If managing your family’s laundry is causing you daily stress, worry not! Here are 5 tips to manage your whites, towels, and socks so you won’t feel washed out and--who knows!--you might even have loads of fun.
3. Be Armed With the Proper Tools
Now that you have a routine in place, and have decided how often it will be feasible for you to actually wash and dry your clothes, make your life easier by making sure your laundry area is equipped with the proper tools and accessories.
There is nothing worse than heading to the laundry room, loading the machine and realizing you’re out detergent (or can’t find it under a pile of clean clothes). Keep your laundry shelves stocked with everything you fancy to make your clothes clean and fresh—detergent (obviously), stain removal products, softener, bleach, fabric sheets, and even products like febreze that can freshen up foul smelling laundry in an instant.
When you have all your laundry items within arms reach, you’ll also be able to keep track of the products you are running low on and replenish as necessary. Having a garbage can in your laundry room will also be helpful so you have a place to throw away any dryer lint or pocket garbage while sorting. If you use laundry baskets, it’s best to get stackable baskets in the same size to save space and allow for easy storage.
In addition, other tools that I can’t live without in my laundry room are:
- A table for folding laundry.
- A closet rod in the laundry center to hang permanent-press garments or items that can’t be placed in the dryer. If space permits, an expandable shower-curtain rod will hold clean shirts and extra hangers in smaller spaces.
- A whiteboard or chalk board. Thanks to QDT colleague Amanda Thomas for this suggestion. “As you’re putting items into the washer, write on a whiteboard which items need to get pulled out to hang or lay flat to dry. That way, no matter who pulls the clothes from the washer, the items can be safely pulled and set aside instead of going into the dryer.”
- Extra Laundry Baskets for items like linens, table cloths, or a load or two of clothes that belong to a specific family member.
- Paper & Sharpie for leaving a note on the extra laundry basket for a particular family member. (Also fun to leave love notes or simple messages to family members to let them know you’re thinking about them.)
- Ironing Board and Flat Iron. C’mon—if we’re gonna wash, we might as well be wrinkle free!
- A good book or favorite magazine! Some of my favorite stolen moments of quiet time are sneaking in a great read while in the privacy of my laundry room!
4. Put It Away Immediately
Don’t put another load of clothes into the dryer until the load in the dryer is FOLDED and PUT AWAY.
In the zillions of years I’ve been a mom doing laundry, the one thing I’ve loathed the most is putting our clean clothes away. It fell on me solely for nearly 15 years, but once my eight kids got older and were able to help (and once I got smarter!) it soon became just as easy as throwing the soiled clothes in the washing machine.
For starters, if you can designate a clean laundry basket or bin to each family member (don’t forget to put their individual names on it, including your spouse) you can pass the torch of having to handle this aspect of laundering on to your family members. We may be the parents who oversee all things laundry, but we DO NOT have to be in charge of getting all those clean clothes to their rightful resting places.
Now, I’m going to share the best laundry tip I’ve ever gleaned in my 30 plus years of caring for my clothes: I don’t put another load of clothes into the dryer until the load in the dryer is FOLDED and PUT AWAY. Don’t put those clean clothes into a laundry basket and walk away! Ever! Get yourself and your family into the habit of taking care of whatever business lies in the dryer first—then, and only then—throw the next load in to be dried.
I’ll be honest, this took me over two months to accomplish, but ever since I mastered this habit, I’ve never had a problem with clean laundry piling up again (unless I’ve been sick or gone away on a long vacation).
I beg you to give this tip a try. If you can work this into your laundry routine you will never fight against the strong riptide of laundry again.
5. Machine Care
Here are some tips I’ve gleaned from the Laundry Gods for the care and upkeep of your beloved washers and dryers which will aid in keeping your machines purring like happy little kittens.
Remember to clean the lint trap after each drying cycle. I had a fire in my drying machine shortly after I was married. Reason being: I never cleaned the lint trap!
Washing Machine Door
Whether you have a top load or a front load washer, leave the door open when not in use. This will help prevent odor-causing mold and mildew to form.
Once a month, it’s suggested to perform maintenance on your washing machine. For front-loading machines, clean the rubber seals on the door and dispensers as needed. It will help clear up any detergent, hair, and other debris that has built up. If you’ve noticed that unwelcome mildew stench forming, perform a tub cleanse using vinegar. Set your washer to the hottest temperature, select extra rinse if that option is available, and add white vinegar to the bleach dispenser to the max fill level (make sure there is absolutely no bleach in there first). For top-load washers, add four cups of white vinegar after setting the washer to the hottest temperature at the highest capacity. Lift the lid to stop the machine once it’s filled and allow it to sit for a few hours before closing to finish the cycle.
How do you stay on top of your laundry game? Share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT
Image of mom doing laundry © Shutterstock