doing-laundry-every-day

Things That Happened When I Started Doing Laundry Every Day

With seven people in our family, you can imagine that I do a slight amount of laundry.  As it is in most households, we typically had our own Mount Laundry and it was a constant source of stress for me.  Recently I decided to try doing one load of laundry, every day, from start to finish, just to see if it would help perhaps turn a Colorado-sized Mount Laundry into more of a Kansas-sized Mount Laundry.

Well, I’ve been doing it for a month or two now and here’s what has happened:

- I discovered that I didn’t do as much laundry as I thought.

When I had no laundry system, I remember telling Jeremy that “if I did laundry every day, I’d have to do 1.5 loads every single day just to keep up!”

When I actually started doing laundry every day, I saw much more clearly how much laundry I was doing.  I don’t have to do 10+ loads of laundry every week just to stay on top of it.  It’s more like 7, plus one or two for sheets (but I’m not going to lie, our sheets don’t always get changed every week).  So the martyr’s complex I had about how much laundry I had to do was slightly exaggerated.  (I don’t want to offend you but my guess is that many of you might be the same way!)

- I found out some of my children weren’t changing their underwear.

It’s fascinating to do laundry every day.  You find out a lot about what clothing your family prefers to wear and how many times people changed clothes in a day.  You also start to get suspicious when you realize that you’ve done a load of laundry every day for a week and you haven’t once seen a certain child’s underwear. Ahem.

My kids now know that I expect to find one pair of dirty underwear from each of them in each day’s laundry.

- I started loving my new washing machine.

I got a new washing machine this year.  It wasn’t one of those fun things; my old one went out so it was an emergency, not one I looked forward to.  (Not that I really ever envision looking forward to buying new laundry machines, unless they invent an [affordable!] one that can wash and dry in the same machine.)

We ended up with a top-loader with no center column.  It’s supposed to use less water and be gentler on clothes and all that, which is great, but there are a few things I really don’t care for, such as the inability to run just a spin cycle or soak clothing for as long as I want.

However, when I started doing a load of laundry every day, I didn’t always have a full load.  Previously, I’d always had to adjust the water dial to guesstimate what size load I was doing, but the new washing machine weighs each load to determine how much water to use, so I no longer wonder if I’m wasting water when I run a small load.

- I started changing sheets more regularly.

Who likes topping their Mount Laundry with a fresh coat of white snow sheets?  And who besides me only has one pair of sheets for each bed and always finds themselves remembering their sheets are still in the washer at 10 PM at night?

Well, when I stay on top of the laundry, changing the sheets isn’t that big of a deal.

- Clothes stopped going sour in the washer.

One of the other things I didn’t like about my new washing machine was that seems to absorb those smells quite quickly.  However, if I do a load from start to finish every day, there’s no chance of it going sour.

For awhile I thought I was going to have to run the cleaning cycle on my washer monthly to keep it from getting smelly, but since I’ve stayed on top of the laundry, that hasn’t been necessary.

- The dishes got done faster and more efficiently.

In the past, there were a lot of times that the dish-doing and kitchen-cleaning-up was hampered by a lack or shortage of dish towels.  However, in the past two months, there hasn’t been a single shortage of dish towels.  I can’t even remember the last time the drawer was even partly empty of towels!

Yep, I am a one-load-a-day enthusiast.

I am so excited about the progress I’ve made in the area of laundry that I may be eagerly waiting for my Facebook friends to post a status update about laundry so that I can pounce on it and tell them about how life-changing “my” new method has been.  Seriously, it’s made a big change in my life.  Laundry is no longer a source of stress for me!

I should probably back up and tell you that I’ve been working on developing better habits in a lot of areas lately.  This has been hugely spurred on by the book 28 Days To Hope For Your Home.  That little book was instrumental in helping me instill a good habit of cleaning up the kitchen every single night, and it’s translated to a lot of areas in my home.  The information contained in that book is so simple that I really shouldn’t need it, but I’ve found that it was just what I needed to motivate me to develop good habits in my home and it was super practical.

So, how do I do one load of laundry every day?

Here are my rules for one-load-every-day:

  1. Load must be washed, dried, and put away the same day.
  2. Do not start a load if you cannot get all the way through putting it away that same day.
  3. Mix clothes within reason.  I do sometimes save a few dark items to wash the next day rather than putting them in with the light items, but overall I don’t worry about it since most fabrics are color-safe.
  4. Don’t be afraid to run small loads.  Small loads are easier to put away, and if you’re concerned about using too much water, just think about how much water you’ll waste when you let a load go sour and have to re-run the entire load.
  5. Start the load in the morning and set a timer so you remember to put it in the dryer.  Then set another timer for when it should be done drying.  I set the the timer on my oven because if it was on my phone or computer, it would be too easy to not take care of it right away.  I don’t exactly sit around next to my stove so it ensures that I have to get up to turn the timer off and at that point, it’s easy to go down to the laundry room.  Better yet, you could start a loud, obnoxious timer and keep it in your laundry area so that you have to go straight there to turn it off!
  6. If you have really dirty rags, keep them in a separate pile until you can wash them with other towels or really dirty rags.  Otherwise, don’t be afraid to put towels and clothes together if necessary.

