Monday, 15 April 2013

Master The Laundry Before It Masters You

Mums Make Lists

Where to start with the gripes against laundry?

It's never ending ...

It can all go so horribly wrong ...

It always seem half done, never finished ...

It's such an effort to get dry ...

No one helps ...

... and when they do it's worse!

But as these simple tips from over 20 brilliant bloggers show you really can master it ...

  1. Choose a routine that works for you & stick to it
  2. Finish one lot before you start next
  3. Come up with an easy system for sorting & stick to it
  4. Socks are evil and need special attention!
  5. Pre-treat stains with the right treatment
  6. Whatever product you use don't use too much
  7. You can get clothes white without destroying the environment
  8. Be as green as you can when drying
  9. Only iron what you have to & delegate ...
  10. Learn how to fold
  11. Look after your washing machine & dryer
  12. Get the children involved when they're young
  13. Organise your laundry space however small
I would love to hear your tips ... do tell me about them and share your laundry posts in the link up at the bottom of this post.

1. Choose a routine that works for you and stick to it

All the laundry routines in the world boil down at heart to these four ..
  1. Everything in one day
  2. Wash daily whatever in laundry basket
  3. Wash one type of laundry each day 
  4. Wash daily one person's clothes 
Rosa Rosas
Washing one type of laundry each day works best for me but A Slob Comes Clean is evangelical about Trial and Error Home Making is a fan of a load a day of whatever is in the laundry basket and I'm a Mom Too of one person's clothes per day.
doing it all in one day,

The big trick is to work out what routine best fits your family's life and then stick to it - like glue!

That way you soon start doing it on autopilot and everyone else in the house knows what the routine is and then believe it or not can actually start helping with it!

2. Finish one lot before you start the next

The next must do - as Rosa Rosas explains - is to finish each load before you start the next.

It's so easy to leave it in the machine, the dryer, hanging up around the house or in a basket waiting to be put away.  But this is the route to chaos and more work, redoing what you've already done!

Whenever you're tempted, picture the chaos in your mind and take the 5 minutes to finish it.

3. Come up with an easy system for sorting it, and stick to it

The Pin Junkie
Whether it's a laundry basket in every bedroom or separate bags for different types of laundry in the laundry room - like these great ones from the The Pin Junkie - come up with an easy system for sorting the laundry and stick to it.

It has to be easy enough for everyone to understand else you will just end up doing it yourself.

And if you want everyone else to follow it, you have to stick to it too!

4. Socks are evil and need special attention!

De Jong Dream House
Left to their own devices socks will loose their partner and scatter themselves randomly across different chest of drawers.

They need special attention!

De Jong Dream House has a great peg board in her laundry for missing socks.

Whilst Trial and Error Home Making washes all the socks together in a mesh bag so none can escape and Morganize with Me - takes this one step further and has a sock bag for each person so that they don't all get mixed up together

5. Pre-treat stains with the right treatment

Happy, Healthy & Domestic
Pre-treatment of stains before they go in the wash is essential - Train Up A Child As We Go recommends
separating out stained items so you remember that they need treatment.

You don't have to blitz clothes with chemicals to treat the stains -  The Brown Eyes Have ItDe Jong Dream House and Crunch Farm Baby all have tips for stain pre-treaters that you can make yourself.

But some stains do need specific treatment - Happy, Healthy & Domestic has specific tips for getting chocolate and berry juice out using green products, Ask Anna has an innovative tip for removing ink stains with either hairspray or alcohol and vinegar and Inspired Housewife tips on getting those hideous "poop" stains out of babies' clothes.

6. Whatever product you use don't use too much 

Detergent can cost a small fortune and is often full of chemicals you don't want in your wash.

But as Mish Mash Mama shows - in a great series of posts - it's really easy to make your own detergent that will last longer and which only has what you want in it.

If the space that laundry detergent takes up drives you insane - Inside the Wendy House is a big convert to the merits of washing sheets which take up much less space than conventional powder and liquids.

Whatever detergent you use it's easy to think more detergent means cleaner clothes - it doesn't! Ang Says explains the damage too much detergent can do and how to make sure you are not using too much.

7. You can get clothes white without destroying the environment

Ecos Non-Chlorine Bleach

You don't need to put chlorine bleach or other noxious chemicals on clothes to get them white.

Separate soaks in hydrogen peroxide, lemon, vinegar or non-chlorine bleach alternatives from EcosEcover or Biotex will get the most grey and colour-run whites clean.

8. Go green when drying clothes

Drying clothes outside in the sun and wind is obviously ideal - it uses up less energy and the laundry ends up fresher and softer.

If you need to use your dryer De Jong Dream House has tips on how to make your own wool dryer balls which can reduce drying time and are an alternative to dryer sheets which typically are pretty chemical ridden.

