The Guide to Imperfect, but Clean, Laundry

If you do an excellent job taking care of your laundry each week, this isn’t a post for you. If all of your clothes are neatly put away, you should skip this post. You don’t need to read it.

If your goal is simply to have you and your family dressed in clean clothes, let’s talk strategies.

1. Have one laundry basket for clean clothes — just one! I’ve had a load of clean clothes sitting in the laundry basket for four days, not even folded. Pretty soon my kids will start getting dressed from it when their drawers are finally empty. I don’t care; it’s just one basket. I put away all the other laundry because I only have that one basket.

2. Do not pile clothes on your ironing board. If your clothes need to be ironed but you don’t plan to do it right then, hang them up in your closet anyway so they won’t be more wrinkled. There are few things more discouraging than an ironing pile. If for some reason you have an inkling to do some ironing, you can get the clothes from the closet or iron one shirt when you need it.

3. Don’t fold everything. Towels are hung back on the towel bar. Sheets are put back on the bed. Underwear gets tossed in the drawer. T-shirts are hung on hangers.

4. Sorting clothes before you wash — I don’t think you need to do it if you wash clothes in cold water. I can’t help myself, I sort anyways. Do you or don’t you?

5. Phase out high-maintenance clothes. Look at the care label when you buy new ones. Dry clean only? Pass. The shirt may be on sale, but you’ll pay much more for cleaning costs, not to mention how long it will sit on the floor of the closet before you take a trip to the cleaners.

Mainly with laundry, just try to keep up. You don’t need to have it all finished to feel good about it. I need to do three to four loads a week in my family, so I try to keep up that pace during the week. I don’t try to have all of my family’s clothes clean at the same time. If I did, it would last about two seconds. (Those two seconds happened once in 2008, but then Doug took off his socks. It was great while it lasted.)

What approach do you take for your laundry?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Never iron. It’s hard to find no-wrinkle shirts for women but they are out there. My husband irons what he needs (luckily, most of that does not need ironing either. Then there is, I think, one tablecloth that needs ironing and that we use a few times a year when we have more special dinner.

    One thing we need to sort out yet: barely-used-clothes-pile. I know this is more European approach, but honestly who will wash jeans after one use? Unless they are suicidal, or really into laundry…Our pile is currently on one chair, and it’s a tad impractical (and in our living-room ;)

    Share tasks. Our 1,5 year old helps in folding laundry (right now, it’s still more just because we want him to learn it’s fun, but within a year it will be real help) and loves carrying dirty clothes from the hamper to washing machine. We fold laundry all together and both hubby and I do laundry. He is responsible for arranging linen and towels drawers, mostly because he likes his system (I would just put them to anywhere where there is space and then not find it…) and I’d just mess it up.

    So, I guess combined with your approach, it boils down to “share, organize & eliminate” – share tasks, have a place for anything (even unfolded cleans) and eliminate unnecessary ones.

    • I’m with you on the ‘barely-used’ pile. I read in a housekeeping book several years ago that outer-clothing should NOT be washed after every wearing because it wears down the fabric more quickly and so the garment wears out in less time. Instead it should be allowed to air out in preparation for the next use. So, now I hang my clothes back up after wearing (unless they are really dirty or smelly) and let them air out, and wear them again. After about 10 days, most of my wardrobe needs washed, so I do a couple of loads and everything is fine. Same thing for towels (I use two towels for 4-7 days) and washcloths. It’s just simpler to deal with!

  2. Up until last month my wonderful MIL would plough through my laundry in one day whilst she looked after my son. I loved coming home and finding everything folded and put away.

    Now he my littlest one has started school there is no need for MIL to be here so the laundry task has returned to me! My strategy at the moment is to prioritise the essentials – do the school uniforms/our work clothes first.

    Like you I don’t iron – I find if I can catch it out of the dryer quick enough there really is no need, for things that can’t be tumble dried then I hang carefully. The only thing that gets ironed now are DH’s work shirts (and he does those as he goes as part of his morning routine).

    Taking the decision that I would rather have one load washed, dried and put away rather than turning it into a mammoth task with multiple loads at various stages that I never get to finish. Little and often is better for me at the mo.

    I am very much a novice and I long to have this under control!

    Anna´s last post…Family Tree

  3. Karen (Scotland) says:

    I think laundry “systems” are totally different over here. Tumble driers aren’t the norm so folding isn’t really the issue (seems to be the biggest block for US bloggers!)
    Once I wash, I have to hang it all up to dry – outside on a line or upstairs on the pulley which hangs above the stairs (which I love, love, love) or on one of the three clotheshorses that I own.

    If you dry indoors, there isn’t really a choice about ironing (having said that, my son is off to school today in unironed poloshirt and trousers but this week’s laundry has been particularly burdensome…).

    Also, we have frontloaders, which means the washing part just involves opening the door, throwing in the clothes, adding the powder then pressing a button. Return one hour later and it’s all done. I still feel washing machines are a small miracle.

    Yes, I sort. I have tried bunging it all in together but I find things go grey, even with the miraculous Colour Catcher sheets that I use. We have two trays on a shelf above the washing machine – one for darks, one for lights (not whites – often pinks, actually :-) ) and I have a plastic box for my nappies (diapers). I throw nappies and towels in together as I like them washed a bit hotter than clothing.

    I find reducing the amount of clothes in the household stops laundry getting out of control. If I know the boys only have five outfits, then I know I have to do the laundry once the tray is full or there will literally be NOTHING to wear in a couple of days.

    OK, WAY too long a comment so I’m off now!
    Karen

  4. For me:
    Do one load a day, 6 days a week. If clothes hampers are empty, do sheets or towels that day. The rotation works well for me.

    Keep permanent press separate so that I can deal with it in one fell swoop (hanging, making sure not wrinkled, etc.) The rest of our clothes aren’t fussy.

    Loads are started at night to soak and turned on when I go get my tea in the morning, so that it’s done by the time morning chores start and can be hung before it’s hot, or tossed in the dryer to fold whenever.

    Darcy´s last post…Some weeks are just like that…

  5. I think I have finally found my laundry mo-jo! I divided the task and assigned each one a day.
    Monday – the weekly loads, usually 3-4 for Hubs, me and ds.
    Tuesday – ironing.
    Friday – Linens, sheets for ds and us and usually 1 load of darks. Saturday – dd does her laundry, sheets and the bathroom towels.
    Aside from that I don’t even think about it! We do have two huge front loaders, so we can do huge loads at a time which is wonderful! And I am a “fold-it-when-the-dryer-buzzes” kind of girl, so that alleviates a lot of wrinkle for me.
    GREAT POST!!!

  6. i moved 3 1/2 years ago to a house with a front loading washing machine – since then i have washed only on cold with NO sorting. i just throw in a load – even white with denim – and i have never had any trouble (oh – except when my husband leaves a pen in his pants pocket….) try it!!!

  7. Love this post as I have clean laundry in piles in my bedroom. But I did learn to hang up shirts and not pile them up on the ironing board..they never got done that way. Most of our clothes don’t go in the dryer and I have them on racks…about 5 of them, which once they are dry, they need to be put away. That is the hardest thing to do for me….

