A massive pile of dirty laundry is one of the most daunting chores you can face. Four or five loads can take all day to wash, dry and fold. If you have any items that require special care, you could be doing laundry well into the evening. There's no need to waste a day on laundry. A few simple strategies will help keep your clothes clean, so you can spend your time doing something you enjoy.
1. Store Off-Season Clothes
The less clothes you have in your closet, the fewer items will end up in the laundry. Storing off-season clothes that could be worn in another season -- such as long-sleeved shirts in summer -- limits your clothing choices, and will cause you to run out of clean clothes quicker, which in turn means you'll need to do laundry more often. This tip is especially useful if you have kids, who are notorious for wearing their favorite items, no matter what the season. Ideally, you'll be able to store your off-season clothes in bins, neatly tucked away, out of sight and out of mind. At the very least, designate an area in your closet for off-season clothes. Try covering hanging clothes with left over dry cleaning bags or plastic trash bags to make them more inaccessible.
2. Get Rid of Clothes
Similar to storing off season clothes, getting rid of clothes limits the choices you and your family make. If you or someone in your household has a nearly unlimited t-shirt and jeans collection, chances are you'll put off doing laundry until you run completely out of clean clothes. Of course, you want to be judicious about cleaning out your closet, but giving the clothes away will make you feel good, and selling them will give you extra cash.
3. Sort Early, Sort Often, Sort Smart
Establish a multiple hamper system for sorting. One hamper for whites, one for colored clothes, and one for delicates or clothing that requires special handling. You could save a half hour of sorting time in the laundry room. If that won't work for you, try the opposite strategy to sorting, which requires you to sort as little as possible. These days, modern washers and improved laundry detergents mean that your laundry will get clean even in a cold-water wash. If all of your clothes are color safe and require no special care, then mixing colored items with whites shouldn't cause any problems. Just don't accidentally wash that $100 silk blouse with your stinky tube socks.
4. Establish a Laundry Routine
Sticking to a regular routine will help keep the laundry from piling up. If you live alone, you might be able to designate one day as laundry day without spending all day on it. However, if you're washing for a family, that's probably not realistic. While doing a load of laundry every day might seem daunting, it actually isn't. The loads will be smaller, meaning you'll spend less time on them. At the very least, try to get on an every-other-day schedule.
5. Share the Work
If your son or daughter's sports gear needs frequent washing, have them chip in and help. Practice schedules are predictable, so their laundry schedules will be too. Have them wash the clothes that they need cleaned quickly. Not only will this keep the laundry pile down, it will teach them good life skills and responsibility.
6. Make Laundry a Priority
When doing a load of laundry, finish it all the way through folding and putting it away. While it's tempting to ignore the beep from the washer or the buzzer from the dryer, if you don't finish the job, it's technically still part of the laundry pile.