Oh, the laundry! There is literally no end in sight. For years, I lived in denial of this fact. I thought I could somehow get it all done. Visions of empty laundry baskets and spotless closet floors danced in my head…Until I accepted the truth. Laundry is a constant work-in-progress. And that is okay–it’s just part of life! There is no such thing as DONE–embrace this truth, Sweet Friends! I’m sharing 5 tips for tackling laundry…(And trust me–6 kids and 2 adults make for some pretty decent piles of laundry!)
1. A Load a Day Keeps Mt. Washmore Away!
It sounds too simple. I know what you’re thinking…Poppycock (LOL…so you probably weren’t thinking “poppycock!”) But honestly–how can we even keep up with clean undies if we only do one load-a-day?
I don’t know. But it’s true. I learned this truth from the amazing and lovely FlyLady! (She has helped me in all areas of keeping my house in order over the last 15 years–you can read more about that here.)
To quote her, “A load a day, keeps Mt. Washmore away!”
What happens is that we get overwhelmed by our piles of laundry (and lack of clean undies)–so we work like crazy washing 4 loads (or more) in one day! We are determined to get caught up! And in the process, we crash and burn!
On the following day, we reason that we did such an awesome job with the laundry, we don’t have to do it today…Then the next day we do a load–only to realize that we left one load sitting in the washer from our marathon laundry day–and it stinks! Now we have to rewash that load! And you probably have baskets of clean clothes still needing to be folded from the marathon day…
It is a much more gentle and loving approach to give yourself permission to do ONE load per day. Just one. Cross it off your list and move on with your life. The consistency really helps keep the job manageable…And helps free you mentally!
2. Make it Part of Your Daily Rhythm
In order to get the job done consistently, we have to work it into our daily rhythm or routine! Here’s mine:
After my morning coffee and quiet time–I hit the laundry room! As the FlyLady would say–it’s time to reboot the laundry! I usually have something in the dryer that needs fluffed up. I may need to take something out of the washer that I threw in late the night before. Either way, it’s time for me to find the next load of laundry and “reboot,” the washing machine!
After lunch is a great time to check on things–move that morning load over to the dryer if I haven’t already or do some folding! I treat myself by watching a favorite show while folding.
After dinner I do a quick check–does anyone NEED something for tomorrow? If so–I toss in a load. But I really don’t like doing this–it breaks my one load a day rule and messes up my laundry mojo! Plus–I really just want to go watch Netflix and plop on the couch with some chips and cheese dip!
You may be thinking…Wait a fat minute! Girl–you have teenagers! Shouldn’t they do their own laundry? And yes, they should and they do! But they also forget (like all of us)…So I give them grace and reminders. Also–I have a husband. And it’s just what I do. I wash his clothes. He does a lot of other stuff I couldn’t, wouldn’t, and don’t have to do–marriage is all about appreciation and giving 100%. So I’m good with washing his boxers and suit shirts! I have yet to mow the grass.
PRO TIP: If you wake up to find a stinky load of laundry greeting you in the washing machine, here’s what you can do…
- Add 1/4 cup of Distilled White Vinegar to the washing machine. I put mine in the “Pre-Wash,” section, where laundry detergent is added. I think you could also just toss it in!
- Also add your regular laundry detergent as you normally would.
- Wash on the temperature you would normally choose for that load.
- If your washing machine has the capability–increase the soil level for the load.
- For a really stinky load, feel free to add more vinegar (I’ve read some people use up to 2 cups), and if your clothes can handle it, go up a notch in temperature. For example, I almost always wash everything on Cold. But for a nasty stink, I may turn it up to Warm!
- Sometimes after washing with the vinegar, I will go ahead and run a regular cycle with that same load. (You may need to do this 2nd washing to get rid of the vinegar smell if you used a lot of vinegar–but I promise it washes right out!)
