After years of trial and error, I’ve found the right laundry routine completely depends on your current season of life.
Laundry. Aside from dirty dishes, I can’t think of another chore that continues to pile up day after day after day.
In my attempts to tackle Mt. Washmore, I’ve tried many different laundry routines over the years.
- When I lived in a dorm and apartment and didn’t have access to a washer and dryer, I saved my laundry for two to three weeks at a time in a laundry bag. Then I spent hours washing and drying it all at my parents’ and grandparents’ houses. This is NOT my favorite approach at all, but I still appreciate all the time it gave me to visit my family.
- I’ve tried weekly laundry days. This was most effective when I only needed to do laundry for my husband and myself.
- I’ve tried one to two loads of laundry a day, five days a week. Currently this is my preferred method – because if I don’t keep up with at least one load a day, it’s easy to get buried in a mountain of dirty clothes.
Fantasy vs. Reality
Just as the frequency of my laundry has changed depending on the season of my life, so has the way I fold and put my laundry away.
In a perfect, unhurried world, I fold laundry when it comes out of the dryer, then take it upstairs to our bedrooms and put it away.
What usually happens, though, is that our dried clothes sit in the dryer until I remember them. If I’m exceptionally busy, I toss them in a laundry basket (try to remember to take my wool dryer balls out!), then take the laundry basket to our family room to be folded. I try to fold all clean clothes before I go to bed each night.
Putting laundry away is a different story. Depending on my busyness, it can take several days before I put our clean clothes away. In the meantime, laundry baskets filled with clean, folded clothes start to pile up around our home.
When I do put our clothes away, I stack everything on my bed, separating piles of clean laundry for every room. My children are finally old enough to help put their clothes away, and this year I’ll start to teach them how to help wash and dry everything as part of their chores.
Finish what you start
One approach, taught by Erin Odom and Holly Dvorak, is to only do one load of laundry at a time – from washing to putting it away – before starting another load. I’ve tried this method and like it a lot, but usually slip back into my old laundry habits – multi-tasking by sticking a second load in the washer when the first load is in the dryer.
What’s the right routine?
What I’ve discovered is that it is vital to try different approaches until you find one that works best for you:
- As much as I’d absolutely love to line dry my clothes every single load, most days I know the best I can do is to use my dryer. Getting them washed, dried and put away feels like a huge accomplishment.
- There is absolutely no possible way that a mother of an infant — or even a toddler — can stand by the dryer and fold all the freshly dried clothes. (I’ve tried it. Even when I’d stick a baby in a bouncy seat, this method was virtually impossible.)
- Busy women who are on the go with jam-packed schedules probably can’t devote an entire day to doing laundry each week. Spreading it out throughout the week is easier.
You have plenty of laundry to experiment with – keep trying until you find what you love to use in your current season of life and living situation.
What is the right laundry routine for you in your current season of life?
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