First, let me fess up; I’m a former laundry-holic. There are only four of us in this family, but we are professional people by day and farmers by night. Because of this (among other not-so-real reasons), I used to have so much laundry to do that I could never keep up and we didn’t have an actual laundry room, so I made piles of laundry in my bedroom. The one place in a house that is supposed to be for relaxation and rest, was filled with dirty undies, stinky gym clothes, and stuff that smelled like manure.
Yeah, yuck…but I was able to get it under control — and keep it that way — by using a few tips that I collected from friends, family, and the internet!
- Have fewer clothes. Ugh. I know, but would you rather have 103 pieces of clothing (the “average” that a woman has in her closet now) or would you rather have more TIME? Get rid of the stuff you’re not wearing often. I’m not talking about the couple of wedding/funeral dresses you have. I mean the shirts that you loved at the store but have worn once in three years and those “skinny” clothes you hope to fit back into. Donate them all to charity. You can wash fewer loads and still have favorite stuff available! Repeat with your minis, even the super cute stuff YOU love, but they don’t actually wear. Remember, you’re doing this for more time!
- One in, one out policy. You hit Target and had to have that cute shirt…in five colors. I totally get you, girl. But that means you need to choose five of your existing shirts to donate, or you’ll be laundry heavy again real soon.
- Hang your clothing. Even your kids’ clothes. Lower the hanging bar if needed so they can reach their clothes. (A bin of socks or underwear is still fine). If you can’t fit all your clothes in your closet, see tip #1. I found that time and time again, my kids were sending folded clothes to be washed or I would find their dresser a disaster. They dug through their drawers, tossed tons of stuff onto the floor, rolled it around in dog hair, and then shoved it back in their drawer or sometimes they sent it to be washed. Hanging your clothes straight out of the dryer also means no folding! It will give you wrinkle-free clothes and save the time you would have spent folding. This also rescued me from the folded-laundry-we-are-wearing-straight-from-the-basket vicious cycle! (Note: If you absolutely can’t hang it, fold it and put it on open shelving for easy viewing- and no digging to see a specific shirt.)
- Sort your closet by function. Most of us do this anyway. Short-sleeve shirts hung together, pants with pants, etc. This gives you a really good visual on how many/what type of clothing you own and what you really don’t need more of.
- Keep fewer sheets and towels. Both of my kids have a set of sheets for their bed, and then I have a grey set that is also the same size for quick changes in the event of a messy (sick?) bed. Same with our master bed and guest bed size. We have eight bath towels total in our home. (I have a friend who had over 30 when she counted!) When guests come, we give up a few of our towels — if they’re good enough friends to sleep in our beds, they can use the family towels!
- Sock patrol. If you have a big tub of unmatched socks, dump them! If you can stand to do it, buy a couple packages of the same sock and get rid of the rest. It’ll save you so much time matching up socks if they all are the same.
- Wash one load of clothes every day. Little piles add up, so keep your washing machine on top of things. This also prevents the stinky forgotten clothes that you end up washing three times!
- Don’t sort colors. I have a whites pile and a colors pile. I only sort these because I use a bleach alternative on the whites. Otherwise, I’ve never had any of my clothes bleed on the others. Obviously I am not washing my brand new dark wash jeans with my daughter’s pink t-shirt, but you get the gist here.
- Assign laundry days. My kids do their own laundry and each have a day, that way there is no fighting for space in the laundry room. If your kids are younger, choose a day in which you do each person’s laundry or both together if they’re still little enough that their clothes are small (trust me, one day you’ll be holding up jeans and t-shirts trying to decide if they are your husband’s or your son’s). On sheet day, I wash all our bed sheets and then remake the beds. Less folding of fitted sheets y’all!
- Decorate your laundry room. Who wants to spend time in the ugliest room in the house? Even a small curtain, rug or “Laundry” sign will make spending time in this room a little less, well unpleasant.
That’s it. That’s how I went from a stressed, mountain of laundry Mom, to a Mom who has unwrinkled clothes and a *little* more me time.