- This also works great for workout stink…my hubby is a cyclist. Cycling clothes like to keep their stink…vinegar helps!
3. Keep it Simple
If you HAVE to do more than one load a day, keep one of the loads super simple! We are talking a mindless load. Towels. Jeans. You know the ones…You can just throw them into the washer and then right into the dryer. No worries about something being left in the dryer too long and needing to be hung up. No fancy folding. We’re talking the easy stuff, so that you can watch House Hunters while folding at 10 PM and feel productive and relaxed at the same time!
4. My Golden Rule of Laundry
Wait for it…(Some of you are really going to be mad about this one…)
DO NOT TAKE LAUNDRY OUT OF THE DRYER IF YOU CAN’T FOLD IT AND PUT IT AWAY RIGHT NOW!
I made this pact with myself about 14 years ago…Of course, I’ve cheated and suffered the consequences (large mountains of clean clothes that are wrinkled, create clutter, and 1/2 the time end up getting re-washed). But generally, I’m pretty much a huge stickler about this one rule. It’s my golden rule of laundry!
I entered the pact out of desperation.
We were trying to sell our home and my ginormous pile of “clean,” laundry was not helping! I decided I was just flat done with that nonsense and I’ve stuck with it!
It’s actually so easy to stick with…because you are giving yourself permission to be lazy! You are being honest with yourself , “I don’t have the time (or desire) to do that right now–so I’m not even going to bother taking these clothes out.”
When I take clothes out of the dryer, I commit to delivering them to their “homes”! I don’t get wrapped up in things being perfectly folded–typically any kind of folding works for me! There’s something satisfying about knowing that I’m going to sit down–fold one load and put it away. (Because one load is manageable–remember only one load a day!!)
(I say “put away,” but I use that term loosely. For my teens–I deliver it to their door or set it on a table for them to grab later.)
I am the QUEEN of the “Refresh,” button on my dryer. Become best buddies with this feature if you have it!
PRO TIP: Refreshing Wrinkly Clothes
If you don’t have a “refresh,” feature on your dryer, get a clean damp cloth and toss it into your sad, wrinkly load of clothes. Turn the dryer on for 10-15 minutes. The steam from your cloth will have helped smooth out any wrinkles, and now your warm clothes will be perfectly primed for folding! And if you get side-tracked, simply refresh again!
5. Hang Dry
I hang up a lot of our clothes. Some of this is out of self-preservation, because I won’t have to fold it later! But mostly, I think it’s gentler on clothing. Almost all our tops, sweaters, and dresses get hung up. T-shirts, suit shirts (I find that the “wrinkle free variety actually does better when you put them in the dryer), pants, jeans, little kid clothes, and undies–these are the things I typically dry in the dryer.
For the items I hang to dry, I put them in the dryer for about 10 minutes. Then I pull them out, while the rest of the load continues drying.
I end up hanging the wet/damp clothes on plastic hangers in my bedroom–we hook them to crown-molding we have on the entrance to our master bathroom! Not super glamorous–but there’s nice air flow in that area, and it’s out of the way! Plus–it’s an extra incentive to put the dry clothes away and get them out of our doorway!
PRO TIP: Never Shrink Your Favorite Top Again!
There is nothing worse than shrinking your favorite top because you accidentally left it in the dryer! To prevent this, I count the number of items that need to be taken out of the dryer and hung up as I am moving them from the washer to the dryer! This is a HUGE help to me! If I count 7 items need to be removed when the timer goes off, nothing gets missed and accidentally shrunk because I’m sure to take out all 7 items!
There is no magic system for getting rid of your laundry–it’s just not happening! The trick is finding ways to live in peace with your piles! Stop beating yourself up because you’re behind on the laundry…the laundry just is. It continues because you have beautiful, lovely people living their lives–and they wear clothes! This is a good thing! Jump in where you are and give yourself grace! Use these tips to tackle the laundry at your house! I promise, if I can do it–you can do it too!