Lightening the Load
Ways to streamline the never-ending chore of laundry
Laundry. In my house, it’s practically a dirty word, and it’s almost always preceded or followed by an “arrugh” sound.
It’s not that I mind doing the laundry, exactly, because it’s a fairly easy and mindless task. I sort it, I wash it, I dry it, I put it away. The problem is it never ends. Unless you walk around naked all the time, laundry is a pretty infinite chore. And even if you are naked, there are still sheets, towels, throws, curtains, bath mats and so on, that have to be washed every now and again.
Wash, dry, fold, put away. Believe it or not, it’s possible to change the laundry routine just slightly, streamlining the process and making things just a little bit easier.
An organized laundry room – If everything you need over the course of your laundry career is right at hand, you won’t have to go hunting for supplies, and you won’t put off mending a torn seam or pre-treating a stain until later. And keep a small basket or bowl for pocket detritus like loose change, crayons and ChapStick, so those small items don’t wind up under the washer, or worse, in it. Install a small bar for hanging shirts and other items which are prone to wrinkling, fresh out of the dryer.
Printable stain-removal chart – This list will help you properly treat a wide variety of stains - even tough ones like crayon, wine, chocolate and grass - on the first try. Print out a copy for yourself and tape it to the inside of a cabinet or closet door, or put it in a pretty frame and hang it on the wall.
Make everyone pre-sort – Instead of throwing dirty laundry in a big ol’ hamper, or –gasp – in a pile in the corner of the room, give each member of your household a sorting station like this, or like this. As they put their dirty clothing in, they can separate by darks, whites and lights (or however you sort), saving you the time and trouble of sorting the whole family’s weekly laundry in front of the washing machine.
Save on laundry – Okay, this tip isn’t going to make the laundry process easier, but maybe saving a little money will make you happier about doing the laundry. From hanging clothes dry and adding baking soda to picking up less expensive detergent (or making your own!) there are lots of great, simple ways to make the weekly washing less costly. Another savings tip: Replace your expensive fabric softener with white vinegar. It does the same job without the overpowering fragrance or the environmental impact, and it’s dirt cheap.
Self-service laundry room – You washed it, the least your family can do is put it away, right? In this self-service laundry room, the Launderer washes, dries and folds, then sorts clean clothing by family member. Each person then stops by the laundry room, picks up the clean laundry and returns it to their room, where it’s then put away. You can add to the self-serve process by having the family members deliver their dirty laundry on laundry day. Download, personalize and print your own Self-Service Laundry tags!