Are you and your partner fighting over laundry and housework?
If so you’re not alone. Housework is a big problem for many couples.
Let’s get practical and talk about laundry. In general, most people have too many clothes and too much laundry. That is one reason it has become such an issue. There’s just too much to deal with. Another problem people tend to have is not having places to put the clean laundry. Also, houses tend to be bigger, so it’s harder to cart all those clothes all over the house. If laundry is a problem for you, where do you begin?
First, look at your laundry room. Or utility closet, or basement, or wherever your washing machine and dryer live. Do you have what you need and is it easy to get to? You will need to have a convenient place to store laundry soap, etc. If your space has gotten horrible, don’t try to make it perfect right now. Just clear off the closest shelf and put the stuff you need to do laundry on it. Don’t get sidetracked with the rest of the room.
Next, think about how your dirty laundry is collected. Do you have a clothes basket where you need it? You need something either in the bedroom, bedroom closet or bathroom where you can easily toss your dirty clothes. Make it very easy to collect dirty clothes wherever they are discarded because no one in your family is going to take it to the laundry room and sort them into those wonderful sorting bins every day.
Third, make sure each member of your family has a place in which to put the clean laundry. Does everyone have a chest of drawers (that is not packed full!), and space and hangers in the closet? If not, ask everyone to clear out one drawer so they will have space to put clean laundry. Don’t get sidetracked with redoing everyone’s wardrobe right now.
Now you have a beginning structure for your system. Good job!
There are five parts to doing laundry – sort, wash, dry, fold, and put away.
Let me tell you an easy way to do laundry, and once you get the hang of it, feel free to customize this system to your own life. But please, if you are having a problem right now with laundry, keep things very simple, and don’t try to complicate the process. It really isn’t necessary. Give yourself a break, why doncha?
- SORT: In the morning, after I get out of the shower, I go to my clothes basket and quickly sort through it to get one load of laundry. I separate my clothes into dark colors, light colors and whites.
- WASH: I take my load of laundry directly to the washer, put in the soap, make sure I like the settings, and turn it on. Then I go on about my day.
- DRY: When I get home that evening, I take the clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer. I hang whatever I don’t want in the dryer at that time. I go on about my evening.
- FOLD: When the clothes are dry, I fold them while I watch TV, or listen to music. It is just one load so it takes almost no time.
- PUT AWAY: When I am through folding, I put the laundry away.
Once again, since it is just one load, it doesn’t take long. I do one load of laundry pretty much every day. It’s easier than doing it all at once.
One day a week, I take down all the towels from the bathrooms and wash them in one load. One day a week, I strip the sheets and wash them all together in a load. If your mornings are terribly hectic, maybe you could put a load of laundry in at night. Then, in the morning you could just put in the soap and turn it on.
Once you start using this system, here are some tips to make doing laundry even easier. Spend 15 minutes and get rid of any clothes you no longer want. Put them in a bag, and take it to your car. The next time you are out driving, drop off the bag at your favorite charity. If your house is a mess, don’t leave the bag in your house or garage for later. You’ll forget what it is, and it will just add to the chaos. Have a bag available in which to put items you are ready to get rid of. Make it convenient for yourself. I have a bag in my closet. When I notice I don’t want to wear something anymore for whatever reason, I just drop it in the bag right then.
It is much easier to do laundry when you have fewer clothes, Grasshopper.
Here are some other ideas for paring down your clothes:
- Host your own “Closet Olympics”.
Set the timer, and have everyone in the family bring 5 t-shirts they no longer want and put them in the giveaway bag. Fastest person wins. The next day, do the same thing with pants, or shirts, or whatever. When you’ve gotten things pared down, you could get rid of 5 things from any category. Have a fun celebration at the end of the week. Pizza and a movie or something like that. This idea would also work for a “Clutter Olympics”. Everyone gets their own bag. Set the timer, and choose ten items to get rid of. The rule is it has to be your own clutter, not someone else’s. Or set the timer for five minutes, and whoever has the most clutter at the end of the time wins. (Make sure everyone feels like a winner when you play this game. Get excited about everyone’s participation, and have fun.)
- Take the vacation challenge.
Pretend you are going on a two-week vacation. Choose clothes you would take with you. Put them in one part of the closet. The rest of the clothes could be boxed up, or put into another part of the closet. What did you think? Wasn’t it a little easier to get dressed and do laundry? Did you have fun only wearing your favorite things? You are allowed to get rid of whatever you want even if it cost a lot, etc. at the end of the vacation challenge. You are also allowed to keep whatever you want. It’s just a game. But it may help you change your perspective on how many clothes you want to spend your time taking care of.