    Sharon´s last post…Clenching

  8. I have been keeping house for 34 years and I must say that sorting your clothes and washing them accordingly is really key to keeping your clothes in good condition. As a former nurse, I think it is better to wash underclothes separately in hot water. I guess I am Old School but that is how I roll!!:)

    • Amen, Arlene! I’m Old School with you! I will never feel that our undies are “clean clean” unless they’ve been washed in hot water. It takes a certain amount of heat to kill those worst of germs, doesn’t it? Surprises me that people who are religiously clean about the rest of their lives are okay with washing everything in cold. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think that soap and cold water get out all those thing that are up next to the private parts. I would need empirical evidence, but even then there’d be a psychological barrier for me!

      • I’ve read that the heat in your washer is never going to be hot enough to kill those germs. Supposedly you will only kill the germs by drying things in a hot dryer or in the sun (which also disinfects).

        That being said, I’ve also read that all detergent is more effective in hot water. So it is still a good idea to wash the dirtiest things in hot water anyway. I also add a few sprays of Bac-out to these loads.

        If you have hard water, your clothes are definitely not going to get “clean clean” even in hot water. You may want to consider using a water softener like Calgon to make sure all the detergent (and dirt with it) gets washed away.

        It is even harder to get clothes “clean clean” in a front loader… I don’t have much experience with that but from what I read there just isn’t enough water to rinse all the detergent away without doing some extra rinse cycles.

        (My daughter wears cloth diapers, so it is very important to me that things get really clean! I have not yet tried Calgon, but I plan to in the near future.)

        • Totally agree about the dryer!! Dry my little one’s underwear and my husband’s boxers (just the sweat from work is horrendous!) on high and feel that they are clean. Try to do a load with undies, socks, and maybe some really dirty towels or kitchen clean-up towels. Not sure what to do with my more delicate lingerie. Would like to have them on hot, too, but it destroys them!

  9. I absolutely agree about the routine thing. Saturday morning is laundry day for me– after the farmer’s market– and then it’s dry and ready to put away on Sunday. It stops me from dreading it and worrying about it.

  10. Either you read my mind or my post from yesterday. I don’t iron. 90% of the time there is clean laundry in a pile somewhere in our home.

    My latest tip is having our four year old fold all of our cloth napkins, dish rags, and towels. He actually does an okay job and puts them away for me as well. Since we do these at least every other day it is a big help.

    I love a neat drawer and linen closet, but when I am covered in tomato sauce from weeks of canning I am okay with a messy napkin basket :).

    Shannon´s last post…Confessions of a Type B Mama

  11. the cottage child says:

    We do laundry over the course of the week, 10-12 loads. I used to take the knock it all out approach, and a few times a year we’ll find ourselves in that mode if we’ve skipped a few days, but ongoing for us is better than a full day’s project.

    We don’t keep baskets around, I wish I could make that stick but they always seem to end up as parts of a train or a boat or fort….whatever, clothes on the floor. We sort as we wash, with a liberal tolerance except for whites and dress clothes, iron little and as needed, and like you suggested, linens go back to their points of service straight from the dryer.

    We also have a mom-enforced rule that what gets washed (by me) is limited to what I find where it’s supposed to be (kids are elementary age and have the laundry fairy gene they inherited from their Dad – yeah, honey, that’s you) This helps curtail the occasional dirty laundry outpost that would be inclined to pop up on the bathroom floor, etc. If anyone is interested in a favorite outfit, or clean underwear, they know it has to be in the hamper, or no wash-y. Offending strays are put on the bottom of the hamper for emphasis. This happens rarely anymore, and of course there’s lots of forgiveness in the interest of love and full loads.

    I will say that involving the kids in laundry has helped tremendously with their understanding of “too many” (as in tshirts) and “not enough” (socks and underwear). It’s been over a year now since I heard “I’m out of underwear” as we are about to walk out the door for Church. That’s worth celebrating.

    Oh, and as if this com isn’t long enough, I have a question… Does anyone living in a coastal area have any advice for line drying? Any special considerations w/humidity? Thanks.

    • I relate on many levels to your approach, from kids involved to the laundry fairy gene, to no baskets. Kids in my house bring their dirty stuff into the laundry room themselves. After I sort, wash, dry and fold, clean clothes go on an inexpensive multilevel shelving unit. Everyone has their own shelf. When you need clean clothes, you know where to get them. Once I week I may have to gently encourage people to retrieve and put away the remaining items. With 6 people in the house and many of them small people, laundry is a regular part of each day but I don’t feel overwhelmed by it.

      • Karen (Scotland) says:

        I like this idea of tehm collecting the clothes themselves. Mine are still too young but I’ll be keeping this in mind for when they are older.

  12. We sort in the master bedroom because we have a two part hamper (Thank you Ikea) so it is lights and whites and brights and darks. On laundry day (Monday) I line up the big totes (Ikea and LL Bean) on the bed and sort everything into them. They are all the size of one load. Wash, dry on the line or in the dryer. Then fold right into the totes, one for each destination. That way even if I don’t quite get everything put away, the baby’s tote just goes to his room, the kitchen tote to the kitchen for when I find a minute.
    For ironing, I find it easiest to hand shirts to dry on a hanger rather than fuss with the dryer. I do a touch up ironing since my husband has a pretty fancy business casual workplace, but never bother with my own shirts.

  13. I don’t agree with #1, but I have 4 kids and the laundry really piles up.
    I do NOT iron. I HATE ironing.
    As for sorting, I have a 3 section sorter and the kids can do that. (whites/darks/colors–we have 3 girls so the “colors” pile is mostly red/pink)

    I had a great daily system until we moved and no longer have a laundry room. Now I have one big laundry day, where I wash, dry, & fold and the kids put it away.

    Holly´s last post…Bennetts Funky Crawl

  14. I absolutely sort colors from whites, no question about that.
    I have several baskets, but use one for clothes one for towels. Towels get washed when the basket is full, once or twice a week.Clothes get washed when there is a full load of whites or colors. very simple. I use a dryer, and get the clothes out promptly- fold and put in basket then back up to the rooms where they belong. I have a family of 7 and have kept a fairly strict routine where laundry is concerned or all heck breaks loose!
    Both washer and dryer are front loaders. The only stuff I do on warm is sheets and towels. Certain clothes and sheets get an extra rinse.

  15. My best trick for laundry is to always fold on the kitchen counter. That way you HAVE to deal with getting it put away properly. That and doing at least one load every day. With two teenage boys, laundry would be a massive undertaking if I waited to complete it all on one day!

    • I use this idea, but do the folding on my bed. If I don’t get to it sooner, I put it all away at bedtime. Also, my boys are more likely to put their own away at that time.

  16. I just can’t throw everything into the washer without sorting! I sometimes *gasp* do a load of whites and light-colored clothing. But everything has to be sorted for me to feel like I’m doing my job right! I just couldn’t wash the jeans with the whites. Or the kitchen towels with the t-shirts.

