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Laundry is #2 on my most hated chores list. #1 is dishes. It takes days to get laundry done and then when you think your done you realize that baskets are full again and you just start the process all over. Sorting, stain removing, fabric softening, washing, drying, remembering your washing, re-washing that cycle you forgot about over night that now smells like soured feet, drying, sorting, folding, ironing and hanging! Whew! It’s a ton of work! Here are 5 strategies I developed in my own life to speed up laundry day.
1. Pre-sorted Bins- Lights, Colors & Denim/Towels
Since instituting the 3 bin system for lights, colors and denim in the master bedroom it takes one less step to be ready to start laundry. My husband doesn’t like laundry on the floor so he keeps up with my system and if I notice he’s put something in the wrong bin during the week, I just move it over. If you can get your kids to do a 3 bin system I would be super impressed and consider you a super parent.
2. The Magical Quick Wash Setting
I distinctly remember my mom coming to stay with me when my son was first-born to help me out around the house. In my new mom, no sleep, zombie haze it seemed like my mom was getting through laundry day in half the time it took me to do it on any given day before baby. I asked her how she was getting stuff done so fast and she claimed that she was just using the “Quick Wash” setting. I immediately made her show me what she was talking about. When she turned the dial from “Normal/Casual” which was 56 minutes to “Quick Wash”, the cycle said 28 minutes! My response was, “Does this actually get stuff clean?” and she told me to check it out for myself. All my clothes were clean and smelled fresh.
I’ve never gone back to “Normal/Casual” wash again. Now I get stuff done in half the time it took me before! Obviously there are some loads that do require a higher, heavier duty setting. For everyday wear, I just go with “Quick Wash” and am happy with the outcome.
3. Ironing With Your Dryer
Have you ever been lounging on a cold winters day and thrown an article of your clothing or blanket in the dryer to warm it up so you could snuggle up in it fresh out of the dryer? All that heat works to dry and fluff up your clothing.
If you are fast enough and immediately dash to the dryer when the end cycle alarm sounds you can yank all your blouses and work shirts out, quickly lay them flat on your bed and then slap them on a hanger. If you react fast enough most articles should be wrinkle free. It doesn’t work with all fabrics, but with many of your fabrics you may be able to get out of ironing all together.
Sometimes when I don’t feel like ironing and I’m in a hurry, I’ll just stick a moist (not wet) wash cloth in the dryer with my blouse that is a little wrinkled and by the time my hair and makeup are done, the blouse in the dryer is wrinkle free and I can put it on and go. It’s kind of like steaming it when you add the moist towel.
4. Ironing Entertainment
I don’t have a lot of time to watch TV, read or listen to the radio. Although I thoroughly enjoy all 3 and try to at least make time in my day for reading. I actually look forward to ironing because it gives me an excuse to do one of these three things. They also make time seem to pass faster.
- Audio Books- I don’t always have time to read but I can easily listen to an audio book doing anything other than using a blender. My public library allows me to “check out” MP3 audio books now so they are FREE! You can always check out books on CD too. You might be surprised at how many new books your library has on CD.
- Streaming Media- I ditched cable years ago which works out because now if I want to watch anything or catch up on my favorite shows I just use my Roku 3 Streaming Media Player and access all my digital content in one place. I watch the shows I want to watch on demand whenever I have the time. No channel surfing for this lady. I have an Amazon Prime account, a Netflix account and I’m about to get Hulu in the next month or two so I can get access to all my favorite current TV shows. Catching up on Castle while ironing really motivates me to iron.
- Podcasts- These are something I’ve grown to love in the last year. I listen to Dave Ramsey, Joyce Meyer and a blogging Podcast every week. Podcasts only require me to listen rather than watch and listen. This media outlet is perfect for when I’m sorting, folding and hanging clothes in the closets and don’t need to watch a screen to keep up with what is going on. I use the Stitcher app on my smart phone and it gives me access to all the podcasts in one place.
5. Make Laundry Day a Marathon & Not a Daily Sprint
I recently read an excellent book on routines. I got really excited to try doing laundry every day rather than just once a week as the book suggested. What I found out was that doing daily laundry just. doesn’t. work. for. me.
I tried it for two weeks and what I ended up doing was re-washing the same load every day because I forgot about it every day. The single load theory had me throwing in a load of laundry and moving on to other chores only to forget I’d even started it. After 3 days of doing 1 load of laundry a day my husband asked me on day 4 if I was going to do laundry that week. The bins were never below half full so he couldn’t tell I was washing. It felt like I was never putting a dent in what we had so I just ditched it and went back with my marathon approach.
When I dedicate a whole day to laundry, I know that is my main task for that day. My scattered brain knows that my focus is on laundry and that’s what I work on. I love to actually see the bottom of the laundry bins. Get it done and move on. If daily works for you, keep doing it. As for me and my house, we gotta knock that stuff out in one punch.
I hope this post gives you a little creative laundry day inspiration to help make laundry day not as bad as it is. Let me know if you have any laundry tips or tricks that speed up laundry day while making it less cumbersome for you in the comments section below.
Kim Anderson is the organized chaos loving author behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. She helps other people who thrive in organized chaos to stress less, remember more and feel in control of their time, money, and home. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, and more!