Lifehacker Tip #14 – Learning to love the laundry

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Back in the day (circa 2011 at the height of my stressed-outedness) our laundry system worked like this: the laundry fairy (Mr X) would wash the clothes and I would close my eyes as he hung them on the line in that special way only males think appropriate. You know, the one where shirts come off the line in a completely different shape to the way they started life.

Anyway, once the clean clothes were back in the laundry my one job was to fold the blessed things.  Which I never did so our laundry room also became our wardrobe. Ah, those were the days.

Flash forward to now and the laundry fairy seems to think that because he is at the office running our business and I am at home, then all the laundry duties should fall to me. Booooooo.

Naturally, since I AM at home, I cannot function with a laundry that doubles as a wardrobe as it does my head in. So here’s how I now deal with Mt Washmore.

1. Wash everything in cold water

This saves on sorting whites and colours.

2. Wash like stuff together

Wash ALL the socks and undies in one load together. Wash towels in one load together. You could even wash all the clothes from a given person in one load if a certain person in your house (Mr X) throws everything in the wash after one wear. For pity’s sake do not be one of those people who just chucks whatever is at the top of the basket into the washing machine with no sorting at all. This is the fastest way to orphan socks and “Muuuuuuum, I have a clean school shirt but no clean skirts!”

3. Hang your socks on the line already paired up

Sounds too hard? Too anal? Sounds like it will make the hanging up experience take twice as long? Trust me it’s worth it for how easy it will make your life later in the process.

4. Fold socks and towels off the line

Have you ever looked at the sock basket, shuddered and decided to leave it for another time? Yep, me too. But now, because I hang all socks already paired up on the line, I can fold them straight off the line and into the basket. Sure beats ferreting around in a basket full of black dress socks trying to figure out which ones match up.

I do the same with towels – fold them straight off the line and into the basket.

5. Put those babies away!

Because you’ve washed ONLY sock and undies together, or ONLY towels together, now that they are all folded (straight off the line) and not mixed in with t-shirts and shorts and all other manner of other clothing, you can take them straight to where they live and put them away.

6. Separate the hangables and the foldables

If you’ve followed the steps above, then you should only have tops and bottoms to wash now.

Once they’re washed and ready for folding, the first thing to do is pull out anything that hangs up and … hang it up. I know some people who hang things up to dry already on the hanger. Genius!

Once the hangables are gone, this should reduce the pile RIGHT down. I usually go through the pile and quickly turn anything that is inside out, the right way. THEN I get folding and can knock a basket off pretty quickly.

7. Put those babies away

And again, I make sure to put everything away straight away because if I make the mistake of returning a basket of folded clothes to the laundry, by the time Mr X has rifled through it looking for something … it’s not so folded anymore!

Now I’ve shown you mine, I want to hear yours!

What are some of the things you do to ensure maximum control over this, the most dreadful room in the whole house?


** I originally wrote this post as part of the ‘Systems Junkie’ series over at Kate Says Stuff and have re-purposed it here for my Lifehacker series :)

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  1. says

    What is this Kelly? Laundry week? You, me and Bron! Too funny. No system for me. I end up with piles of washing every single week. It is the bane of my life x

  2. says

    Oh Kelly, I don’t mind the washing, but can’t stand folding/putting away. And I can’t possibly watch John hang it out……I can practically hear the clothes screaming! x

    • says

      Seriously the folding and putting away are my most hated household tasks after unpacking the dishwasher!! We are in COMPLETE agreement there Lisa!

  3. says

    Oh cool… my life is officially hacked (I wish it felt that way)! I do all of this. And more, because there simply isn’t anywhere in my laundry for clothes other than actually in the washing machine. All sorting, folding, etc is done on my bed or floor, so it absolutely HAS to be done before I go to bed. (OK, occasionally the washing basket gets moved to the trunk beside the bed!)

    I am completely giggling about the whole blogger laundry awareness thing today. I wonder what’s up!

  4. says

    That’s funny… I am a fold and put away gal.. And I actually have that sock line in my laundry….. We sell it on the website.. That’s we’re the image traces back too!! x

    • says

      Huh – well I better fix up that link then hadn’t I! Of course you have this on your site … because it is AWESOME!! Who is the seller Tessa?

  5. says

    You make it sound so easy. I have no tips, as I am in laundry denial. We have a room where it gets dumped off the line (thanks to Mr G) but I can never master the ‘put those babies away’ thing!

  6. Zohra says

    Kelly, I have four kids so imagine the school shirts… and hubby’s work ones too. I wash them in an easy iron cycle, out the machine, shake like hell and straight onto the hangers, on a mobile line.With schooljumpers on in this cool weather, they don’t even need ironing! Shh….dont tell the teacher!
    My bane is those socks, and yes i try and hang partners alike too…what a life!

    • says

      Gosh I CAN imagine the washing with FOUR kids. Eek!! And I should do a post on ironing … and the fact that I just don’t do it! How? I simple don’t buy clothes that require ironing!