Solving the Laundry Dilemma

Laundry! {rolls eyes}

Just the word makes us all groan. For some reason the laundry job seems to be one of the easiest aspects to get behind on in the home. Someone messaged me and asked me about my laundry routine, because I had mentioned in this post that I hardly have to think about it anymore. (As a side note, I don’t mind at all if you message me with questions or ideas for blog posts. In fact, it gives me something to write about :))

Laundry is a part of life. And if there are kids in the mix, there will be laundry. Lots of it. Because, well, things like this happen. :)

I do not do laundry all on one or two days. I have several reasons for that, but if that system works for you, then great! I would rather approach laundry like any other task. It is just part of my life so I do it regularly rather than leaving it all for one big marathon laundry day. Aside from limiting how many clothes we have, here are a few things that I have found to help me out.

1.  Let go of perfection.

It might surprise you that I love folding clothes. I have actually googled how to fold certain clothes and then practiced to see if I liked that method better than my old way. If you didn’t think it before, now you know I am weird. :)

While you may think that it actually helps with keeping up with laundry, you might be surprised. The problem is that I do not have the time to sit down with a cup of coffee, music or a podcast playing, while I immaculately fold all the laundry. Inevitably, what happens is that I wait for that time. Of course I don’t get it, and so my laundry pile accumulates.

Letting go of perfection is simply acknowledging that it is better for the job to get done now, than for it to be done perfectly later.

2. Simplify.

Simplifying your laundry routine is key.

I wash sheets, towels, and rags together on warm.

We have one laundry basket for the whole family.  Except for delicate clothes and my husband’s dress clothes, everything gets washed together. Yes, I said together. No separating out lights and darks. Just wash with cold water and it works fine. This may go against everything you have heard, but the laundry police has yet to come to my house, so I am good with it! :)

The laundry rarely piles up, because when the basket is full, I start a load. Simple as that!

3. Develop a routine.

A simple routine.

If I have a full laundry basket, I start a load first thing in the morning. By the time the kids are eating breakfast, it is time to switch the load to the dryer. Although it varies, I usually fold during nap time and put it all away before we sit down for dinner. Having something concrete like “dinner” to put it away by, keeps me on task. Anything that helps, right?

This does mean that I do laundry nearly every day, but it is usually only one load which can be folded and put away in about ten minutes. If I do have a second load to do, it is usually sheets and towels which I do not have to fold. I put them straight back on the beds or hang them in the bathroom.

I do not want laundry to stop my life. I would rather just fit it in the same way I do cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc. That is one (out of quite a few!) reason I do not do it all on one day. Many people, though, like the one-day routine.

Whatever your system is, keep it simple and be consistent in your routine. Develop a habit, if you will. You will thank yourself!

Do you have a laundry system that works for you? Share your ideas in the comments. It will help us all!

Comments

  1. Andrea Cavanaugh says:

    I love this line: “Letting go of perfection is simply acknowledging that it is better for the job to get done now, than for it to be done perfectly later.” It applies to so many things in life! (So on that note, I’m going to go wash the breakfast dishes!) :-)

    • Totally! I tell myself this phrase all the time! I think there is a term for someone like me…procrastinating perfectionist. This has been my motto for a couple of years, and it works much better!

  2. I am glad to learn that I am not weird (or at least, we are weird together)–I also do laundry every day and fold it and put away as it is done. :) I do let things like towels and rags build up for a couple of days, but we always do at least one load of something every day.

    I am mildly perfectionist about what gets washed together, and sort such things microbiologically. (I was Biology major. :)) Like: stuff that touches food gets washed together, rags for cleaning certain things together, only underwear together, etc… Our current washer has a sanitize cycle, so I use that for the aforementioned items. (Not everyone has to do this, but if you’re using cloth diapers or such, it is far better to pay for the water heat in the long run than the potential buildup or rashes caused by remaining microbes.)

    If I let it build up, it can be overwhelming. Doing some every day (or every other day if we get extra busy) keeps it a normal life routine. I’ve read of some once-a-week routines that seem helpful, but I’m too chicken to try them while this is working well. 😉 And simplifying our clothing choices has helped immensely with laundry.

