I’ve blogged a lot about laundry over the years — but never-the-less, it’s still one of the more common questions I receive each week.
I have to chuckle to myself every time I get a laundry question because laundry is one of the household chores I am MOST relaxed about. I don’t slack off, I don’t procrastinate, and I don’t leave piles of dirty (or clean) laundry laying around my house for lengthy periods of time — BUT, as you’ll read in this post, I am super relaxed with the way I do laundry.
In fact, when it comes to laundry, there are several things I DON’T do that have drastically helped me to simplify this otherwise time-consuming household chore!
1. I don’t use cloth diapers.
I have no issue with cloth diapers, it’s just never something Dave or I wanted to do.
After 7+ years of changing multiple diapers a day (we had 2 in diapers for several of those years) I’m extremely happy with our decision — mainly because I don’t love the idea of ALL that extra laundry!
We’ve been super happy with the Seventh Generation diapers (and wipes) from ePantry, and I love the humongous boxes of Kirkland diapers from Costco!
2. I don’t shy away from white.
OK, so white might seem like a negative when it comes to doing laundry (or having children!) but in my experience, white is one of the easiest “colors” to keep clean.
ALL our sheets, blankets, pillow cases, towels, wash cloths, rags, cloth napkins, etc. are white or cream — which means they can easily be bleached (or cleaned with Oxy-Clean… see below).
We even have a bunch of white rugs in our bathrooms, which I realize sounds absolutely insane, but I promise they are not grungy looking and I don’t spend tons of time keeping them clean. I just toss them in the washer about once a month and they are bright white again.
Even our white couch (which everyone warned me not to buy) has held up marvelously over the past 8 years.
The kids jump all over it, play on it, use the cushions for forts, and spill on it… it always comes clean again.
3. I don’t pre-treat stains.
I don’t pre-treat anything — it all just gets thrown in the washer with a large scoop of Oxi-Clean and 99.9% of the time, things come out spotless.
I’ve removed completely dried and set-in ink, spit up, strawberries, spaghetti sauce, grape juice, coffee, crayon, and more with no spot treatment, no scrubbing, and no stress. Just a scoop of Oxi-Clean before I press start and I’m good to go.
NOTE: I do almost always use hot water.
4. I don’t sort colors.
Besides separating the whites out, I don’t sort anything else… period! This is not because I’m lazy, just simply because after years of sorting, I realized that it really wasn’t necessary — at least not with the newer washing machines.
Seriously folks, I throw every thing in together regardless of fabric type, color, weight, or washing instructions — even the hand-wash items and dry-clean-only items get thrown in the mix. (Read more about how I wash “dry-clean-only” items in our washer)
One thing I have started doing in recent years is washing the “upstairs” items in one load and the “downstairs items” in another load — this is simply because one hamper’s-worth of clothing is pretty equivalent to one full load for our washing machine. This makes it super easy to put things away again because one basket goes straight upstairs, the other stay on the main floor.
5. I don’t buy fancy or expensive clothing.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m not a huge fan of shopping — especially for clothing. We’re satisfied wearing very relaxed clothing most days… which means we don’t have a lot of delicate, fancy, or expensive clothing to worry about ruining in the wash.
Since 98% of our clothing are secondhand finds, we aren’t out more than $0.50 or $1.00 if something gets ruined. We just toss it in the rag pile and life goes on.
6. I don’t have lots of clothes baskets.
In my own experience (and working with many disorganized clients) laundry overload is caused not by the amount of dirty clothing waiting to be washed, but the amount of CLEAN clothing waiting to be folded and put away.
Piles and piles of clean clothing that sit on the couch, on the kitchen table, or on the bed… some gets knocked onto the floor, then you’re unsure if it’s clean or dirty so you put it back in with the dirty clothing just to be safe. In the mean time, no one has any clean clothing in their closet and you can’t use your couch, your bed, or your table!
I’ve made a point to only have 3 small laundry baskets in order to force myself to quickly fold and put away clothes from one load before the clean laundry backs up.
If 2 baskets are filled with clothing, I know I better start folding before the next load is done as my goal is to never have all 3 baskets full and waiting at one time. I know this might sound like a silly game, but it works well for me and is just the right amount of “pressure” I need to stay on top of the clean laundry!
7. I don’t use laundry detergent.
I know, I know… this one is crazy!
However, for almost a year now, I’ve been using Eco-Friendly Laundry Balls instead of laundry detergent — and while there is some speculation on the internet, I truly do feel like our clothing is just as clean as when I used detergent!
I still put a scoop of Oxi Clean in with all colors, and I put a small amount of bleach in with all whites, but I have not used laundry detergent in over a year!
I realize some of you might think I’m crazy — if my grandmother had a computer to read this post, she would be shaking her head along with you. 🙂
I promise I’m not lazy about our laundry (or any other household chores); I’m just committed to simplifying anything I can, and these 7 factors have definitely helped me to simplify our weekly laundry routine.
I don’t hate doing laundry by any means, but it’s certainly not a priority over family, work, or free time, so why make it any more challenging or labor-intensive than it has to be… right?
Do you share any of my laundry don’ts? Do you have any of your own don’ts?