Wasted weekends doing the washing. Late-night drying sessions. And finding yourself without clean work and school uniforms on a Monday morning!
Do these situations sound familiar to you?
Yep, I thought so. Been there, done that, and got the unwashed t-shirt to prove it!
Keeping up with the laundry can be a right pain. It’s not exactly an exciting task. It can take an age to carry out, and let’s not sugar coat it, it’s generally boring.
There are so many other thrilling things you could be doing with your time!
But however you want to look at it, doing the laundry is an unavoidable task. So, you’ve just got to try and make the best of it and not get overwhelmed by it!
Find out how to keep up with a laundry routine week-in-week out below, and learn some handy tips on how to make the process more fun too! (And no, that’s not a typo – doing the laundry can be fun-ish!)
So, instead of allowing your worries and laundry-related stress to get in the way of carrying out this unavoidable cleaning task, find out how to make it simpler and more manageable below.
1. Create a Schedule and Stick to It
The simplest way to get a handle on your laundry is to create a solid washing, drying, and ironing schedule that you and all the family can stick to.
By creating a plan, you can spread the various tasks across the week, plan jobs around other things like work or running kids to school, and make sure that priority clothes get taken care of first (uniforms, for example).
By having a thorough and well-thought-out plan, you shouldn’t have conflicting activities, and you’ll be able to tend to your laundry immediately.
For example, wet laundry won’t be left in the washer for hours. It will be removed from the machine and put in a dryer/on a line to dry instead.
Consequently, the wet washing won’t sit idle in the washer, where it can start to smell stale.
When you do make your schedule, it’s worth checking the weather forecast for the week so that you can plan your drying activities accordingly.
You may have to add more tumble drying time into some schedules and less washing line time (and vice versa).
You can create a schedule online and share it with your family, use a wall chart, or download an app to help you.
Tip: When planning your schedule, figure out roughly how long you take to wash and dry clothes, so you’ll know how much time you have to dedicate to each task. This will help you to plan your schedule better.
2. Make Doing the Laundry Part of Your Daily Routine
A quick way to ensure you stay on top of doing the laundry is to make it a normal activity that you do alongside your other daily activities.
For example, you could add a pile of laundry to the washer every morning while waiting for the kettle to boil to make yourself a cup of coffee.
By matching up these tasks, you’ll create a habit, so in the end, whenever you make a coffee in the morning, you’ll automatically put a load in the washer!
3. Get a Laundry Hamper to Keep Your Laundry Organised
One of the main issues with laundry is that it’s usually all over the place in a house, and when you do find all the items, they’re completely mixed up. It can be hard and tiring working rifling through stuff to find rogue socks and pants and sorting clothes by colour.
To solve this problem, you can get a hamper that is divided into various sections, so you can organise your washing as you go.
These washing hampers should be big enough to accommodate your family’s washing needs and must have ample dividers that accommodate your washing style.
The most basic way to separate laundry is by colour and material, for example, whites, colours, and delicates.
Having a suitable hamper that allows you to micro-organise your loads will speed up your washing process because you won’t have to go hunting down clothes, and the washing will be separated for you!
Bonus! You don’t have to get one hamper. You can buy multiple baskets for your home if this helps! You could get one washing basket for the main bedroom and another for the kids to use.
4. Put Your Laundry Hampers in Convenient Spots
Of course, getting suitable laundry hampers is one thing. You also have to place the washing baskets in a suitable location, so every family member knows where they are and can use them.
Most hampers are kept in bathrooms, bedrooms, and sometimes utility rooms. These are the locations where you’re most likely to get changed out of your clothes and would put them in a basket ready to be washed.
5. Get the Whole Family Involved
Don’t believe it when people say that doing the laundry is just one person’s job. It can absolutely be a whole family affair!
Get everyone to organise their washing into the right section of the hamper (whites and colours, for example). And get family members to sort their own clothes out and pop them away.
Of course, if your kids are really young, don’t expect them to do any of these tasks.
6. Create Some Laundry Rules for the House
On the topic of getting all the family involved, you should set up some ground rules when it comes to doing laundry.
These rules can include:
- Empty all pockets before adding clothes to the washing basket (no tissues, coins, or sweets to be left behind).
- Separate items and then add them to the hamper (don’t leave pants in your pj’s bottoms or a t-shirt stuck up a jumper!).
- Treat stains before adding the clothes to the washing basket. Or at least tell someone about the stained items so they can be treated immediately.
- Get family members to put their underwear and socks into mesh laundry bags ready for the washing phase. (This will save a lot of time later on when it comes to sorting the clothes out).
- Teach every family member to put a personalised stamp on all of their clothes’ care tags so that you know whose garment belongs to who. This stamp (usually a symbol or initials) will help to speed up the sorting process later on. (Dad has a single dot, Mum has a star, and the youngest child has a smiley face, for example).
Having some rules in place will ensure that everyone is doing the same thing when it comes to the laundry. This, in turn, will make the whole process run smoothly, and it’ll be less draining for those involved.
7. Refresh Some Laundry Instead of Washing
Some clothes don’t have to be washed after one wear, and other items shouldn’t be subjected to too much cleaning. So, instead of washing these items, refresh them. This will save you so much time in the long run!
For example, bedding doesn’t have to be washed daily, jeans don’t have to be cleaned after a single wear, and jumpers made from wool shouldn’t be washed too often because excessive cleaning can shrink and damage the material.
You can freshen up these kinds of items/garments by:
- Squirting a fabric freshener over them.
