How many times have you picked up a pair of jeans or a shirt and wondered if it is clean? Most of us have a habit of trying something on, deciding not to wear it and dropping it on the floor or laying it over a chair. Or, we wear a shirt once and decide that maybe it could be worn again and leave it in a spot and then forget whether it is clean or dirty.
Learning to institute the one touch rule will help you conquer the laundry pile more quickly than any other tip.
When you remove a piece of clothing from a drawer or hanger and you decide not to wear it, return it immediately to the original location.
If you wear something and think it could be worn again, designate a spot in your closet for that item. Go through the lightly soiled items at the end of the week and double check for stains and determine if they do actually need a wash. One tip is to hang the worn-once garment with the hanger facing backward on the rod so you know that it has been worn.
If you wear something and it needs to go in the hamper, put it there immediately. No piece of clothing ever rises from the floor or a chair unless a cyclone blows through!
Shop for clothes with laundry in mind
Shopping wisely is an important step in making laundry easier and reducing the number of laundry loads. Take time to read labels, study garment construction and select fabrics that will make laundry easier.
It is also important to teach everyone in your family that many clothes can be worn more than once between washings especially if you follow the one touch rule!
Split the laundry responsibilities
The best thing you can do for your children or your spouse, is to teach them the skill of doing their own laundry. The time to start is when kids are toddlers and want to do everything you are doing. A toddler can bring clothes to the laundry room and even begin to sort clothes by colours.
By the time a child is in primary school, they can learn to use a washer and dryer. Remember, they can use every other electronic item on the market! Begin with basic items like sheets and towels and move on to more challenging items like different fabrics and stain removal.
Every teenager should know how to do laundry and it is a skill they will need in high school/university or when they head out on their own.
Create drop zones
We all want everything in life to be easier – including a convenient spot to put dirty laundry. It is much easier to complete a task if the tools are right at hand.
Laundry baskets are more likely to be used if they are placed in spots where dirty clothes are removed – bathrooms, bedroom closets, mud rooms and entryways.
Enforce a few “rules” of the laundry basket:
- All pockets must be empty.
- Zip all zippers.
- Separate items – no shirts inside jumpers or underwear inside pants.
- To make treating laundry stains easier, teach each person to attach a clothes pin to the stained area that will need extra attention.
By having multiple laundry baskets, each family member can be responsible for bringing their basket to the laundry filled with soiled clothes and returning it to the proper spot filled with clean laundry.
If you have children, especially preteen and teenagers, there always seems to be an emergency that requires a certain clothing item or uniform that’s needed on very short notice. Create an “Emergency Zone” basket in the laundry room or kitchen for those items. The rule for using the Emergency Zone is that you must also notify the adult who will handle the “emergency” or do it yourself!
Buy sorting hamper or multiple baskets
Whether you choose to purchase several laundry baskets and add labels or use a sorting hamper, presorting laundry into whites, lights and coloured clothing will cut hours from your weekly laundry routine.
Look for sorting hampers on wheels so the entire thing can be rolled to the laundry room. Or, keep a large sorting hamper in the laundry room so that family members can bring their laundry baskets to a central spot and do the sorting there.
Deal with dry cleaning simply
It is essential to have a basket that is labelled “Dry Clean Only”. Nothing is worse than a garment getting thrown into the washer and ruined by mistake.
If you have lots of dry cleaning needs or like professionally starched shirts, look for a dry cleaner that has a pickup and delivery service. Or, select a dry cleaner that is easily accessible on the way or home from work. By establishing a routine, you won’t be caught empty-handed or shirtless!
Always remember that a dry cleaner is a professional but you play a part in getting the best final results.
Use mesh bags
Mesh laundry bags that can be tossed in the washer for delicate items and small items like socks and baby clothes will save time and sanity. No more lost socks or searching for mates. Simply return the bag of socks to the original wearer.
Teach the kids to place their socks in the bag after each wearing and then the entire thing can be tossed in the washer. Placing delicate undergarments in the bag protects them during the gentle cycle eliminates the need for more time-consuming hand washing.
Colour code clothes and linens
To make folding and returning clean laundry to the proper spot easier, assign each family member or bedroom a specific colour of towels and sheets. This is really helpful when beds are different sizes and matching sheets to the right one bed is difficult.
For families with several children, use a permanent clothing marker to add a coloured dot to clothing labels. Use one dot for the oldest child, two for the second, etc. This system works even if clothes are handed down and helps get the clothes to the right bedroom drawers.
Sometimes it is the simple tips and tricks that keep you sane!