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Can I be honest for a moment? I’ve never really been a fan of doing the laundry. I know that doesn’t necessarily single me out as odd or unusual. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I know who actually enjoys doing the laundry. But it’s true.
When I was in college, I dreaded lugging my clothes down to our dorm’s basement to the laundry/weight room. I procrastinated as long as possible, which probably made things worse in the long-run. After college, my appreciation for doing the laundry never really improved. I think it’s because the job never stops. Ever. As soon as you’re done folding that last load of laundry, you know the dirty clothes are going to start accumulating again. It’s a never-ending cycle and it’s half-tempting to just wear the same outfit every day for a week just so you can have a small break from having to do the laundry again.
It’s tedious. And the amount of laundry that has to be done seems to increase exponentially with each member that is added to your household. Now that we’re a family of six (including three teenagers), that’s a lot of laundry to tackle. And since I’ve taken on the role of stay-at-home, homeschooling Dad during this season of life, the bulk of the responsibility for managing household chores has fallen onto my shoulders. And that includes the laundry.
I’ve discovered rather quickly that you really can’t avoid doing the laundry when you’re a family of six. The clothes aren’t going to wash themselves, unfortunately. And if you procrastinate, it spirals out of control in a hurry. So instead of dreading the chore of doing the laundry, I’ve decided to find some ways to make the never-ending cycle of sorting, washing, drying, and folding the laundry a little less dreadful. Here are 7 ways I’ve discovered to make laundry more pleasant.
1. Use a quality laundry detergent
If you’re spending all this time doing laundry, you want to make sure the job is done right the first time. You can’t waste time re-washing clothes that should’ve come clean after one wash. It’s imperative to use a quality laundry detergent. And if you can find a quality detergent at an affordable price? What’s more pleasant than that? That’s where Member’s Mark® comes in.
We’re big fans of Sam’s Club. Being a member there means we can find great deals for our family. It’s our go-to place for stocking up on household goods.
Available in Fresh Scent and in Paradise Splash, Member’s Mark Ultimate Clean Detergent is specially formulated to get the job done, delivering excellent cleaning performance. It also helps brighten your colors and whiten your whites. The patented Ultimate Clean technology tackles tough stains in all temperature settings. Since it’s only available through Sam’s Club, it’s a great value for members.
2. Keep things organized
“Dad! Have you seen my school ID?”
I probably hear this at least twice a week. Of course, this was usually approximately 30 seconds before the student of mine was supposed to be at the bus stop. So it threw us into a panic because someone would remember seeing it in the laundry room because it was in someone’s pants pocket. But it was never where anyone remembered seeing it. And with the bus barrelling towards the bus stop, we would find ourselves in a mad dash around the house in a vain attempt to find the missing student ID. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth. Not the best way to start your morning.
Lost student IDs, loose change, medicine, unused gum, unwrapped candy – all of these things get stuffed into pockets at our house. And then they’re discovered while loading the washing machine. We used to just sit these random articles on top of the dryer, hoping someone else would eventually claim the miscellaneous items. But before someone could claim them, they would get lost again.
Now there’s a specific place for all of these lost articles. I created a simple box to store all of my laundry equipment. There’s room for dryer sheets. There’s a space for the contents of everyone’s pockets. There’s a spot for a lint roller, because I can never find one when I need it. There’s also a great place to store my Members Mark laundry detergent. And I don’t have to worry about causing a mess by spilling the soap. It has a no-mess dispenser that prevents leaks and minimizes spillage.
It was really easy to make and I love having all of my supplies in one place. You can easily customize it however you’d like, but here’s the basics of what you’ll do.
What you’ll need:
1 cardboard box (approximately 2’x1′)
box cutter (or scissors)
1 roll contact paper
1 roll dry-erase contact paper
What you’ll do:
- Remove flaps from top of the box. Please be sure to use proper cutting tool safety techniques. You don’t want to wind up like me when I misused an ax.
- On each side of the box, cut a line from the top corner to the lower corner, creating triangle-shaped sides to the box.
- Remove the front of the box, keeping approximately one inch at the bottom of the box. This will allow you to easily see and grab anything in the box, but it will also keep all of the items in the box.
- Cut out a 1 inch by 1 inch notch in the front lip of the box, allowing the no-mess dispenser to stick out of the box.
- Cover the box with your favorite contact paper, smoothing out air bubbles along the way. Be sure to keep the back panel free for the next step.
- Place a sheet of dry-erase contact paper on the back panel of the box. Be sure to hold on to your remaining dry-erase contact paper. You might want it for tip #7.
