We do so many things on autopilot. We don’t have to think about them or give much emotional energy or decision making to them. Driving requires focus and attention, but the motions are rather automatic. You really don’t have to think about putting the key in the ignition, turning it, letting go, looking around, putting the car into reverse or drive by first pushing in on the brake. It’s all rather automatic because it is second nature.
Well, many homemaking skills can become like this as well. Habits come from routine. Given enough time, they become automatic. My laundry routine has become so automatic now that it is rather easy to keep on top of it. Of course, it doesn’t do itself, but I don’t have to spend time figuring out when to do it, which laundry to do ,nor do I really have to sort laundry. Here are 4 tips on how to use routine to take the thinking out of laundry.
Tip #1 Sort it when you take it off!
This is a biggie. Have a hamper or basket for whites and one for darks. When you disrobe, drop the clothes into the correct basket. Sorting for the week- done! Teach your kiddos to do the same with white and dark laundry hampers in their rooms. Try to get your kiddos to make socks right side out again when they drop them in the basket. Good luck with that one!
Have a separate hamper for towels for obvious reasons. Wash sheets when you take them off.
Tip #2 Assign certain laundry to certain days
For example: Do all the grown ups darks and sheets on Mondays, Child #1 darks and sheets on Tuesdays, Child #2 darks and sheets on Wednesdays, etc… If you have more than 6 children, well then, you’ll have to double up.
We save up all of the whites for one big load on Friday. We don’t seem to ever have a lot of whites so it works for us. I usually add a load of towels in 2- 3 days a week. And since we are a ballet family, one day of the weekend is usually reserved for tights and leotards.
This gives us about 15-16 loads a week. This also helps me not to spend the weekends chained to the laundry room. In fact, we rarely do much laundry on the weekends except for a load of ballet wear or a miscellaneous item or two. If you have a mega-sized family, then weekend laundry may be unavoidable, but for a moderate-sized family, sticking to the weekdays is very doable.
Since each person has their own load of darks it is super easy when it comes time to fold and put away as it is only one person’s laundry. The whites don’t work out that way, but as I said, it’s not that much and only one load a week.
Tip #3 Do some every day- early.
If you do a little bit every day it really keeps it under control. And just like many other things, the sooner you do it- the better. Do that laundry first thing in the morning and get it out of the way. It can be put away before dinner or before bed if need be, but get it washed and dried.
If you have a newer washer, you can take advantage of technology. Load the first load the night before. Set the timer, fill the dispenser and wake up to a load washed and ready to be dried. Half the battle is over before you even get out of bed! This makes it totally possible to have 3 loads done by lunch.
If you work outside of the home, set the washer to finish when you get home and switch it to the dryer when you walk in the door. Now you’ll have one load done before dinner.
Tip #4 Teach the kiddos
Teach your children to do their own laundry as soon as possible. Yes, it is another thing to have to teach them, but it is a big deal. They will be doing laundry all their lives. Teach them how to do it well and independently early on. It’s a win-win. You have help and you are teaching them valuable life skills. Once they get the hang of it and know which day is theirs, you may only have to do a little reminding and they can do the rest themselves.
Start with Tip #1- Sorting the laundry as you take it off and then move into assigning days for each person’s or each type of laundry. If you miss a day, which will happen due to out of the house commitments, sickness, etc…, you can just catch up on the weekend or add an extra load into someone else’s day. If each person has their laundry done weekly, they will rarely run out of clothes if you get a day behind. That’s another benefit of not letting it pile up. This also eliminates giant piles of laundry breeding and multiplying on your laundry room floor.
Laundry is here to stay. So we might as well make it as painless as possible. I hope a few of my tips will help you to take it from nightmare status to simply another habitual routine that flows along with your day.