    Tammy´s last post…Paint Project

    • I agree, Tammy. Over time the whites get dingy grey. The main problem is not so much washing, but drying. Putting in heavy clothes with lightweight ones means too much heat for the lightweights, really. But to each his/her own. Obviously this is a “weighty” and “heated” topic. I think it comes down to this: when are they clean enough, white enough, pressed enough, or done enough to suit us? I thinks it’s a psychological question more than a scientific one, don’t you?

      Zoanna´s last post…If You Love Babies and Good Pictures

  17. I’m with Karen on this one – laundry is a on a totally different planet here in the UK. There is absolutely no place to ‘do the laundry’ in our house, the washing machine is in the kitchen, the washing goes on the line outside to dry but now the ‘summer’ is over it is draped all around the house and is currently taking at least two days to dry. Laundry is just a complete nightmare for us and we have pretty much abandoned ironing despite the creases!!

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      I’ve just turned the heating on this last week and the washing has dried SO much faster. Yeay – the only good thing about having the heating back on!
      ;-)
      Karen

    • I must say, while vacationing in the suburbs of London, we recieved more than a few odd looks when asking for directions to a laundromat. They are on every corner in the states, but we couldn’t find one to save our lives (or our laundry!).

  18. I love the practicality with which you approach your topics!! You are quite an encouragement.

    Now, to the topic at hand. Laundry is a large part of my life. We have 7 children and the accumulation of dirty clothes is almost audible.

    To complicate matters further, we are on a septic system because our house was outside the city limits when built. Which makes it very important to limit the amount of water we use.

    I have used many different strategies over the years but then something important happened! My washing machine died and my husband bought me one of the new HE models! It changed my life! (He got the largest capacity one they had)

    We no longer sort in the traditional sense. I have a hamper for each bedroom. That means the three boys who share a bedroom all put their clothes in one hamper. The two girls who share another bedroom do the same.

    When that hamper is FULL, (I don’t do anything but large loads, except on a rare occasion) they go through it checking pockets and turning socks right side out, I wash it. I only use cold water because this washer gets things clean. Once that load comes out of the dryer (which is much sooner because the washer spins at such a high speed), it goes straight to the bedroom it came from. The kids then fold it and put it away.

    The most amazing thing happens now: I actually end up with every sock having a match in many loads from our master bedroom! (http://iliveinanantbed.blogspot.com/2010/09/momentous-event.html) I feel emancipated!! :)

    I Live in an Antbed´s last post…Always My Choice

  19. A lot of restrictive tags (“dry clean only,” “hand wash only”) aren’t really true. Consider machine washing. Was the item cheap? Would you not be heartbroken if it’s ruined? Will you never wear it anyway if it’s dry clean only? Try the machine.

    • I always re-interpret “hand wash only” to mean “gentle cycle” on my machine! :o)

  20. I hate laundry. Loathe. I regularly pull the dirty out of the bin to wear it again rather than wash. Gross. Then we bought three super cheap (not not ugly) bins from Ikea that fold up and have handles. They’re in our bathroom, and the dirty clothes get sorted from the get-go. Three bins – white, light, dark. Then when one is full, it gets washed. And hopefully dried before it’s washed again. But at least I’m not overwhelmed with three or five loads of laundry at once. It’s really worked well. It also is easy enough that my husband will regularly take down a bin and wash it. Without being asked. I mean, really? Winner winner chicken dinner.

    Kendra @ My First Kitchen´s last post…The Salad That Blew My Mind

  21. So glad I read this. I’m in the camp of not sorting laundry unless it might bleed on something else (like red clothes or new blue jeans). My husband and mother think I’m crazy, but I don’t see the point in sorting unless I need to make a more manageable laundry pile. I also don’t fold pj’s and I keep a clean clothes basket on top of the dryer for quick access to play clothes downstairs.

    • Ah Kimberly I agree! I don’t sort. I used to think you absoultely HAD to, until my husband started helping me with laundry. He NEVER sorted stuff and nothing bad ever happened. Ever. Brand new stuff like dark colored shirts, or new jeans get washed alone, but otherwise it all goes in together.
      Glad to know I’m not the only one out there who doesn’t sort (people look at me like I’ve lost my mind if I mention I don’t worry about sorting)!

  22. I haven’t color sorted laundry since some time in undergrad. As long as you aren’t sticking a new brightly colored clothing item in, odds are you’ll be fine (plus I don’t wear a lot of white). The only sorting I do these days is delicates and regular. And my clothes look fine.

    Alissa´s last post…ringworm

  23. My daughter loves playing ‘cinderella’ as we do the sorting. I tell her it’s all about being a princess, they have chores to do, too!

    In general, I’ve got the system in place. The sorting and folding doesn’t bother me.

    It’s the PUTTING AWAY! I hate this part. Trying to stuff the clothes into limited drawers/closets drives me crazy. Putting away becomes a battle with the dressers…and then that wave of, ‘I’m so disorganized’ washes over me and then I continue to stuff more clothes on top of a bulging drawer.

    Solution: purge. purge. and purge again. less to wash, less to put away!
    I’m finding that if there is sufficient room for the clothes, then when it’s time to put things away, there are empty spaces for the clothes to go. ‘Putting away’ becomes just that…instead of a battle with space.

    If there is any empty-ish drawer for the clothes to go, it also becomes easier to have cinderella help me, cause she is able to open and close the drawers easily.

    win-win!

  24. calliope (Greece) says:

    I my…!I love doing laundry yet more often than I’d like we find ourselves without any ironed clothes to wear!
    Dryers are not an option here. Being all that sunny and summery, it would be a waste of energy, money and space. Instead EVERYONE has clothes lines even in small balconies to line dry the clothes that were washed in frontload machines, which btw I think are creasing the clothes even more. Esp the new models with the 1400 spins.
    I always separate the clothes beforehand in 2 separate baskets. They are kept better for many years this way.
    I wash in cold or lukewarm water with vegetable soaps,soda and borax.
    Then I line dry. Love this part
    Then I fold neatly and put back the clothes that I don’t iron. Anything that doesn’t “show”, that is!
    And then I iron the rest while watching Dr. House or Castle
    ;)

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      I love line drying too. Especially the first load of the day which I sometimes have out by 7am in summer. It’s peaceful, I’m outside getting fresh air, it’s one of my favourite times of the day.
      I once saw two deer over my garden fence when I was hanging up washing – made my day!
      Karen

      • I too love hanging clothes out. It saves so much energy and everything smells so fresh.

        I recently had a repair person here to fix my dishwasher. I learned that I’ve been using too much soap in the dishwasher and also in the washing machine. I have a HE. He told me that all I needed to use was 1 Tablespoon! And that too much soap is what makes the machine smell. I have found that he was right. The machine doesn’t smell and the clothes are still getting clean.

  25. Oh, laundry is my arch enemy! Working fulltime with a 5 person household it seems impossible to keep up. I have decided that clean is now my perfect. If it isn’t folded perfectly and put away just right, that is really ok. This post was very encouraging for me, thank you!

