Organizational/Design

Secrets of a Winning Laundry Routine (and How to Stick to It)

Top tips for creating a laundry procedure

There’s something scary growing in the corner of the room. It gets bigger every day, slowly overtaking the chair. You try to ignore it, but there’s no escape. What is it? Another load (or more) of laundry!

Sometimes it feels as though you can never escape laundry, and you wonder—could there be a better way? The answer is quite simple: Yes! You just need a clear plan.

Create a laundry schedule

The first step in figuring out how you’re going to tackle your laundry problem is determining when you’re going to do laundry. There are two ways to do this: do a load each day, or do all your loads on a single weekly laundry day. When you create a system, you create consistency and a schedule you can stick to. To start developing your routine, choose one of these:

Daily

There are several benefits to doing one load each day. First, you’ll always have clean clothes. This is especially helpful if you have a small wardrobe. And since it’s just one load, it doesn’t take much time and can easily fit into your daily routine.

However, if you miss washing a load or forget it in the washer, you may suddenly find yourself out of socks and underwear. Doing laundry every day is inefficient. Many small loads use more energy than one big one. And because you’re constantly doing laundry, you may feel as if you never get a break.

Weekly laundry day

On the other hand, you can set a routine by choosing one day each week to do all your laundry. Larger loads mean greater energy efficiency, and you’re only spending one day on laundry instead of facing a load every day.

But, you may need to cancel your plans for a day so you have time for laundry. You’re going to need time, especially if you have a large family. And there will be laundry emergencies, so you’ll still end up doing the occasional load when it’s most inconvenient.

Doing the laundry

Once you have your laundry schedule figured out, it’s time to dissect that laundry pile in the room.

Sorting

This is where the magic happens. Instead of a single large hamper, use a few small baskets or a laundry sorter. Save time by separating your lights and darks as you throw them in, keeping your delicates and hand-washables in a space of their own.

For more tips, see our video on how to sort laundry.

Stock your laundry room

To make your laundry time as efficient as possible, keep your laundry room neatly organized and everything within easy reach. Store your soaps, detergents and pretreaters on a shelf next to or above the washing machine. For emergency repairs, keep a small sewing kit nearby. Keep a stash of hangers and empty laundry baskets by the dryer, and have a small basket or tub handy for odd socks or loose buttons.

Hang or fold clothes immediately

Set your dryer’s buzzer to “on” so you know when clothes are ready. Reduce wrinkles by folding or hanging immediately after the clothes come out (using the baskets and hangers you now have by your dryer), lessening the time needed for ironing. Put the fresh clothes in baskets, one for each person in the house.

Put clothes away

It seems like a no-brainer, but restock your dressers and closets as soon as the laundry is done or you’ll have laundry-basket speed bumps all over your house. To do this, have each person take their basket, put their clothes away and return the basket to the laundry room for next time.

If you use these tips to get into a routine, you’ll be prepared to deal with the many loads of laundry you face each week.