The Laundry List: 5 Simple Steps to Getting it all Done in One Day
Laundry, through no fault of its own, has been my homemaking nemesis since before I left home as a college grad. So, you must understand how thrilling it is for me to sit here and talk to you about how I’ve finally tamed the beast. It all started when (ironically, on the same day that I had been scouring various blogs for an amazing laundry system that would change my life) my middle boy figured out how to set the delay feature on our washing machine so that it would wait to wash the laundry until about time for us to get up. (Wait, what? There’s a delay feature on my washer? Genius!) That’s when I decided to take the plunge and try once-a-week washday. Armed with this new gizmo on my washer, I might, at last, be able to get it all done in one day.
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How I get it all done in one day:
Let me, first of all, define “getting it done”. I do not do all the bedding on this day. Also, my five boys are all responsible for their own laundry, so they can use the washer on any day that I’m not using it. These are the items that once-a-day washday includes: mine and hubby’s clothing, my three girls’ clothing, and all the towels and washcloths.
Also, because I’m home on Thursday and not Friday, I wash and dry on Thursday, fold on Friday, and put away on Saturday. So maybe to some, this isn’t getting it all done in one day. But it’s infinitely better in my mind to the growing number of baskets of clean laundry that sat around all week getting rumpled while waiting to be folded on Friday.
At the end of the post is a link for a printable version of the following checklist.
1. Start the night before.
This one step has been the key to the success of my laundry system. I gather up all the laundry that I will be washing, and sort it into 4 different baskets: lights, darks, colored towels and socks, and whites. Then I proceed to stain treat the light colored clothes, and into the washer they go. If you don’t have a delay feature on your washer, stop here. But if you do, set it for about 12 hours and press start. I wash the lights on warm, so there is still enough hot water for morning showers.
2. Start bright and early the next day.
But not too early. You want to make sure that the water heater can keep up with morning water needs. Let everyone finish their showers, and wait about 30 minutes. That should be enough hot water for the washing machine and the dishwasher (most dishwashers start with water from the water heater, but they continue heating the water for the duration of the cycle).
Move the lights to the dryer, and load up the washer with the dark colors and jeans. I look over the nicer clothing to make sure there aren’t any stains, but I don’t stain-treat play clothes. That’s one of my hacks. 🙂
3. Keep it movin’.
The timer is your friend here. And I don’t mean the dryer timer. For some reason, I don’t pay any attention to the dryer timer. Probably from years of doing one load a day and thinking, “I’ll take care of that later.” I have to set a timer on the microwave or carry a kitchen timer around the house with me. This is the one I use for the kids’ school, and it comes in real handy on laundry day.
4. Spray and wipe the laundry baskets.
You just had dirty, stinky clothes in those things. You do not want to put your clean, fresh clothes in with whatever bacteria and dirt remains in the bottom of the basket. A couple of sprays of hydrogen peroxide with essential oils (or vinegar and castile soap) and a quick wipe with one of those rags that will go into your last wash load will get it ready to receive all your lovely, clean clothes.
5. Take care of the dry clothing.
One of the best things about this system is that my clothes don’t get nearly as wrinkled. I don’t fold them right away, but I do have to get them out of the dryer fairly quickly in order to dry the next load. So this gives me the chance to first pull out the items that tend to wrinkle. I hang them over the dryer door while I dump everything else into the basket. Then I neatly lay the culled clothes on top of the pile and get on with my day.
On Friday evening, we choose a movie, and I sit and fold clothing for an hour or so. Saturday morning, I get it all put away (theoretically). Most of the time, anyway.
So here is what my Thursday laundry schedule looks like:
8:30 a.m. – Move lights to the dryer. Start darks and jeans. Set timer for 1 hour.
9:30 a.m. – Remove lights from the dryer. Move darks and jeans to the dryer. Start colored towels and socks. Set timer for 1 hour.
10:30 a.m.-Check darks in the dryer. Remove whatever is dry. Add the towels to the dryer. Wash whites*. Set timer for 1 hour.
11:30 a.m.-Remove darks and towels from the dryer. Dry whites.
12:30 p.m.-Remove whites from the dryer. DONE!
* Quick note about whites. I do these last because, yes, I do use bleach on my whites. (I’ve gone back and forth on this for years, so I’ve done my time with guilt. I’m now 44 years old, and I do what I want. ;-).) If you also use bleach, do me one favor. Don’t let them soak in the bleach. I learned this the hard way by ruining two of hubby’s undershirts. (Sssshhh. He doesn’t know.)
What’s your laundry routine, and what’s working, or not working for you? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to claim your free printable checklist here!