  26. I don’t like to run back and forth while sorting and putting away laundry, I like to just stand there and do it all at once, so on days I wash a few loads, as they are clean I just dump the basket on our king sized bed. When the last load for the day is done, I stand there and as I fold I set them in piles so I just have to grab the piles and put them wherever they go. Also we have a sock basket. As I am sorting if I come across a sock, I just toss it in the basket. After everything else is done, I dump the sock basket on the bed and match them, it’s amazing how fast this goes!

  27. Keeping laundry put away is a weakness for me, but limiting the number of laundry baskets is a great tip; it certainly helps me (my limit is 2). My four-year old has the laundry responsibilities of folding washcloths and putting his clothes away. It really is a big help, and teaches him at the same time. My toddler puts kitchen cloths and towels in a drawer, albeit haphazardly. :)

  28. my laundry rules:
    sort adult clothes
    don’t sort kid clothes – 1 load a week
    put clean clothes on bed – that way they get folded before bedtime
    one load a day washed and put away
    no ironing – just take out of dryer and hang up right away

    Becky – Clean Mama´s last post…Meal Planning – Calendar

    • I like the idea of using the bed for storing clean laundry! I used to put them on my desk and they would never make it into drawers – I stopped working at the desk and for a while it was just an extension of my dresser :)
      But I will not give up using my bed!

  29. I do a gazillion loads of laundry a week. I think my fam is bringing in clothes from the neighborhood! I am an ironing freak. I usually iron for the week while catching up on taped shows. One little ironing tip; if you are using a steam iron, put some aluminum foil under your ironing board pad to quicken up the process. As far as putting the clothes away, I got different color crates for each child. After folding I put their stuff in their crates and they have to take it to their rooms and put it away.

    Paula@Simply Sandwich´s last post…More Multi-Meal Cooking

  30. We have too few clothes for me to worry about sorting! I need to reuse certain items quicker than I can wait for a load of darks, whites, etc. to pile up, so whenever I get enough clothes for one load, it all goes into the washer together on cold. I’ve never had a problem doing this. If anyone has an item that tends to bleed, I only then suggest putting in the effort to wash it in a darks load.

    Great post!

    • This is me too! We try to limit our clothes to about a week and half’s worth for everyone (including the 1 year old). This way we don’t have a lot of clothes taking up space – as we have limited closet and drawer space in our home). I do sort *a bit*…but not with clothes, mostly towels and cloth diapers get washed separately. I wash all of our clothes on cold and on the gentle cycle (and lots get air dried to avoid premature wear from the dryer).

      It has been wonderful paring down our clothing! I am much better about getting the laundry done b/c I know that we won’t have anything to wear if I don’t. So here is my system:
      Monday – cloth diapers and bedding laundry
      Tuesday – kitchen laundry
      Wednesday – regular laundry (adult and kids clothes) and cloth diapers
      Thursday – bathroom laundry
      Friday – cloth diaper laundry and sometimes a second load of kitchen laundry (we use all cloth in the kitchen…no paper towels means more yucky laundry that can get funky fast!)
      Saturday – regular laundry
      Sunday – catch-up in case I missed a day during the week

      Bri´s last post…Cloth Diapers – A Love Affair

  31. We’re cloth diapering, so our routine has a few more kinks than we have had in the past, but it’s still working for us. I don’t do laundry until we have a full load. I do sort- Lights and Darks, generally. Drying is on the line, unless it’s something I really want fluffy, like towels. Cloth diapers take longer- one cold rinse, one full hot wash, then one extra rinse, plus line time. I usually do one load a day, like Becky said above- washed to put away. It’s a small victory, but it’s a victory!

    Evenshine´s last post…Dear Monsieur Chimpunk

  32. I’m such a terrible housekeeper and it’s taken me a while to find what works for me. Here’s what I do:
    Monday – sheets
    Tuesday – towels
    Wednesday – whites
    Thursday – darks
    Friday – little man’s clothes, towels, and sheet
    And no laundry on the weekend! Also, I don’t iron even though my husband wears a dress shirt everyday. He is only allowed to get the wrinkle-free kind. And I hang them up immediately after coming out of the dryer. Works like a charm!

    Erin P.´s last post…Menu Plan Monday- September 19-25

    • Wow! I’m not the only terrible housekeeper? Greetings, sister!

      I think that is probably going to be my legacy…”She had a good heart, but what a lousy housekeeper.” :-)

  33. I completely agree about ironing. We never iron until we’re about to put the outfit on. We just give ourselves a few extra minutes before getting ready.

    I do about 4 loads scattered throughout the week, too. I just plan on doing a load a day during the week. I do towels and sheets on Mondays, but other than that it’s random… and I don’t use my dryer for much else; I just use my folding clothes rack. So in the morning I put a new load in and fold the dry load from the day before.

    I did get behind this past week, so on Monday I washed everything, and it was all clean for 2 minutes. :-)

    • Are there people that do iron before they’ve decided to wear something wrinkly? I would like to meet these pre-emptive ironers. Who has that kind of time???

      Amy´s last post…100 Things I Love- Part 4

      • calliope (Greece) says:

        unfortunately when you line dry you have to iron because clothes are too wrinkly.
        So I try to iron once a week.
        Not everything though! Only shirts, skirts, trousers and the occasional t-shirt. I absolutely refuse to iron towels,sheets,underwear,pj and kitchen cloths!
        I have a really powerful steam iron/machine/thing and I usually have everything done within half an hour.

      • my kids wear uniforms to school and i iron all of thier uniforms for the week on sunday night during the evening news. 3 kids, 15 sets of uniforms, 30 minutes tops. makes our mornings much easier :)

  34. Don’t sort! It’s a complete waste of time, as long as you wash with cold water. Which also cuts down on energy costs. If we have a brand new pair of really dark jeans, I will sometimes… but only sometimes, wash them alone with other jeans. I quit sorting as the laundry grew with kids. I’m also an extreme type B and don’t do what doesn’t seem necessary. And I do one load at a time, usually about every other day. I try to fold it and put it away before the next load is done… otherwise my one clean basket turns into one clean mound.

    haley´s last post…Picture overload

  35. We have one of those hampers on wheels that has three separate sections, so sorting happens automatically as we undress: whites, darks, delicates. And everything goes in cold water. It’s folding that I hate, so I do it in front of the TV at night. Makes the process bearable.

    Ruth´s last post…Best Used By… YOU!

  36. My four sons (15, 12, 9 and 7) each have their own laundry day. They wash their sheets, do a load of lights and one of darks. They put their beds back together and their clothes away by the end of their laundry day. The youngest started when he was five. Makes my life easier and even if they don’t do their laundry when they are adults, they will sure appreciate the person who does.

    • calliope (Greece) says:

      As a mother of one toddler son and a wife of a really spoiled son from an otherwise fabulous MIL, I salute you!
      My son already has small jobs to do everyday.
      Hopefully, he’ll turn out to be the ideal man! :) :) :)

  37. my sister turned me on to Downy’s wrinkle release spray a few years ago, and I’ve probably used an iron less than 5 times since then. it does an amazingly great job…LOVE it!

