Getting to the bottom of the laundry pile seems like an impossible task, no matter how many people are in your family. I used to struggle with laundry when it was just my husband and me. However, having three kids has helped me learn how to work smarter not harder when it comes to laundry.
Here are my eight best laundry hacks – be warned, though, they might send neat freaks running.
1. Schedule Your Laundry the Night Before
My washing machine has a delay start button, so I make it a habit to put in a load before I go to bed. I schedule the machine to wash at 4:30 AM. Then when I wake up at 5 AM, I will switch the laundry right away. And then try to get that load put away before eight or 9 AM, but sometimes it gets put off until later that night.
My biggest problem was forgetting I had clothes in the washer, which meant a lot of smelly clothes that took even longer to wash. This solution solved that problem.
2. Just Say No to Back-to-Back Laundry
Some days I think that I I can be superwoman and do laundry one load after another. The truth is, I usually forget things in the washer or dryer, or I have a mountain of clothes I am too exhausted to put away. So I’ve made it a rule not to ever start a load of laundry unless my dryer is empty and those clothes are put away.
3. Remember How Long It Actually Takes
I hate folding and putting laundry away. I would rather clean toilets or scrub the bathtub. Here is the funny thing. Usually, it takes me about 6 to 10 minutes to fold and put the laundry away. When I keep that in mind, I’m more motivated to just get it done. It’s like pulling off a Band-Aid; just rip it as quickly as you can.
4. Quick Wash for the Win
Some of my girls’ clothing barely gets worn. The same goes for my husband and me when we wear nicer clothes for church and then take them off right away and throw them in the hamper. If I know a load of laundry has light soil, I will do a quick wash, which only takes 25 minutes. This is also my hack if I ever get behind on the laundry pile.
5. Forgo the Laundry Basket
I try to set up my laundry room to allow me to fold and hang items quickly. I got rid of my laundry baskets because they were only adding to the problem. It was too easy for me to just throw clothes in there and promise to get to them later. Now I try to keep several hangers in the laundry room at all time, and when my dryer is done, I just hang and fold straight from the machine. Usually, I will listen to an audiobook when I do this if the kids aren’t “helping” me.
6. Stop Stressing About Kids Clothing
I fold my kids’ clothing very haphazardly. I could care less how it goes in the drawer because my daughter has the horrible habit of emptying her drawers to find that one shirt. This saves me time on folding.
Update: Thankfully clothes stay in the drawers now, but I still fold all clothes quickly, if at all. There is definitely no Marie Kondo going on in my home. We haven’t had a problem with wrinkles and if my second daughter (almost four) empties her drawer to find something, I can remind her to put it all back and not freak out that it goes back in as a mess.
7. Organize Your Drawers
For my older daughter, I have Dollar Tree baskets in her dresser. She knows what goes where. This has helped her to dress herself in the morning, and it has also enabled her to put her own clothes away. I just have to have her meet me in the laundry room, and I’ll hand her a pile of her underwear and tell her to put her undies away, and then do the same thing for socks then her pants, etc. Since she was four, she thinks it is a fun game.
Update: I now have a dresser both of the older girls share, but I labeled each drawer for a specific item per girl. I then fold
8. Kissing Ironing Goodbye
My husband and I have been married for almost 6 years. In that time, he has ironed items more than I have. Okay, to be honest I have not picked up the iron since we got married (and I can’t really recall a time I picked up an iron before that).
Instead, I try to put away the laundry straight from the dryer, so there are less wrinkles. I also make a spray that is about 1/4 cup of laundry softener to 2 cups water. I just put that mixture in a spray bottle and spray any clothes that need to smell better or that need to be unwrinkled.
I am a stay-at-home mom, and my husband works in the IT field, so we don’t have jobs that require starched shirts and wrinkle-free pants. I am so grateful not to be married to a lawyer or college professor. They would probably have to do their own laundry.
9. Downsize Your Closet
When I decluttered the whole family’s closet, leaving us each with 10-15 outfits, something miraculous happened…
Laundry became much more manageable.
Since I have small wardrobes for everyone, I am also spending less on clothes. All clothing items actually get worn, and I don’t feel bad about donating it when it is looking too loved.
10. Put Kids in Charge of Their Stuff
I actually don’t mind the folding part of laundry. It is the putting away part that is a pain. Now that my two older girls (6 and almost 4) are capable of chores, I fold their items quickly and put like things together so they can put them away easily themselves.
They are able to see their piles when they wake up and can put away their items in less than five minutes. My older daughter is at the point where I can tell her to start a load and switch a load, which is also a plus.
Laundry is definitely one of my least favorite tasks. I try to just do one small load a day, and that seems to satisfy our family’s needs. I should also mention that I do not sort laundry. I will typically wash items by their texture. For example, I won’t wash towels with clothing or jeans with delicate pieces (okay, okay I have been guilty of this too, but I really try not to).
How do you stay on top of the laundry monster? Share your tips and laundry hacks in the comments below.