Everyone has their own unique laundry routine based on their physical space (both closet and drawer space as well as access to laundry machines), their needs, their time and their opinion of what ‘clean clothes’ means. Whatever your laundry routine consists of, the important thing is that we each have a routine, so that laundry actually gets done. If you can’t quite ace your laundry situation, I’ll share my laundry routine and best practices with you, and hopefully, you can take away some tips on how you can tweak your own laundry routine!
Keep ‘Em Separated
My laundry routine starts with a laundry tri-sorter. I love these because they keep all my garments separate before I even get to the machine, which makes it easy for me to grab a load and go. The one use has removable compartments so you can just grab the compartment you need and walk over to your laundry machine—no need for a laundry basket!
I keep mine in my washroom, and after I change or take off clothes, I place the worn garment in the appropriate colored compartment (lights, colors, darks) and off I go. Anything which is still clean gets hung up or folded and put away (on most days, I’m not perfect!). Keeping on top of processing clothing as you go is key to my routine, otherwise, bottlenecks inevitably occur. Three cheers for efficiency!
My Morning Laundry Routine
On laundry days I wake up and saunter into my bathroom (it’s been 8 hours, hello!). Before I head downstairs to make my morning smoothie, I grab the largest load in my tri-sorter and walk it down to the basement. I put the load into the washing machine and then start my day.
Thankfully (perhaps), my machine has the loudest ‘I’m finished!’song ever—seriously, you can hear it two floors up with the TV on! So, I know exactly when I’ve got to head back down to the basement and change the load over. For my machine to do an average wash cycle takes about 30 minutes or so, which is enough time for me to get through a good part of my morning routine. By the time it sings its sweet little song, all I need to do is take about 3 minutes and change the load over before carrying on with my morning to-do’s. This means taking garments out and deciding if they get machine dried or hung, giving each garment a snap or two to help reduce wrinkles (and shake off cat hair), and then set the dryer to go.
When I come home from the office, I’ve got a few things to do, sure. But after hanging up my coat and putting my day’s stuff away, I’ll grab that load of laundry and quickly put it away before I get started on dinner. It takes under 5 minutes to do (it takes way longer when it builds up for weeks at a time, I know from experience). Again, this doesn’t always happen (nails, Netflix, wine, phone call, etc.), but this is the ideal set up and I am thrilled when I execute it as described. Regardless of interruptions, I try to have it done before I go to bed at the very least, that way I know I’ve got a laundry-room-zero situation and nothing is waiting to haunt me the next day.
If All Else Fails
Last night, for example, I didn’t have the opportunity to do laundry as soon as I got in, so I told Chad that before bed I needed to fold and put my clothing away. We were on a mad Netflix bender and he stopped our third episode from auto-playing and said, ‘I think we need to stop here, you have some laundry to do’! Added benefit of folding before bed? Folding laundry is so boring that I bet it will help put you to sleep!
How Many Loads is Reasonable?
Good question, and it depends on you. For me, I average three personal loads: lights, colors, darks every week, and three family loads: towels, cleaning cloths/tea towels and linens each week. You may have noticed that I’m a firm believer in separating loads by color and garment type, this may or may not matter to you (less loads!).
Now quick note here, if I had kids, I’d likely need to do at least twice that. The good part about this schedule is, it lets you scale up or down as needed to suit your lifestyle so you could do a load a day if you needed! You can also switch it up and add a load to the wash before bed and change it out the next morning (assuming you don’t mind wrinkles).
Laundering Family Items
As mentioned I do about three family loads each week so that we all have clean towels for the kitchen and bathroom and clean linens on the bed.
Since linens are used for 30% of our day and make close contact with our hot, sweaty, oily, shedding bodies, we’ve decided to wash ours weekly. We wash bedding as needed. Just follow the care label of the specific bedding you have.
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths & Towels
I’m a fan of using really clean microfiber cloths and towels so these get changed out every other day or so. Cleaning cloths are a one-use item in our house. Once they’ve dried I toss them in a bucket in the basement (conveniently located beside the washing machine) and when the bucket gets full, they get washed.
Towels & Washcloths
I’ve read that Martha Stewart changes out her bath towel daily. For the rest of us, I’m happy with changing out my towel and washcloth once or twice per week. If the towel or washcloth is dried properly, it won’t get that musty smell and it’s fine for prolonged use. Once a week, I’ll collect the towels in all the bathrooms and give them a wash. I like to wash towels on a hot water setting and a feature I love about my dryer is the moisture sensor. My dryer stops the cycle as soon as no more moisture is sensed, even when something as complicated as a load of towels is tumbling around. Hooray for saving energy!
I hope this has helped you craft ideas for your own laundry routine, let me know what you’re planning to do and how it’s working for you!