Laundry. You sort, you wash, you fold, you blink – and the pile of dirty clothes has grown all over again. Laundry is a fact of life, but approaching the task in an organized way can make it more manageable.
Preparation is Half the Battle
If you have a large family (or lots of clothes!), sorting the laundry can be a daunting task all on its own. Sorting as you go not only ends the need for this part of the project, but also may encourage you to do laundry more often because it’s all sorted and ready to go! Use a multi-compartmented hamper or several laundry baskets and as you throw in your dirty clothes just drop them in the appropriate section (even kids as young as pre-schoolers can learn to do this — make it fun for them, give them a small reward (an extra 15 minutes of TV? staying up 10 minutes later?) each time they get everything in the right spot!)
Toss items that need dry cleaning into a special basket or bag as soon as you take it off. This way, when you are ready to go to the cleaners you can just grab them, rather than having to hunt for them in all the dirty laundry (ugh!)
Make a habit of always keeping a spare of laundry detergent, dryer sheets and whatever else you use regularly. That way you never have to drop everything and run to the store to complete your laundry (or use that as a reason to not complete the laundry…)
Put Away the Clean Clothes in a Flash!
Keep hangers and a folding hanging rack near the dryer. Save steps by putting hanging items directly on hangers rather than folding and toting them first. As you fold clean laundry, place items in baskets by person to simplify the process of putting it all away. Get everyone in on the act. Even small children can help put away some of their own clothes — socks, underwear, etc. Older kids can put it all away. If you share the burden, it’s not so overwhelming.
We know it’s hard, but go through your drawers and closets and purge things that are never worn. Putting laundry away is much faster and more pleasant if you don’t have to struggle to cram the clothes into an overstuffed space.
Set a side a small drawer or basket for socks that have lost their mate in the wash. Sooner or later the other sock will turn up and the pair can be put away with all the others.
Other Laundry Tips
Consider sprucing up and organizing the laundry area. A clean and well-organized space makes any task more enjoyable. Schedule set laundry days and stick to them. It’s amazing how much more you can get done when you have a schedule.
Short of inventing disposable clothes, laundry is here to stay, but these tips should make it quicker and a little more manageable and you will never have a morning with nothing to wear.
Bridget Messino is a Professional Organizer and co-owner of Clutter Free Living, Inc. Her work frequently appears on many Internet sites and on her own organizing site Clutter Free Living as well as in her monthly Home Organizing Newsletter How to Be Clutter Free.