Come Clean with Your Laundry
If paper is the bane of our existence then laundry has to be a very close second. If you are a family of two or more, you are well aware that the dirty laundry multiplies while you are snoring the night away (or at least it seems that way). A friend once said in exasperation, “laundry never stops!” Alas, there is hope. All you need are a few simple strategies and some family rules and you will be well on your way to getting control of your laundry.
Start with the basics — keep your laundry sorted. If you don’t have a laundry room, per se, then find space in a closet. You can invest in a multi-compartment sorter or use plain baskets; just make sure that you have them properly labeled. Without labels you may end up with pink gym socks (who hasn’t experienced that before). The bottom line is that you will have the ability (and maybe even a slight desire) to keep up with your laundry because it is always ready for the wash.
If you have dry cleanable items, designate a bag or bin. This way when you are ready to head to the dry cleaners, you can just grab and go. And when you go, make sure it is to a dry cleaner with a drive-up window or inside your grocery store (a place you already visit weekly). Better yet contract with one that will pickup at your home.
Is your laundry room, the “forgotten space” in your home? Take some time to spruce it up with fun colors or art work. Doing laundry may seem more bearable if you like the space you are working in. Also, keep it stocked with hangers, a drying rack, an iron and ironing board, plenty of detergent, dryer sheets and the like. There is nothing worse than having to drop everything to run to the store (except maybe using that as your excuse not to do your laundry).
If a temporary situation results in a laundry burden that you feel you can’t bear, then consider using a laundry service or the local laundry mat to get you back on track. It is well worth your time and stress reduction to pay someone else to wash, dry and fold your clothes. This is also a good strategy if you live in an apartment with limited laundry facilities.
Do laundry every day or every other day. You can’t argue with the fact that spending 15-20 minutes every day (time yourself if you think that number can’t be right) is far better then dedicating a whole day to doing something you don’t like. Bring your laundry with you to watch your favorite TV show. It is far better (for your waist line) to fold laundry during the commercials then head to the kitchen for a snack.
Share the burden- everyone should be involved! Even young kids can help gather dirty laundry from the hamper, push wet clothes into the dryer, sort whites from darks and put away socks or underwear. Make sure that all the hampers are empty and the dirty clothes sorted each night so that you know what load needs to be done. Then put away your clean clothes as soon as they are folded. Make it easy by giving each family member their own basket.
Prevent a big pile of laundry in the first place by having everyone agree that only truly dirty clothes will make it into the hamper. This is important if you have teens in the house for which a change of clothes is a must before they leave the house. Also limit each family member to 1 or 2 towels per week. If the towels are hung after each use they will dry quickly and remain fresh enough to last a week. For swimmers it is especially important to hang wet towels after practice so that you can get more than one use out of them. Finally, if you or another family member always changes out of a particular piece of clothing (and puts it in the dirty clothes hamper) because it doesn’t fit or look right then get rid of it!
Admittedly laundry is not at the top of most people’s list of fun things to do, but it is one of those “life tasks” that must be done. So why not invoke some or all of these strategies and agree on family laundry rules so that laundry does not have to be a dreaded chore.