I enjoy laundry day, I genuinely do. But not everyone feels the same way about the chore. Most people dread doing laundry. If you are one of them, it might be because you are making some laundry mistakes. But, here are my best laundry tips my advice on how to fix them!
Not having a good laundry system, stops you from getting the job done faster. Here is a list of 7 laundry mistakes people usually make, and some useful tips that can help you improve your system.
If you feel discouraged when laundry day comes around, and if you want to learn how to make laundry fast, these personal tips might help your laundry day go smoothly.
1. You Don’t Have a Schedule
The first laundry mistake most people make is leaving laundry day to chance. They get to it whenever there’s time (is there ever time?), or for when the laundry basket is full and overflowing.
Some other people tend to do laundry every day (to avoid the pile, they say!) but this ends up being a much bigger mistake. Laundry every day results in a mix of both: colors and family members’ clothing.
Schedule your laundry day or days depending on the size of your household. It’s easier for you to get organized with the process when all your focus and attention is on laundry tasks.
Set a day aside just for doing laundry, and plan other chores around it. Keep in mind that the laundry will take longer if you try to do too many things at once. Which takes me to laundry mistake #2.
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2. You Multitask
Laundry day is enough. Don’t try to go shopping, clean the bathrooms, and hold a video conference with your colleagues, because there’s just not enough time for all of that. Walking away from the laundry room for long periods, just makes laundry day longer.
Multitasking is OK while the machines are doing their job, but try to be present to switch loads, hang, and fold clothing. You can only get so much done in the 30-60 minutes the machines are running. So, don’t try to be an overachiever and get knee-deep in other chores that will take away from laundry time.
Make a list of short and sweet chores you can do while the laundry is running. A house cleaning schedule can help you do so. Here are a few examples of chores you can do that do not take much time:
- Empty the dishwasher
- Sort the mail
- Clean and organize the laundry room
- Write an important email
- Plan your meals for the week
- Clear out counter space in the kitchen. Use it to fold your laundry later!
3. You Are Not Well Equipped.
Ideally, we all would love to have a Pinterest-perfect laundry room. However, most of us -myself included- have to work in a very small room, sometimes even a closet.
So, you dread laundry because there’s no space to work comfortably. You have to throw the dirty clothes on the floor, and the clean clothes on the couch rolled up in a ball. I get it. Your house looks like a bomb of clothes went off. You can’t find hangers, or you don’t have a surface where to fold and stack the clothes.
The key is to have an organized area, no matter how small. With the proper tools at hand, you can streamline the process and make it run smoothly. Here are a few laundry tips, tools, and systems you can implement:
- Always keep hangers in the laundry room. That way, as soon as the clothes come out of the dryer, you can hang them and carry them properly into their corresponding rooms.
- Use a wall mount hanger holder and hang the clothes as you go.
- An ergonomic, easy to carry laundry basket helps you move faster. This hip grip laundry basket has made a difference for me.
- If you don’t have a countertop in the laundry room, use the top of your front loaders as a folding surface.
4. You let stains sit for too long
You can’t get the stains out. Frustrating right? Just thinking about having to scrub that white shirt takes your energy away. The mistake is, you let the stain sit on the garment for too long.
Life happens. And your kids are going to come home every day with a different stain in their clothes. Strawberries, blueberries, chocolate, grass, and mud. Here is what you can -and should- do:
- Pre-treat stains as soon as they happen. Some stain removers can’t sit on the garment for more than 10 minutes, so it is necessary to wash the garment right after. Or at least rinse it out.
- If you can’t pre-treat stains as they happen, at least pre-treat them on laundry day, before starting the routine.
- Throw a load of dark clothes first, while whites soak in a mixture of warm water and borax. When is time to do a load of whites and lights, they’re already pre-treated.
5. You Got It All Mixed Up!
I see this laundry mistake happen more often than not in many households. If you are doing everyone’s laundry at the same time, in the same load, stop now!.
Mixing your clothes with your kids’ clothes -for example- just makes things harder. Harder to sort, harder to wash, harder to fold, and harder to put away. People spend more time separating clothes and distributing them to their owners, than doing laundry itself.
Children’s clothes usually have more stains that require pre-treating, and probably a longer wash cycle. Most adult clothes can be washed in a quick cycle, and some clothing requires even a delicate cycle. So, not only separating clothes will save you time, it will save your clothing by giving them the right treatment.
- Assign each family member their own laundry basket.
- Do loads of one family member at a time.
- Dry, hang, fold, and stack without thinking twice. It all belongs to the same owner.
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6. You Avoid Folding Clothes
Folding laundry is one of my favorite things to do. But most people avoid folding clothes. This makes the folding process (that we all must do sooner or later) even worse. If I could give you one and only one laundry tip, this would be it!
When clothes sit for too long in the dryer (or on the couch), they cool down and get wrinkled. Needless to say, in the meantime, another load is sitting in the washing machine getting musty. One more reason to be discouraged about laundry day,
- Fold clothes while they are still warm, right out of the dryer. It will save you time and aggravation. Warm clothes mean less to virtually zero wrinkles.
- If you do not have time to fold clothes as soon as the drying cycle ends, don’t pull the clothes out of the dryer. Keep them there, they will stay warm for longer.
- If clothes are completely cooled, but still in the dryer, throw an ice cube and run the dryer for 15 minutes in a medium to high setting. The ice cube will produce steam and de-wrinkle the clothes.
- Develop a system on how to fold (or hang) each type of garment and in which order, and stick to it.
- Hang dress shirts and dress clothes such as pants and blouses, first.
- Move on to fold shorts, t-shirts (if you do fold them), shorts, jeans, and gym clothes.
- Leave PJ’s and small items such as underwear and socks for last. It doesn’t matter if they have a few wrinkles by then if they have cooled down, they’re pajamas!
- Categorize the garments and create separate stacks for each type. This costs you nothing while you’re doing it and it saves you a lot of time when you’re putting the clothes away.
- Stack t-shirts on one side of the basket, stack pajamas in another corner, and make a stack of underwear, and a corner of socks in the other.
- Hang school uniforms one after the other so the hangers are back to back, etc.
7. You Stall Putting Clothes Away
Yeah, I don’t like putting clothes away either. I’d rather sit and fold all night. But this mistake happens when you have mixed clothes from different family members in the same pile.
They have to be put away in different rooms and closets. You go on a scavenger hunt looking for pieces that belong in ‘this drawer’ and everything you find goes in ‘that drawer’ in the other room. Messing around your neatly stacked piles of freshly folded clothes is frustrating.
- Follow the system of classifying laundry by family member. This way, when you are ready to put clothes away, it all goes straight to the same room, drawer, or closet.
- Stack clothing by use. If you have all the PJs stacked together, you can pick the entire stack at once and put it straight in the drawer or shelf where it belongs.
Pass on These Laundry tips
While homemaking and laundry, in particular, might not be for everyone, and you might even delegate it, it’s always good to learn from these laundry mistakes.
Having a system to streamline any process in your home is important not only for you but for your children. These are little secrets, and life skills they need too!