How We Tackle Laundry

There are hundreds of tips out there on how to conquer Laundry Mountain, but today I’m adding my latest insights, in the slight chance that someone else still hasn’t found what they’re looking for, and thinks like me when it comes to dealing with laundry.

The Problem

I’ve tried a lot of things over the years, but never really found a great fit. I cannot get on board with the idea of doing a load each day – I like to get everything washed and dried in one day, if possible, so that I have the rest of the week to enjoy my clean clothes and not feel like it’s a never-ending chore. I get everything clean on Monday, and do ironing on Tuesday, but it’s always been the huge pile of stuff to fold which does me in. If clean clothes start to pile up at all, it just spirals out of control.

I think it’s a mental thing – it starts looking really overwhelming, and I think it will take more time than it will, so I start to procrastinate because I don’t feel like I have the time to deal with it. Also, I like the idea of my kids helping with laundry, but my energy-conscious mind does not like the idea of everybody doing their own laundry, resulting in many little loads.

I needed a way to get everything done in one day, while still involving my kids, with absolutely no laundry piling up. I finally found what works, and it’s fantastic. I’ve stuck with it for a few months now, so I’m pretty confident this will be a long-term solution. Here’s how we do it:

Gather and Sort

Everybody rounds up their laundry on Monday morning. (I chose this day because after the weekend, I always need a day at home to regroup and get everybody back on track, so I can stay consistent with doing laundry on this day.) Sometimes the girls help me sort all the loads, depending on where we’re at with school work, our schedule for the day, etc.

Choose Your Load Wisely

I alternate highly “hands-on” loads with easy loads – sheets or towels look like a big load, but they’re faster to fold and clean up, so it gives me more time to catch up on loads that are more time-consuming and full of lots of little socks and underwear.

Separate Immediately!

To avoid laundry piling up, I’ve found that I need to sort it as I’m taking it out of the dryer. This is the key that makes everything work for me! I have a laundry basket for each kid, plus one for socks, and I throw everything into the right basket immediately. For clothes that need to be hung, I make a separate pile which goes straight to our closet. (I hang as much as possible, because it’s faster to hang it than fold it.)

All that remains on top of my washer and dryer is a very small amount of clothes belonging to Ben or me. Encouraged by how small the pile is, I’m usually very motivated to fold it right away.

Involve the Kids

The girls are responsible for folding and putting away their laundry, and pairing the socks. Everett loves to put away his laundry while I’m folding it, and we usually get all of the kids clothes cleaned up on Tuesday.

This leaves almost a full, beautiful week of no laundry to worry about, which I LOVE.

Bonus Loads

While I can’t get behind the idea of doing a load a day, I’ve found that thinking of it as “working ahead” is enough to motivate me to throw in a load or two during the week, only if I have time. Because I don’t have to do it, and I won’t get behind if I don’t, I feel like it’s an optional way for me to lighten the load for Monday, and it’s fun to feel like I’m getting clothes washed in advance. It’s all mind-games, hey?! But whatever works.:)

To Hang or Not to Hang

In the past, I’ve talked about how much I loved to air-dry all our clothing. There were two reasons for this – my laundry never piled up, because I would hang everything in closets immediately, and I wanted to save energy and money by using our dryer less. Unfortunately, after doing some research, Ben and I discovered that the energy used to remove the humidity from our house caused by drying clothes was more expensive than using the dryer! If I had a clothes line, it would make more sense, but that would be time-consuming and overwhelming, which I don’t need at this point in my life, PLUS we’ve got some allergy issues around here, and I was told not to dry clothes outside because the allergens would be on our clothes.

So, we’re back to using the dryer, and I found a way to get clothes hung immediately, and life is good.

And that’s how we deal with laundry around here! If you have any great laundry tips to add, I would love to hear them, because it’s such a huge job, so if anything can make it more manageable, we should be sharing it all over the place!

What’s your laundry routine, and why does it work for your family?

 

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