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How to lighten your load: Four tips for making laundry easier

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

Laundry pegs on clothes line
Laundry pegs on clothes line

Piles of dirty laundry waiting to be washed. Mountains of clean washing teetering on couches and spare beds. Running around looking for a particular piece of clothing while running late. The struggle is real. Laundry is never ending.

Fortunately, you can lighten your load and make laundry easier with the following four tips:

1. Determine your laundry routine

Be clear on your laundry routine and, if you don’t have one, then decide on one because it helps to stop the piles of dirty washing mounting up.

Depending on your lifestyle and commitments, you might prefer to do all the washing on the weekend, or a load every day – and you might wash in the mornings, the evenings, or during the day. The delay function on the washing machine is useful for having a load of washing ready when you want to hang it. For instance, if you like to hang your washing in the morning, load the machine and set the delay function in the evening so that the washing cycle is complete when you wake.

The seasons can also determine your washing routine, especially here in Tasmania. During the colder months, our family tends to use a clothes airer in front of the fireplace and our heat pump clothes dryer, and during the warmer months most washing is hung outside on the clothesline.

2. Declutter your clothing and linen

Sort through and declutter all clothing and linen in the house. Piles of washing (dirty or cleaning) mounting up is often a sign that there is too much clothing and linen in the house. When you have just enough clothing and linen, then everything is in higher rotation – dirty washing has to get washed often otherwise you have no clean clothes or towels, and clean washing doesn’t get a chance to pile up because it is quickly worn or used. Clutter-free wardrobes and linen cupboards also make it quicker and easier to put clean clothes and linen away because you’re not trying to find or make space to put clean washing away.

3. Pre-sort the dirty washing

Having a system for pre-sorting dirty washing makes it much quicker and easier to put a load of washing in the machine. In our previous home, we had a larger laundry, which had space for a three-compartment clothes hamper on castor wheels. We put whites and light-coloured clothing in one compartment, dark-coloured clothing in another compartment, and hand-washing in the last compartment. Sheets and towels usually went straight from the bed or bathroom directly to the machine, so a compartment wasn’t needed for these.

In our current home has a smaller laundry, but a lot of cupboard space. Now we have three baskets in the cupboard for pre-sorting dirty washing and even our children (aged 7 years and 3 years) know how to sort their dirty clothes into the correct baskets (well, most of the time!).

4. Streamline your system for clean washing and share the load

If you hang your clothes to dry, put them on clothes hangers straight from the washing machine and then hang them on the line. This allows clothing to go straight to the clothesline to the wardrobe without the need for folding (or even ironing in many cases – win!).

Some washing – such as pyjamas, yard clothes and linen – can be hung on the clothesline. Use an undergarment dryer to hang socks and underwear. When the washing is dry, sort it immediately into separate baskets for each person, plus one for linen. If you dry your washing in a clothes dryer, you can use this same system. Having a separate basket for each person means that the baskets can be returned to the laundry room or delivered to bedrooms and each person is responsible for folding and putting away their own clothes. Even if you fold and put away all of the washing yourself, this system allows you to complete a basket without the overwhelm of having to sort and put away all washing at the same time. However, I recommend teaching kids to be responsible for their own belongings and contribute to the running of the household. In our household, our 7 year old folds, hangs and puts away her own clothing, and our 3 year old helps to do her own clothing. I say, share the load where possible!

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