- Putting them on the line to blow in the wind.
- Adding them to a tumble dryer alongside scented dryer sheets and running a warm cycle.
- Putting them in a freezer for a few hours.
8. Make Good Use of the Quick Wash Feature
Not every item in your washing basket will be filthy. Some garments will only be lightly soiled.
So, instead of putting every single item through a ‘normal washing cycle’, choose a short cycle, like the quick wash one, to clean your slightly soiled clothes.
Using a shorter washing cycle means that you can wash your outfits quickly and move on to the next load of laundry! This is a great time-saving option that’s worth trying out.
9. Treat Stains Immediately
One bugbear of doing laundry is having to treat stains! Blemishes can be a total nightmare to remove, especially if the marks are super old!
So, instead of allowing stains to set into clothes as they hang about in the washing basket, treat them immediately. Then, when it comes to doing the washing, you can toss the former blemished items in with your other garments because they’ll be stain-free and ready to be cleaned.
If you forget (or don’t bother cleaning stains on clothes), you’ll have to stop (or at least slow down) your washing routine to deal with the issue at hand.
This can be time-consuming anyway. But given the fact that you need different cleaning solutions to remove stains, you may have to go out to the shop to buy certain goods, which only adds time to the laundry session!
So, do yourself a favour, and to speed up the whole washing process, eradicate the stains from the very start!
10. Organise Your Laundry After You’ve Washed It
It’s much easier to wash, dry, sort, and store your clean washing on the same day. This way, you won’t have clean clothes hanging about the place (making the house look cluttered!) or left inside tumble dryers!
If you find that your clean washing piles are getting out of hand, slow down your washing process so you have enough time to store your dried items.
If you need to stop doing the washing for a while, do so. Just stop and concentrate on putting the clean clothes away. And when you’ve done this, you can restart the laundry process with a new pile of laundry.
Creating a laundry schedule will help you to keep track of your laundry-related tasks better.
11. Consider Your Laundry Schedule When Buying Clothes
If you’re struggling to keep up with the laundry, a simple way of making your life easier is to ensure your wardrobe is made up of similar fabrics that are easy to care for.
So, think about the materials you buy and consider how they need to be washed and maintained. For example, if you don’t have time (or interest) in hand washing clothes, don’t buy them in the first place. If you wash these types of clothes in a washer, you could ruin them!
Similarly, if you hate ironing and don’t plan on doing it, don’t purchase clothes that are known for being easy creasers and wrinkly!
By the same token, if you only use a tumble dryer to dry laundry, make sure the items you buy are dryer safe. If the garments need to be dried naturally, this will hinder your laundry process and add time to it.
In addition, consider getting outfits that are made from similar materials (and colours, if possible) so that they can be washed together.
If your wardrobe is full of textiles that need to be cleaned in different ways, you’ll spend a lot of time sorting through these items and tailoring the washing experience to them. This can cause quite a lot of hassle!
12. Declutter and Donate Clothes and Items You Don’t Need
Sometimes you need to make your washing piles smaller to manage them better. So, take some time to go through your washing basket, wardrobes, and drawers and assess what clothes you actually need and do wear/use.
Donate items you wash but don’t wear/use, and give them a new lease of life!
By doing this, you’ll have eliminated a few items from your washing pile and made more room in your wardrobe!
13. Prioritise Which Clothes to Wash
A super simple way to keep up with the laundry is to clean the clothes and items that are essential to you at that moment in time.
In short, stick to cleaning clothes that match the season you’re in. If it’s summertime, clean your summer clothes. If it’s winter, wash your jumpers and warm outfits! Similarly, focus on washing priority and essential clothes, like your work uniform.
There’s no point washing winter jumpers in the middle of a heatwave – you’re not likely to need them, for example.
If you try and wash all your clothes all at once, you’ll be there for ages. Plus, you’ll needlessly put yourself under strain, and you’ll be squandering resources. Not to mention, by the time the other seasons come around, the outfits that you’ve washed may need to be rewashed because they smell!
It’s better to focus on the clothes that are right in front of you and are essential rather than worrying about all your garments. Your other clothes can be cleaned in their own time.
(Of course, if something significant has happened and you must clean all your clothes at once, or if you need clean garments ready for a trip abroad, go ahead and wash them – but schedule these washing and drying sessions in).
14. Make the Task More Enjoyable
As mentioned earlier, doing the laundry isn’t the most entertaining of tasks. But there are ways you can make it more fun so that the job doesn’t seem so much like a draining chore. Try the following:
- Listen to music as you sort the washing out.
- Stick the TV on when you’re sorting and folding the dry clothes.
- Listen to a podcast as you iron.
- Make the laundry tasks fun for all the family. Allow kids to help you and to take responsibility for putting their clothes in the washing basket and reward them for doing a good job.
- Make a game out of the tasks. Set yourself a target to beat each week. Or start a competition between your kids to see who can wash the most socks that week.
- And above all else, reward yourself and everyone involved at the end of the washing session for a job well done!
15. Use a Laundry Service
If all else fails and you feel utterly overwhelmed by all the sorting, treating, washing, drying, and ironing, ask a pro for help!
You can find a professional laundry service that specialises in collecting, cleaning, drying, ironing, and returning your laundry to you online.
Just remember to pick a reputable company with lots of positive reviews, ask about fees, and find out what products will be used throughout the process.
It’s also worth pointing out if you or someone in the family has any skin conditions or allergies, so that the professional can use different products to clean/maintain your items.
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!