Laundry is one of those chores you do that NEVER ends! Your laundry room might be right next to the kitchen but it seems like you're always running around to gather the dirty clothes, wash and dry them, iron (yes some people still iron), hang the clothes up or fold and put them away. Once you're finished, it's time to do it all over again … tomorrow or next week, and the week after, and every week forever. If for some reason you miss a day or three, the laundry pile can look like a monster – the kind that makes you want to run.
According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the average American family does 8 to 10 loads of laundry each week. A single load takes 1 hr, 27 minutes from wash to dry so the average family spends 12 to 15 hours per week doing laundry. This article explores ways to organize laundry so it takes you less time …
Okay, we all try to use our time wisely so there's overlap when the washing machine and dryer are running at the same time … but aren't there lots of times when we get busy or forget? What we want to talk about here are shortcuts you can take when doing laundry to save time, and everyone could use more time these days. These tips will help you share laundry tasks with every member of the family, to either eliminate steps or do them more efficiently. Let's get to work gathering the laundry, from the floor through the laundry room and back to the drawers/closets
Get Everyone to Sort Their Own Dirty Laundry
It's not really fair for everyone to leave their dirty laundry for one person because that can grow into a huge pile of clothes. It's much easier to sort a few clothes at a time, so why not ask everyone to sort their clothes as they put them into the hamper, separating by color and type of clothes?
- Put a divided hamper in each child's room and let them decorate it any way they want. Younger children really can separate colors from white.
- Teens and adults can use the same divided hamper. Let them know if the laundry isn't in the hamper, it won't get done. Better yet, teach your teens how to do their own laundry which they’ll have to do when they go away to camp or college.
- Keep several baskets in your laundry area and ask family members to bring their laundry to the laundry room. They can easily empty their hampers into the appropriately marked baskets.
Keep Laundry Supplies at Your Fingertips
Once the laundry is sorted, it's time to get the washing started. Here are tips for organizing your laundry area to save time while washing and putting clothes away as who likes hunting for that missing sock. In my house, I often think there's a hidden sock house where they take vacation as I'll go out and buy new socks and a few weeks later, I've got more socks than the drawer will hold?
- Pin loose socks together so you don't end up with single, lost and forlorn socks. Maybe you have a missing sock basket to stop wasting time hunting for missing socks? This tip saves time – no more sorting sock, then pairing them up and searching for the missing ones.
- Keep a basket near the washer with supplies you use for laundry. You'll save time when you don't have to look for the stain remover, clothespins or hooks for hanging items that don't go in the dryer, mesh laundry bags for small or fine lingerie, etc.
- Keep a small bag or hamper nearby for dry cleaning items that get mixed in with laundry. When you have several items collected, you can take them to the cleaners in one trip.
Avoid Doing Things Twice
When you buy your next washer or dryer, get one with an alarm that tells you when the laundry is ready to be removed. Once you hear the dryer buzzer, you'll save time by removing and finishing up the job right away. How many times have you turned the dryer on again, to get rid of wrinkles?
- Avoid doing things twice by hanging things up right away versus putting them in a basket, to be hung or folded later. Keep hangers in your laundry area and if you have room, a rack near the dryer so you can put those things on hangers immediately. If you're short on room, use one of these door hanger bars.
- Invest in a few small baskets, one for each family member. Fold and put clothes in the basket by person, in effect sorting as you fold. Then ask family members take their baskets and hanging clothes to their rooms, and put them away … in their drawers!
These tips are meant to help you work smarter, not harder, when it comes to household laundry. We hope you found something helpful and please, share your own time saving ideas by leaving a comment below.