  38. We do laundry everyday (except weekends). Every morning my 3 children bring their dirty laundry down in a tub/bucket that has their name on it. I put all our clothes in the washer (including our clothes) and wash one big load. When the load is done I immediately fold everything and put the folded clothes in the respective kid’s tub. When the kids get home from school they put their clean clothes away. It makes it easier for us becuase they only have a few clean items to put away each day so they rarely grumble about it. I have one day that I use to wash towels and another day for sheets and various odd and end linens. The system seems to work pretty well for us and we rarely have piles of clothes. The downside to not doing it on the weekend is that I do have a little more laundry on Monday, but I would rather that than do the laundry on the weekends. I am fortunate to work from home so I get to take care of this easily. However, when I worked outside the home the system worked well then too.

  39. I never iron, although we rarely wear clothes that need to be ironed, either. Also, I never sort before washing. I know I probably should, but I don’t. I wash white t-shirts with jeans and towels with underwear and everything in between. Everything gets washed in cold water (to save money) and it seems to work just fine for us. (unless there’s a serious stain, then I use hot water). I have never noticed a need to do anything different!

  40. I use Fly Lady’s approach – do one color every day. So Mondays and Thursdays are brights; Tuesdays and Fridays are whites; Wednesdays and Saturdays are darks. I usually do our bed sheets Mondays; and the girls’ sheets Thursdays. Sometimes I skip doing the girls’ sheets. They don’t seem to mind!!!

  41. Just wanted to let you know I love your blog – the simplicity of it, the humor in the writing, the warmth of each post just makes my day :) Thanks so much.

  42. I don’t sort either. Also don’t really use a hamper. At night before bed I wander around & pick up all the clothes, towels etc. that need to be washed and throw them in the washer. When it’s full I run a load. Writing all that out makes me feel incredibly lazy, but it is a system that really works for us. We used to have piles & piles of dirty laundry & no clean clothes. Now I’m almost always completely caught up with laundry.

    • But if you don’t sort, don’t your guys undershirts and tighty-whities not start to get dingy after a while? I can’t stand to see my hubby with dingy unders on !!

      • Karen (Scotland) says:

        Move him over to black boxers, instead of tighty-whities (as I believe they are called in the US)?
        ;-)
        Karen

  43. Where I get tripped up is when we’re between seasons or sizes. Then the old stuff needs to be put away, but not in the drawers, and then there’s the new stuff that doesn’t have a home until the old stuff in the drawers is removed. And then it all piles up and UGH.

  44. Folding clothes is one of my MOST disliked chores! As a newly retired lady, with a husband who has also just retired, my world has taking a different road, to say the least! But clothes, and the growing pile of DIRTY clothes, is still a problem. Recently, in Wal-Mart, I found a really useful item. It is a 3-sectioned hamper with hanging mesh bags for your whites, colors and darks. This has really been revolutionary for me! I don’t have to sort clothes in the bedroom floor into 3 piles for the dog to take a nap on while I”m out of the room. They can stay in their respective bags until I need them – I really love this thing! It still doesn’t solve the folding issues – and I hate that – but it does make the organization a little bit less stressful ! At our Wal-Mart, this hamper cost $19.97. Not so much to pay for the the usefulness of it.

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      My cats now sleep on the dirty laundry piles in the utility room. Totally gross but they just ignore their cat beds!
      Karen

  45. one basket for everything. do laundry every other day for family of 4 (2 small children). sort white (all linens and towels- hot/cold), dark and light clothing (cold/cold), table cloths and kitchen rags (hot/cold). i don’t own an iron so any dress clothes are strategically washed so that i can be home when they’re finished drying for immediate hanging. if not there’s wrinkle release (emergency only). easy.

  46. I do all my laundry on the weekend, iron on Sunday, and put it all away before bed. We start the work week with full closets of clean clothes! But I think laundry is my favorite chore, isn’t that weird? I think it probably is but I just really love laundry!

  47. Oh I have laundering down to a fine art and leave heaps of very important steps out!!! i used to do laundry every day but the price of electricity has gone through the roof… literally trebled… so now I do it when the washer is loaded to the very top. Nothing is presorted and their are no hampers. If it is dirty then whoever wears it puts it straight in the washer. If the washer is full to the brim then turn it on… only ever wash cold on the shortest wash… once it is finished then hang it out to dry and if you hang it carefully you won’t need to iron – EVER!!!… We have a system for hanging clothes, (http://www.se7en.org.za/2009/02/01/saturday-spot-the-laundry) we sort as we hang… as soon as the washing is dry we take it off the racks in order and everybody’s laundry is folded in piles and there is a laundry deliverer person that packs it back into the relevant drawers. The only problem with doing laundry every third day is that what was once 20 minutes worth of hanging everyday is now at least an hour every third day – that’s a large chunk of time!!! But I can’t figure out how to shorten it yet!!!

    se7en´s last post…How to Celebrate a Birthday in Se7en Easy Steps…

  48. When you have kids in the house, it is a serious pain to have to do one load of laundry that might have four different people’s clothes – especially when it comes to folding and putting things away. So, I do have more that one laundry basket – just one in each room, plus an extra basket for actually doing loads and moving them from washer to dryer, folding, etc. Doing this alone lets me do one person’s laundry, not have twenty bajillion piles when I’m folding, and put theirs away all at once.

    I also try to do at least one to two loads a day, which usually gets me through our laundry by Thursday at the latest. Then I take weekends off, and am ready to start again by Monday. I don’t wait for the perfect moment to fold. Usually it’s in the mornings on our bed so I have more surface area to work with, and out of reach of children who delight in destroying or sitting on my work (which will happen if I do it on the couch).

    I rarely iron, but when I do, I try to save up a pile for a time when I can watch something on tv that doesn’t require constant looking. It’s relaxing, and I don’t feel like the ironing is as much of a chore.

    Jenni @ Life from the Roof´s last post…In pursuit of perfection

  49. we have a laundry basket for dirty clothes in the laundry – if it isn’t in there it doesn’t get washed. I fold washing after i get it off the line. each child has a basket on the floor in their bedroom. I put the pile of cleaned folded washing it the basket – it is then no longer my responsibility. they can wear it from the basket, or put it away in the cupboard (guess what they do!).

    This works well for us, because our laundry is next to the bathroom (so they kids get undressed in laundry and run screaming and naked into bathroom) and it is easy for me to distribute clean clothes by lobbing the pile of clothes into the baskets (improving my netball skills at the same time)

  50. I am a sorter. I think when laundry isn’t sorted it all turns a drab gray color. Blech.

    Tracey´s last post…Pregnancy Update

  51. LOL… good info Rachel… I have an inside drying line that wheels around and I pretty much just use that – yes, if I don’t get to folding then I just wear the clothes straight off the line, saves lots of time :) I iron once a month, so clothes will hang on the inside line (I have lots of special hangers for that) until the day I iron – the whole month’s takes 20 – 30 mins… funny how much DOES NOT need ironing really ;) I have lots of stuff that is special wash, but these days machines are all programmed for that, so its not such an issue..

    angelvalerie´s last post…about that groove…getting out of the mud

  52. I sort to an extent. My husbands ACU’s get washed separately because they have a slightly weird smell(from Iraq) that has not come out in the past 2yrs(since his first deployment), they also take longer to dry.
    Other than that everything else is combined. We have one hamper by the washer and dryer and one on mine and my husbands room. The boys are little enough that they cant dress themselves so when I dress them, their previous clothing goes in the hamper by the washer.
    I usually do a load or 2 every other day excluding my husbands Gi which has to be washed every day.
    Im not a schedule person, I just do it as needed and in the easiest way possible or I wouldn’t ever do it!

