By Paula Constable
The average person spends six hours a week washing clothes, according to a survey of homeowners conducted on behalf of Sears, Roebuck and Co. There are possible solutions to make your laundry less invasive in your daily life.
Start with the Laundry Area
Depending on the size of your space, there may be steps you can take right where you do your wash. Try to locate your machines side by side to save on steps.
Install a closet rod with a shelf or a closet rod between two cabinets to hang clothes. Keep your detergents, stain removers and fabric softeners right next to the machines, preferably in a cabinet or on a shelf. Keep a clean surface to fold clothes and have bins or baskets for sorting.
Only do what you can wash, dry, fold and put away in one day. You may prefer to do all your wash in one day; someone else might prefer to spread it out to a few days. Some prefer to do all their ironing for the week at once, others may prefer to do it daily. I prefer that my husband does the ironing; he’s much more efficient and therefore he’s better qualified!
If your space allows it, save yourself the extra work and fold clothes right out of the dryer and into baskets for each member to put away.
If you have the closet space, try hanging more clothes rather than folding and storing items in drawers. Less folding means less time spent doing laundry. Have a hamper or basket in each bedroom that can easily be carried to the laundry room.
Help from Family Members
Involve family members as much as possible and get children involved from a young age. Yes, a toddler will take great pleasure in learning how to fold towels and putting away their own clothes. This may mean a little extra effort from you now, but in the long run you are teaching them the skills to do it on their own.
Assign each child a day to help with the laundry. Chances are being involved will help them understand that every item of clothing they try on does not automatically go into the dirty clothes.
Teach family members to assess the level of dirtiness of the clothing they remove. Socks and underwear automatically get tossed in the hamper. Jeans can be worn more than one time.
Other Time Saving Ideas
If you are doing a major clean and come across a ton of laundry (most often found in children’s bedrooms), consider making a trip to the laundry mat. You could get multiple loads done at once. This is also a great idea for the return home from a trip. Rather than unpacking all those dirty clothes, take the suitcases right to the laundry mat.
Take a good look at the amount of clothing each family member owns. If you can go for 2-3 weeks without running out of clothing, you may have more than you really need.
Whatever system you try, stick to it for a few weeks and then make changes or adjustments if needed. Laundry is something many of us dislike; it is time consuming and never ending. But, I am grateful I don’t have to boil the water, scrub my clothing on a washboard, or by a river bed, for that matter.
Paula Constable, professional organizer, speaker and owner of Stuff 2b Organized, LLC. She teaches busy moms and families how to regain control of their stuff, time, and activities by using her five-step STUFF System™. Paula is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and a founding member and past president of the Wisconsin Chapter of NAPO. Stuff 2b Organized is located in Johnson Creek.