Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Laundry Tips

I get asked a lot about doing laundry -- one chore that is oh, so fun to do! (NOT) Actually some people don't mind doing the laundry as much as others. I recently read about maintenance tasks such as laundry, cleaning, and cooking referred to as "circular" chores, meaning they never end. How true! Well here are some things you can try, simple routines and suggestions that may help lighten your load (no pun intended).

Supplies: Keep everything you use close to the washer and dryer. Stock up on laundry detergent and dryer sheets when on sale so you won’t have times you cannot do laundry because you are out. I think liquid detergent is easier and faster. You really only need general detergent; bleach; pretreat spray (i.e. Shout); and dryer sheets.

Sorting: Try having 2 baskets in the closet or wherever you keep dirty clothes --one for whites and one for colored. As you undress, place the dirty clothes in the proper basket. Hang a cloth laundry bag for items to be dry-cleaned near where those types of clothes hang and/or where you take them off so they can go right in. If possible, have separate baskets by room so that, for ex., all of your kids' stuff goes in and comes out as a load together without being mixed into your clothes. I fully comply with the author Susan Pinsky who says: "Use tall, portable laundry baskets with no lids so family members can simply 'wing' their dirty clothes inside with minimal hassle".

Washing: When you put items like socks in, make sure they are right side out. If you cannot move the wet finished clothes into the dryer the same day, don’t start the load – a wet load sitting forgotten in the washer can get gross (I've learned about mildewy, smelly wet laundry in the basement, personally). Hot water for whites; cold for colors.

Drying: Save money by putting the dryer on the heat setting that is one level lower than hottest. Avoid having to iron by sending any clothes that would require ironing (i.e. men's shirts, linen items, etc.) to the dry cleaner's. Only foldable or comes-out-as-is stuff goes into my washing machine and dryer.

Putting Away: Try bringing clean laundry up to the room where it needs to be put away. If you did the sorting technique mentioned above, clothes for one room will all be together. You don't need to fold everything and keep it in a basket, wondering when it will go up to the bedroom. I open up my underwear drawers and, with the basket's contents upturned on my bed, fling bras and underwear into their drawers basketball-style! Socks get paired at the end when there are no more foldables. Folding clothes in the bedroom (where they will ultimately go) also forces you to finish the job as you'll need the bed at night!

Keep Up: It is a lot easier to do one part of the laundry cycle for one basket each day then a giant pile of clothes that have sat there for 2 weeks, either dirty ones in the laundry area or clean ones sitting in a basket. It is a much more daunting task to try to deal with. I suggest doing one load in or one load put away (at least one laundry-related task) DAILY if your family/household size is appropriate.

Happy Laundry Days!