Updated: Feb 12
For some, “laundry” is a four-letter word. For a rare few, it’s a treat. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, laundry can be a nuisance. But, it is important — taking care of your clothes can help them look better for longer. And, if you subscribe to the KonMari philosophy, you’ll want to keep those select few items of clothing looking good and sparking joy as long as possible. My top tips for laundry, of course, start with being organized:
Creating habits saves work.
Create a system and schedule for laundry — doing a little work up front will save a LOT of work in the long run. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to design a laundry schedule. Some families do a weekly mega-laundry day, others twice a week. In my house, we do the drip method of laundry — a little each day. Teamwork and timing is key for my family. The entire family participates in washing, drying and folding laundry, so the slow-drip method works. My kid who gets home at 2:30 can put a load in for my kid who gets home at 4:00, who can then take the load out and put it in the dryer.
Laundry starts where you take your clothes off.
Determining a place where you put dirty clothes is first. Does it mean hampers in all of the rooms? Is it having a place to pile dirty clothes on the floor and then each morning bringing them down to the laundry to sort? However you choose to manage the dirty clothes, the ultimate goal is to get dirty laundry to the laundry room quickly.
Small piles are easier to manage, but get to them quickly because the longer clothes stay in rooms, the more chance they will pile up.
Design to Succeed.
A well-designed laundry room is a game-changer. My family did laundry for two decades in dark, damp basements. Now, we’ve renovated our laundry room into an organized and efficient delight. Had I known how it would transform my attitude toward laundry, I would have done it a decade earlier!
Design and organizational set-up of the laundry room is key — the laundry room is constantly in use. Dirty clothes are coming in daily. Without a system, it all can pile up and the chore can seem insurmountable. What did we do? We opted for:
—a place to hang clothes
—a place to fold clothes
—easy storage for and quick access to laundry supplies
Design with attention and care and you’ll reap the positive benefits of having a beautiful space to do some of the dirtiest and most boring work. Making it user-friendly means everyone can and will use it.
Get the whole family on board.
A simple system that everyone in the family understands is critical. Divide the work and get the entire family to participate. The days where mom does everything are long gone — everyone can get clothes moving through the system quickly.
If you don’t design an easy space for the family to use, mom will likely end up doing it all. I’ve seen this time and time again. “It’s easier to do it myself,” she says. Taking time to set up the space and training your family how to use it requires upfront time, but everyone will reap the benefits for years to come (especially when those kids get to college!)
To sort or not to sort.
Is it necessary to sort clothes into whites, darks and delicates? Or is it ok to just throw everything in and roll the dice, because the time-saving and stress-relief is worth it?
For me, the answer is to err on the side of caution and sort. I’ve ruined clothes because I’ve not cared for them properly. To whatever degree you sort clothes, your organizational system should make that easy and intuitive. I love my laundry sorting bins; they make it easy to separate and follow your own strategy.
Invest in success.
A few minor purchases can make a major difference. Here are some products that make my personal laundry experience easier and more joyful: favorites linked here.