If you haven't got a dryer:
  • Don't dry things on or too close to the radiator as this will make them go "crusty"
  • Give the clothes as much space as possible to dry to get them dry quicker
  • Rotate them in the middle of drying so you're not left with damp patches

9.  Only iron what you have to and delegate ...

Be ruthless about what needs to be ironed - sheets, pyjamas, children's play clothes can all be skipped.

To reduce the effort further:
  • Pull things back into shape when they come out of the dryer or off the line
  • Hang clothes on hangers to dry so creases drop out 
  • Use lavender water to relax the fabric & make it easier to iron
And remember lots of men are actually great at ironing fiddly things like shirts - get them to do it in front of the TV with some sport on and they're not trying to do 50 other things at once and they'll do a great job!

10. Learn how to fold

Buhay at Bahay
Folding clothes up has to be one of the most painful parts of the laundry.

As Trial and Error Home Making encourages, try, try, try to fold them as you take them out of the dryer or off the washing line so that you don't have to do it again later.

And if you want to keep things neatly folded after they've been put away check out this post from Buhay at Bahay on how to fold effectively.

10. Look after your washing machine and dryer

A Typical English Home
Washing machines and dryers do need some regular TLC.

Without it they build up gunk in the dispensers, pipes and filters which stops them from working effectively and makes them and your clothes start to pong - yuk!

A Typical English Home shows you just where the gunk builds up in your washing machine and how to get it clean with minimal effort.

Dryers get gunged up with lint which will stop the dryer from working efficiently. Happy Healthy and Domestic shows you how to clean out the vents where the lint builds up.

11. Get the children involved when they're young

Constantly picking up clothes where they've been dropped by your offspring can drive you insane.

But even young children can get involved and actually be helpful!

The key as Controlling Craziness describes is to work out how to motivate individual children to get involved and as She Wears Flowers to have a simple, consistent routine that the children understand so that they can appreciate how their contribution helps.

12. Organise your laundry room however small

This simple pink basket has worked wonders
with my laundry organisation
These tips from The Pin JunkieWith A BlastNorthern Cottage and Design Dreams by Anne all show that simple changes to even the smallest laundry space can really help organise the laundry and make it a more pleasurable activity.

I would love to have a laundry room - or even a laundry cupboard! Unfortunately, the washing machine has to share the kitchen, there's no room for a dryer and the laundry stuff has to be stored on the other side of the kitchen which meant it was forever being left out on precious worktop space.

But this fab pink basket has made all the difference - all the laundry bottles & boxes live in it and it's now as easy as pie to carry everything needed from the cupboard & straight back when done with.

Mums Make Lists

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This post has been shared at ... Sugar Bee Crafts,  Home Stories A to Z,  The Shabby Creek Cottage,  Joyful Homemaking,  Serenity NowThe Gunny SackCrystal and CoGinger Snap Crafts, Trendy Tree HouseDomesblissityLadybird LnNot Just a HousewifeClever ChicksBe Different Act NormalSumos Sweet StuffKeeping It SimpleLines AcrossGet Your Crafts OnA Bowlful of LemonsClean and Scentsible,  Delightful OrderWe Are That FamilyBy Stephanie LynnWhipperberry,  More the Merrier Monday,  I Should Be Mopping the Floor,  Carolyn's HomeworkShabby Creek Cottage36th AvenueSix Sisters Stuff52 MantelsMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaElizabeth and CoWhatever GoesFinding FabulousThe Thrifty HomeSkip to My Lou


  1. Great tips! Thanks for linking up to The DIY'ers today!

  2. Great tips. I was beginning to feel like my life revolved around folding, and starting another load, until my washing machine broke. Until I can get a new one, I've been going to the laundromat once a week and it's the first time in a long time that I didn't feel overwhelmed and consumed by laundry. I actually preferred doing it only once a week. Even though the laundry pile was huge, I only had to fold it once. Not Which I hated.

  3. great tips! I like so much the Seeking sole mates!!!

  4. Thanks for linking up at What'd You Do This Weekend. Hope you come back next week.


  5. Love the list. Laundry is one of my nemeses! Pinning for future reference.

  6. Lots of great tips! I don't mind washing laundry... folding and putting away on the other hand are not my favourite. Thanks for sharing these great ideas!
    Krista @thehappyhousie

  7. This is a great list of tips!! Thanks for linking up at Romance on a dime!!

  8. Featured and pinned this! Thanks for linking up at Family Fun Friday.

  9. So many great ideas here! Thanks! Pinned for later reading.

  10. Great tips here; can't wait to look through more! You are a Featured Favorite this week on Saturday Show & Tell on Cheerios and Lattes! Thanks for sharing with us last week, we can't wait to see what you've been up to this week! Have a great weekend!
    Mackenzie :)


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