Laundry is a chore I actually don’t dread. The following routine is how I have eliminated endless piles of dirty or clean laundry around my home for the last couple years.
This system may or may not work for you, but I hope you find at least a couple tips or ideas to help you with this task in your own home.
99% of the time, I do laundry on Mondays and Fridays, but I also go with the flow of how full the hamper is any given week based on our activities and how much has gotten dirty from them. It does seem to usually naturally fall on those two days, however.
Grab your smelling salts, ladies! I don’t sort laundry. I have a wetbag lined hamper just for cloth diapers and my cloth menstrual pads if either of those are being used, but everything else goes in the same hamper in our room. (For my cloth diaper/pad routine, see this post here).
I don’t sort lights, darks, heavy fabrics, delicates, baby clothes, nothing, and I haven’t had a single issue in over a decade of doing my own laundry. (The only time I ever sort is on the rare occasion we buy a brand new item in a bright color or black, just for the initial wash after purchasing. Since 99% of our clothes are thrifted or consignment, this hardly ever happens.)
As silly as it may sound, one of the biggest helps for me with laundry is momentum. I think a lot of the dread of laundry often times lies in it being this long drawn out task from morning until evening or even a day or two later. I have a few tricks to keep it moving along.
- I take the hamper with me leaving the bedroom first thing in the morning and toss it in the machine. It just takes a minute, but it lets the machine do all the work while we are having breakfast and getting ready for the day. There is a huge boost of energy for me when I am already tossing clothes into the dryer before 8 am!
- Time your cycle. I know it seems insignificant, but use your stopwatch once to time the cycle(s) you use on your machine.
When I throw a load in the wash, I start a 54 minute timer on my phone because that is how long it takes my machine to do its normal cycle that I use. When my timer goes off I immediately go and put the clothes in the dryer and start the second load, if there is one, in the washing machine. When I hear the buzzer go off for the dryer, I try to go right to it, just like when the washer finished.
3. Skip laundry baskets. If you have designated “clean” baskets, it is so easy for the momentum to die and the process to stop at this point. Instead, I immediately carry my clean clothes from the dryer to our bed where I need to deal with it because we need to be able to use the bed eventually! (When we had a basement laundry room I used the hamper to bring the clothes back up, but I immediately dumped them on the bed so that I had to go on to the next step – folding.)
4. Do not sit down – I stand by the bed when I do my folding. (If I have more than one load in a day, I don’t fold until all loads are on the bed, ready to be put away at the same time.) If I dump the laundry out on the couch and sit myself down, the inertia is lost and the process seems to take longer. If I stand by the bed, I sort and fold things much quicker because I am not comfortably kicking back while trying to do the task.
5. My last tip for maintaining momentum is to have kids help if they’re old enough. Philomena (5) can do basic sorting and folding, and Zelie (3) does a great job putting things like napkins and cleaning rags away. It took time and some level of hassle for them to get to this point, but that investment means that the process is faster now.
I actually don’t fold very much laundry – I sort like things together, but most of our items are hung or stored loose. I’m sure for you hard core white vs. dark sorters, this is where this post just went too far! But which is better: A system of perfectly folding every last item which is so time-consuming that clothes sit in piles for days because of the investment of your day that it takes to fold and put it away… or the ability to sort, fold just what really needs to, and put away everything in about 10 minutes total, even if each item isn’t perfect? I have chosen the latter for us.
We almost never have piles of clean clothes waiting to be put away, because I’ve chosen to let everything being perfectly folded go by the wayside. If you can perfectly fold everything and get it put right away with your schedule, then cheers to you, seriously! When I used to fold every last little thing, laundry took forever and things started to pile up. This is what works for us!
Ethan and I hang all of our outer clothes in our closet except for pajamas. I just grab a handful of hangers when I sort and throw our clothes onto hangers and put them right into the closet.
For the underclothes to go in the dresser: I stack Ethan’s underwear flat, and he likes me to lay one sock on top of the other and fold them over. The only thing of his I fully fold is his undershirts. I toss my underclothes and pajamas loose in that drawer.
The girls’ church clothes get hung up, but otherwise all of their clothes fit in these plastic drawers in their closet where they can easily reach them. I just sort all of their items in a pile on the bed, and then at the end toss their clothes loose in each bin in their closet.
The top drawer has undies, matched socks, tights, and a couple pairs of pajamas. The second drawer has skirts and shorts/leggings for underneath that we just toss right in. The bottom drawer has their dresses and shirts tossed in.
Folding each and every child’s item would take so much longer, and the girls are always sifting through the drawers, undoing the folding anyway. Because we keep these simple capsule wardrobes for the girls, these drawers aren’t gut full, so they can easily see what they have, even though things are not folded.
I fold hand towels and dish towels because those need to be hung lengthwise when they are in use.
I only fold a bath towel if it is going in the linen closet. Since I wash all of our towels on Monday morning, those just go right back on their hook without having been folded.
Our rags and cloth napkins just get sorted into a pile and then tossed in the appropriate drawer. (Philomena likes to fold the cloth napkins which is great as a little chore if she is helping me, but I don’t do it if she isn’t around during folding.)
When I follow this routine and start when I first wake up, I have everything totally done and put away by lunch. It isn’t perfect, but it works for us and that is what I care about.
I hope this was a helpful post for you. Let me know your favorite laundry tips in the comments, too!