  53. I think we should get rid of most our clothes. Keep the school uniforms, a dress or two, and wear all white tee’s and jeans with a sweater to throw over. I keep thinking maybe my family has too many clothing items… so much laundry– time to purge!

  54. My dryer died a couple of weeks ago so I’ve been drying my clothes on drying racks. It helps eliminate the wrinkles, but I tend to just leave the clothes on the rack until we need them. My kids wear uniforms to school, so by the end of the week, the rack is empty and ready for another load. Putting away the clothes is one of my major weaknesses.

  55. My husband and I commit several laundry crimes. :)

    1. We always wait until we’re running on our last _____. Last pair of socks? Probably should do some laundry. Sometimes it’s the discomfort of wearing the underwear I don’t like to get me motivated.

    2. Part of the reason for #1 is that we don’t have our own washer/dryer. There are some in our building, but they are ghetto and never work, so instead, we use laundry as an excuse to visit our families. We live equidistant from both sets of parents so one weekend we head south, and the next, north. It keeps our parents happy and our clothes clean, so it works for us.

    3. We sort… sort of. Mainly, it’s, “Well, this is mostly dark…” or “This has white patches on it, right?” Generally, my idea is that once you wash something enough times you don’t really have to worry about it bleeding or mixing with other colors. Though it’s easy to get dun pretty fast; thus the sort-of sort.

    Jennie´s last post…Doing Only What You Are Able

  56. In a house with six adults, five cocker spaniels and two cats, laundry is a constant battle. However, since everyone else in the house can do their own clothes, it works out OK for me. Everyone has a laundry day and the sixth day is for me to wash towels, rugs and any other general laundry that needs to be done. If you miss your laundry day, you have a problem…you can either head to the laundromat or negotiate with the person who’s laundry day it is. My youngest son has my oldest son over a barrel on this one.

    I use a set of Samsung front loaders – I love them. I do sort my lights from my darks/reds because there is nothing I hate more than a dingy t-shirt or gray socks. I try to wash similar weights together since that seems to increase the efficiency of the dryer. I also love the Purex detergent sheets bunches – we scope every coupon for them and buy them in quantity when they are on sale. For a lot of stuff you can cut them in half and they do fine. Jeans, linens and towels should get a whole one though – as should the laundry resulting from grown boys going on camping trips and rock climbing. Yuck.

  57. We are a family of four. I have found that if I do a load a day, start to finish, I can keep a good handle on things. This also cuts way down on the ironing- because nothing is ever left piled in a basket. I despise the iron. I have slowly gotten rid of/replaced most of my clothing that requires it. My husband knows that if he wants something ironed, he is on his own.
    The load a day thing also keeps it from being overwhelming to me. If I am faced with a huge pile of laundry, it will never get completely clean and put away. If I just have to get through one load, but do it completely-it is much more palatable to me.

  58. Great post! I think I’m finally getting into a rhythm where laundry is concerned. First of all, unless we’re coming home from a trip, I do laundry on Mondays and Thursdays (plus a load of sheets on Wednesdays). But the thing that’s made the biggest difference for me has been the ORDER of my loads.

    First, I do colored “normal” clothes – t-shirts, the baby’s clothes, skirts, etc., because I want to get these done while I”m still gung-ho about starting the laundry.
    Second comes denim, because it’s a small load that’s easy to fold and it keeps my motivation up to be able to accomplish another load so quickly.
    Third is whites.
    Last is towels, along with hubby’s socks and undies. Because the way I see it, if these stay in the dryer a day or two (or three… oops!) no one will care if these items are super-wrinkly.

    That’s what works for me!

    Amy´s last post…100 Things I Love- Part 4

  59. I live in the Arizona desert and rarely use anything other than cold since my tap water is always warm enough to bathe in. I distinguish by room…. kids each have their own basket, usually washed in one load or two by color. For us adults, I sort by how I store. Stuff that never needs to be pressed (pjs, under ware, exercise clothes) In one basket, hanging stuff by light/darks. I hate hate folding so everything that can go on a hanger does… including thirst and jeans. I watch those hanging loads for doneness and spray a little wrinkle released on them if I let them sit too long or toss them into the steam cycle of the washer. I have often wondered if one of those Container store laundry rolling baskets with hanging bar would improve the situation…. but I think the novelty would wear off quickly!

  60. I got a really nice iron for my wedding almost 3 years ago and have never once used it. Oh wait, I used it once but I didn’t have an ironing board so I tried to iron on the floor. Turns out carpet melts. Duh. Since then my approach to wrinkled clothes has always been to hang them in the bathroom while someone is showering. Ha! And it works! Instant steaming. (unless you’re trying to iron stiff creases or something). So I have given up the idea of ironing all together. I should really get rid of the iron seeing as it still has melted carpet stuck to it and I don’t even have an ironing board but I’m still stuck thinking “but what if I need it…”

    My general approach to laundry is to just prevent the laundry baskets from overflowing. When it gets about 3/4 full, I do a load or two and get it back down to about 1/4 full.

  61. I have a large closet, and half of that is devoted to dirty laundry! My husband installed wire shelving. I have 7 laundry baskets, each labeled: bath towels, kitchen linens, darks, lights, whites, zippered clothing, and dog towels. Everyone is responsible for putting their own dirty laundry in the appropriate basket. When a basket is full, it’s time to wash!

  62. I sort – but only towels+linens, dark socks and underwear, white socks and underwear and perm. press.

    I put a load in the washer at night, throw it in the dryer in the morning and hang it up ASAP. (I live in a dry climate, so I can let laundry sit with no trouble)I do a hanger round up when I round up dirty clothes hampers, so I hang everything up as soon as it comes out of the dryer – haven’t had to use my iron regularly in 3 years since coming up with this system. I reboot the laundry in the morning and empty and reload again in the evening. Works out to 1 or 2 loads each weekday – so I get my weekends off from laundry chores.

    I wash socks and underwear together by color on super hot water. I adjust my hot and cold valves accordingly so I get super hot water. Everything else goes on lukewarm. I learned to override my washer’s temp controls a few years ago when an older washer temp selector broke, and I’ve loved it ever since…. hot hot or luke warm or just barely cold water. If I’m concerned about bleeding colors, I just throw in a 1/2 cup of vinegar…

  63. Cathie Australia says:

    One key thing is to look at how much you washing you do. I used to wash sheets every week. Then I decided we were clean when we went to bed could they last a little longer ? and yes in winter they definitely can. Towels too, I make sure they are spread out well after use so they can dry thoroughly and only wash if they don’t pass the sniff test. As said previously why would you wear jeans once and wash. In a hot climate like I live T-shirts only get one wear, but lots of other things can be worn again. We have had a lengthy drought which makes you very aware of water use. The less often you wash everything the longer it lasts and less work for you. Dryers here are only for emergancies really, mostly sunny days mean everybody has a clothes line. I never iron either, I hang very carefully and don’t buy fussy clothes. Makes life easier.

