8 Ways to make keeping up with laundry easier

The washing pile looks more like a mountain when you’ve got young kids - and it can really add a lot of overwhelm to your week, especially if you need particular items on specific days or have a run of bad weather.

While it seems like a simple job at first glance, when you consider every step of the task - sorting, treating stains, washing, drying, folding and putting away its actually 6 jobs in one. No wonder we feel like we’re drowning in it!

Here are my favourite ways to simplify laundry and make keeping up with it all a little easier:

Sort as You Go.

Separate washing baskets makes sorting as you go so much easier it doesn’t even feel like a job anymore.

You can sort by type (whites, colours, sports clothes, bedlinen, towels) or by person (in my house it’s mums, dad, oldest kid, youngest kid, and then towels, kitchen cloths, bedlinen).

Label your washing baskets to make sorting as you go easy for everyone in the house and you’ll save yourself time and effort sorting at wash time.

Optimise Stain Treatment.

Stains are a pain, but the faster you deal with them, the less effort you have to put in. Keep stain removers handy in your laundry so you can grab them and put them back easily, and treat stains as soon as you notice them.

Getting to a stain before it sets in means you can usually get away with a quick stain treatment spray and just pop it into the wash.

For stains that are harder to remove, dedicate one bucket with a lid to be your soaking bucket. You don’t need to use anything expensive, even soaking in regular laundry detergent can really help.

Sunlight soap is also really good for quick stain removal before washing, keep a bar handy at your laundry sink along with a nail scrubbing brush and you can get pretty much any stain out in 10 seconds with a little scrubbing.

Set a Schedule.

Create a laundry schedule that works for your family's needs. It’s the simplest way to avoid accumulating large piles of washing and it really helps make the job more manageable.

You could try doing one load a day:

  • Monday: Towels
  • Tuesday: Parent 1 clothes
  • Wednesday: Parent 2 clothes
  • Thursday Kid 1 clothes
  • Friday: Kid 2 clothes
  • Saturday: Kitchen cloths
  • Sunday: Bedlinen

You’ll need to tailor your schedule based on your family size and how much washing you have (especially if anyone does sports), but once you set your own schedule, especially for a daily task, it really helps reduce the mental load.

In my House & Family Binder, we have a simple laundry print for writing down which days are for which type of washing. You can print it out, write on it, pop it in a frame and put it in the laundry so you (and the rest of the family) don’t have to remember which day goes with which laundry type.

Teach the Kids to Help.

When the kids are really young, fold and put away the washing together. It’s just another household task to us, but sitting down and folding laundry with you is a game to young ones and they love that time with you.

As the kids get older, they can put their own laundry on, you can hang it together, and they can fold and put it away when it’s dry. You can even skip the folding and have older kids put their wet washing straight onto hangers, then hang the hangers on the line and when the washing is dry all they have to do is grab the hangers and put it all straight into the wardrobe.

Involving the kids helps to lighten your load, and it also teaches your kids valuable life skills and responsibility.

Choose the Quick Wash Cycle.

If your clothes aren’t too dirty, just use the quick wash cycle on your machine, they are designed to save time by reducing the wash and rinse times.

Wash less.

If your clothes aren’t too dirty, it’s also ok to wear them again a couple of times before you wash them. You’ll reduce your laundry workload, use (and pay for) less water, and it’s better for the environment.

Jeans and jumpers can be worn lots of times before needing a wash, and anything else that isn’t directly against your body can be worn 2-3 times too before washing unless there’s a stain that needs to be taken care of.

Ditch the ironing.

Choose wrinkle-free materials when buying clothes so you have less to iron in the first place and feel free to skip folding altogether by hanging wet washing on hangers to dry on the line, or taking a bunch of hangers up to the line when you take dry clothes down and putting them straight in the wardrobe. Less folding means fewer creases, which means less ironing. Save the ironing for really special occasions. 

Delegate and Outsource.

You don’t have to do it all yourself.

If you have the budget for it, send it out to get done and returned clean and folded to you.

Or let your partner know that you have enough on your plate with your and the kids' laundry and ask that they take care of their own plus towels and bed linen. Split the laundry 50-50 if you can so you’re not chained to the washing machine and won’t have a mountain to deal with if you go away for a weekend or a few days in the future.

I hope you found these ideas helpful! If you’re ready for next steps in organising your home & life, you might want to check out my popular House & Family Binder. It’s a simple set of prints to help you get organised and run your household without stress or overwhelm.