I used to hate laundry day.
Spending a whole day sorting, washing, drying, sorting, folding and hanging – on average – nine loads of laundry is not how anyone wants to spend her day. For me, though, doing laundry has been a special kind of torture. My washer and dryer set are top of the line Whirlpool models from 1978.
To put it in perspective: In 1978, my mom graduated from high school. A New Hope was in theaters. Grease was the word.
I don’t mean to complain. I don’t own anything else that functions so well after 34 years. Sometimes I have to drain the washer by hand. The fastest cycle is slow. We’ve replaced enough parts from both that technically, I suppose it averages out to be much younger.
But I’m a work-at-home mom, which by definition means I’ve got lots to do. Laundry taking a full day isn’t going to cut it. And although my mother-in-law suggested spreading it out over a week, the idea of doing laundry every day isn’t appealing either.
Maybe you have some of the same problems I do. Or maybe you’re a master of laundry. Either way, here’s my troubleshooting guide to survive laundry day.
Laundry day troubleshooting
Problem #1: Sorting everything takes time.
The solution: Don’t sort everything. Hear me out. If you wash everything in cold water (except maybe the sheets and towels), the colors don’t run. You may want to wash the whites separately once per month with hot water and bleach. And I wouldn’t just toss a new red shirt in with everything. Otherwise, cut out the sorting step.
Problem #2: Some items are dry-clean only, hand-wash only, or something else complicated.
The solution: The easiest thing is to not buy specially-washed items. Everyone has a few things though. Most of mine I wash in the machine anyway, but hang or lay flat to dry. Since I wash in cold water, nothing shrinks. Of course there are going to be items – Hubby’s suit, for example – that are always going to the dry cleaner.
Problem #3: Sorting the clothes back out for multiple family members takes time and is often confusing. I only have two kids, but they both wear a size 6. They also both wear uniforms to school, so apart from the occasional skirt, there really is no difference in most of their laundry. White socks? Don’t even go there.
The solution: See problem #1 about sorting. Each kid has a laundry basket in his or her room. On laundry day, they bring their baskets to me. Each basket is a full load. It goes from the basket to the machine, then back to the same basket. It doesn’t matter who that sock belongs to.
Problem #4: Folding and hanging clothes takes time.
The solution: Everyone puts away their own laundry. Sniffles(9) and Lil’ Wheezy(6) have both been putting away their own laundry since about age four. They had more help in the beginning, but now they just do it, without complaining on most days. They’re also both pretty handy with the washing and drying. Laundry is a skill that must be taught. Train them now and you won’t have panicked calls from college.
Problem #5: Sometimes it isn’t laundry day.
The solution: First, keep your laundry area organized so that everything you need is in one place. Second, if your laundry room is part of another room, hide it. Mine is in my bedroom, so I hung curtains that can be closed. Out of sight, out of mind.
Washing laundry is something we all have to do. It just doesn’t have to be such a chore.
Do you have a laundry problem? A brilliant laundry solution? Leave a comment.