Laundry. Ugh. Laundry is the WORST. If you don’t stay on top of it, it can get overwhelming and out of control so quickly. I never learned how to properly manage the laundry and ended up struggling with it for a few years.
Our old house was under 800 square feet and severely lacking in storage space, especially after we had our daughter, Sydney. Our washer and dryer were in the unfinished basement. It got to the point where I would only wash, fold and put away Sydney’s laundry. Justin’s and my clothes just stayed downstairs, unfolded and spread out on the cold, concrete floor.
At one point, I put on a pair of sweatpants and I don’t even want to know what kind of bug was in them, but whatever it
Learning how to manage laundry was difficult for me, but I now found my groove and want to share some tips that I’ve learned.
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Find a tempo that works for you
Laundry might be something you take on once a week on a specific day, or laundry might be something you tackle throughout the entire week. You will figure out what works for you through trial and error. And it’s important to know that your system may change as your family and lifestyle changes.
I discovered I do better
But who knows, as our kids get bigger and our schedules get busier, in the future I might find it’s easier to do a little each day. Be flexible and do what’s best for you!
Have a dedicated space for both dirty and clean clothes
Make sure everyone has a hamper or basket in their room for dirty clothes. Both of my kiddos have a basket in their closet where they can easily throw their dirty clothes in. We have a basket in our room and I also keep an extra basket in the bathroom so we can throw our clothes right in there before hopping in the shower.
You also need to have a space to put your clean clothes. The reason our laundry piled up so much at our old house was we didn’t have proper storage to put our clean clothes.
If you don’t have enough spaces, you may need to Marie Kondo the shit out of your clothes and purge. If the thought of getting rid of some clothes scares you or you’re the “I’ll fit into it again someday” person, put those clothes in a bag and store it away. If you find yourself not dipping into the bag after a couple months, get rid of those clothes.
Simplify the sorting
I used to never sort my laundry – everything got washed together. It wasn’t until I noticed my white shirts were more gray than white that I realized it would probably be best to separate them. It does actually make a difference.
I don’t make my family sort, though. Everyone just throws the laundry into the baskets and I do the sorting before I load the washer. I keep it simple with sorting: towels and linens, colors and whites. I don’t separate the jeans, or the lights, mediums and darks. The simpler, the better for me!
Fight the stains
I feel like choosing how to fight stains is a personal choice – everyone has their own tips and tricks for it, so I won’t spend much time discussing options.
I don’t mess around with stains – I use a product called Lestoil. This stuff is very strong and concentrated, so you don’t need much. I pour it into a plastic condiment squeeze bottle to make it easier to distribute on the stain. Sometimes, I’ll let it sit on the stain overnight, or sometimes I’ll lightly scrub the stain with an old toothbrush. Either way, this stuff is LEGIT. It gets everything out. Forwarning: it is potent, but the smell does wash out.
To Pod or not to Pod?
This is…a loaded question. I prefer liquid detergent over Tide PODS. We tried them and, though they were convenient, we blew through the bag so fast. I even tried to figure if it would save us money over time (we had a terrible habit of over-pouring), and it wouldn’t. We can’t justify the price.
To solve for over-pouring, we started using the cap to measure instead of eyeballing it. And, as mentioned above, we don’t use the amount the container tells us to use. Now that we’ve gotten the over-pouring under control, I can tell we are going through a container of detergent less quickly.
Other laundry hacks
- Wash your liquid detergent cap with the clothes. Don’t waste time rinsing it out in the sink and creating an infinite amount of suds – just throw it in with your clothes! I’ve done it with cold and warm loads. If I have anything that washes with hot water, I do those first and I don’t add the cap. I throw it in during the next cycle with warm or cold water.
- Quickly hang shirts on the hanger by stacking them flat on top of each other, then folding them halfway down as you slip the hanger through. Big time saver.
- Put dirty socks in a mesh bag and wash them in the bag. This helps prevent you from having missing socks.
- Use white vinegar as a liquid fabric softener. It’s also great for towels and sheets! I use a little bit of detergent and a lot of white vinegar so I don’t get much soap buildup on towels.
- Wash jeans inside out to prevent fading.
- Always use less detergent than the container says. Of course, the detergent makers want you to overuse so you’ll buy more. Cut back a bit.
- Use a folding board to make all your shirts fold to the same size. It makes it so much easier to organize them in drawers!