One of the last things that busy women conquer is their laundry routines, but it should really be one of the first! It’s a necessary task that can actually be therapeutic once mastered. But as a laundry newbie or failure, where do you start? Here are four efficiency tricks to give your routine a makeover that you’ll never want to change:
Get a load of this
How your loads are organized is everything. First, be sure you have an efficient basket system in your laundry room and the laundry law has been laid down for your family. If you have a husband and kids, make sure they have their own individual baskets so you can separate into the color/clothing type baskets yourself. Once that system is in place, you should thoughtfully pick the loads you want to wash weekly, as many as you want! In fact, the more loads, the more effective. Here are some popular ways of load separation and they aren’t always conventional:
- Brights, darks, lights, whites, long sleeve and short sleeve
- Darks, blacks, lights, whites and intimates
- Whites, lights, medium colors, dark blues and black (in that order)
- Jeans, towels, lights, brights, whites and darks
The ways and combinations are endless. Decide the loads you want to do — the more the better!
The more organized and smaller the loads, the more you get done in a shorter amount of time.
Time is everything
Honestly ask yourself how often you want to do laundry. One of the worst habits we fall into when it comes to laundry is not following through when we planned to do it. If you would rather cram it into five hours on a Sunday, go for it. If you’d rather take an hour before breakfast five times a week, that works better! They key is sticking to a time and frequency that works for you. At my house, we like to stay on top of the laundry — we do it four times a week, fitting in two loads each day. A laundry routine makes the whole household’s life simpler.
Combat folding blues
We’ve all done it at one point in our lives. Our clothes are done and we put them on our folding table or bed, eager to conquer the folding and ironing, but it just doesn’t happen. A couple hours pass and we don’t feel like doing it. Ten more minute pass and then we get busy with something else. Then Monday roles around and you can’t wear that Calvin Klein dress you wanted to because it’s wrinkly and the carpool leaves in five minutes. Next thing you know, your laundry is piling up all week because you ignored your last load. To avoid this tempting procrastination, fold and iron immediately. Start your routine 20 minutes earlier than you planned to make time for this routine-saving step.
One of the ways my grandmother mastered her laundry routine was that she treated each piece of clothing as if it was the only one she had to wash. Take the time to inspect your clothes for stains or small damages. You can avoid so many second washes if you just take five minutes before the first one. She inspects labels and notes any special care they need. You would be surprised how many items in our wardrobes need special love. Be prepared to pre-treat, hand wash and air dry some of your favorites. It will extend their wearable days. Keep all special remedies on a special shelf (if you don’t have any, get some immediately) and at hand. Sometimes along the way, we’ll even discover our own. Did you know that mom Amanda Peterson rubs chalk on a grease stain before tossing her little boy’s clothes into the wash? Learn as you go. Your clothes, your sanity and your family will appreciate it.