (Or worse, you wake up in the morning to find you have no clean undies!)
If you have a family, consider tackling a load every day to keep the piles manageable. It’s easy to throw a load in in the evening while you’re cooking dinner, or even the first thing morning as you’re getting ready for work or school.
Just be sure not to leave the dryer running when you leave the house. Not only will your clean clothes get wrinkled if you let them sit for hours, but also leaving a dryer running unattended is dangerous.
Finish what you start
Have you ever had to wash a load again because you left the clothes sitting too long in the? Or have you found yourself spending hours ironing because you left clothes too long in the dryer.
Don’t start the laundry if you can’t finish it – from wash to dry to fold. Ideally, you want to put it away, too. (This is usually where things fall apart at our house.)
Chances are, you’ll save yourself the chore of ironing if you remove clothes from the dryer as soon as the cycle is finished. Better still, take them out while they’re slightly damp and hang to finish drying. The wrinkles will fall out!
Organize your supplies
Keep all your laundry supplies handy and organized in the laundry room.
In addition to the usual supplies — detergent, stain remover, dryer sheets and bleach – consider keeping vinegar and baking soda on hand. They make great laundry fresheners.
It’s also a good idea to have a small cup or jar to collect loose buttons and change that you find in the wash. (Don’t forget to empty pockets before throwing clothes into the washer! I have noticed that little boys and grown men stash lots of things in their pockets. Time to invest in a man-purse!)
Designate baskets for every family member
Rather than piling clean laundry up on top of the washer, dryer or whatever space you can find, sort and fold it into baskets for every family member.
Baskets make it easy to carry clean laundry, and they can also double as dirty clothes hampers if space is tight.
My dad built me a laundry pedestal, and I can slide our baskets underneath it. It’s very convenient.
Ideally, everyone in the family should be responsible for putting away their own laundry. If you have kids, you may want to get small baskets that they can more easily carry.
Don’t let clean, folded laundry sit in the basket for too long either! The laundry room is not a closet. (I really should listen to my own advice here!)
Streamline the job
One of the smartest things I did to get our dirty laundry situation under control was to switch out all our colorful towels to white ones. This includes bathroom and kitchen towels.
As much as I love pretty, decorative towels, it was so hard to keep track of which towels belonged where. They were constantly getting stained by the messes of everyday life – makeup, kitchen spills and pet accidents.
Now that we have only white towels, they’re always fresh and new looking because I use bleach every time I wash them. I’m also doing fewer loads of laundry because I now combine other whites with the towels.
You can read more about how this one simple trick saves me loads and time.
Don’t tell your mom, but you probably don’t need to listen to her advice about sorting laundry by color.
Washers and dryers are more efficient than they once were, detergents are less harsh, and fabrics are more colorfast. So, you can usually combine lights and darks and different textures without worrying about ending up with a load of pink socks!
If you’re worried about dyes running, you can always wash in cold water, use a colorfast detergent or and toss in one of those dye-catching sheets you’ll find on the laundry aisle.
Of course, always follow the manufacturers’ instructions when laundering clothing and take care with delicate items.
Invest in matching hangers
I’m no Joan Crawford, but I do have a thing about clothes hangers.
A few years ago, I switched out all our mismatched hangers for velvet-coated ones I picked up at our local big box store. They’re durable, and clothes don’t slide off them, which keeps the laundry room and our closets more organized.
I also bought kid-sized hangers for my son since our adult-sized ones were too big for his clothes. For elementary-aged kids like my son, I like the Ikea clothes hangers. They’re just the right size for his shirts.
I’ve found having the same type of hangers makes it much easier to transport clean clothes from the laundry room to our closets. We like the velvet hangers because they work best for what we wear. But you may like plastic or wooden hangers instead. If you’re really industrious, you could make a matching set of fabric-covered hangers. I have a few of these homemade fabric hangers for special items, but the velvet ones hold most of our clothes.
Find what works for your space and your wardrobe, and then toss out all the mismatched ones.
Don’t forget to make it pretty
If you’re like most people, then doing laundry can feel like drudgery.
But you can make it a bit more enjoyable by bringing some pep and pretty into your laundry routine.
Dress up your laundry space with bright colors, artwork, pretty baskets, candles, scented sprays and accessories – anything that makes you smile.
Even if you don’t have a large laundry room, there are things you can do to pretty up the space. Buy laundry baskets or bag in your favorite color or print. Choose laundry detergent in your favorite scent.
Put together an upbeat, peppy playlist you can listen to while you’re waiting for the spin cycle to finish. Pack a favorite book or magazine to read, and you may find yourself wishing you had another load to do.