I've come to learn that my love of doing laundry is a rare thing. As I've worked with many families over the last few years, I have seen a common theme. Laundry is one of the most dreaded items on a to-do list. I've walked into homes where laundry has been let go for MONTHS! Maybe your pile of laundry isn't that far gone, but if you despise that mountain of clothes, towels, and linens then read on!
In my experience, laundry is overwhelming for two main reasons: too many clothes and no routine in place. Another thing to remember is that the amount of laundry also depends on the size of your family. The more people, the more laundry, the more often you will need to wash, dry, fold, and put away. For some households, doing laundry once a week is just fine, but for the rest of us, that just isn't the case.
So you ask, which problem should I tackle first? First I suggest going through and purging your items that are still hanging in your closet and sitting in your drawers. It's a well-known fact that we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time (pandemic times are maybe even closer to 10% of our clothing 90% of the time). Chances are if you're behind on laundry, then the items you haven't worn will be your starting point. Do a quick once over looking for items that don't fit, you don't like, or are damaged. For more details on how to declutter your wardrobe, check out my blog post on Questions To Ask Yourself When Decluttering Your Closet.
Next up...Do ALL the laundry! Yes, you read that correctly. Set aside a few hours, a day, a weekend, whatever it takes. Wash, dry, and fold all of your laundry.
Why you may ask? Here are the reasons:
1. You need to start with a clean slate to get a routine going.
2. You can't purge and get rid of items unless you know what you have.
3. You won't put away your clean clothes if they don't have a designated space.
I find that many laundry routines fail at the fold and put away point.
If this is the case for you, then ask yourself what exactly is it about my system that is a roadblock? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Are you not setting aside time to fold?
Is your folding system complicated?
Do you have a good space to complete the folding?
Are you out of space in your closet and/or drawers?
Are you the only one putting items away?
Do you hang items as they come out of the dryer?
Some pretty pondering questions about the laundry, right?
Now that you've given some thought to what might be holding up your laundry process, here are some suggestions for helping you stay on the right path. Here are two tips to help you get started having "loads" of fun.
Having a routine is key to battling that mountain of dirty clothes.
Use a laundry schedule like the one provided by A Meaningful Space! Assign your categories a day of the week. Find a time during the day that works for you. Maybe you start the washer in the morning and transfer the clothes to the dryer when you get home at night, and then fold and put them away after that. Or, you could be drying in the morning and folding and putting away in the evening, and then loading the washer for the next day. There are no right or wrong answers here. Find what works for you and your lifestyle.
Click here for a copy of the Laundry Schedule
Fold and put away EVERY time!
I know this is a tough one, but it MUST be done. On average 1 load of laundry should take less than 20 minutes to fold and put away. Not every piece of clothing needs to be folded by the Kon Mari method i.e. Marie Kondo. Simplify your folding if need be. Not everyone likes the look of neat little stacks in their drawers. Do what is functional for you. By seeing the process through to the end you avoid that backlog of folding and putting away clothes for hours! If you already dread doing a task, do you really want to spend more than 20 minutes on it? Plus your clothes aren't wrinkly and you don't have to go searching through piles of clothes for that one item you need.
Want more laundry routine ideas?
Check back with A Meaningful Space for upcoming blog posts about laundry. Next up is how kids of almost any age can help with laundry and more tips and tricks to get you in the right routine. You can also follow A Meaningful Space on Instagram and Facebook for more photos and ideas for laundry tips and tricks as well as other organizing fun. If you are struggling with routines, time management, or clutter in your home, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how I can help you!