My top survival tips for getting on top of the washing

My top survival tips for getting on top of the washing

I recently posted about my laundry routine hacks that keep me sane. While I love these and they have changed the way I approach washing clothes in my home, there are a few key steps that come first. These tips help to reduce the amount of inventory, helps you figure out how often you need to wash, taking time to consider the climate where you live, the current weather and how you dry the clothing.

Once you take a little bit of time to consider these factors and how they impact upon your routine, then you can figure out how best to manage the washing moving forward. It’s one of those chores that we all have to do, so we may as well find the best system to do it well.

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1. Reduce.

One of the key ways to get on top of your laundry problem is to reduce how much you have. This can easily get out of control. If you have a baby, they need lots of outfits with the amount that they spit up milk, vomit, poop etc. When we did cloth nappies full time, they tended to leak and create more washing. Toddlers tend to go through lots of outfits in a day, especially if they have messy meals (think spaghetti and meatballs), play outside in the dirt and mud and like getting into everything. I have finally invested in some awesome Nature Play suits (these waterproof suits are also great) to help preserve outfits a little longer when getting out and about.

Now that I have a child in school, they suddenly have less washing for me. He puts on his uniform first thing, wears it after school and gets changed into pjs after a bath or shower. This is a huge change from the baby and toddler season with multiple changes a day. It does get easier.

I encourage you to start decluttering the excess clothing in your house. The more you are able to cull from each family member’s clothing wardrobe, the less choice they have, the less they are able to dirty and the less inventory you have to manage. You know your child – if they go through three pairs of trackies in winter because they can’t avoid jumping in muddy puddles, you will need to keep more pants for them than the child who prefers to stay indoors and watch Peppa Pig jump in muddy puddles. There is no right number or amount – it has to work with your family. I like having lots of options in my wardrobe but am trying to reduce this. Now that I’m done with having babies, I’m finding it easier to let things go

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2. Frequency.

Figure out how often you want to do the washing. For me, I’m happy to do a load or two most days in summer and will have a few days off too. Come winter and that makes things hard without a dryer. I feel like I have to do a load of laundry every day to have enough space out my drying racks. 

RELATED : How my laundry routine hack keeps the washing (and my sanity) under control

3. Climate.

Take a moment to think about where you live. What is the climate? Do you have lots of sun? Wind? Rain? Snow? For us, we’re pretty lucky. We’re in South Australia. It’s often warm and sunny, and we get gully breezes. It rarely rains here (the driest state in the driest continent of the world) and doesn’t snow. We can get by without a dryer and use drying racks inside in winter.

For us during summer, I can put a load of washing on in the morning, hang it out and it will be dry within an hour. During autumn and spring, I can hang out a load in the morning and take it off in the afternoon. This is satisfying. This means we can own less clothing because our drying method doesn’t take much time. During winter, it can get annoying. Drying items inside seems to take forever (and there’s that musty smell). I need to do daily loads to keep on top of it, and need to have extra clothing items for when things don’t dry in time.

What is the weather like where you live? How does it affect what types of clothing you own and how much?

4. Drying.

How my laundry routine hack keeps the washing (and my sanity) under control

Consider how you dry your washing. Do you have a yard or veranda? Do you have a rotary washing line? Pull out? Is it in the sun or shade? Do you have a dryer? Do you use drying racks inside? This can influence how many items of clothing you own. If you have the ability to dry clothes at any time of day or in any weather, this can reduce the amount that you need.

It might be worth investing in some new methods of drying if it means that you can tackle the laundry with ease. For us, this might mean buying some more clothes airers, an undercover washing line and looking into a dryer. For you, it might mean trailing a washing line to make use of sunshine and wind.

Closing thoughts:

In closing, getting on top of the pile of laundry can feel impossible. The more kids we have and the busier our lives get can make this a losing battle. However it doesn’t have to be all hard.

By taking the time to reduce our clothing inventory, we can take back some control over how much washing we need to do. Our personal preferences over how often we want to do laundry, where we live and how we dry our clothes all play a part in how we approach this chore.

When we figure out what works for us and our family, and form some good routines and methods for washing our clothes, we can stay on top of it. It might become less of a dreaded job and start to become more enjoyable somehow. Happy washing!

How my laundry routine hack keeps the washing (and my sanity) under control

How my laundry routine hack keeps the washing (and my sanity) under control

Doing the laundry is one of those jobs that never feels done. We always wear clothes so there’s always something to wash, something to hang, something to bring in, something to iron, something to fold, something to put away. It’s never ending. As an adult it’s annoying. As a parent, especially as a new mum, it can be overwhelming. Suffocating even.

Some people I know are able to ignore the baskets of washing scattered around the house. They joke about how the pile looks like a Christmas tree when you put a star on top. It frustrates them but they are happy to live in the chaos.

