Cary Farrell

Five Secrets to Managing your Laundry

by Cary Farrell
July 22, 2019
Hopefully you have worked on removing the boulders we addressed in our last organizing tip that have kept you from tackling Mt. Kil-a-Mom-Laundry.  Now you’re ready to create a system to KEEP those clothes clean and put away. Below are the secrets to keeping Mt. Kil-a-Mom-Laundry from growing again.
Five Secrets to Managing your Laundry 
Laundry secret #1 – Dirty clothes happen, plan for them.
Is it dirty, half dirty, stained? Do I sort it with other colors?  These are the questions that stump my clients, stifling them from doing anything and resulting in them having dirty clothes everywhere.
  • Is it dirty? – If you wouldn’t want to wear it again then it is dirty and needs to go into a hamper.
  • I wore it once but it is not really dirty – DON’T PUT THESE CLOTHES ON THE BACK OF A CHAIR OR PILED IN THE CLOSET! Your clothes don’t catch germs from each other and even if they do, if it is clean enough for your body, it is clean enough to go back in the closet or drawer.  It will take you less than 30 seconds to put it away immediately, but an hour to sort through questionable piles later.
  • It has a stain on it. Keep a bottle of your favorite stain remover where you take off your clothes and apply the stain remover immediately.  
  • How do I sort my clothes? I have had clients that would only wash like colors together meaning that they would have a load of green clothes, then a load of blue clothes, etc.  The problem with that system is that you might have to wait a month to have enough of one color to wash.  I sort by lights, darks, and towels/sheets.  When my kids started doing their own laundry, they washed everything together, much to my dismay.  Most clothes today are color fast and if you are washing on cold or warm temps, it is rare that you will have an issue. A new pair of colored pants or a red t-shirt might need to be washed by itself the first few times but then you are usually good to go.
Laundry secret #2 - Strategically place baskets or bins
We are lazy humans so don’t make us walk too far to be responsible.  If hubby takes off his clothes right next to the bed then that is where you need a basket or hamper.  If the kids get undressed in the bathroom then have one there.  I like mesh laundry baskets because they are lightweight, can be color coordinated, and can be toted by kids!  If you want something that hides the clothes, then choose a nice looking basket with a liner.
Laundry secret #3 - Wash Everyday
If laundry overwhelms you, then don’t let more than one load pile up! An average family of four makes a load of dirty clothes every day.  If you start a load before bedtime and throw the load in the dryer as soon as you get up, you will only have one load to fold and put away a day. Your total time minus the machine time should be no more than 20 mins from start to finish. Choose one day a week that you throw towels or sheets into the wash as you are heading out the door.  Then throw them into the dryer when you get home in the evening and the towels will be ready fold or the sheets will be ready to remake the bed before bedtime.  That way you skip the need to fold sheets! If you struggle to remember the laundry, set alarms on your phone and post signs where you will see them as you are getting ready or coming and going out the door.
Laundry secret #4 – Less is more!
If you reduce the amount of clothes you own and manage, you will do less laundry.  You will have more time to spend on things you want to do besides laundry because it will take you less time to deal with the mountain of clothes.  Less clothes in the closets and drawers also means that everyone can help with putting away their own laundry.  Don’t cripple your children by doing everything for them.  I taught my children at a young age how to help with the laundry and then when they became teenagers, they were responsible for their own laundry completely.  Help them purge their clothes twice a year so they can maintain their clothes well.
Laundry secret #5 – Create order in the laundry room
You might need to hang a rod to be able to hang clothes straight from the dryer or add shelves for baskets for each member of the family.  Include a trash can and a donation bag for clothes you are ready to let go of.  Purge the laundry area so getting to the washer and dryer is not difficult to do.
If you can get a handle on the clothes in the house and make laundry a small part of everyday, you will take out one of the stressors in your day giving you more time to relax or play with the kids. You have to ask yourself, “Will I one day regret my kids didn’t have a new outfit for everyday or will I wish I had spent less time on clothes and more time getting them dirty having fun!”