Before you had kids did you ever dream of how much time you’d have to take out of your life to do laundry? On these beautiful, bright sunny days, who wants to be stuck inside doing chores like laundry? While it’s not the most glamorous thing to do, it’s unavoidable and getting behind makes it even worse!
So how can you take the drudgery out of laundry to make it easier to handle?
Organize Your Laundry Room
Keep your detergent and stain remover on the shelf next to the machine. For a “greener” solution instead of softeners, white vinegar works. It also tames any unwanted odors or fragrances. Your clothing won’t smell like a pickle, I promise!
Place the machines side by side with the doors opening away from each other. While washing machine doors normally can’t be moved, dryer doors often can be reversed so the wet clothes can be thrown directly into the dryer and not up and over the door.
Keep a small waste can nearby for emptying the lint trap after every load. The machine will work more efficiently that way, and you don’t have to worry about lint building up and causing a fire. Also, it’s handy for things that are left in clothes pockets.
Have hangers available so you can hang items directly from the dryer. First give your clothes a quick shake to loosen any wrinkles, and then hang them.
Organize Before Washing
Time how long the washing machine and dryer take to go through a full cycle. Many machines have buzzers that remind you when the load is finished. But if you can’t hear this from the other side of the house, clip a timer to your pocket. This will remind you when to tend to the laundry. That way no forgotten, wet clothes sit and mold in the washing machine, and you won’t have to iron out the wrinkles from those left in the dryer.
Discard the clothing that your kids won’t wear, making the closet more organized and the laundry pile smaller. Often kids grab clothes, try them on and decide they want something different—so down on the floor and into the laundry basket goes the clean clothing. Not only does this make more work for you, but it also wears the clothing out sooner. The easiest solution is to just get rid of it!
Teach your family to turn clothing right side out and to empty pockets before things go into the laundry basket. Make the consequences of leaving things felt: you have the right to confiscate or throw those items away.
Keep a stain stick in each bedroom, and treat stains as clothing is removed. Just remember to keep this safely out of reach in your small child’s room.
Don’t go crazy with your sorting. Sorting isn’t nearly as critical as it once was because of the quality of materials and cleaners available today. You can probably limit laundry to three piles— darks, lights/whites, and towels—to cut down on that tedious task.
Many have found Shout Color Catchers work well. You can economically use 1/3 of a sheet and still get good results.
Organize After Drying
Fold and hang clothes while still warm from the dryer. This not only feels good, but it cuts down on having to iron. If you don’t catch the dryer in time, just throw a damp lint-free towel in with the load and run it again for 10 to 15 minutes.
If you have a number of children to fold for, sorting will be easier if you color-code a marking system for the clothing. Pick one color for each child. Then you can write names in the waistbands, dot colored permanent marker on the inside cuff of a sock, or put a knot of thread in an inconspicuous place. You’ll tell at a glance whose is whose.
Wear clothing more than once. This might not work for your kids, but everything adults wear (except for underwear and socks) can more than likely be worn a number of times. If you want to keep reworn items separate from clean clothes in your drawers, have a space in your closet designated for these to be folded until they’re worn enough to be dirty.
(If you’re just sick of laundry, there’s one more solution to consider: Hire someone to take care if it for you! That will free up your time to spend it on yourself or your family.)
Clothing can be a large part of the family’s budget and should be treated as an investment. That’s why it’s so important to train your little ones to help with the laundry and learn how to properly care for their clothes. While it may seem like a terrible bother now, it teaches them to care for their finances and their appearance in a responsible way. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Carmela Guizar-Sanchez is a PAMP member and owner of Simplify Home Solutions, a lifestyle and household concierge service. She has a daughter age 7, son age 4 and just recently welcomed another son to their joyous family. You can find more of her tips at www.simplifyhomesolutions.com.