The twins are in the bath, splashing and laughing. I tip another basket of clean laundry onto the mountain. The pile (which is actually a sofa) is so large the clothes tumble off and fall onto the floor. Help! I am overwhelmed by laundry.
I have 4 young children, all of whom wore cloth nappies and I hardly ever use the tumble drier. I am also very lazy and doing laundry is not my favourite occupation. Plus, I try to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
But I have a few secrets that I’d like to share with you. Please don’t tell anyone else, I don’t want the whole internet finding out about our underwear drawers!
How about you? Do you rub your hands in glee at the thought of doing YET ANOTHER load of dirty clothes?
Or are you with me on the “laundry smaundry” camp?
What do they say? That in a life time, you spend 6 months on the toilet (don’t quote me, I made that up.) Well, if that’s true, it’s going to be YEARS for the laundry clock.
So, if you can think of a few better ways to spend your time, than doing laundry, let me show you my sneaky, easy tricks that will help you keep control of that pile, with the least amount of effort and energy.
How to Wash Clothes…the Stress-free Minimalist Way.
- Wash everything together. Yep, everything, that includes nappies! Have you fainted in shock? But here’s a thing… Clothes don’t need to be sterile and the washing machine gets rid of all that dirt. That’s the whole point.
- Wash on a cold cycle. I used to wash everything on a short cycle until I realised that it actually uses more water and electricity. It’s a bit like driving a car in first on the motorway. You need to check your manual.
- Get a big washing machine. The more it can hold, the less number of washes you have to do. Simples!
Hang things out to dry if you can. I’m lucky, it’s normally sunny here and in the summer things dry really quickly. In the winter, I hang things out and if they aren’t dry by the morning, I finish them off in the dryer. The sun is the BEST way to remove stains. Ever.
(Although, if it’s time you want to save…chuck them all in the tumble drier. It is much quicker.)
- Never iron anything. Wait! Before your knees turn to jelly, let me explain that I do own an iron. It lives safely in the cupboard and comes out about once every five years. If you’re going to go with this strategy you can’t buy clothes that need ironing. You love that cute linen top? Tough! It will need ironing…put it back!
- Think about what you buy. It’s not just ironing you need to think about. Buy things that you know will dry quickly. Recycled fleece is warm, cosy and dries really quickly. Heavy cotton jerseys do not.
- Have a quick and easy sorting system. I pile everything in one place and then sort it out into 3 baskets, one for each bedroom. Sort the clean clothes by throwing them into their basket (can get a little tedious depending on the size of the mountain). Deliver basket to room.
- Don’t fold anything. I can hear you gasp from here. But seriously? Who is going to look in your drawers? If your neighbours are cheeky enough to look in your drawers and see how untidy they are, I doubt they’ll be so rude as to comment. They’ll probably think what a great idea it is and realise that they have wasted several months of their life ironing and folding for nothing.
- Wash everything, every day. Remember those days when you could wear a jumper two days in a row? Or perhaps you optimistically look at your child’s trousers and think they’ll do another day. Don’t bother. It’s not going to happen. At least not for several more years. (Unless you have much tidier children than mine, which is entirely possible.)
You will never get on top! There is no such thing as getting on top of laundry when you have children. (Except in the sense of me shoving the laundry aside so that I can actually sit on the sofa, when I miss a bit, I am technically “on top of laundry”.)
Doing the laundry is just a continuous cycle. If you manage to get it all done before the kids go to bed, they’ll just take their clothes off and it will start all over again.
- However tempting it is, don’t over load the washing machine. Things just don’t come out clean. It’s like drinking salt water to quench your thirst.
Here’s a last tip for luck. Train your kids. It takes time, they aren’t born knowing how to do the laundry but actually they really love it. OK, some of them love it. Others just have to get into the habit of it.
Now it’s time to get the twins out of the bath. I glance at the sofa that was under the mountain. All the clothes are untidily put away in their places.
The sofa is empty.
The dirty laundry basket is not.