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.
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.
RELATED : How to do it all as a woman?
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.
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?
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.
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!