The laundry room is an area made way too complicated by marketing, and it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what needs to be done. It is also an area where it doesn’t matter what system you implement, you will still have to do it. So just pick a system and work it.
From my experience, here are three systems that work:
- Separate your dirty items as you go into a centrally located, divided hamper. Then do a load when one section is full.
- Use one communal hamper to catch all dirty items. Separate into piles on wash day. Do as many loads as needed.
- Each person gets their own hamper. Separate into loads when the hamper is full. Linens can be included. Wash at regular intervals.
The simplest solution is to create less laundry in the first place by changing your clothes less often and not eating crackers in bed. Having fewer clothes will help with laundry avoidance, until the time comes when you have to do it to put together an outfit.
Further simplify your laundry routine by rethinking the quantity of linens you need. One easy solution is to have one set per bed and two towels per person. Decide how often you need to wash to meet your cleanliness standards. Once a week is usually fine. When they wear out, buy a new set and dump the old.
Remember the laundry isn’t done until all items are put away. If you don’t put your laundry away when it has dried, you’re only causing more work later. Shirts will wrinkle, the hamper isn’t back where you need it, and so stuff piles up on the floor. Finishing the task now means saving precious time searching for matching outfits later.
This article originally appeared in Sage, October 2009