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It’s no secret that I detest doing laundry. Most of that came from the way I was taught to do it “properly”: sort, go through every piece looking for stains, wash in appropriate temperature water, sort line-drying items from dryer items, evaluate everything for ironing, fold, iron and put away. For three people, my mother would generally do 6 to 9 small loads of clothing and 3 loads of other items a week.
The truth is that laundry doesn’t have to be that difficult. Here are the ways that I simplified laundry to make it more bearable:
If you can sort your clothes as you take them off, you will save yourself a lot of effort. We keep three laundry baskets in our closet: one for whites/light colors, one for dark colors, and one for towels. As we take off clothes, we put them in the appropriate laundry basket. This not only saves time, but it also means that we don’t have to hunt down laundry. If it’s not in the basket, it doesn’t get washed.
Stain Treat As You Remove
We’re pretty aware if we have spilled something on our clothing; yet if we waited until the end of the week to treat those stains, things would be forgotten. We keep a stain stick in the closet near the laundry basket and treat the stains before they go in the basket. Warning: if you do this, make sure you get a stain treatment that does not require immediate washing!
Simplify Laundry Products
My mother uses detergent, chlorine bleach, color-safe bleach, liquid fabric softener, and dryer sheets. They are used in varying combinations depending on what she is washing and how it will be dried.
We simplified. We have an all-purpose detergent, color-safe bleach and Nellie’s Dryer Balls (yes, they work). Simplifying the products means we don’t have to worry about what goes into the load, and using the dryer balls means we don’t have to worry about running out, or used sheets sticking to our clothing. (Dryer sheets also gum up the lint filters, so avoiding them has an added bonus in decreased maintenance). Fewer products also means less expense.
Smooth While Hanging
If you air-dry your clothing, smooth the wrinkles out with your hands as you hang them up. This will cut down on the amount of ironing needed.
If you fold the clothes straight out of the dryer, smoothing as you go, you will dramatically cut down on the wrinkles. This means also means less ironing.
Don’t Iron What None See
I have memories of having to iron during the summer. I worked my way through baskets of shirts, handkerchiefs, pillowcases, sheets and dishtowels. Simplify ironing by only ironing things that are important. Shirts for work, yes. Dish towels? NO!
Buy Easy Care Fabrics
Buying fabrics that can handle standard washing and drying can cut down on laundry tasks. I love the look of linen, but there is no getting around ironing it. I also love washable silk, but it requires special handling I’m not prepared to give regularly.
By buying fabrics that are easy to care for, you will cut down on how many loads you do, as well as work you have after the clothes are dried.
By implementing these strategies, we have streamlined our laundry process, saving time, effort and money.
Photo by rick