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You can never get caught up.  So there’s no sense in even trying.

By the time you get the laundry in the washer, you forget about it.

By time you start washing, the laundry is already out of control.

Do any of these sound familiar?  Let’s break down why your laundry routine still isn’t working:

Attitude: You need to adjust your entire attitude around it.

First of all, you get to do laundry. Blessed with running, clean water and probably a washer and dryer in your home. Check your modern world problems before you even begin.  I know I have to. 

If that’s hard to do, force yourself to think of the last time you were without power, or water, or sick and that should put things back in perspective!

Think about it.  When you come back among the living, one of the first things you are grateful for is clean laundry and the ability to do it.

Set Up:  You aren’t setting yourself up for success to start and finish your laundry to completion. 

There are so many things that distract you from the time you started your laundry process. Quite frankly, you don’t have a true laundry process or routine.   You are trying to take on a multi-step chore without any forethought and stuck in an overwhelming game of catch up.

My first piece of advice is . . . 

DO NOT START A LAUNDRY LOAD, UNLESS YOU HAVE THE TIME TO FINISH IT THAT DAY. 

Go back and read that again. 

If you only have time to throw it in the washer but no time to put in the dryer or fold it, then that’s not the day or time to do laundry. 

Laundry Routine

If laundry is a thorn in your side, then it’s worth getting to the root of the issue.   If you want to fix your laundry overwhelm once and for all, you need a laundry routine.  You need a doggone plan of attack!

Consider the 5 W’s  + H (who, what, when, where, why, how) and the 5 senses.  If going back to your student writing days is too abstract, here are a few reflection questions to help you formulate your laundry routine:

This chore can get done in a way that doesn’t take you out, once you find your way.  I promise!  

Once you’ve taken the time to reflect, here are 8 things you can do to get your laundry under control:

8 Things You Can Do to Get Laundry Under Control

1. Smallest Load First

If you have little people, then you are starting with the baby.  Think birth order.  You are starting with the small things load first.  It’s the neediest and the most time consuming to fold.  It’s probably the load that’s needed the most too.

2. Baskets on Deck

If you are spending 20 minutes rounding up dirty laundry, you are REALLY not going to feel like washing clothes.  You used up a laundry load worth of energy trying to wrangle the clothes.  So get your baskets on deck. 

First of all, every bedroom needs a laundry basket and or bag.  Personally, I like laundry bin in a bathroom closet, a laundry basket on the floor of the walk-in closet, and a laundry bag for the girl.  Big people get baskets and bins.  Little people get bags.

You need the proper container to get the laundry baskets on deck.

Now that you understand what I mean by proper container what does on deck mean? 

Having all the clothes rounded up and in the laundry room READY to be washed= On deck.

Think of your laundry like you do packing a lunch for a field trip or road trip.  BEFORE you go, usually the night before, you are getting all.the.things together.  You are a prepared.  This is no different.  If you want to set yourself up for laundry success, then get prepared.

Tell the children to put their dirty clothes in the laundry bin BEFORE you are trying to snatch them up (the laundry, not the kids). 

For example, you may tell the kids to gather up all their dirty clothes from all their hot spots, the night before you are going to do their laundry. 

If you really want to change your laundry life, get a laundry bag that can be pulled and dragged by the children to the laundry room.  Now when you say “Bring your laundry down please,” it means gather up your dirty clothes and drag the bag to the laundry room.  (They are capable.)

If it’s just you or you and your spouse, here’s another way to get your laundry baskets on deck.  The night before or the morning of, pull all the towels off the racks, clothes from closet floors, that bedside chair, all the spots, and place them in the laundry bin.  Take that full laundry bin and basket out of your room and place it by the steps to bring down. 

If you are the washer, enlist the help of your person.  Ask them to deliver the laundry to the laundry area.

3. Keep Laundry Supplies Stocked Up

Keep a minimum 2 containers of detergent and fabric softener at all times. Don’t forget at least one bottle of Spray and Wash Stain Remover and a gallon of bleach or Oxyclean (for whites).  

You must treat your laundry supplies like your favorite coffee or tea.  Treat your laundry stash like your sanity depends on it because it kind of does.  The last thing you want to happen is that your run out of laundry supplies when you are actually ready to do laundry or NEED something clean. That’s the pits.

4. Quick Wash

Never ever underestimate the power of the quick wash.  Most washers have a 15 minute setting. My setting is called Speed Wash.

Listen here . . . unless it’s towels or sheets or something really funky, you can wash it on quick wash.  If you utilize quick wash, you can wash 2-3 more loads in the same amount of time.  You are less likely to forget that you are doing laundry.

