5 Tips for Controlling Your Laundry

If you’re like most of us, you procrastinate when it comes to doing the laundry.  If you allow that overflowing pile of laundry to build up into a mountain before you tend to it, you

Create a system for doing the laundry to make your life in the laundry room easier.

probably need a little encouragement in the laundry room, and maybe a few tips to help you create new laundry habits.  It's extremely easy to procrastinate when it’s time to do the laundry – laundry isn’t the most exciting or pressing task in the home.  If you let your laundry control you, and you find yourself on a never ending search for a matching pair of socks, you may find that your laundry is, indeed, a pressing issue. 

Make sure that you have enough laundry baskets to accommodate your different laundry piles.  Whether you separate and wash your laundry by colors, whites, fabric, his, hers, or kids, you won’t have an efficient system unless you have a place to put each laundry pile.  Organize the laundry room – or each space where the laundry piles will accumulate – so that you can quickly identify which laundry piles need to be tended to first.  The following article from Shine.yahoo.com shares some more basic laundry tips from a real mother that can help save you from laundry overload.

Help! Help! Do you have a laundry problem? Are you a slob, or just overwhelmed? Do you run out of clean clothes and send your kids to school wearing their swimsuits instead of underwear, or does everyone dig through piles or baskets of clean clothes and mismatched socks every morning before the bus comes or the big meeting at work?
I've been struggling with laundry pile-ups for years. The third kid put me over the edge, but it's always been a slippery slope. Here are a few tips and tricks that might help you:
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1. Reduce the inventory

Most likely, you and your children have more clothes than you actually need or can possibly wear, so the clean, rejected outfits end up on the floor for a while until mandatory room cleaning dictates they'll be thrown in with all the actual dirty laundry. And then they don't get put away properly, because you think you should sort through them, and they end up in a pile or a basket again. Get rid of them! Bag ‘em up, stick ‘em in the car right this second, and drive ‘em out to your local charity or resale shop when you're in the neighborhood.

2. Recruit your troops with cuteness

Train your family (and yourself) to put dirty clothes in laundry baskets and clean clothes in closets. You can help the babies, but everyone else, even young kids and husbands, are more capable than you think. My 14-year-old does her own laundry, because she cares about her daily wardrobe choices more than I do. It works for me. A fun, new laundry basket like these Hello Kitty pop ups for the kids (my 16-year-old daughter is still a big fan!) or these chic, natural bamboo laundry hampers for you are also good incentives.

3. Develop good habits and attitudes

Just do the laundry! And do it the same way every time. It won't go away because you ignore it. Trust me on this, I've tried. If you know you have two loads to do every day, pick the times that work best for you and stick to them. Put in a load before work, another load after work, and put the clothes away before bed. Or, if you stay home with kids or work at home, do a load before each meal (or snack if you have several loads!) and put them away before dinner. You can do all the loads on the weekend if you must, but beware; this method can kill a perfectly good weekend.

4. Organize the chaos

Have cute hampers and practical sorters in each bedroom, and put each person who lives in that room in charge of filling their basket with their dirty clothes and putting their clean clothes back into their closets. Remind them that if you've agreed to wash, dry, fold, and sort into stacks, the one minute it takes them to put their clothes away is a small price to pay for the service.

5. Ask for help, or pay someone to help you

There is nothing wrong with this option. You aren't a bad person if your laundry gets out of control sometimes. I know this because I'm not either! I'm also not too proud to let my mom come help me get caught up every few months, even when she says, "I don't understand why you have such a hard time with this." I don't understand it either. And if you can afford a laundress, hire one! Hey, even Martha Stewart pays someone to do her laundry, and we know she can do it if she wants to. She obviously has better things to do.

If you often forget your laundry in the dryer or washer, trying setting a timer for both the washer and dryer so you’ll know exactly when your laundry is done.  As with all household chores, doing the laundry should be a shared responsibility within the family.  If others can help you to get the laundry done and make sure the laundry room is clean and organized, your job in the laundry room will be that much easier.  You can either rotate your laundry duty days or rotate your specific laundry duty tasks – one day you’re responsible for folding, the next sorting, the next washing, and so on.  Find a system for doing laundry that works for you and everyone else in the home.

Reward yourself for doing the laundry by using nicely scented laundry detergent or fabric softener, playing music, or even turning your laundry routine into some sort of dance or game.  This may sound silly, but if you transform your laundry room and your laundry duty into a relaxing or fun task, then it’s not as much of a chore.  If you stick to your laundry system, you’ll find that the laundry room doesn’t have to be a despised place.