Laundry-our never failing friend that is always there for us! This is one of those things that most of us struggle with and many of my clients have been completely overwhelmed by it. Don’t let laundry take over your life! Here are some suggestions that may be shocking to some of you, but I promise will simplify your laundry process. See if any of these will work for you and your family.
1-Get rid of excess clothes! Mountains of laundry aren’t even possible unless you and your family have way too many clothes. Put outfits together out of the clothes you have for you and each family member (buy a few items if needed) and get rid of the rest.
For each person in the family for each season I recommend:
-7 school/work/everyday outfits
-7 sets of pjs
-4 to 6 dressy/church outfits if you need those weekly (only 1-2 if you only use them occasionally)
-Socks, jewelry & accessories to go with the outfits
-seasonal things like swimsuits, 1 set of snow clothes: coat, gloves, hat, scarf, snow pants, boots etc.
To help you not buy things that need to be returned, keep a list of each of the family members current sizes and clothing needs (I keep this on my phone so I always have it with me.)
2-Life is too short to spend hours matching socks!
I only buy one and only one kind of sock for each person (and of your kids can wear the same size even better!-just get double of the same kind). Everyone gets 8 pairs of the same white socks (low ones for the spring and summer and taller ones for the fall and winter), with a few exceptions (My husband also gets 4 pairs of black to wear with his dress pants, and I have running socks too.). This way, when you’re doing laundry the odds of finding a match for a sock goes way up; and the basket of lone socks gets eliminated! If you have boys I love the socks by Hanes that have the “Hanes” logo on the bottom color coded by size. Those come in back or white so your little boy can easily pull out all of the socks with red writing on them and know they are his size.
Did you know it’s not necessary to sort your clothes? Washing machines are so much better than they used to be and the problem of a red sock dying a white shirt pink isn’t really an issue now if it’s washed on cold. I throw everything in all together and wash each load in cold and I’m good to go. I do like to do a load of towels, dish cloths, cleaning cloths etc. on warm or hot though. When I lived in Japan our washer didn’t even have a warm water setting and it was expected that you put everything in together to make a full load, wash it on cold and be on your way. You do want to be careful if you’re washing a new pair of jeans, or something like that for the first time though as those can bleed sometimes. It saves so much time, energy and water to make a full load of whatever is dirty and wash it in cold!
4-Don’t buy dry clean only and other high maintenance items!
The only exception to this is a formal dress that isn’t worn often and mens suits. Avoid other high maintenance items like dry flat, hand wash only etc.
5-Don’t buy items that wrinkle.
I hate ironing and never do it. I refuse to buy things that wrinkle and require ironing.
6-Don’t buy your young kids white clothes for obvious reasons! There are so many cute clothes out there that aren’t white and are less likely to be stained.
7-Type out a laundry instructions sheet and hang it next to the washer and dryer.
Then everyone can know how much detergent to use and what items shouldn’t be dried in the dryer.
8-Don’t use too much detergent!
This is a big problem, especially if you have a front loader machine. It’s recommended that you only use about 1 tablespoon of HE detergent per load. More than that won’t make your clothes cleaner and can make your washer stinky. For the science behind that see this link written by Tide: https://tide.com/en-us/washing-machine-101/common-problems/too-many-suds-in-the-washer
9-Use white vinegar in the washer instead of laundry softener.
White vinegar is awesome because it’s cheap, helps colors not to bleed and softens clothes! It also won’t irritate sensitive skin. And don’t worry, the smell completely disappears so your clothes won’t smell vinegary! If you still love your laundry softener be sure to not use it with towels and sports clothes because it will make them less absorbent.
10-You don’t have to use fabric sheets
Fabric sheets have a lot of chemicals and can irritate sensitive skin and since my daughter falls in that camp we stopped using them years ago. I’ve found that as long as we add a little vinegar to each load in the washer everything is nice and soft.
If you love fabric sheets and still want to use them be sure to avoid putting them with towels and some sports clothes because they will make them not very absorbent!
11-Teach your children to help with the laundry and make it easier for them to do so by:
-Not using dressers and drawers but bins and cubbies and pockets instead.
-Not using towel bars but hooks instead
-Keep shoes and socks by the front or back door
-Roll clothes (in outfits when possible) instead of folding them (Sorry, Marie Kondo!) That way they won’t wrinkle and it’s much easier for kids to do the laundry, put clothes away and get themselves dressed. You will also love how much easier it is to pack for a vacation!