You are doing your laundry wrong.

That's what my grandmother told me over the holidays during a visit. At first I was annoyed but after she explained her thoughts I realized she was right. As most grandmothers are.

Let me give you a little back-story. Laundry is my absolute least favorite chore around the house. Even as I sit here typing the word "laundry" a little extra force is coming through my fingers just to emphasize how much I dislike it. It never, ever, ever, ever ends. You think you are caught up? What about the clothes that you are wearing now? What about the kitchen towels that you use everyday?! In reality you can only be caught up with laundry for like 15-20 minutes. Exaggeration? Perhaps. But it feels true! I feel trapped by laundry and I am not ashamed to admit it! I have spent too many full days doing laundry marathons and it is just absolutely no fun at all.

So here are a few tips that have really helped me. 

  • Do a load a day. Sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. I have a family of 4 and between clothes, towels, sheets, cloth diapers I realistically need to do 1-2 loads a day so that it doesn't build up. Waiting for the weekend doesn't work (Who wants to spend their e n t i r e  Saturday washing and folding clothes?) Just throw a load into the washer go about your day and then toss it into the dryer. 
    • Helpful advantage: If you do a load a day then it definitely minimizes that missing sock syndrome!
  • FOLDING TIME TIPS. I am really emphasizing this one because this is where I have made some significant, dare I say life-altering changes. All my life I would sit on the couch to fold clothes, put them in stacks organized by what room that pile goes to and then distribute from there. Sounds great. But-here's the thing- it wasted my time. Here's why: I would distribute piles to the rooms and then leave them. They were to sit there and wait for me to put them away "another time" (AKA when I feel like it, which when it comes to laundry chores I NEVER feel like it!).  And then they would get unfolded very quickly because people were hunting for particular and favorite things that were just washed. So all my time folding was wasted. Further adding to the frustration!
  • Now, after I get clothes out of the dryer, I will sort them in stacks by the room they go to and take them up to that room immediately. I do not fold them. The most that I do is flip clothes around that have gotten turned inside out. I will hang some things in the closet immediately and then fold other items as I am putting them in the drawer. Now I'm not wasting my time folding clothes that are going to be unfolded in the closet anyway. And I totally have eliminated the opportunity to dig through that pile of freshly folded clothes because everything is going to exactly where it needs to go. 

This all might sound like a lot, but it doesn't feel like a lot. Which is key. When chores feel  like a lot it's easy to feel overwhelmed and procrastinate. My actual work time is probably 20 minutes between tossing clothes in and out of the washer and dryer and then putting them away completely. I will take 20 minutes a day ANYTIME over a full weekend marathon of laundry. 

So, thank you Gran for drawing my attention to doing laundry a little better. I really appreciate it!