Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One Mom's Tip: Laundry

Each Monday night every laundry basket in my house is empty, the washer is empty, the dryer is empty and every item of clothing or linen is folded and put away.

Does this sound impossible? Do you think I'm lying? I'm not. I've found the secret to doing laundry and I'm going to share it with you. Here it is: fold everything right when it comes out of the dryer.

OK, that's not the only part of my secret, but it's a big part. Don't let the clean clothes turn into Mt. Laundry because then weird mental things start happening. Even though it doesn't take all that much time to fold everything, the task seems overwhelming.

First you need to have a paradigm shift about laundry. Folding clothes does not take very much time and you need to prove it to yourself. Next time you're switching loads, time yourself on how long it takes to fold everything. Stand right at the dryer and fold things as you pull them out, or if you have another load to dry, pull the dry clothes into a basket and just fold while you stand there. Just once. Just to see. If it takes more than 5 minutes to fold everything, you are doing it wrong.

Here's how I reach my laundry nirvana every Monday night.

1. Monday is my cleaning day, so I usually spend the day cleaning anyway. It's best to have a big block of time dedicated to laundry if you want to get it done all at once. Laundry is in progress while I knock off other cleaning tasks. I find it to be an efficient use of my time.

2. Get things going the night before your cleaning/laundry day if you have lots of sheets and towels to wash, but keep it moving. One load after another after another.

3. Every time a load comes out of the dryer, fold it. You can then put things away, or wait for the stacks to get bigger before taking them to individual bedrooms. Just get things folded.

4. Save socks for last. Don't waste time searching for socks in a big pile of laundry. Get rid of the pile and then deal with the socks that are left over.

5. Put all folded clothes away. Either have your kids do it or you do it, but JUST DO IT.

Take control of your laundry and I will see you in Laundry Nirvana!


Emily Laing said...

I completely agree. The clothes do not leave the laundry area until they are folded. And I do the same thing with socks. I just need a basket for outgrown and clothes that need mending too. Then nirvana will be achieved! It's only taken me 12 years to finally figure it out.

Anna said...

That's funny. I just minutes ago finished all the folding. Monday is my laundry day too. Everything gets washed and put away before I go to bed. that's the rule - but Tuesday is ironing day. No matter what I do there is always ironing.

shiguy4076 said...

Excellent advice! I often find myself fighting the laundry monster.

Erika said...

Great advice from everyone! Saturday is my laundry day since I work. I get it all done on that day, but the last load in the dryer often ends up staying there through the weekend since it's often late when it's done and I'm tired. In fact, I think it's still in there and its now Wednesday! My mother in law gave me a great tip years ago on washing whites to get them real white-wash them twice! First in cold with detergent, second in hot with detergent and bleach. Works like a charm!

Our Family said...

I love the whites tip, Erika! Afton, we defy your 5 minutes laundry folding challenge. I have one of those huge front loaders, and I always fold everything right away. It takes a long time but you get a LOT done. The first time my husband folded from our new dryer, he came upstairs to ask me if the folding would never end! : ) Unfortunately, with 8 kids, there is never Laundry Nirvana. That's because, no matter how much laundry you do, there is a full load at the end of the day just from the clothes everyone is wearing! ; )

Allyson said...

Recently I did a 1 month challenge where I completed a load of laundry each day before using the computer. It was amazing to see how efficient I could be at moving the process along when a reward of computer time was awaiting me. The best thing was that the laundry was so up to date that I only needed to do 1 load a day for a family of 6!

Marah said...

I have dressers for my younger children in my laundry room so that I can put some of the clothes right from the dryer into the dresser. This is a dream come true. And I hardly mind when my 5yo, who changes her clothes 3x a day, leaves a mess on the floor next to her dresser, because it is a snap to clean up, and the clothes mess is contained to one room.

Also a big fan of black underwear for children.