So, how do you do laundry?  Do you have a system that works well?

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  1. I loved reading this and how it works for you. My system is almost the opposite, but in the same way, has completely taken the stress out. I’m at home with just one, and Thursday is our laundry day! Every Thursday all the clothes, sheets, towels, etc are piled on our bed and sorted. We end up with 6-8 loads each time. There have been a few Thursdays that got a little hurried when schedules caught us out of the house for a bit too long. However, I love having my 22 month old throw each load in, help transfer each one to the dryer, and then bring the dry clothes to be folded. I don’t feel stressed about when laundry will get done or if we’ll have enough clean clothes. It will happen Thursday :)

  2. I have a family of 8 , 5 kids and a mother in law. I started doing a load a day, and yes it changed my life. I am a working mom, so looking forward to a pile of laundry on Saturday was not fun. The best purchase we made was the front loading washer. I lived in Seattle for several years, best habit I learned, since nothing dries in Seattle, I started adding 1 cup of vinegar to the towles and dirty rags and whites. This really avoided the musty smell, in the closet and in the washer. I was also infomed, to leave the door open after the last wash , I would close before heading to bed.
    My favorite trick, sock night, I would round up the basket of all the loose socks, pile them in the middle of the floor and set the timer. Whoever had the most matches won! I would usually keep a few items for gifts. Even the dollar store has items the older kids enjoy. Once I even made coupons, no chores for a week, etc. The kids loved it!

  3. That’s the way I’ve found that works best for our family of 6 also. Some days I’m surprised to find that I don’t even need to do laundry. One thing that has helped “lighten the load” is to alternate whose laundry I’m doing and tokeep them separate. That way when they come out of the dryer, there’s no need to sort. I just deliver it to the room it belongs in and have that person fold and put away their own clothes. I help my 3 year old, but my other 3 kids are old enough to be responsible for their own clothes. It also helps to have a specific container for each person’s laundry to keep it distinct and recognizable from everyone else’s.

  4. Angela Kintner says:

    I think were in the minority but I love it that you have only one set of sheets for each bed also!

  5. For us, a family of 6, especially during the colder times I do only one load a day. But then that’s mostly because I never use the dryer. I only hang dry our clothes, and when it’s cold or snowy, you can only hang one load at a time. It can take most of 24 hours for a load of darks/jeans to dry, but in the end, I think it’s worth it. I hang everything on a line in my laundry room with a fan and the heater vent open, on racks or hangers in the bathrooms with a fan on. Never had problems with musty/moldy smells either. In the warmer months, I’ll do as many loads as I can each day, sometimes skipping days. Since sometimes one load can dry before the next one comes out anyway. I only have a couple loads a week that definitely have to be done in a timely fashion, work uniforms for my girls and gym clothes for 4 of us, but otherwise, it’s pretty easy and not very stressful for us.

  6. Wow, Carrie. That’s inspirational! I don’t mind doing laundry but that pile (and we only have 5) can get quite scary, especially with 3 girls who think clothes are dirty because they *looked* at them. I just wish to add a robot that puts the laundry away to your method. :D

  7. Totally just bought that book too. I think it will take more than 28 days to develop these habits for me but I’m hopeful that I’ll get this house more organized and reduce some of my stress!

  8. By the way, they have had washer/dryer units in Europe for years that you put the clothes in and it washes and then dries them. I thought, “Brilliant”! Then I used one for 2 weeks and discovered that 1) It only holds 3 pair of jeans or clothing equiv. and 2) Takes 4+ hours to complete the cycle at which point the clothes are nearing dry, but not ready to hang up. I’ll keep my large capacity, two machine set for now! I love the abnoxious timer in the laundry room idea. Might have to look into that.

    I still keep Friday as Sheet/Towel/any other clothes not clean day. But I have started doing a load every couple days after our family got to 4 to keep up. Just doing 2 loads during the week greatly reduced the stress on Friday.

    • I had no idea they really existed but it doesn’t sound like it’s worth it anyway!

      • We had an all-in-one unit for 2 years in our apartment. There was good and bad about it. With only 2 of us, we still had to do laundry every day, or else we just couldn’t keep up! What Amanda said is exactly right-they hardly fit anything (maybe 3 full-sized towels, for example), and the cycle takes forever! It was nice to turn it on before bed and then wake up to dry clothes, but it was mostly a hassle. Whenever I wanted to wash a comforter or anything of that size, I had to bring it to my aunt’s house! We now have a house with a full sized washer and dryer and I am still at the point where I haven’t minded doing laundry one bit!

      • lol! I’d thought of this idea before (all in one washer/dryer) and thought I was brilliant and it would be a new invention. Guess not!

