Laundry seems to be one of the most hated household chores. It’s common to forget to move the clothing from the washer to the dryer or to put off folding for days. Seriously, why do socks go missing so often?
As with anything in life, handling this household task requires structure and dedication until your discipline becomes a habit. Here are six practical tips for staying on top of the laundry.
Create a Consistent Schedule
Creating a consistent schedule is the first step in creating an efficient laundry system. First, you should have an estimate of how many loads of laundry you have to do each week, how long the washer and dryer take to run through their cycles and the best time of day for this task.
Rather than doing a general load of laundry each day, consider assigning different days to each household member. For example, you and your partner’s laundry day may be Monday, the kids on Tuesday, and sheets and towels on Wednesday. Creating this type of schedule sets the expectation for when everyone can expect to have their clothing clean.
Look at your schedule and determine what days and times are most manageable for you to commit to doing laundry. Some prefer to get started in the morning before work, while others wait until the weekend.
Make It an Enjoyable Task
Laundry is a mindless task that doesn’t require much attention. You can use this time to engage in other activities you enjoy. For example, you can save a few episodes of your favorite Netflix show or podcast while you try out those new ironing tips and tricks you’ve learned. Listen to your favorite music while folding or create a schedule that allows you to call and catch up with your friends and family.
You can also use your laundry routine to engage in habit stacking. If you get up in the morning and throw in a 20-minute load of laundry, you can use that time to exercise, study, read, or engage in another self-care activity.
Use Short Cycles
Don’t hesitate to use shorter wash cycles to help you minimize the time spent waiting on clean laundry. The shorter wash cycles are sufficient unless your clothing is heavily stained or needs a deep soak. Laundry machines are far more effective than they used to be, and most of us are working desk jobs rather than farming from sun up until sundown.
You can make the most of a short cycle by applying stain remover before soiled clothing goes in the wash and adding a natural booster, like washing soda.
Declutter and Donate Clothing
The less clothing you have, the less laundry you’ll do. When you have many options for what to wear (even though it may not feel that way), you’re more likely to keep wearing clean clothes instead of washing the dirty ones. This habit results in huge, overwhelming piles of dirty laundry.
Instead, take some time to reduce your wardrobe. Get rid of anything you haven’t worn within the last six to twelve months. You’ll notice a difference right away.
Get the Family Involved
Laundry shouldn’t be a one-person chore; the whole family wears clothing. Young children can be responsible for putting their clothes in the hamper and helping to fold towels and blankets. Older children can be responsible for folding clothes and putting theirs away.
Commit to Same-Day Folding
The most challenging part of the laundry process seems to be getting clothes folded and put away rather than leaving them in a convenient pile on the couch or table. Commit to same-day folding and reward yourself when every last piece is put away on the same day it was washed and dried.
Staying on top of the laundry requires dedicated habit-building. After a few weeks, this chore will become a natural routine.