5 Brilliant Family Laundry Hacks
If the sight of your laundry pile is making you lose the will to live, here are some genius family laundry hacks to make the entire laundry process a little easier.
Laundry is probably my most hated household task. Here’s how to make it a little easier with a bit of preparation and some practical tips.
1. The laundry schedule
It seems excessive, but if you’re running a busy household, it’s easy to fall behind. Write up a schedule and pin it to the laundry room door. It helps that partners and kids know the schedule, so there is no excuse not to help out. Develop a schedule that works for your family eg. if your kids do Saturday sport, then Saturday is sports washing day, if your partner is home on a Friday, get them to change the sheets, so Friday becomes sheets and towels day.
2. The dirty pile
In an ideal world, my laundry room would have multiple sorting baskets and plentiful storage. I regularly pine over these elusive laundry rooms on Pinterest! In the real world, we live in a small inner city apartment – you couldn’t swing a cat in our laundry room! So, everything is piled into one basket. It’s not ideal, but there are little things you can do to make it easier:
- Never lose a sock again! Hang a small laundry / delicates bag on the side of the laundry basket and get family members to pop socks straight in. If you have a baby, this is so important – those little socks and mittens just disappear in the washing machine! Then zip up and pop in the wash. Makes sorting easier and no more lost socks.
- I use the washing machine as a sorting basket. Whatever your next load is – if my next load is whites, I just start popping in whites as I’m cleaning, even if I’m not doing the load until tomorrow.
- Ensure you hang any damp clothes on the side of the basket to dry. Do not add damp clothes to the basket pile. It just takes a couple of warm days for mould to grow and it can spread like wildfire in a washing basket.
3. The washing
The easiest task of all – I am so thankful for my washing machine. Just imagine what women endured just a few generations ago when the entire laundry process often occupied an entire day of hard back-breaking work! Still, there are a few things that can make our easy pop-in and forget washing process even easier:
- Pre-treat stains and smells. There is nothing worse than going to the effort of washing, then realising the clothes are still stained or smelly and having to throw them back in the pile. My go-to stain remover is vinegar and I keep a small spray bottle next to the laundry powder. I spray all armpits with vinegar before they go in the wash. Lemon juice can be used for harder set in stains – here’s how to use lemon juice and sunshine for unbelievable stain removal. My other ‘go-to’ is bicarb. Combined into a paste with vinegar, it cuts through almost any stain. All these are cheaper and much healthier than store bought pre-treaters that are packed full of chemicals.
- Fabric softener is completely unnecessary. A dash of vinegar in the fabric softener slot (and a few drops of tea tree oil for whites) is all you need. And if you’re wondering, once clothes are dry, the vinegar smell completely dissipates. Vinegar cleans and disinfects not only your clothes, but your machine too.
4. The drying
Drying is the key as to whether or not you’ll spend hours ironing your clothes. This step is so important. Here’s how to dry like a pro:
- Don’t let it linger. Once the washing is done, get it out of the machine as soon as possible. If your machine has a timer as mine does, I normally time this just as bub has gone to bed, before I get too comfy on the lounge or get distracted by anything else. Letting it linger in the machine develops set in wrinkles that are so hard to shift.
- Hang washing in the sunshine wherever possible. Sunshine is a natural sanitiser and the wind helps dispel wrinkles. Even if you only manage to hang your whites in the sun, it will give your sheets and towels a natural bleach.
- Be careful where you place your pegs. An awkwardly placed peg will leave a mark on clothes that even ironing can’t remove. If you’re hanging clothes indoors, forego the pegs altogether. As much of my laundry is hung indoors, most of my pegs have made it into the toybox – my boy gets much more use out of them than I do!
- And the most important rule of all – SHAKE AND SNAP!!! I cannot stress this enough. Give each piece a good hard whip-snap shake before you hang it on the line. This will remove the majority of wrinkles in your clothes and fluff up your towels. Once the item is hung, smooth it out, ensure collars aren’t twisted and straighten out the edges.
- Hang straight on to hangers. This lets clothes dry into their natural shape, avoids peg marks, frees up space on the line and makes putting clothes away easier. Why wouldn’t you do it!? Take it one step further and organise your school and sport uniforms like a pro.
5. The dreaded putting away
This is by far my most dreaded task. I seem to stumble at this last hurdle and there is often a pile of laundry on my bedroom chair. Sometimes I just can’t bear to open every little draw to put away every little sock. Here are a few tips that help:
- As you take the laundry off the line, sort into piles of family member or location (bedroom / linen cupboard etc.) and most importantly FOLD FOLD FOLD – do not leave unfolded laundry in a pile.
- Ensure you give clothes a good snap shake before folding. This removes any final wrinkles.
- Have an allocated put away day. If your week is crazy and clean laundry is just piling up, allocate one day each week that you know it will get put away. I actually set a reminder in my calendar. It makes me feel a little less stressed about the growing pile during the week, knowing it WILL get put away eventually.
If you do all of the above, there will be very little need to iron your clothes, saving you electricity, precious time and your sanity. Happy laundering!
Do you have any brilliant family laundry hacks to share? Leave us a comment below.