If doing laundry has become a dreaded chore in your house, it may be time to get organized. Having the laundry room and supplies more organized may not make wash day more enjoyable, but it will make the work go faster. It may take your family some time to adjust to a new system. But, if everyone in the family helps, you will soon be saving time spent doing laundry, allowing more time for family fun.
Step One: Create Convenient Storage For Supplies
Have all your detergents and fabric softeners readily available near the washer and dryer. A simple shelf installed above or near your washer and dryer should hold all the necessities for wash day. If your laundry room is very small, consider narrow shelves installed to the ceiling, with one sturdy, wider shelf to hold your detergent, installed just above the washer and dryer. Take inventory of your space and be creative. Instead of standard laundry baskets for sorting, you may want to check out canvas bags that mount to the wall or wheel out of the way. Anything that saves space and gives you more room to work is well worth the investment.
Step Two: Control The Clutter
Your laundry room or area will begin to get cluttered very quickly, so include some small bins or baskets to catch all the loose change, found buttons, and miscellaneous things you find in the pockets and at the bottom of the washer. You will want a separate bin to hold items that need special attention, such as mending. If some of your clothes require ironing, use a separate basket just for those items. Your younger children will have clothes that they are quickly outgrowing. Have a box clearly labeled “Donate” and remove those clothing items that are too small immediately after washing and drying them so they don’t end up back in their bedrooms again.
Step Three: Use Multiple Laundry Baskets To Presort
This is where it all comes together, or all falls apart. Making sure your family does their part to presort their own laundry will be the difference between sanity and insanity on wash day. Start by purchasing several laundry baskets or hampers, and show your family what clothing items go in which basket. I’ve purchased a white laundry basket for the light or white clothes, and a dark color laundry basket for the darker colors. Even the youngest child can understand and use that system. Then, when it comes time to do the laundry, all you have to do is grab the basket of presorted laundry and throw the clothes in the washer. Of course, with your trained eye for sorting laundry, you’ll be able to make the final sorting decisions as you load your washer. Go a step farther and show your family where the stain stick is kept, and how to use it, so that they can pre-treat stains in advance of wash day.
Step Four: Hanging And Folding
If you take your clothes directly out of the dryer and hang them up, you’ll save on ironing time. For this task, you’ll need a temporary home for hanging those clothes. There are many rolling racks on the market that are reasonably priced. There are also wall-mounted hanging racks that fold up when not in use. If you have room for a folding area you are lucky indeed. If, however, your space is limited, there are some temporary solutions such as folding surfaces that attach to the wall and fold flat when no longer needed. If you are like the vast majority of us who take our laundry out to the living or dining room to fold, be sure you have a clear surface before you haul your clothes out of the dryer. That will eliminate piling your clothes on the floor while you look for a place to go to fold them. After all, we’re looking at saving time, not postponing the task and spending time completing the task later, which doesn’t really save us any time at all. Lastly, if you fold your laundry in the living room, multi-tasking is a great idea. In other words, folding clothes can usually be done while you are doing another task, such as listening to your child do their vocabulary homework, watching the program you recorded, or while you and your spouse catch up on your day.
Step Five: Special Handling of Delicate Items
One smart mom took digital pictures of all the “dry clean only” clothing items, printed off a color copy, and taped the pictures to her laundry room wall. Now when she starts filling her washer, and she sees a blouse that looks familiar, she glances up at the pictures above her washer and is reminded that this item doesn’t belong in the washer and ended up in a basket by mistake. Delicate clothing items need a bin clearly marked specifically for them.
Whether you save up all your laundry and do it in one day, or wash your clothes each time you have a full load, if you are organized with baskets, bins, and hangers at the ready, your task will be accomplished with the least amount of time spent. Less time spent on the laundry is good for the whole family!
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