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Doing laundry is one of those chores that most people seem to struggle with. I used to struggle with it too. It’s not a chore I prefer either but it’s a necessary one. Clothes are not disposable after all. I am here to share 3 tips to make your laundry routine more efficient.
Treat stains immediately
Make sure to treat stains immediately. Stains will be more likely to come off if you do. Teach children to set aside clothes with stains that need to be treated. Treating stains quickly means you don’t have to delay a load (because a stain needs to be treated) and also means you don’t have to spend any time fishing for stained clothes to treat.
My go to stain remover is a mix of one part dish washing soap and two parts of hydrogen peroxide. I came across this recipe on a post from Jillee a few years ago. I keep it in a dark glass bottle with a pump top right above the washer. It’s always accessible when anyone in our household needs it. As with any stain remover make sure to test on an inconspicuous area for color fastness. We’ve had some pieces discolor a bit with this stain remover.
Presort dirty laundry
This is a daily task that once you get in the habit of doing makes things go much smoother. Set up a sorting system near your washer & dryer (if possible).
Sort dirty laundry daily or every other day. We have a medium sized hamper in our bedroom and we aim to empty it out into the sorter on a daily basis.
Make sure to empty out pockets, straighten socks and turn garments inside out (if needed) as part of the presort process. This is something worth teaching kids too. Also teach kids to separate their underwear from their bottoms. Laundry goes so much smoother when you don’t have to deal with inside out pants with dirty underwear attached to them.
Wash a laundry load every day
I know this may seem impossible but hear me out. Breaking it down into manageable pieces makes it much easier to tackle. It’s easy to wash a load if stains are treated, pockets are emptied and dirty laundry is presorted.
I used to let laundry accumulate until the end of the week. Then on the weekends I would spend hours doing the laundry. I dreaded it. The last thing I wanted to do was work on my day “off”.
I started doing at least one load every day. By the end of the week most of the laundry is done and I am free to rest and have fun. It took time to build this habit but it was so worth the effort. I feel much more productive too.
Build the habit
If you want to start developing this habit here are some tips to do so:
Let go of your excuses and just start:
I had them too. My favorite was no time but once we were treating stains and presorting it became easier. I added a load to the washer before cooking. Then I moved it to the dryer when we were done cleaning the kitchen. I folded clothes while watching TV. Maybe your excuse is that you don’t have enough clothes for a load. If that’s the case then wait a day or two until you do have enough to wash a load. For every excuse you have there is an alternative. Find the alternative.
Set up a cue to remind yourself about the laundry load:
Our washer and dryer are in a closet inside a half bathroom. When I am running a load I leave the light above the washer and dryer on. This is a reminder that I have a laundry load in process. You can also set a timer on your phone or rely on the built in signals from your washer and dryer.
Ask family for help folding and putting clothes away:
Once the dry cycle is finished have each family member fold their own clothes and put it away. A client I worked with has a great system for this. Each family member has a laundry basket with their name on it. When the dry cycle is done she sorts the laundry into the appropriate laundry basket. Each family member is responsible for emptying out their own.
Track your habit until it becomes second nature:
It takes time to develop a new habit. It’s important to set a reminder and to track your progress. I like using paper to track my progress. If paper is not your thing use a recurring reminder on your phone or computer. At the end of the week review how many times you stuck to the habit. For the days you didn’t stick to it identify the reasons why you weren’t able to complete the task. Brainstorm changes you can make to fit completing the task on a daily basis.
Keep track until you do it automatically and no longer need any reminders or cues to get it done. This may take much more than 21 days so prepare yourself mentally. I am including a printable habit tracker for your convenience. Download it here. There are two sheets so you can print double sided (just make sure to set printer to flip on the short edge).
Keep it simple:
Things can get out of hand and just plain difficult if we over complicate them. Avoid this by keeping the process as simple as possible especially when you are building the habit.
Developing a system and habits are only one part of the equation to overcome laundry woes. Another part is to set up your space in a way that supports laundry activities. If you are ready to make the best out of your space see how to declutter and organize your laundry space.
How do you make your laundry routine more efficient? I would love to hear your tips & tricks. Please share in the comments below.