Laundry. Does just seeing the word conjure up less than joyful feelings? If so, you’re not alone! Laundry is just one of those less-than-favorite tasks for a whole bunch of folks. And there are so many reasons why. For one, it’s a never-ending task. As soon as you finish, the day ends, and presto, off come the clothes everyone is wearing, and you’re right back on your way to overflowing hampers! And even if you don’t mind some parts of the laundry process — sorting, pre-treating, loading the washer, or even changing over the clothes between loads —there’s bound to be at least one step in the process that you simply don’t like. Maybe it’s the hanging and folding stage, ironing, sorting the socks, or maybe it’s just taking that final step of putting the clothes away.
The bottom line is this: laundry isn’t necessarily complicated, it’s just involved — lots of steps and lots of opportunity to be faced with a task that quite simply isn’t your cup of tea. But alas, help and hope for brighter laundry days is on the way. First though, think about which part of the laundry process is your least favorite. Then, read on for ideas to make that piece of the process as simple and fun as possible. Then move on to your next least favorite step and do the same. In no time you’ll be having fun and getting *loads* done!
Sometimes, in light of all the steps involved in laundry (and your deep rooted knowledge that ultimately you’ll get to the stage you don’t like) simply getting started, or overcoming the inertia of not doing laundry, is tough. You’ll know this is you if you wait until every hamper in the house is overflowing and you’re contemplating buying new underwear instead of washing the dozens of pairs in your hampers. Sound familiar? If so, first and foremost …
Get caught up!
Yep, that’s right. Step one is a laundry fest. Get every single article of clothing and all your linens washed, folded and put way — even the hand-washables! Block out a day, a few evenings, however long it takes, and get caught up. Laundry is your mission, but you can have some fun along the way too. Fold while you watch your favorite T.V. show. Bring a portable CD player into the laundry room. Have some snacks. Read a great book between loads. Do whatever you need to do, but get caught up! Then …
Do a little bit a lot more often!
Here’s one of my golden rules of organizing: the more you dislike doing something, the more often you should do it. Sounds crazy, but really its rational advice. Here’s why: if you dislike doing something, it gets worse when it gets bigger — doesn’t it? A small hamper filled with clothes is a lot less daunting than five overflowing hampers, right? So do a small load a day and keep reasonably caught up. It will take a lot less effort to get started and keep going.
Make it simple as pie!
Keep supplies in arms reach. Install a shelf above your washing machine and dryer to store all your supplies — spot removers, detergent, bleach, dryer sheets, empty hangers and the like. Keep extras of all your basic laundry supplies on hand to avoid last minute trips to the store. When you pull a bottle of detergent out of your storage area, jot it on your errands list and you’ll always have everything you need for laundry right at hand.
Separate as you go!
Invest in a three-compartment laundry sorter to make easy work out of keeping clothes separated. Separate by color as you put clothes into the hamper and save the mega-sort step of going through hampers and hampers full of laundry one item at a time. By sorting-as-you-go, when you see a full compartment in your hamper, its simple to throw in a load.
Tips to keep up the momentum!
Now that we’ve made it a little bit easier to get started on the laundry, here are some ways to make it simpler to keep at it.
Get into a routine!
Maybe you’ll throw in a load every morning right when you wake up and transfer it to the dryer after you’ve dressed and eaten breakfast. Or you could throw in a load at dinner and fold it during T.V. time. Whatever you decide, building laundry into your routine (much like brushing your teeth) takes a lot less energy than dreading it.
Make your laundry room more fun!
Bring color into your laundry room with a cheerful rug, curtains or framed kid’s artwork. Use glass jars for an artful display of detergent or antique clothes pins. Play some upbeat and energizing music while you sort or fold. Invest in laundry baskets that make you happy!
Make it easy to sort socks!
If you have a big family (and oodles of laundry!) consider keeping each family member’s clothes segregated. Put a hamper in each person’s room and do a couple of loads per family member per week (a load of lights and a load of darks, for example.) You’ll avoid the big sort at fold time — so much simpler than trying to figure out whose socks are whose after the fact!
If you don’t already have one, consider installing a hanging bar in your laundry room and hang clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. This makes it quick and easy to get your clothes out of the dryer while avoiding or minimizing wrinkles. (You may even be able to forego ironing!)
Make it easy to put things away!
Have you ever had the laundry washed, dried, folded and there it sat? For days and weeks it sat waiting for the put-away-laundry-fairy to magically appear and get everything back where it belongs. Instead, your whole family used the laundry room as a closet, sprinting through the house for clothes every morning. Uh … yep … I’ve been there, too.
- Here’s a simple solution that may sound familiar: sort as you go. Use a three-compartment handled laundry bag to segregate clothes by person as you fold. Or assign each person a laundry basket of their own, along with the responsibility of putting their things away.
- And last, but not least, remember our good friend the label. Apply labels to the inside of drawers and on hanging rods to make it easy for anyone to put clothes away. Who knows, maybe that put-away-laundry-fairy *will* magically appear!