Here are a few ways I utilize the quick wash setting.  I like to use quick wash for the girl’s loads sometimes.  Especially if we’ve just been hanging out in the house and she filled her bin with a ton of outfit changes.  I will use quick wash (on hot) to wash my dish rags.  I use quick wash (on warm, no fabric softener) to wash my work out clothes.  Quick wash (cold) is great for more durable delicates.  If it’s a load that needs to be hung dry, I’m probably washing on quick wash.  If I’m looking at a mountain of laundry, the small and least funkiest items are being washed on quick wash.  Do you feel me?

5. Delay Wash

If you have a newer washing machine, you likely have the delay wash setting.  Before you roll your eyes at me, go look at your machine and see. Look at your user manual and double check.  If you do have Delay Wash it’s about to change your life. 

If you are in the market for a new washing machine, be sure to add delay wash to your shopping must haves.  You won’t regret it.

Here are a few ways to use delay wash setting:

6. End on Towels + Sheets

End your laundry session on towels and linens so you can fold FAST. 

When you don’t feel like folding the laundry, the last thing you want to do is fold a bunch of little, little endless things.  Towels are bulky and easy to fold.  Washcloths are squares and are easy to pass onto the children to fold. 

If you have a sanitary wash setting, use that to wash the towels + sheets.  This setting takes a very long time and is a super deep clean mode, perfect for linens.

{By the way, children can start folding wash cloths at age 2.  Yep. I mean it.  They are more than capable.}

Ending on towels is the big finale!  The bulky load looks like a lot but is very fast to fold. This load is a fast and easy win!

It’s also fluffy, warm, and smells good.  So just focus on the warm fuzzy parts and FINISH!

7. Put the laundry away

The laundry is not truly complete if we are digging clean clothes out of baskets until we don’t know what’s clean or dirty anymore.  To make putting the laundry away palletable, just plan to put the laundry away the very next day. 

If you are tackling a mountain of laundry, do the laundry one day and the clean laundry away the next day.

If you can put the laundry away by the day AFTER you do it, you are a winner! 

Though I am not always successful, that is always the goal.

Caveat, have the children put their clothes away as soon as they are folded.  Notice I said the children, not you.   If your child is 4 years old or older they can put their own clothes away.   If you have them participate in the folding process, they are going to be invested in putting them away neatly. (I’m going to say this on repeat, the kids are more than capable of helping.)

8. A Load a Day

So you can reject this or embrace it.  But I’m telling you washing a load a day works

When I was single and had a lot of clothes and a lot more free time,  I would let my laundry gang up.  There were even times I would give up washing at home and go to a laundry mat just to be able to wash and dry 6-8 loads at once.  In that season, my work wardrobe of school shirts and basic pants, pj’s, work out wear, and two weekend outfits could tolerate this rotation.  I had enough to make it a good 3-4 weeks without needing to wash.  It was the season I needed to buy a new outfit anyways, the season of laundry piles.  If you are in that season, do you!  Bask in it! 

But along came married life.  Mommy life. Sandwiched caregiver daughter life. Chile. I did not have the excess time, energy, or enough clothes to manage laundry like single me. 

Once I had a laundry routine, I wondered why I ever wasted whole days of my life doing a mountain of laundry.  Even with more clothes, more people, more laundry needs (something needing to be cleaned for tomorrow, special washing instructions), I am more than able to stay on top of my laundry.  And dare I say, I even enjoy it.  

   

{Click here to watch the The Joyful Laundry Room Make Over!}

You may not ever enjoy doing laundry (I hear you grumbling at me), but you can certainly make it less dreadful if you try these tips with a good attitude.

Lastly, if you get off track, backed up, or fall of the wagon into a mountain of laundry that’s okay! 

There’s going to be a rough week. Somebody will get sick.  There will be a work deadline.  Something is bound to push you off the laundry train. 

When that happens to me, I just clear a half day to get my laundry life together. I don’t overthink it.  The next day that I’m physically able to dedicate to laundry, I just do it.  I just make sure I wash back-to-back and deal with the mountain.  

It’s easier to address the mountain in one laundry session than to begin a new week with it.  Then it’s completely unmanageable and overwhelming. 

Once the week and all of it’s dirty pile clothes begins, the mountain that grew while you were off laundry duty will only grow bigger.  So address it head on.  Make a good cup of coffee or tea, adjust your attitude, light a candle, put on your favorite show and take the mini mountain down.  Don’t overthink it. Just do.

Once the mountain is gone, get back on your load a day routine.

I’d love to know if any of these tips helped you.  What types are things are you doing or not doing to get your laundry under control?

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