  9. When all seven in my family were at home, my basic rule of thumb was to put a load of laundry in the washer right before I went to bed, transfer it to the dryer on my way to get my morning tea, and have the kids fold it after breakfast. That was one of the rotating chores on their chore list. I could always start another load when I moved the wet load to the dryer if we had time to dry and fold them. Dirty clothes went into the sorting bins each night after baths, so that made it easy to grab a load!

    I ran a load of towels when I had time to put a load promptly in the dryer, but not wait for the cycle to finish. Towels don’t usually show much wrinkling, so they can sit a few hours without my attention.

    I have a front loading Maytag that is still going strong after 10 years of heavy use and we have never had odors. Now we are down to four of us at home, and I don’t need to do laundry as often. And of course, the children are old enough to do their own laundry if needed sooner!

  10. I have 7 to wash for and it can be a lot. I wash sheets every other week, half one week and half the next. They stay clean ( mostly) and it is not as hard as washing them all at once. I don’t use the dryer at all if I can help it, we have a line in the back yard. In the winter it takes 4 hours to dry a heavy load, but in summer only about 2. I do all the laundry on Mon. It is my excuse to have to stay home. I sit on the couch with the kids and fold together while watching a favorite show. Hanging the clothes has saved us about $100 a month. I could not believe it at first, but month after month it came thru around that amount. Thats a full tank of gas for the truck! Definitely worth the time, and then I have to get outside too!

    • I’ve thought about putting up a line in our basement – our HOA doesn’t allow clotheslines. That kind of savings is awfully tempting! Wonder how long it would take to dry in the basement.

      • Here I am piping in again…I am hoping to get a retractable clothesline for my yard next summer (it’s the only kind my HOA allows), but in the meantime, I hang *some* clothes in my basement, between a drying rack and putting some on hangers and hanging them from things. They dry pretty fast! If I hang them before bed, they are mostly dry by morning! The dry air here is good for some things!

      • Carrie ~ Wondering if you did end up trying a clothesline. I hang the majority of my laundry to dry too, everything except sheets/towels and socks/underwear. Clothes all get hung up on hangers in the laundry room, and if I need more space, then hung on the shower curtain rod in the bathrooms too. It saves a bundle and our clothes don’t get worn out and shrunk by the dryer.

  11. Carrie, I love your one-set-of-sheets per bed idea. But has anyone figured out a way to know which set of sheets fit which bed? It takes me 10 minutes to find that little square tag that tells me if the sheets are Queen size or full/double (not to mention that the writing on the tag is barely legible, since the sheets have been washed so many times!) AGGGHHHH!

    • I just recently heard about this method – use a sharpie to put dots on the corner of the sheet. One dot for a twin, two for a full, three for a queen, and four for a king.

  12. I like having extra sets of sheets on hand in case of a middlel-of -the-night emergency. I use the plastic bags that bedding comes in that have the zippers around them to store my sheets and put an index card inside that says “twin flat” etc. They stand up squarely in my linen closet and are marked to easily identify. Large ziploc bags might work too.

  13. I do one load a day as well. We are a family of 5 but my husband wears 3 sets of clothes a day. Every morning he will put in his PT shirt, shorts, and socks in the basket. After work he will put his shirt and socks in and every few days the pants and blouse, Then in the evening it will be socks, and a shirt. My daughter has 2 sets of clothes as well. She has her school uniform and then after school clothes (you would think the after school clothes could stay clean for 4 hours…not so with my child lol)

    So needless to say I have a lot of laundry. On Mondays I do a load of the kids clothes, Tuesday is towels and rags, Wednesday is adult clothes, Thursday is kids, Friday is towels and Saturday is adult. Sunday is reserved for sheets if need be…I really should start changing every week though!

  14. I struggle with laundry all the time. My problem isn’t getting it clean, it’s getting the clean clothes folded and put away that I just can’t get to. My kids sort their dirty clothes into the bins in the laundry room, and I just wash a load when it gets full, unless we need to get a load clean before then, like soccer uniforms or my husband’s work clothes. I just can’t get to folding the clothes, so they pile up and get all wrinkly until once a week or so I have to just drop everything and fold laundry. I just can’t find the time to get them folded in my average day. And socks and underware, my kids just know to look in the clean socks and underware basket – it is nearly impossible for me to get those all matched and put away.

    As for sheets, my husband and I only have one set, but each of my kids have 2-3 sets. My son still wets his bed almost nightly, so instead of worrying about getting the load completely washed and dried in one day, we just let the dirty sheets pile up until we have three (which is a full load for my washer) and wash them all then. Fortunately, with my folding laundry problem, I rarely have to fold sheets because by the time I get to folding laundry, all the sheets are dirty again! See, sometimes my problems work together to solve a different problem! :)

  15. Just wanted to say that you’ve inspired me, Carrie! I’m definitely hopping on the “one load a day” train. It keeps my house so much neater than having dirty laundry AND clean laundry piled in two different places. Thanks!

    • You’re welcome! You hit the nail on the head – “dirty laundry and clean laundry piled in two different places”. :/ It definitely is freeing when you no longer have laundry making you feel guilty everywhere you!

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