Are you interested in a laundry hack that will allow you to wash half as much laundry each week? Read on for how.
There are times in life when we have solid rhythms and routines in place that help keep our houses running smoothly. Rhythms like washing and drying a load of laundry each day. Or having a nighttime routine that makes sure all the dishes are clean or the toys are picked up before bed.
These are times when life is “normal”.
Times we have a bit of margin in our days, and so we’re staying on top of household tasks. Those seasons are awesome, but we can’t stay in that place 100% of the time.
Unexpected things happen and you have to change your mode of operating.
You may have a new baby, be packing for a move, or have some other big life event that makes all normalcy go out the window.
These are times when you’re so busy that your family is in survival mode. Chicken nuggets and mac and cheese become the normal dinner items. Non-essentials need to not be on the to-do list because you only have time for the most important things. It’s in times like these that having a plan for how to do the right laundry can help you save time.
The right laundry?
What an odd thing to assert. Isn’t any laundry you do the right laundry? Not if you want to do the minimum amount needed to keep your family in clean clothes and also minimize the stress that someone will wake up and not have any clean underwear for the day.
This laundry hack method should allow you to do about half as much laundry each week. So, let’s say you normally do 5-7 loads of laundry a week. This is a way to get by on 1-3 loads (depending on the size of your family). Your family members will still be in clean clothes, but the laundry won’t be taking as much time.
This isn’t a long term solution, but will help you have an easier time riding through a season where life feels too overwhelming to do a load every day.
So, how can you get by doing less?
Less washing, less drying, less folding, less putting away.
By being strategic in which laundry you do when.
The trick is to wash what MOST NEEDS to be washed. This requires a bit of taking inventory to decide what to wash. Start in one of your kids rooms. Look at their supplies of clean underwear, socks, and pajamas. What do they NEED more of before next week? Grab those items out of the dirty clothes basket and put them in your basket to wash. Then look at their supply of tops and pants and do the same. Next move on to your other kids. Do the same thing.
Then look at your clothes and your husbands to see what really needs washing- check your bra supply too. Remember – we are washing the essential items that will get us to next week.
Also, go through the house and grab any towels or sheets that need to be cleaned.
So, now you’ve got your dirty items gathered. How many loads you do will depend on the amount of clothes you have, and your comfort level with sorting clothes for color, or not sorting them.
Moms are pretty split on whether they sort clothes or not. Some say they can wash everything in cold and throw in colors, darks and whites, and it turns out fine. In our house, we will sometimes do this as long as none of the clothes are brand new, and it usually works out fine. Other people will only do a load with similar colors of clothing. Still others use Shout color catchers (see below for a link) and swear that allows them to wash anything with anything.
I’ll leave the decision up to you. Try one of the methods listed above if you’d like to do one mixed load at a time OR do at least 2 loads a week – one light and one dark. Colors go with the light load if they are light and the dark load if they are dark.
Make it feel less overwhelming.
Wash and dry the clothes on one day and then fold them and put them away on either that same day or the next day. For example, let’s say you have 2 loads to do in the week. It can feel less overwhelming to split up the tasks. This might look like washing and drying the first load on Monday, and folding it and putting it away on Tuesday. Take a break on Wednesday. Then wash and dry the next load on Thursday, and fold it and put it away on Friday.
If life is really stressful and folding feels like too much, skip it.
Give yourself that grace. You definitely don’t need to fold underwear and pajamas. Kids clothes are debatable as to whether they need folding in a busy season of life. No one will notice if your child’s sweatpants are wrinkled and it may just give you a few precious minutes for something else you really need to do. You may still want to fold work clothes and church clothes.
Still, that’s likely only part of the load, so you’re saving time on not folding the other items.
If an item is going to be hung, drape it carefully over the top of the laundry basket and then hang it when you get the clothes to your room. There’s no sense in folding something that will be hung up later.
Use these ideas when you’re in those super busy seasons of life so you have more time to concentrate on the things that are most important. When you’re 80, you won’t care whether you stayed on top of all the laundry right before you moved from one house to another or right after your baby was born. Let’s keep perspective that daily routines are awesome, but sometimes you just need to do what will help you most while you’re in survival mode. Cheering you on!
Before you go, let’s talk about a few more ideas to save time with other laundry hacks and a few resources for you.
- Wash socks in a mesh laundry bag for easier and quicker pairing up later. You can even have one bag per person. Here’s one to try.
- Keep stain remover near your bedrooms. When something stained gets taken off for the day, immediately spray it with stain remover. Then you won’t have to check each item for stains before they go into the wash, plus the stain remover will have a few days to work while the item sits in the hamper.
- Have your kids put away their own clean clothes.
- You can skip folding towels if you put the clean ones out for the week just after you’ve pulled them out of the dryer.
- Dryer balls will cut down on the time it takes to dry your clothes. You’re also saving your family from being exposed to the chemicals in dryer sheets. Plus, you buy them once, rather than needing to keep buying them. Here are some to check out.
- As mentioned above, many Moms swear by Shout Color catchers to allow them to skip sorting their laundry. Grab those here.
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