Reading through the comments on my most popular post with almost 1.5 million views, 10 Habits for a Well-Run Home, I found there was a lot of talk about my suggestion of doing 1 load of laundry daily. Many loved the idea, while others completely balked at it.
Those who did do a load a day found that this is what worked for them. In a larger household with 3+ children, it may very well be best that 1 load be done daily to stay on top of it and keep it from getting out of hand.
On the other hand, those who balked at the idea said they felt like a slave to their laundry and were never done. They chose to do laundry once or twice a week. This may be much more feasible for a smaller household.
I know that through the years, I have tried and worked a lot of different routines for doing laundry. I think the key word here is routine. Doing your laundry on a regular basis becomes a routine, you are less likely to fall behind and more likely to catch up quickly if you do. You have to figure what is right for you and your family and the season of life you are in.
If you have no laundry routine, and it just gets done whenever, that can be a recipe for disaster. It could be okay for a 1 or 2 person household, but you throw in kids and jobs and activities and laundry can very quickly pile up without a routine.
Different routines for different seasons
Below are some of the routines I have used throughout the years. Maybe you will find one that resonates with you and where your family is right now.
* When I only had 1 or 2 kids and worked out of the home 3 days a week, I would usually do laundry on my other 2 weekdays that I was off, leaving me laundry free over the weekend. At this point, I still did most of the work myself.
* When my kids grew and multiplied, I found that doing laundry Monday through Friday worked best for me. I still tried to keep the weekends laundry free. I began to utilize the extra hands in the house, having them help me sort, fold and put away as we went.
* Eventually, we became so busy with a full-time, yet seasonal, business, and homeschooling, that I went back to laundry 1 full day a week with a load of towels and jeans later in the week. As time went on, my upper elementary and middle school kids were put in charge of doing their own laundry. This lightened how much I had to do and made the once/twice a week much more feasible.
* As my kids became teens, I had no responsibility for their laundry whatsoever. I decided I didn’t want to spend so much time in one day doing 3-4 loads of clothes, so I went back to daily, except I only had to do a load 3 or 4 days a week. It was fairly easy to dig through the hamper to pull out the whites, or darks or colors.
I think a lot of this has to do with mindset. We need to set our laundry schedule and then work it.
When I did laundry once a week, when I put away that last load that night, I knew that I was “done” until next week. Even though the laundry would begin piling up first thing next morning, I knew in my mind that I did not have to do anything with the dirty laundry except designate a place for it to be corralled until the next laundry day. (see bottom of post)
When I was doing laundry daily, again, when I put that load away, I was finished with laundry for that day. It didn’t matter that the hampers had clothes in them, I was done until the next day.
And only doing a few days a week, same thing, once I pull the load I am doing and get it done, I am finished until I choose to do the next load.
A system for corralling dirty laundry
For you to feel “done” after doing your laundry, it is important that you have a good system for maintaining and corralling dirty clothes in your home. Figure out what works for you, teach it to your family, and make it stick. Whether they each have laundry baskets in their rooms, or their is a laundry basket in the bathroom, or you have a laundry sorter in the laundry room, find a way that works for you and then work it. Teach your kids to make it a habit to follow the system you set forth.
While I know it can be overwhelming, and sometimes just easier to do it all yourself, in the long run you will save yourself time and many headaches by teaching your kids a system and a routine. They need that routine and so do you.
While most of us do not have a gorgeous laundry room like the one pictured below, I encourage you to take some time to give yourself some tools to make your laundry easier.
One of the best things I ever did was install a hanging rack near the dryer. I am able to pull things out of the dryer and hang them right away, eliminating one step and also keeping them from wrinkling. A freestanding one can do the trick as well.
Make sure you have enough baskets and hangers to manage your laundry.