There’s always that one household chore you wish you could delegate to someone else. Your least favorite job just popped into your head, didn’t it? Is it doing the laundry? Well, today we’re going to chat about simplifying laundry!
The two household categories I personally struggle with the most are cleaning house and keeping up with the dishes.
The laundry? Well, I actually kind of like it. (More on that in a minute!)
This year, my word is cultivate, and one aspect of my life that I’m cultivating is simplicity. I’m working toward simplifying and streamlining household tasks that need to be done regularly.
I’ve been evaluating my habits around the home and asking myself questions like…
Why is it so difficult for me to make time to clean?
How can I spend less time standing in front of the sink washing dishes?
What needs to happen so that our morning and evening routines don’t get derailed?
I’m working toward simplifying certain areas of my life so that they serve our family better. As usual, I’m being geeky about the whole process— experimenting, taking notes, making spreadsheets, etc.
I mean, if it’s possible to cut down my time washing dishes, shouldn’t I find out?
As I was making a list of which areas of our home needed to run more smoothly, I realized that simplifying laundry wasn’t something I needed to focus on.
My system for keeping up with the laundry works really well for me, and I actually kind of like doing the laundry! (Don’t hate me.)
Some of you probably feel the same way, although quite a few women I’ve talked to would rather be doing anything else.
So, I thought I would share my super simple laundry routine in case it helps you to enjoy doing laundry just a little bit more!
Embrace Laundry Day
The number one complaint I’ve heard about the laundry is that it’s never-ending. There are always clothes to wash or fold or put away— it’s like a bad dream you never wake up from.
Let me ask you a question… If you could be totally finished with the laundry for 6 out of 7 days every week, would you dislike it as much?
I’ve been doing laundry the same way for over 10 years now, which is pretty crazy. I don’t have many other habits that have stuck around that long!
All of my laundry gets done in one day (apart from any wet clothes that need to dry overnight, and the occasional “emergency” situation).
Then I’m finished for the rest of the week! And I love it.
How to Do Your Laundry in One Day
Here’s a little disclaimer for you. I’ve only ever done this routine for 4 people or fewer, so I can’t personally speak to how it would work for a larger family.
However, I have seen it work well for families with more than 4 people. If your kids are a little older, get them involved!
Our basic apartment washing machine and dryer are a standard size and only do small loads, so I’m certainly not working with any fancy equipment here!
The only way to find out if this system will work for you is to give it a try!
1. Organize Your Laundry Area
Simplifying laundry starts with simplifying your work space. An organized laundry room or closet is far more motivating than a messy one! Make your laundry area a pleasant place to be.
Clear out the clutter. Only keep the products and tools you need. Organize what’s left.
A tidy, organized room will help you to feel motivated. There’s nothing less inspiring than a dirty, messy, cluttered space!
If you’re looking for some ideas, check out this post on how we organized our laundry room on a budget!
2. Decide on a Day
Next, choose the day of the week that will work best as your laundry day. Pick a consistently low-key day when you will typically be home, and stick with it.
Monday is my laundry day, and I go about my laundry routine the same way every week. It’s a totally ingrained habit now.
I don’t schedule any appointments, errands, or big projects on Mondays. My sole mission every Monday is to get our laundry washed, hung up, dried, and put away.
Normal life happens amidst the washing, but Mondays are focused on laundry in our house.
I love the feeling of going into the rest of the week with our drawers and closets filled with clean clothes.
(Funny story… A few months ago, I tried changing my laundry day to Tuesday, but my entire life seemed so off-kilter those few weeks that I had to switch it back to Mondays. After 10 years of washing clothes on Mondays, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to switch! hah.)
3. Sort During the Week
We have 3 bins that we use to sort our laundry, and don’t use hampers in the bedrooms. These used to be: whites, lights, and darks.
But now that we have Jack, the bins have changed to: lights, Lauren and Jack’s darks, and Benj’s darks. (Benj’s clothes are more bulky, so it evens out the loads better.)
We use our washing machine basin for storing wet and dirty towels.
I normally have to re-sort a little on laundry day, but it only takes a minute or two.
Some people don’t bother sorting at all, but I find that washing lights and darks together makes our clothes look dingy. (Dark lint on light clothes, and light lint on dark clothes…)
This simple sorting system works quite well for us!
4. Start Early
The key to getting all your laundry finished before bedtime is to start as early as you can!
Currently, our laundry closet is right next to Jack’s nursery, so I can’t actually start my first load until he wakes up.
But as soon as he’s stirring, it’s laundry time!
5. Set a Timer
Once you start your very first load of the day, set a timer! I like to use my phone. If you’re not sure how long your washing machine takes to run, give it your best guess and adjust accordingly.
As soon as your washing machine finishes, switch the laundry loads!
Pull the wet laundry out, and sort between clothes that need to be hung up and clothes that can go into the dryer.
The dryer goes on, the clothes get hung up, and the washing machine starts Round 2!
Reset your timer.
6. Fold Those Socks!
Once the clothes in the dryer are dry, pull them out and fold them right away! Don’t wait.
If you wait, you’re giving your laundry the chance to start piling up. And the longer you let it pile up, the more overwhelmed you’ll feel by it.
While I’m folding, I enjoy listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks or watching a few YouTube videos. It gives me something to look forward to while I work, and helps pass the time.
7. Repeat Until Finished
Repeat Steps 5 and 6 until all of your laundry is clean, hanging, dry, and folded.
Usually, I’m finished by late afternoon, although sometimes I end up folding the last couple of loads on my bed in the evening hours. While watching Netflix. And eating dessert next to my husband. It’s not so bad!
The only thing I do the following day is put away the clothes that were still wet and hanging up from the day before. This typically takes me less than 5 minutes.
(I hang our clothes to dry on our shower curtain rod because that’s the only space that works in our small apartment! Anybody else? :)
8. Adopt a Minimalist Wardrobe
I put this last because it’s not actually a requirement for doing your laundry in one day, but I find it to be incredibly helpful.
Simplifying your wardrobe automatically simplifies your laundry. When you have a smaller number of clothing items, your laundry can’t pile up as high.
Benj, Jack, and I all have what I would call minimalist wardrobes. We have a limited number of clothing pieces that work well together, and we love it.
Picking out our outfits each day is quick and easy. We only own clothes that we love and work well for us.
I wrote a post on creating minimalist/ capsule wardrobes for your kids, and also one explaining 5 reasons why you’d want to, if you want to learn more.
Simplifying Laundry is Easy
And there you have it!
Finishing your laundry in one day is definitely not rocket science—it just requires some intentionality. As long as you’re consistent and stick with it all day, you’re free for the rest of the week!
If you give this simple laundry routine a try, leave me a comment and let me know! And if you have any tips or advice for simplifying laundry, please do share!