My Laundry System

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My Laundry System

My Laundry System

A mom friend told me that she is sick of the mountains of laundry, and she asked me to share my laundry system as well as any tips and tricks.  Here is my response:

Two years ago, I finally decided to create a system for tackling the laundry.   I used to do a marathon day of load after load of laundry.  I know that system works for some people, but it wasn’t working for me.  When laundry day rolled around, I dreaded the task because I knew it would take all day.  Often, I would put it off because it seemed so daunting, and the task grew even larger.

Creating a laundry schedule and tackling a little bit each day (except Sunday!) works for me.

Here’s my system:
 
Monday

  • Kid laundry
  • Philip’s and my casual clothes
  • Philip’s and my dress clothes

Tuesday

  • Children’s bedding
  • Our bedding

Wednesday

  • Whites
  • Towels
  • Bath mats

Thursday

  • Bibs/Dish towels
  • Cleaning rags

Friday/Saturday

  • Extra loads or special items like reds or blankets from the family room.

Sunday

  • NO LAUNDRY!!!

A few tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • Whenever possible, treat stains immediately.  Different kinds of stains on different fabrics will need different treatments.  Here is a helpful stain chart from Better Homes and Gardens that you can download and print off for your laundry room.  Always treat the stain before washing to avoid setting the stain.
  • Read clothing labels carefully to avoid shrinkage, discoloration, dying, etc.
  • Unless you really like the color pink, ALWAYS wash red items (especially new ones!) separately.
  • Washing items on cold prevents you from having to separate brights and darks.  That would turn into so many loads of laundry, and I don’t have enough time to do thatmuch laundry!
  • Containing socks–especially itty bitty little baby socks:  Hang a mesh zipper bag (the kind you use to wash delicate items) on a skirt hanger next to the hamper.  Place socks in the bag instead of the hamper, and toss them in the hamper when the clothes are ready to be washed.  This way, all of your socks stay together, and you won’t end up losing one in a sleeve.
  • Bibs:  My kiddos are messy eaters, so we go through a few bibs a day.  At the end of the day, I rinse them out with soap and water.  Then, I hang them to dry from the wire shelving in the laundry room.  When the weekly washing day rolls around, I unsnap them from the wire shelf, and toss them in the wash with the dish towels from the week.
  • Hang items immediately from the dryer to limit ironi ng.
  • Pleated skirts:  You can place bag clips (the kind you use on bags of chips) on the hem of a pleated skirt to avoid ironing.
  • Lint:  Empty the catcher often to maximize dryer efficiency and limit the risk of fire.  Thoroughly clean the lint out with a vacuum at least once a season.  Vacuum behind and under the machines as well.
  • If you use liquid softener, top off the softener distributor with water to avoid gunky softener build-up.
  • After each cycle, leave the washer’s lid open to allow for air circulation.
  • My laundry room hamper with three dividers on wheels makes separating clothes an easy job.
  • Separate clothes while waiting for the washer to fill.
  • You really can fold a fitted sheet!
  • Bedding:  Keep 2 (or 3) sets for each bed on rotation.  Store the fitted sheet, bed sheet, and one pillow case inside of the other pillow case to create neat “packages” for your linen closet.  Blankets can be folded and placed in separate shelves.
  • Give every item a home in closets and drawers to make putting laundry away easier.
  • Clean out closets and drawers at least once a season.
  • Keep a “donate” and “mend” bin in your laundry room.
  • Immediately trash items that are beyond repair or cannot be donated.

What’s your laundry system?  Do you have any tips to share?

Copyright 2013 Catherine Boucher

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11 Comments

  1. Wow this is a fantastic list! I cringed a bit though to see how much I don’t do but should do.
    Thanks for the reminders/inspiration! Now to find some motivation…

    • Catherine Boucher on

      Erika Marie, I think of this as more of a goal for the week than a “must do” schedule. If life happens, we get a last-minute invite for a play date, or someone gets sick, I’ll adjust accordingly. The most important thing is trying to do a little each day so that the huge task is smaller and more manageable. Confession: I haven’t done any laundry yet today because I’ve been too busy playing with the kids!!!

      • Yes, I find it easier to write out the goals than actually sticking to them! But it sounds like your system is simple enough that you can be flexible with it. I used to do laundry all in one day and I just can’t anymore – 4 kids and 2 adults = too much laundry! I know it will only grow in size. I spread it out now like you do and it’s actually not so bad – it kind of gives my days a rhythm. I need to figure out a way to get better at spot treating. Usually the baby or kids get stains the day after I finish their laundry. I hate to do a whole cycle for only a couple items.

  2. I like that system. I need to get better about pretreating. I have hampers for dirty clothes 1 jeans greys etc, colors, whites and towels. I usually do 1 basket of laundry every other day. I just sort whats in the basket and do laundry. Its about 2-4 loads of laundry depending on the hamper.

    • Catherine Boucher on

      Erin, thanks for sharing your system! Pretreating is especially tricky for our family when it comes to my hubby’s clothes. He’ll forget that he spilled something on a shirt or pants during the day, but he changes into his “play clothes” once he gets home so that he can play with the kids, and the stains get forgotten in the hamper. Oh well! Gotta love a hubby that loves the kiddos!

  3. Lisa Schmidt on

    Wow! You rock the laundry, girl! I’m with you on doing a little bit of laundry each day when possible, and yes, Sundays off! I notice that if I just do laundry one day/week, then I’m constantly neglecting to wash items like bedding and towels. Not good.

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

    • Catherine Boucher on

      Thanks, Lisa! Just like I confessed to Erika Marie, I have to disclose that I don’t always stick to this schedule when life happens or I just need a little break. Today, a nap sounded better than laundry! 🙂

  4. Peggy Barrette on

    Our electricity usage is cheaper at different times and we are charged accordingly.I will run the washer on Saturdays or after 9 pm on weekdays and this works well with with the scheduling system. Now that warmer weather is just around the corner here in Canada, outdoor drying on the line is an option I enjoy. As my children got old enough, I taught them how to do their own laundry, which really helped.

    • Catherine Boucher on

      I’ve only ever dried my clothes outdoors when I lived abroad in Spain back in college. What do you like about air drying over the machine? Oooooooo…I’m intrigued by your teaching the kids to do the laundry. What age did you ask them to take on that task? Is 3 too early? 😉

      • My three-year old LOVES to load the washer. The kids also like to “help” me sort. Which is not always quite so fun, but oh well. ;-D

        I reworked our laundry schedule when #3 arrived, to spread it out more thru the week, and it works well. It is fairly similar to yours, with cloth dipes worked in there as well.

        Have you ever tried wool dryer balls? They help cut down dry time and wrinkles.

        • Catherine Boucher on

          My three-year-old seems to love everything about the laundry, too. Perhaps it’s time for me to start embracing the help on a regular basis… I haven’t tried wool dryer balls before. Thanks for the tip!

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