The laundry will never be done. No one knows where all the lost socks actually go.
These are simple truths of mom life. Do you know what else can be simple?
It may never be done, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here’s how I simplified and easily manage laundry for a family of five:
Declutter. You can do it.
This is the biggest tip right here. Too many clothes result in being overwhelmed with giant laundry piles. I know you spent money on all those items, but the money is already gone. If you are not wearing it, let it go! I did the KonMari method on my clothes last year and honestly, I can’t wait to do it again. In fact, some studies report that women only wear 20-30% of the clothes they own regularly. That means at the very least, half of the things in your closet are just in your way.
Your kids more than likely have way more clothing than they need, too. Fewer clothes overall allow you to fit everything they need for the ever-changing Iowa weather right into their closet or dresser. No more seasonal clothing squirreled away in bins. No more having to take time to rotate kids’ clothing. This chart can be helpful for kids’ clothes!
Check out this post for where to donate clothing. Even though I ended up missing two items I decluttered, I’d rather live with the minor regret instead of an overstuffed closet and mountains of laundry.
Ask–Is it actually dirty?
I had to teach my kids that not every single item of clothing that touches their body is terribly dirty. I showed them how to inspect items like pullovers, hoodies or jeans to see if they had any dirt or food on them before just tossing them in the hamper. On that same note, I gave them a hook for their pajamas. When you are past potty training, there is no need to wear a clean pair of pajamas every single night. When they bathe or shower before bed, they have learned to take a clean pair and toss the ones from their hook into the hamper. Easy.
A Single Hamper
I used to have a hamper in each bedroom and I was always overwhelmed with laundry. After I simplified our wardrobes, I went to a single hamper in my bedroom that the kids use, too. It has made a big difference. When I get up in the morning, I take the hamper down to the laundry room and sort it out quickly because it only contains 1-2 days of clothes. Then, comes the next step.
One Load + Drying Racks + Chocolate = Laundry Bliss
After sorting it out, I toss in the only load I’ll wash that day. I take the previous day’s clean load off drying racks and fold into the basket. The basket and dry hanging clothes go back upstairs to put away right away or I leave each child’s clothes ready to put away in their rooms. If I can’t get it put away right away, I just put it on my bed because it will get done by one of us before we go to bed.
After dinner or after the kids are in bed, I will go back for the load I started that morning. It goes in the dryer for only 20-30 minutes before hanging it on drying racks or on hangers if they go on hangers anyway. Not only are there a ton of benefits to air-drying your clothes, but drying racks mean I’m not waiting on a dryer. I get to finish the load on my time and I know it will be dry and wrinkle-free in the morning. Win.
With this method, I can absolutely miss a day or two every week and still be fine. I’m only spending a few minutes on laundry first thing in the morning and a few minutes in the evening. That’s it. I’m only dealing with one load at a time, so it’s never overwhelming.
The real secret here is keeping some chocolate in the laundry room. It’s a great incentive to remember to go back and finish up the load I started in the morning!
Lastly, asking my husband to choose just one laundry category to take care of without me having to think about it has been amazing. I now rarely change or wash bedding at our house, but I get clean sheets every weekend. Big-time win.
Now, if he could only figure out where all the missing socks are, he’d really be my hero.
What tips do you have to simplify laundry?
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