How to do laundry properly

Laundry is one of those chores that can conquer even the most efficient and organized mom. If you have multiple children, or a baby in the house, the little laundry pile quickly grows into a monster of a pile. This monster is not quiet either, it calls to you saying things like, “Mom! I don’t have any underwear!”

I have good news though! The laundry monster can be conquered, once and for all. You just need to set up a good foundation, and soon, after practicing good laundry habits for about a week, you will find that the laundry almost cleans itself.

The first step is going to take the most time, but it is important to get this done all in one day. Gather all of the dirty laundry and take it to the laundry room. Get your kids to help, and make sure they check under their beds and behind dressers. You want every last piece accounted for. Sort the laundry and get every piece of clothing cleaned, folded, and most importantly, put away.

While you are laboring in your laundry room, take some extra time to get the area neat and organized. When I did this for the first time, I ended up finding a lot of treasure that had been stashed in the laundry room, including, my husband’s favorite tie, my best breast pump, my son’s left dress shoe, and several other items.

Take a few minutes to clear off the top of the dryer (this is a favorite catch-all), wipe it down, organize your detergent, fabric softener and stain remover. Take a damp cloth and wipe off the washing machine too. Get all of the crud out of the nooks and crannies. A fresh, organized space will encourage you to keep the area clean, and to keep the clothing clean.

Now that you have all of your laundry done and put away, step two is simple. Now, all you have to do is maintain. Keep a few sorting baskets out, one for darks, lights and delicates. Once a basket is full, wash it, dry it and put it away.

Some days you may have two full loads to do, but most days, you will only have one, or quite possibly, none. Let me share a little secret. I have six children. You would think I would be doing four or five loads a day. I don’t. I only have to run 1.5 loads a day to stay caught up. That includes towels.

When my baby was a newborn, I was having to run two full loads a day to take care of all of the extra blankets, burp cloths, and my organic crib mattress covers. But this only lasted a few months, and then I was back to alternating between one load and two loads to get it all done.

So, let me recap the most important steps:

  • Get all of your laundry clean, folded and put away on day one.
  • Spruce up your laundry room to create a calm, organized space.
  • When you have a full basket of dirty laundry, wash it the same day.
  • Always fold and put away your laundry on the same day, otherwise, you will create a backlog.
  • Maintain, maintain, maintain!
  • If your laundry monster crops up again, start at the beginning and try again.

The key to killing the laundry monster, is to never let it turn into a monster in the first place. You will be amazed at how easy doing one load a day really is, rather than doing four or five loads every Saturday. Give it a try, and let me know how it went!

Ashley Buffa is the mother of six children under the age of nine. She also runs the website, offering parenting and baby care wisdom to new moms and experienced moms alike.

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  1. Great ideas! I don’t mind the laundry aspect…it is the putting away. I can keep up with washing, drying and folding my laundry (you are right in that you only have to do one or two loads a day) – it is the putting away that I hate. Right now I have three baskets that need to be unloaded for the new laundry I am currently washing!