    • I totally laughed that you sort things microbiologically, but that is awesome!!! And thanks for bringing up the cloth diapers. I totally didn’t even think to mention that as I sort of have a separate category in my brain for that…I don’t think of it with my normal laundry.

      But yes, I do those separately on very hot water. I have an old, very basic washer so I’m slightly envious of the sanitize cycle. That would be so nice especially with CDs.

      And if a system is working, why change it, right? :)

  3. It’s so interesting to see how personalities and lifestyles cause very different things to work for different people. I was ALWAYS frustrated and felt behind on laundry no matter what kind of “system” I tried until I finally switched to one laundry day a week (clothes only–I do sheets/towels whenever i need to and put them right back on the beds or towel racks). One big difference between you and me is I do NOT like folding and putting away clothes, and the other thing is I would always start a load, then forget about it, and find it in the washer the next day or later in the evening. Or I’d switch it to the dryer, then forget about it, and end up having to iron things I wouldn’t have to if I pulled them out of the dryer warm. So when somebody was telling me several years ago about her one day system, I decided to try it, and it has been great. I was amazed how quickly I got used to thinking of that day as laundry day and keeping it going. My ironing has been greatly reduced, b/c I’m ready to pull the laundry out right as it finishes in the dryer and move on to the next load. I bought a laundry cart thing to hang everything on right there beside the dryer. I let the fold-able stuff pile up all day in my 2 large laundry baskets (usually I have 4 large loads each week: 2 dark, 1 med., 1 white), and I sit down, watch a favorite show, and fold it ALL in about 45 minutes after the kids go to bed. I stack it neatly in the baskets, and put it away the next day. I love the feeling of having it all done in one day and not having to worry about it for the next 6 days. So I guess we just all need a system and need to stick to it! That’s the hard part. :) Happy laundering!

    • Johanna says:

      See? I love how different systems work for different people! And yes, it basically comes down to finding something that works and sticking to it! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Johanna, I was excited to find your blog :). Right now it’s a constant struggle for me to keep clean laundry folded and put away. Especially baby clothes. I may try to use your system of not sorting all the different colors/types… that sounds like it might be more doable :). Thanks for describing your process!!

  5. I do great at washing and drying the laundry–it’s the folding that get’s put aside. =( I noticed in one of your replies to a previous comment that you described yourself as a procrastinating perfectionist–that is exactly how I would describe myself; I’m also an “all-or-nothing” type of person so when I can’t do it perfectly I tend to to avoid it altogether {not good logic, obviously!}

    I second Andrea; the main phrase that really jumped out to me from this post was “Letting go of perfection is simply acknowledging that it is better for the job to get done now, than for it to be done perfectly later”–I really need to work on applying this! Thanks for another helpful post…for now I’m off to do laundry! =)

    • Johanna says:

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one like that! It has taken several years to figure that out and start working on it… Thanks for your comment.

  6. Bekah McFarland says:

    I had forgotten about not separating by lights versus darks! I used to just throw it all in together and somehow got back to separating it again. Dumb! I wash everything in cold anyway! :-)

    I have starting separating by adults versus kids. I can never fit all our clothes into one load anyway (no matter how often I do laundry), so when it comes to folding and putting it away it seems so much faster to fold and sort into less piles. Then I have one basket that goes to our bedroom to put away, and one basket that goes down the hall to the kids rooms. Works well for me at this point!

  7. Nancy Kellner says:

    I have been one to always sort my clothes, too. If I’m sure it will not fade I will usually put it in with the lighter clothes. This is something I have only been doing for a short while though. Thanks for the tip because I think now I will definitely be throwing in more together. Just a tip from An older mother: I did teach my children around the age of 12 to start doing their on laundry. With five children plus it surely helps mom with the laundry load.

  8. Courtney Jensen says:

    I just stumbled across your blog and I am already SO motivated to start having more order in my home! I am 24 & living alone for the first time, and I’ve found it hard to juggle taking care of a place all by myself. Your tips are realistic and simple and make so much sense. I’ll be checking back often for more inspiration. Thanks again! :)

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