  64. I too use the clean clothes laundry basket approach, but recently there has developed a problem with this system — both of my cats, snuggle up together on the clean clothes, which means after a few hours all the white clothes have long black cat hair and the dark clothes have long white cat hair!

    Susan being Snippy´s last post…How and Who 2

  65. I don’t sort my laundry and have never had an issue.

    I also have a “can you wear this more than once” rule. Jammies can be worn 3-4 times, Jeans can be worn a few times and towels and sheets are washed once a week. Cuts down on the amount of laundry we have to do.

  66. We have 3 boys, a sweet girl and a laundry room upstairs…yay!!!! I have 2 3-bin laundry sorters. Whites, darks, pastels, reds, in-betweens, and one extra. I have all of the bins labeled. On the label I have used crayons to demonstrate what colors are acceptable to be put in that bin. Everyone is responsible for putting their own laundry in the proper spot. So sorting is automatically done for me. I try to do 1-2 loads a day. If things get crazy and I miss a day or two I’m always going, “I SO could have and should have done a quick load! DON’T EVER GET BEHIND AGAIN!!!!!”

    • I so wish I had a laundry upstairs where the washing is generated! Mine is downstairs and has a lovely courtyard off it where my clothes line is, but I struggle to get everything back upstairs and put away.

  67. With 2 small kids, we seemed to be doing laundry every other day! It feels like a small Laundromat at home. One of the worse problem I have is folding clothes and putting it away, specially tiny baby clothes. You think you have only one basket of baby clothes, but there are like 189 of them in there, it takes forever to fold them.

    I am glad my kids are getting taller soon so I have little less folding to do in one basket. :-)

    Preeti @ Heart and Mind´s last post…Why learning from history is cool – Part II

    • Yes, it takes forever to put away so many baby clothes! Those are often the ones that stay in the basket, and then I grab a fresh one from the basket all the time.

  68. We have a dirty clothes basket in each bathroom and the laundry and on washing day, I sort. I can’t not sort! The bloke has a stinky job so his clothes need a little more attention so I wash his clothes all together. Aside from pulling out the whites/lights, I more or less sort into loads.

    Because I work full time, and have a front loader that takes FOR EVAH to do a load – I wash on the weekends. We probably have way too many clothes, but not enough underwear, so two weeks is the outer limit! I think I do about eight loads a week, starting Friday night. I would love to do more washing during the week, but despite my best efforts, all it does is encourage people to wear more clothes!

    I line dry around 8 months of the year (it used to be more, but {gasp} it RAINED here this winter, and I’ve been giving the dryer an absolute caning) and use clothes airers the rest of the time. I try to fold as I go (off the airer and off the line) and as I only have two laundry baskets, I am good at putting it away as I go. Plus, I have NOWHERE to put unfolded washing unless it’s in a basket!

    Ironing is neatly folded and placed in the ironing basket which is in turn left out for the ironing fairies who then return the basket with lovely smooth clothes in it in exchange for cash. The only stuff that gets ironed are my work clothes and the occasional doona cover – when you’re paying someone to do it, it makes you a bit more selective!

  69. I don’t sort anything. Once every couple of months (usually after someone was sick), I’ll run the towels/sheets through on hot water with bleach, but otherwise it’s the same detergent, no bleach, cold water, whatever’s dirty and fits in the washer. I don’t care if my sheets/towels fade from the bleach, I don’t care if we’re wrinkled, I don’t care if you’re supposed to wash “the whites” in some other manner. I just don’t care enough about laundry to put in the kind of effort I associate with my MIL!

  70. I have two laundry baskets for dirty clothes. One for cold wash, one for warm wash. I sort the clothes as they go in, and throw the basket in the wash as soon as it’s full.

    I don’t usually get overwhelmed by laundry this way.

  71. We only have access to the washer/dryer on the weekend so we do sort into lights, darks, whites, towels, sheets and rags. And then at the end I do my dog’s stuff.

    Tip: if you have a REALLY hairy dog (like mine) who sleeps on the same blanket/sheet, run it in the dryer for 15 minutes on fluff and be amazed at how much hair it pulls off! Then wash and dry as normal and it should come out pretty much hair-free!

    We can’t keep our Roy Boy off the bed when we’re gone so he gets his own fitted sheet that goes over our duvet, and I used to toss it in the dryer every couple of days to manage the hair. You think that dog would be bald by now with the amount I pull out of the lint screen!

    Kait Palmer´s last post…Travels to Canada- Return to Whistler

  72. Don’t hate me but my husband does it! :) I may start it from time to time but he usually does it(unless deployed) on Sundays. When it is football season he will do it while the game(s) are on. If it isn’t football season well then he just still does it on Sundays! He folds it & puts it all away! I am a lucky girl.

    Bobbie Jo´s last post…Bragging for a minute

  73. We don’t have a dryer so we hang all our clothes to dry which means we can’t have alot of clothes to wash. We wear very few clothes, especially now since we’re one of the millions who were lucky enough to get bedbugs from a Craigslist bunkbed the grandparents so kindly gave us for our daughter’s b-day. So now, we each have one medium (for each child) or large (for us)plastic zip-lock storage bag in which we put ALL of our clothes–which means no folding. So this is the easiest I’ve ever had it for laundry. Our bedding is just the fitted sheet, a quilt and the pillowcases since we have to wash it very frequently. Even before bb’s, we kept it simple. My rule: everyone has their own distinct but matching socks. My son has 10 prs of the same black socks, my daughter has 10 of the same pink-toed white sock, etc. I even avoid matching ones that have different colored toes. It’s made sock-hunting a breeze.

  74. I totally do the bit with towels and sheets — take them off, wash, and immiedately replace. Folding sheets is the worst!

    Nicole´s last post…nora 1 month

  75. Dry clean only? Forget about it! I have never in my adult life been to a dry cleaner. True story.

    Even “dry clean only” items rarely are – I simply wash them in cold water on gentle and hang them to dry. With rare exception I have never lost an item yet.

    I do not sort really. Modern laundry detergents and washing on warm seem to help. I sort by family member, not colors.

    All good tips but really 4 loads of laundry PER WEEK? Oh honey please. I have a family of four and can do two-three times that many loads, no problem between work and play clothes, dress clothes, and sport uniforms and practices?

    I find folding quicker but my #1 tip is to fold/hang directly out of the dryer. Minimize handling of the clean laundry. I do this as I pull from the dryer. Stack stocks together, fold undies together, hang the hangables, fold the rest, walk right to bedroom and put it all away. Much quicker than creating a pile in a basket that later has to be handled YET AGAIN to fold/hang.

  76. My parents hang all their clothes instead of folding them. I think it is a great idea, makes their laundry go much faster. We don’t have near enough hanging space to do that.

    Our problem is getting clothes folded and then putting them away. On the couch next to me right now is a big pile of folded clothes I really need to put away.

