This year has been a busy one including, deaths in my extended family, trips to visit family in Georgia and Texas, and finishing up the school year at home. What does all that mean? After a couple of trips and just everyday life, our laundry got behind. I didn’t see a way out of the mounting laundry for some time. I would just wash loads here and there, based on our current needs, but never got ahead. After several months, I never saw the bottom of the laundry basket – until this week! The reason for my honesty is, in hopes that I can help someone else conquer their laundry. It can be done!!!
A new school year is a great time to establish new routines. Sorry guys, but the laundry is about to start piling up once the kids start school. My kids do school at home, so we don’t have to deal with school uniforms, but we still have a ton of laundry that builds up. In addition, I wash sheets, slipcovers, and blankets/throws about every two weeks. Those extra-large items take up space in the laundry basket and can make regular laundry back-up. I have a laundry closet, not room (maybe my next home), so there isn’t much space for when things pile up. It can become a unsightly mess quick! But I found a way to consistently stay on track. Here’s my ultimate tip to stay on top of laundry.
Complete one load of laundry every day.
This is the one tip that has been saving MY LIFE – complete one load of laundry every single day. Do you hear me?!!! SAVING MY LIFE! There is no science to it. It’s not fun but it’s simple. Every single day, I wash, dry, fold, and put away, one single load of laundry. In addition, I wash and dry an additional load of laundry. So technically, I wash and dry two loads every day. This ensures that I have a load to fold and put away every night. How you want to actually do it is up to you. But one batch of clean laundry is put away in this house, every night.
This method helped me catch up on about 8-10 loads of laundry. Several planned and unplanned trips away from home equals lots of laundry. I did not try to do three or four loads at a time. It just leads to frustration and baskets full of clean laundry. Well, at least it’s clean you might say. Yes, but everybody is asking me where this or that is. Not fun!
Now, I’m not saying that if you have a Saturday or Sunday to batch your laundry that you shouldn’t do it. Personally, my weekend is normally pretty busy and I end up feeling overwhelmed when I try the “laundry all day” method. Therefore, it’s best that I do a little laundry every night to avoid a pileup. Also, even if it’s piled up, I try to stick to the one full wash/dry/fold/put up per day rule. Because I was consistent, this method worked to help me catch up for good.
Here’s how I do it every day….
To avoid clothes soiling while waiting to be put in the dryer, I only wash and dry laundry while I’m at home. So if you’re headed to work, either delay the load starting (if you have that option) or wait until you return from work to start. Remember, you should already have a load to fold and put away.
Every night, I place the load of laundry that needs to be folded on my side of the bed. That means I have to address the clothes before I go to bed. Before I watch my favorite TV shows and before I relax in my bed, I have to do something with the clean laundry looking back at me. At first, I didn’t want to do it every night, but with time, it’s become easier.
Also, since my kid’s rooms are upstairs, as I fold, I put their folded clothes into a basket and put away in their respective rooms. My family has stopped asking me where clothing items are, because it’s now where it should be to begin with. That has me doing a little happy dance inside. It’s actually been very gratifying and it’s one less question I have to answer. If you’re mindful of where you are in the process every day, you’ll stay on track and feel good about it too.
What about after vacation?
In the past, it takes me a while to catch up on laundry after vacation. Do you know why? Because I love packing, after all, I’m leaving town. Yes!!! But once I’m back, I have no desire to unpack, and definitely no desire to wash clothes. Maybe you are the same way. However, if a system is in place, it will be easier to stay on track with laundry. So, moving forward, when we return from vacation, I will wash and dry one load of laundry. After all, you shouldn’t need your vacation clothes for the work and school week. The “one load of laundry per day” should still work. If I’m following my system, there should also be a load to fold in the dryer too.
In addition, I’ll be brining bags or a bag for everyone to put their dirty clothes into while away. I can’t tell you how many times we get home and the clean and dirty clothes are mixed all together in the suitcase. It can be difficult to sift through everything so I normally just wash everything. That’s not a good process! However, if I ensure that (even on vacation) all dirty clothes are being separated from clean clothes, then I can easily start my process when I get home. We never wear every single thing while we are away anyways.
But my family isn’t the same size…
This system has been working for my family of four people. If you have a family of eight or are single, then your needs may be different. Take steps to come up with your own laundry system that works. One thing I’ve learned with laundry is that you must try a couple of systems to make it work for your family and your schedule. If you have to batch all your laundry on the weekends – do that. If you can manage one load a day – do that. Just know that you can get it under control. Keep trying until something sticks. If I can do it, you can!
How do you stay on top of laundry? Let me know in the comments below.