That’s it! It’s pretty easy and took me less than an hour to make, when all was said and done. Once you’re done, you can put a few small baskets or bowls inside the box. I like to keep our dryer sheets in the box, too. That way everything is in one place.
3. Make and keep a schedule
Like I said earlier, it’s far too easy to let laundry get out of control. You have to stay on top of it. And if you wait to do all of your laundry in one day, you’re going to spend all day doing laundry. And no matter how pleasant we try to make the laundry experience, spending all day in the laundry room is not my idea of a good time. In order to prevent this, it’s necessary to divide and conquer. Wash a different type of clothing each day.
Like I said earlier, it’s far too easy to let laundry get out of control. You have to stay on top of it. And if you wait to do all of your laundry in one day, you’re going to spend all day doing laundry. And no matter how pleasant we try to make the laundry experience, spending all day in the laundry room is not my idea of a good time. Here’s one idea:
Monday: clothes – bright and dark colors
Tuesday: clothes – tans and grays (we have a lot of this color in our house)
Wednesday: towels and washcloths
Thursday: clothes – whites and delicates
Friday: bedsheets and blankets
Saturday: catch up on anything missed earlier in the week
Obviously, this is just a suggestion. You need to figure out what works best for your family. And if you have kids in sports, you’ll probably have to make room for their special sports-related equipment.
Of course, if you practice the next tip (#4), your schedule will look completely different. But that’s OK. The important thing is that you have a schedule and you keep to that schedule. Otherwise, things will just get out of control. And your clothes just might grow their own legs and try to walk away.
4. Consider sorting by room instead of by color
I haven’t been brave enough to try this one yet. But here’s the reasoning: Why take extra time to un-sort everyone’s clothes into big piles of darks, whites, delicates, etc., only to turn right back around and re-sort everything? Simply keep all of the clothes from one room together and wash them together. Once you’re done washing, drying, and folding, they go right back into the basket that they came from.
This makes total sense to me in theory. It eliminates what might be unnecessary middle steps. And I’ve put some of this method into practice. I generally wash one load of whites from a room and follow it by a load of colors. So each room generally has two loads of laundry washed when I’m washing from that room.
If this is part of your laundry routine, I’d love to hear about how it works for you. Please share your insights in the comments!
5. Listen to something.
When I’m outside mowing the grass, I’m usually listening to one or two of my favorite podcasts. When I’m doing the dishes and cleaning up around the house, I’m usually listening to a local sports talk radio station. When it’s time for laundry, I need to listen to something with a little more…oomph…to it. Depending on my mood, I have three different go-to playlists that I listen to while sorting, washing, drying, and folding the laundry (you can listen to them here, here, and here). So while my son is either doing schoolwork on his own or practicing soccer outside, I can plug in my earbuds and focus on the task at hand. It certainly helps make the chore go faster.
6. Pretreat stains as soon as possible.
The label on the Member’s Mark detergent says that after checking a hidden area for colorfastness, rub a small amount directly on the stain before washing. You want to do this as soon as you can. The longer you wait to pretreat a stain, the harder it is to get out. Believe me. I know this from experience.
7. Never forget your hangers again.
Has this happened to you? You have a shirt you don’t want to dry in the dryer. It could be for a multitude of reasons. You want to make sure a stain is out. Or maybe you’re afraid the fabric will shrink. Or the shirt’s care instructions say you should only line-dry it. Whatever the reason, there are times you want to hang up an article of clothing after running it through the wash. So you’re there at the end of the spin cycle, ready to transfer all of the clothes from the washing machine to the dryer.
And you do exactly that.
You take everything that was in the washing machine and run it through the dryer. Even the clothes you really wanted to line-dry. It happens to the best of us. I promise.
I tried putting hangers on the washing machine itself, thinking that if I had to remove the hangers in order to get to the clean clothes, I’d remember to hang that amount of clothes. Unfortunately, the hangers accidentally find themselves on the ground sometimes. And then you’re back to putting all of the clothes in the dryer again.
Here’s what you do – remember the dry-erase contact paper you used for the box in Tip #2? Cut off a sheet of that and place it on the lid of your washing machine. Now you can write yourself a note. You know, something like, “Don’t forget to hang up your your favorite shirt!” or “3 items to hang” or something like that.
You can store your dry erase markers in the handy-dandy organizing box. And you’ll never forget to hang up an item of clothing again. How great is that?
I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improving your laundry experience. I’m always looking for new ways to improve my methods. What laundry tips do you have? And while you’re at it, go ahead and try Member’s Mark Fresh Scent or Paradise Splash. Let me know what you think.