Are you drowning in dirty clothes? Well, I’m throwing you a life raft! I’m going to tell you all about the Good Life Wife Easy Laundry System. I’ve used this system for years to keep my laundry under control.
I’m all about routines. I have a cleaning routine, meal planning routine, morning and evening routines, so it stands to reason that I would also have a routine for laundry.
When I first got married (and for quite a few years after) my laundry “system” was waiting until I didn’t have any clean underwear, washing a load, forgetting about it for two days, rewashing it, drying it, leaving it in the dryer for another two days, dumping it on my dresser and digging through the pile every day for something to wear. Oh, I left out stopping at Target to get more underwear on the second day. Impressive, right?
After I became a mom, I knew things had to change. One of my best friends told me all about her mom, Peg. Peg was a stay-at-home mom who raised three remarkable girls. I loved hearing stories about how she made bologna salad (don’t knock it till you try it), went to the Pop Shoppe to stock up on soda and kept an immaculate house. Monday was Peg’s laundry day, so Monday became my laundry day too. Peg has been gone several years now, but I think of her every Monday and am so grateful for all of the knowledge her amazing daughter passed on to me.
For this easy laundry system, or any other system, to work, it takes commitment. You will need to set aside time each week to get the laundry done. Choose a day and stick to it.
Be careful to schedule around your laundry day. Don’t make appointments, volunteer, make lunch or play dates, etc. This time is sacred.
When I say, “a load of laundry,” I mean one that’s been sorted, prepped, washed, dried, folded and put away. That last step is crucial and one that is easy to try to weasel out of. Seriously, keeping up with the laundry means doing all the things.
Below are the steps to follow for this easy laundry system. Get started first thing so you’re not still putting clothes away at midnight. I like to get my laundry sorted and start a load before we leave for school Monday morning.
Each bedroom should have a laundry basket. Hopefully all of the dirty clothes will be in the basket, but we don’t live in a perfect world! Do a quick check around each bedroom for any stray socks, etc. Don’t forget to check gym bags and the bathroom floor.
Apparently, there is a “no sorting” movement out there. Don’t fall for it and risk ruining something because you didn’t want to take five minutes to sort. Sort into the following categories:
Do not wash towels with clothes. You will have lint everywhere! Besides, towels need to be washed in hot water to kill germs.
As you’re sorting, prep the clothes for washing and, eventually, folding:
- turn right-side-out
- zip zippers
- check for stains
- look in pockets (eating all candy you find…if it’s wrapped)
- check washing labels on new items
Detergent. Look at the manual for your washing machine to see if you need to use HE detergent. Most front loaders will require HE because it makes less suds and rinses with lower water levels. Fill it up to the line for a full load but use less for smaller loads.
Temperature. Wash towels and sheets in hot water to kill germs. Wash everything else in cold. For heavily soiled items, use warm wash and cold rinse.
Load size. Don’t stuff too much in the washing machine. Things won’t get clean and they will be a wrinkled mess. It’s better to do two smaller loads than one giant one.
Ding. Make sure the dinger is on high volume so you can hear when the load is done. If your washer doesn’t have a dinger, use a timer to keep you on track.
Lint trap. Clean out the lint trap after every load. Clogged lint can cause fires and makes your dryer work harder and use more energy.
Line dry. Pull delicates out and hang to dry. I dry pretty much everything in the dryer because it takes forever for things to dry in this humidity.
Fabric softener sheets. Use them in each load of clothes or sheets but NOT for towels. Liquid fabric softener or fabric softener sheets coat towels and keep them from being absorbent.
Ding. Again, make sure the dinger is on or use a timer. Clothes will be wrinkled if they sit in the dryer.
Fold & Put Away
See how I did this? This is all one step. There is no folding and NOT putting away! Take the clothes to where they go, fold them and put them away. I take mine to my closet to fold and hang. I help Karly fold hers on her bed and she puts them away.
As soon as you take a load out of the dryer, cycle another load through so you always have one going while you fold and put away.
It’s probably not a good idea to plan to do more than five loads per day. The chances of you getting more than that folded and put away are slim. I allow for an hour and a half per load to wash, dry, fold and put away. So if I start my first load at 8:00 am, I will be putting my last load away about the time school is out.
Kids & Laundry
When Karly was in kindergarten, I, as an excited new elementary school parent, attended every parenting seminar the school put on. I learned a lot of great things but one thing sticks in my mind. A parenting expert said that in her house, everyone started doing their own laundry at age 10. I was so psyched!
I did just what the expert said: trained the child on how to sort, use the machines, fold and put away. We did her laundry together for about a month, then she was on her own. I was supposed to let the natural consequences play out and let her wear weird clothes to school and not have any clean leotards for dance and she was supposed to be embarrassed by this and remember to wash her own clothes. Guess what? She didn’t give a shit about wearing weird clothes or dirty tights! She came out in a Snow White dress one day because she didn’t have any clean shirts. Nope, not on my watch.
Our compromise is that we do her laundry together. Sorting is the hardest part for her. She just feels overwhelmed by that big pile of clothes. I sort it and she washes and dries it. Then I come in and fold it and she puts it away. I fold it because I’m a folding psycho and I love the Konmari method, which you can learn about here from Abby Lawson.
In short, do whatever works for you. If your kids wear dirty clothes to school, I’m not gonna judge but someone else might. I’m just sayin’.
Holy cow, this is a loooong post! I just wanted to make sure I shared all my laundry wisdom! What day do you do your laundry?