The average household in the United States has 7.5 loads of laundry each week. With each load's washing, drying, folding and putting away time, that means about eight hours per week. There are ways to streamline your laundry routine to help save time. A bit of organization and planning now will pay off each week.
Start in the Laundry Room
Whether you have a dedicated laundry room, a corner of the basement or must head to the community laundry room or laundromat, you must be organized. The area where you do laundry should not be a repository for everything else. Set aside some time to clean out and assess what you have on hand and what you really need. Set a time each month - perhaps the first of the month - to check laundry supplies and add them to your shopping list.
Keep two containers readily available to hold single socks that you will hopefully find the mate and one for change and items found in pockets. You can then direct the rest of your family to the laundry room to find what they might be missing.
If you have a large family, opt for a large-capacity washer. The ability to wash larger loads will help you get more laundry done quicker. But you must have the larger washer; cramming more clothes in a standard washer will defeat the purpose and leave you with clothes that are not clean.
Cut the time waiting for the clothes to dry. Again, don't overload the dryer or you'll have some items that are over dried and others that are still damp. Emptying the lint filter after every load will also speed the process and give you better results.
Use dryer balls to reduce dryer time and help reduce static. For items that should not go in the dryer, keep a collapsible drying rack or clothesline handy so you don't have to make a trek to the bathroom shower rod.
While they are more costly, using a single dose laundry detergent will save time because you no longer have to measure
One of the best ways to streamline the laundry process is to fold clothes as they are removed from the dryer or clothesline. That way, you only handle each garment once. Leaving a big basket to fold takes more time and causes more wrinkles. Learn how to reduce wrinkles and your ironing time by following these tips.
If you use a community laundry, have an area in a closet or cabinet to store all of your supplies and laundry baskets or bags together. Be sure to have a container that you keep stocked with change for the machines.
One of the best ways to save time on laundry duty is to sort the clothes long before they reach the laundry room. Even the youngest children can sort clothes by color. The key is to have the correct types of hampers in their bedrooms or bathrooms. The hampers don't have to be expensive but you should have one for white clothes, one for colored clothes and one for sheets and towels.
You may even want to post some hamper rules for older kids (and adults). These rules will make laundry day much easier.
Reduce the Loads
Not every piece of clothing that is worn must be washed. It is quite possible to get more than one wearing from clothing. Towels can usually be used more than one time by simply hanging them to dry between uses. Learn the recommended cleaning cycle for men's and women's clothes:
Delegate and Enlist
The best way to streamline your laundry routine is to have other household members help. Even young children can help with laundry and consider it fun to do "grown-up" chores. You can even use laundry chores to teach children the basics like colors and shapes.
And if you don't catch them while they are young, you should teach your teen to do laundry. By teaching them, you will be offering a skill they will use for a lifetime and you can turn the job over to them!