    We don’t have an iron, and I wouldn’t know how to use it if we did. If something is badly wrinkled, we’ll throw it in the dryer for a few minutes. Normally folding clothes while they are still warm from the dryer is enough to keep them from wrinkling. We don’t need suits or dresses that need ironing during this season of our lives, so why bother?

    We don’t sort before washing either. Probably should. Most people I know sort their clothes, but honestly, we’ve only ever had one problem with not sorting (one white towel turned a bit blue). The only care we really take with sorting is with new clothes. We wash new clothes on their own, or with like colors, the first few times we wash it, just in case.

  77. Oh, I hate laundry with a passion!!!

    I wrote about my system here –

    http://takechargesolutions.org/blog/2009/11/09/keeping-up-with-my-most-hated-chore-the-laundry/

    Marcia Francois, Organising Queen´s last post…How do you organise your jewellery

  78. When I worked full-time and the kids were at home, I did all my laundry on the weekend. There were Sundays when I’d do 10 or more loads! Now I’m retired and it’s just the 2 of us. I usually just do 2 or 3 loads a week. If I have enough to make 2 loads, I’ll separate into lights and darks. If I just have enough for one load, I throw them all together. I do the delicates separately, and I wash a load every-other week or so.

    Sally´s last post…Fall decorating for FREE!

  79. I’ve tried a few different methods of handling the laundry. One, the traditional one-day-a-week approach. That worked fine when it was just me and then just my husband and I. Adding the first baby meant we were doing laundry more on an as-needed basis. Laundry really picked up after baby #2 joined us. I felt like I always had laundry to do because even though I could wash and dry it all in one day, the folding and putting away took much long.

    Idea #2: one type of laundry on a different day each week. That worked okay except it increased the feeling of doing laundry all the time because i actually was!

    Idea #3: I went back to the laundry on the weekend method and just deal with whatever doesn’t get washed, doesn’t get washed. It still meant that things weren’t being folded and put away too quickly.

    Current Approach: Since I work full-time and my husband is a full-time student, I said he could share in the laundry responsibilities. Plus, I was really tired of him not folding and/or putting away the clothes I just washed for him. He’s an adult, he can match his own socks, right? Now, we have seperate baskets and each wash our own whenever we need to, which seems to be about every 2 weeks. Also, we alternate weeks of doing the kids’ laundry, which includes folding and putting away. I refuse to fold the kids’ laundry if he washed it so that sometimes means the boys have to hunt out underwear in the laundry room but at least it gives me the freedom to tell them to tell their dad to put their clothes away. I’ve also started training the 5 year old to fold and put away his own clothes. It takes him a long time and one day he was about 10 items in and told me he was tired. I told him laundry is just one of those things we have to do and unless he figures out a way to be naked all the time, he’ll have to do it the rest of his life.

    I look forward to the kids being able to wash, dry, fold and put away their clothes 100% on their own! I think age 12 is a good point to start, eh.

  80. I reuse clothes & towels as well, although my hubby hasn’t jumped on the towel bandwagon yet, and my newest strategy has been sorting. I’ve never really been a sorter, but I started sorting out what can be washed, dried & left in a laundry basket, and then I wash all the hanging clothes together, so I know that is the load that I need to stand there and hang, other than that, it all goes into a laundry basket until I have the time to fold it.

    Celeste´s last post…Sexy Stats

  81. I wash a load about every other day. There are three of us and I have to admit I am and always have been a neat freak. I think, however, it does drive some people crazy. I do love certain fabrics and I do have some wool items that I love wearing. They say dry clean only, but I have always been able to wash them in woolite. I have a cashmere sweater that I feel so comfortable in. I have always washed it this way and laid it flat to dry. When I see a good deal on something, if it looks like it might be easy to wash this way, I go ahead and get it. I do line dry a lot of my clothes anyway to save money.

  82. Now that I have five(gulp) children, I have three clean laundry baskets, not just one. Sometimes clothes just need to be cleaned. Especially when I only have two pairs of jeans that still fit!

    • I only have two pairs of jeans too and no other pants, because the
      others don’t fit. Good thing I can wear them a few times before
      washing them!

  83. Rachel, you have a very sensible approach to doing things, but I have to say that laundry is not one of them;)

    First off, I do the laundry usually in one swoop — once a week — sometimes twice a week. But the main area where I disagree with you is the not folding part. Folding is very important to me — especially as soon as the dryer stops. The momentum of the heat will help to press out the wrinkles. And I fold most clothes (T-shirts, underwear, towels, sheets.) I iron pretty much everything else — cotton pants, button-down shirts & some sheets have to be pressed a bit. (90% of the laundry is cotton, so it will get wrinkled if not folded or ironed.)

    Second, I have collected four plastic laundry baskets over the years that I use to either store or distribute the clean clothes in. Plus, they have served double duty to carry things at other times — like when we moved.

    We use clothes hampers here — each bedroomm, the main bathroom, and next two next to the washing machine has one (and they all are used). They collect the dirty clothes — then they all get dumped on the garage floor in front of the washing machines — then sorted.

    Third, I do sort clothes (helps to maintain color), but it used to be in 3 or 4 piles, but I have found in recent years with the ability to wash in cold water that only 2 piles are needed — Darks & Lights. Dark clothes are washed in cold & lights in warm water. However, dish towels (washed seperately), sheets and bath towels are washed in hot water (sorted by dark & light, also).

    I do agree that high maintenance clothes should be eliminated and store clothes away in a basket out of site until you can iron them.

    Lastly, you’re missing out on a very important aspect of homemaking, because ironing your clothes can be a very pleasant and tactile experience — that is when you get into the FLOW of it. It can be a very, very soothing thing. Same thing with folding those clothes. Not to mention that there is a sense of accomplishment when you get done with it all and put everything away.

    BUT YOU HAVE TO BE CONSISTENT WITH DOING IT. I’ve been doing the laundry for years, and this is the only way to go for me, because otherwise it’s chaos. It’s doing this task whether or not you get complimented for them, but knowing it’s important to keeping order in the home. It definitely has to come from the heart, otherwise it could be disheartening if you take a negative attitude with it.

    That’s my 5 cents (inflation). I just wanted to add my thoughts on this very important topic. Thanks.

  84. This post is AMAZING and totally inspired me to change the way I do laundry. I was doing it all wrong, and the new way is much more efficient. I blogged about you here: http://www.laptopstolullabies.com/2011/04/five-steps-to-easier-laundry.html

  85. I never iron anything! I used to obsess over cleaning and ironing all my clothes when I was in college but something happened one day (or maybe over a few months) and I stopped wearing clothes only once and throwing them into the washing machine. I have not ironed anything since 2004 :)
    It’s even more important to pay heed to some of the tips you have given here if you have a the laundry of a whole family to deal with. Good for you

  86. We have 3 boys and each has their own conatiner in the laundry room. THey put ytheir clothes in and then each childs clothes get washed seperatley. Just pick up the bag and dump it in. That way, when it is time to fold I fold one child at a time and put their items all in one basket to take to their room and put away.

    Now my husband likes to make 50 trips back and forth to the closet while putting stuff away and I am trying to explain that if he wiats until I am done folding (or help me) then he only has to make ONE trip to each place to put clothes away…still working on this!