It took us a while to get there, but we currently have a great laundry system that works for everyone in our home. I used to dread laundry day and would put it off until no one in the house had anything left to wear. It annoyed my husband, I disassociated myself from it and kept the laundry door shut. Finally I caught on to a few good tips and now that the system is in place it’s relatively stress free. And this includes cloth diapering! Here are some tried and true tips below. Join us on Pinterest to read more laundry tips from the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.
1. You have to pre-sort.
I am going to be very blunt here and risk offending you, but trust me, it’s only because I care. If you don’t separate your colors and whites then you are walking around looking dingy. If you don’t separate and yet you think your whites are not dingy then you are deceived. I can spot a non-separator a mile away. When we got married my husband’s white clothes were this interesting shade of grey. After a few good washes (and a few items given or thrown away) we were back to white and bright. If you sort your items into different laundry baskets – with, say, whites, colors and delicates – then it is easy to wash quickly without much headache. Also, for delicate items such as underwear, bras or smaller silk items it’s good to use a delicates’ bag. This looks nice. If you put delicates into the bag after they are worn then you only need to put it in the washing machine when it’s time to do a cycle. No hassle.
2. One load a day, fold and put away.
I read somewhere it’s good to do a load a day. I scoffed and thought that sounded like too much work, but honestly, it’s been a lifesaver. As soon as breakfast is served I put a load in. That gives me the rest of the day to fold it and put it away. If I do a load or two a day, and I do it consistently, then there is rarely a pile up of laundry. Doing the laundry is easy, folding it and putting it away is a pain. At least to me. Only having to put away one or two loads a day makes a world of difference.
3. Give the dryer a break.
When I lived in Europe we didn’t have a dryer. Plus, we were travelling and teaching English with limited income so we didn’t even consider spending precious travel money to buy one. During the summer we dried clothes on the roof and during the winter we used dyer racks in the house. It takes longer in the winter, but in the summer clothes can dry fully in 30 minutes where I live. Some items last so much longer when they are line dried. Do not, I repeat, do not dry your good jeans in the dryer. If you air dry jeans they remain crisp and new feeling for years longer. Big dryer racks or lines can tend to be eyesores (I know ours is), but there are other ways you can do this. Line and air drying saves energy, plus the sun is a natural stain remover! Did you know that? Here’s a DIY laundry room dryer rack if you’re handy. Here is one that doesn’t take up much space but allows you to air dry delicates.
4. Up and downstairs solution.
If you live in a two storey house where bedrooms and the laundry room are on different floors then you’ll need a good system in place. I currently have a laundry basket on the upstairs landing for the kids. Part of their chores are to put their dirty clothes, towels, sheets, etc. in the laundry basket. When it’s full I bring it down to the laundry room, sort it, and bring the basket back up. Also, at the bottom of the stairs on a console table I keep a pretty wooden basket. When I need to bring things upstairs, I put them in that basket. Instead of going up and downstairs all day to put things back, I use that wooden basket to store and then transport. It helps keep things that need to go upstairs corralled and prevents clutter buildup.
5. Enlist help.
Kids are never too young to start helping, and I don’t buy into the thinking that we are stealing their childhood by making them do chores. In fact, mine love doing chores. Sure, they aren’t terribly helpful. Fine, I can’t leave them to their chore or they’ll get distracted. But they readily put clothes in the laundry basket and my almost 3-year-old even “folds” laundry for me. I don’t make her do it everyday, but she’s getting pretty good at towels even now! The sooner we get them interested in helping the easier for us.
6. Beautify the area.
I personally like to spend some time on each area of my house making it pretty. Pretty, of course, to my own personal taste. I think this is key to enjoying our home sand not feeling even more stir crazy or disenchanted with day-to-day tasks. There isn’t a lot we can do to our laundry room to beautify it, except to keep it clean, but that’s what I try to do. Organizing, beautifying, decorating or adding personal touches makes a place more welcoming. This is a great laundry room before and after that was done on a dime.