Pro Tips for Doing Laundry

Here are some tips that help me get laundry done in a way that’s easier and faster than it would be if doing it the “hard way.”

1: Sort by giving everyone their own hamper. In our house, there is a hamper for my son’s clothes, a hamper for the girls’ clothes (they both wear the same sizes), and a hamper for grownup’s clothes. I wash and fold them separately. This makes sorting WAY easier.

2: Get two of each clothes hamper. This way you can carry the empty one into the room where the full one is, swap them, and work out of the full one while washing and drying. Saves a lot of back-and-forth or the requirement to empty a hamper right away.

3: Use a laundry basket to transfer from the washer to the dryer. It seems faster to take clothes from the washer by the handful and put them in the dryer, but it means repeatedly leaning over, pulling them out, then bending down and putting them in. Instead, lean over once, bend down once, by putting them in a basket. Plus you can put the dryer sheet on top of the basket and shove that in with the clothes in one go. Easy.

4: Have a system for dirty versus clean. I always put the clean clothes in a laundry basket that’s on top of the dryer. Since the dryer is always front-load, the top is useful as a place to put things. So I keep clean clothes (either to be dried, awaiting another dryer load, or to be folded) up there. No questions about if it’s clean. Dirty clothes are always on the floor in front of the washing machine.

5: Have the kids fold their own laundry. From a pretty early age, kids can figure out how to fold clothes and put them away. Even if it’s not the prettiest, nobody but Martha Stewart lives in a Martha Stewart house. I don’t care what Pinterest and Instagram tell you. So let the kids do it themselves.

The rest is all stuff you’ll see a lot of advice on when doing laundry. Most of that advice is crap.

Separating colors? Forget that, just separate whites from everything else. Unless they’re socks. White socks, if they’re still white when they’re in the dirty clothes hamper, aren’t dirty. Send them back as-is.

Using detergent additives and “boosters?” If your detergent can’t do the job, get a new detergent. I use Borax for a lot of things, but laundry ain’t one of them. Get a Fels Naphtha bar and use that as a stain stick. A spray bottle of ammonia is also a good add-on to spray directly onto sticky stains. You don’t need more than that.

Seriously, laundry isn’t hard. Just start a system wherein you’re doing a couple of loads every couple of days (depending on household size). There are five in our house and I do about eight loads of laundry a week, spread out over three days at about fifteen to twenty minutes of actual work time on those days.

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