For me though, I can’t stand it. Seeing washing baskets inside stresses me out. My heart rate actually increases and I can’t relax. I’m not able to ignore the unfinished job. I remember back to when my eldest was a baby. I’d be sitting on the couch holding him as I fed or he slept.

I’d look around the family room and my eyes would be drawn to all the tasks that I hadn’t had a chance to get to yet. As much as I loved being a mum and adored my bub, it was hard seeing my home unravel and not be able to do anything about it. Now that I have three little ones, the amount of washing, dishes and toys have increased. It’s just that much harder to stay on top of it all.

I think we all have areas in our house that bother us, and chores that are important to get done in a timely fashion. My top three areas of stress are the kitchen, toys and washing. Once I realised what these were, I’ve developed systems to stay on top of managing these.

It’s important to figure out what these areas of focus are, what your level of tolerance is, and how well you need the tasks to be completed.

For me, I need things done and away. Although a perfectionist at heart, I’m no longer interested in perfect. I know that’s not achievable, especially not in my season. I have had to lower my standards since becoming a mother.

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While I have a separate post on survival tips to get on top of the washing, here are my laundry hacks that keep me sane:

1. Designate areas on the line.

How my laundry routine hack keeps the washing (and my sanity) under control

If you have an old school Hills Hoist line (the one that spins around), allocate every member of your family a side. If you have four people, hooray! Everyone gets a side. If you have less, allocate one for linen and towels. If you have more, some can share. In my family we have five people, so our kids have their own side and hubby and I share (I guess we share a bed so we can cope with sharing the washing line!).

2. Coat hangers.

How my laundry routine hack keeps the washing (and my sanity) under control

Whilst travelling in Asia, I saw people drying clothes on coat hangers all the time. Such a simple idea but it can make such a difference. Use coat hangers to hang things that normally get hung. This way, the creases can come out and you can transfer them straight from the line to your wardrobe without needing to fold and then hang up. Store extra coat hangers in your laundry if you have space or even just on the line.

3. Use the delay cycle.

Most washing machines these days multiple options and settings. Put a delayed cycle on overnight so you can hang out in the morning. This uses off peak energy so it can be a cost saver. Alternatively if you are not a morning person, program it to finish in the early evening , so you can hang them out in the dark.

Figure out what your ideal time to put on the machine is, and when it’s most convenient to hang out. For me right now, this means nap time (which utilises solar power) or once the kids are in bed so I can enjoy some quiet time getting jobs done.

4. Label the laundry baskets.

How my laundry routine hack keeps the washing (and my sanity) under control

This hack might seem ridiculous and a tad overkill, but hear me out. It’s revolutionised my life (at least when it comes to washing anyway). Make sure that you have one laundry basket for everyone in the household. They have to stack together (you can buy 6 sturdy ones for $77 on Amazon). Next, write everyone’s name on one in permanent Texta. You need at least one per member, and an optional extra one for linen.

Grab a thick permanent marker, even different colours ones if you want, and write everyone’s name on a basket. If it helps, write their size next to their name (this is particularly helpful for your other half to remember what size little ones are in right now).

5. Taking off the washing.

When it’s time to take off the washing, simply place your baskets on the ground in age order (or alphabetical or rainbow colour!), take off each item from their side of the line and into the correct basket. Fill up the baskets as you empty the line, and take them inside.

Put them inside the bedroom they belong to. With older children and partners, you can expect them to put this away and then return the basket to the laundry. Personally I don’t fold, because my kids often pull out all their clothes. If I don’t spend time folding, I don’t panic when the clothes end up on the floor (because they do).

In my stage, I put away the baby’s clothes, and depending on the day will either put the toddler and eldest’s clothes away too, or ask them to do it with me. (Sometimes like packing up toys, it’s just quicker to do it myself. There’s time later to train them to do it.)

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I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer washing to be done not perfect. Not folded or ironed but at least away and out of sight. On sunny or windy days, I aim for out and in on the same day. It means I can have laundry free days where I can focus on cooking or cleaning or just getting through the day.

I no longer dread doing the washing or putting it away. It now feels achievable, dare I say it, almost fun, now that I have a system. My hubby initially thought I was a bit crazy buying so many laundry baskets but now he gets it. It’s a simple solution to a chore that that quickly becomes overwhelming.

He does his fair share of washing, especially on weekends or days he is home with the kids while I work. He will do the job from start to finish because the system works. As our boys get older and have more practice, they will regularly put away their clothes to develop responsibility and to take pressure off of me.

I’ve found that by decluttering what we have, it has reduced how much inventory I need to wash. This has been a lifesaver for me as a busy mum. If we can sell and donate the excess, the washing will stay under control.

Do you have a system or hack for keeping the laundry under control? If not, and you find it becomes all too much, perhaps give this a go. Let me know how it works for you!

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