How To Hack Your Laundry So That It Actually Gets Done
Laundry is one of the most talked about topics amongst my mom friends (why people!?). I think it's the shared frustration/eye roll/anxiety/boredom of the piles of laundry that linger everywhere in all of our houses and we just can't deal with it.
After fielding these conversations for months, I thought it was time I do something about it. Okay not REALLY because we’re talking about laundry here and I’m a DGAF mom so I don’t give any fucks about laundry any more than I absolutely need to (i.e. I have something clean to wear? YASS!)
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But for the months out of the year where I just NEED to not have piles of clothes hanging out in corners of my house like little dust bunnies just waiting to be re-discovered, I decided to experiment with practical, busy-mom laundry hacks that you can actually start doing today that may help you to feel like you are not such a hot-mess mom.
BTW, I’m typing this on my dining room table that is shared with one overflowing laundry basket that was washed and dried about four days ago. So. I’m a hot mess too. Which is why I write this blog, mmmkay?
Let’s fucking do some god-damned laundry!
Laundry Hack #1: Do the Least Important Load First
For some reason I’ve become the kind of person who now owns enough towels that I can actually do an entire load of laundry that is JUST FUCKING TOWELS #whendidthathappen.
But anyway, towels are a good starter load. They’re also super easy and quick to put away. The goal is to hold off on doing the most important load of laundry last in line. If you do all the other laundry before the emergency-we-are-out-of-underwear load, odds are good that you’ll wash, dry, fold, and put away all the rest of it before you get to that last load.
And because you’ve had such success with putting away all the other laundry, you’re more inclined to also do that to the last load. Or not. But either way you now only have one lingering laundry basket vs. three or four.
Laundry Hack #2: 7 Minutes a Day Every Day
Set a timer. You’ve got 7 minutes to take action on the laundry pile. Whether it’s to start a load, to fold a load, or to put away a load. Think of it this way: this is fucking Top Chef and you’re down to the last seven minutes and you still have to plate your food. You. Can. Do. This.
Set the timer, and get after it. When the timer goes off, hands up you’re done!
That is, until tomorrow.
Laundry Hack #3: Get Into Minimalism
Mari Kondo wrote a book a few years ago called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” and when I was pregnant with Sam I got real Mari Kondo on my entire life. The idea is to remove things from your home or your life that are not serving their purpose any longer and at the same time, are just cluttering the place up.
While I’ve not totally drunk all of the Kool-aid when it comes to Mari Kondo’s theories and practice (I mean. I’m a mom. Who has time for this shit?) I do, however, believe in a good fold to organize the drawers. And I really like how the closet is organized following her methods.
The first step to tidying up your life according to Mari Kondo is to purge way more clothes than you think you will. When we did this the first time I had 10, 30 gallon sized bags of clothes to give away.
In theory, if you downsize the number of clothes you have, you’ll be downsizing the amount of laundry you’ll need to do as well. And that is SO worth it to me.
Laundry Hack #4: Downsize Your Laundry Baskets
Speaking of minimalism, there’s something about all the clothes being piled up on top of the machine, or on the floor next to the drier that just skeeves me out. I need the clean clothes to go in a clean basket end of story. In theory, if you have fewer places to put the laundry, you’ll be more motivated to actually fold and put it away.
Laundry Hack #5: Go Big or Don’t Go At All
Pick a day once every two/three weeks and do all of the fucking laundry all at once. Block it out on your calendar. Prioritize this one day. Involve the kids in their laundry. Get real Montessori and teach them how to fold the Mari Kondo way (#callback).
To help this process along, make sure you’ve presorted things. Having hampers set up that allows you to do this on a consistent basis will make this whole thing go faster. We have four of these from Target to organize lights, darks, delicates, and yes...towels!
Laundry Hack #6: Pay Someone To Do Your Fucking Laundry
Sometimes, when things are really insane in our life, this is my go-to move to just get it done. Yes, it costs money. But time is money and if your time is particularly valuable and the idea of spending hours or even 7 minutes folding laundry is just freaking you the fuck out, then don’t do it. If you can afford it, pay someone to do your laundry for you. On average, most delivery or drop off places charge between $1.00 to $2.00 per pound.
This way at least the laundry is washed, dried, and folded. Which frees up more time for you and your family to spend together doing things you actually enjoy. Time is money and money is time.
Laundry Hack #7: Make Peace, the DGAF Way
I’m a huge believer in making things more simple when you can.
However, there’s something about the act of acceptance that can free you from the whole damn thing. Maybe you simply accept that you are going to live out of laundry baskets until the kids graduate and go to college.
If, on the other hand, you go through waves of inspiration and use any of the above steps to hack your laundry one week, and then give in for the next twelve months because...you know, life, that’s okay too.
There can be a nice freeing release that occurs when you make peace with laundry, clearing room in your thoughts and in your mind for the real things you need to be thinking about and worrying about.
Ultimately, laundry is a boring, annoying, but necessary task. And if you can figure out a way to make it less so then you’re on your way!