Ask a group of moms what their biggest homemaking struggles are, and I bet you $100 laundry makes the list. It’s never-ending, it’s not a lot of fun, and it can quickly get out of control.
I definitely used to dread laundry days. I could never seem to stay on top of things, we were living out of baskets far more than I wanted, and I was constantly searching for clothes.
Does that sound familiar? If so, this is a post you need to read. Because, friends, I found a way to change it all!
I no longer feel overwhelmed by laundry. Mount Laundry no longer resides at our house. And we no longer live out of baskets. And the best part is, I don’t spend precious weekends catching up on laundry! In fact, I don’t spend any days catching up! (Only on the rare occasion, anyway.)
If you’re thinking maybe I’m just a great homemaker or super disciplined, I assure you, I’m not. I don’t owe this transformation to any extra effort on my part — I owe it all to this one little change.
**Links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that if you click that link and purchase the product, I may receive a small compensation. I am, however, committed to honestly assessing the products mentioned. Please read my disclosure policy for more details. **
MY OLD LAUNDRY SYSTEM
My old laundry system (if you can call it that) involved putting it all off until Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays (my days off minus Sunday, which I really try to use as a prep day/rest day). Or until we were desperately low on something.
Related Post: 7 Habits I Wish I Would Have Adopted Years Ago
That meant I usually had multiple loads to do each of those days. And I always started a new load as soon as I put the previous load in the dryer. I thought that was the efficient way. I thought that was the most logical way. What it was not, however … was working.
The problem was never getting multiple loads started. I’m a morning person, and my peak productivity time is mid-morning. So on those days, I had no problem throwing in load after load of laundry like nobody’s business.
The problem was finishing all that laundry. And by finishing, I mean folding it and putting it away. That’s where my “system” broke down.
I really hate folding and putting away clothes, so the old me put it off until evening, by which time I usually had three or four loads to fold and put away. And remember how I said I’m a morning person? That means by evening, I’m pretty much done.
So what happened to all those loads of laundry? They usually got folded — while sitting down in front of a TV show — but then I carefully set them in piles in the laundry baskets. Where they remained until we wore them.
We lived out of baskets in this way for a few years.
Now, maybe you see nothing wrong with this system — it might even be your system! And if you’re okay with that, then carry on sister. I’m not about to tell you how to do your thing.
But I didn’t want to live like that anymore. For one thing, I hated spending so much time on my days off with the kids doing laundry! And I hated the baskets of clothes everywhere. I especially hated wasting time searching for clothes. Something needed to change, and I was open to anything — including a system I had previously turned up my nose at.
MY NEW LIFE-CHANGING LAUNDRY SYSTEM
I first heard about this new way of doing laundry from The Humbled Homemaker. She did a video series with a special guest, tackling the topic of laundry in one of the videos. And this woman strongly recommended doing one load of laundry a day, start to finish — meaning you could not start the next load until you finished the first load, including putting it all away!
I listened to the video, but I was skeptical. I didn’t think it would fit well with my schedule, and I thought it sounded terribly inefficient. I mean, why would you wait until one load was completely finished when you could be washing a load while another one was drying? I thought I could get so much more done my way, so I rejected the idea for several years.
The thing is … I wasn’t getting any more done my way. My way wasn’t working. And, about six months or so ago, I finally decided to give it a try. I was sick and tired of living out of baskets, but all the willpower and discipline I was trying to muster weren’t enough. It was literally the definition of insanity — you know, the one about doing the same thing over and over expecting different results? I finally realized I needed to try something completely different.
So, I decided to try the one load a day system. I committed to trying it for one week, first, to give it a solid shot. That week turned into two. Two weeks turned into a month. A month turned into several months. And now? Now I wouldn’t want to go back.
WHY I LOVE THIS LAUNDRY SYSTEM
- I stay on top of the laundry!
- Everything gets put away instead of getting tossed and left in baskets
- I don’t feel overwhelmed and I don’t dread it – one load a day is so much more manageable than several loads in one day
- Laundry doesn’t feel like a chore anymore
- No more baskets or piles, so our rooms are neater
- I don’t spend precious minutes in the mornings searching for my clothes — I know they’re either in my closet/drawers or they’re in the dirty clothes hamper
- Less ironing (well, let’s be honest — less Wrinkle Release and/or trips through the steam release cycle of the dryer) because clothes get folded or hung up right away.
- No more catching up on laundry on weekends or days off from work!
TIPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE ONE-LOAD-A-DAY SYSTEM
If you’re thinking this system could never work for you, believe me, I’ve been there. But here are a few tricks I’ve learned that have helped me tweak it for my schedule.
- Sometimes I cheat a little.
There are days when I do two loads if I have the time. But I never let myself start another load until I’ve finished the first load (including putting it ALL away), and I rarely do more than two. If I start too much during my peak-productivity hours, that’s asking for end-of-the-day-burnout and clothes left in the dryer.
- I schedule my loads strategically.
Some loads require more time than others to complete, and some days I have more time than others. So I try to be strategic about when I do certain loads. For example, I do my more low-maintenance loads that don’t take very long to fold and put away (like towels, jeans/sweatshirts, or Levon’s work clothes) on the days that I work. And I save the higher-maintenance loads (the kids’ clothes and our regular clothes) for my days at home.
- I take advantage of the delay function.
I just mentioned that I save the easy loads for the days that I work, but here’s what else I do — I use the delay start function on my washing machine! I dump the load in and set the timer before I head out the door, timing it so it finishes right before I get home. Then, as soon as I get home, I transfer it to the dryer. It finishes about the time we finish eating, I put it away right after dinner, and BAM! I’m done and can spend the rest of the evening with my family!
MY LAUNDRY SCHEDULE
If you have a smaller family and you’re wondering how I have enough laundry for a load every day, or if you’re curious about my schedule, here is how and when I do them:
Mondays (work): Easy load, such as towels or jeans/sweatshirts (which I usually wash together since they take up a lot of space and they can be a bit rough on more delicate clothing)
Tuesdays (home): the boys’ clothes — right now, I can fit all their clothes from one week in a single load (and no, I don’t sort by color. I’ve never had a problem, but if that makes you nervous, invest in some Color Catchers. They’re awesome!)
Wednesdays (work): Levon’s work clothes (he works outside and gets dirty, plus his fire-retardant jeans are very heavy and rough, so I wash them separately)
Thursdays (home): Levon’s and my regular clothes (two loads)
Friday (work): easy load
Saturday: miscellaneous — whatever needs to be done
Sunday: Nope. I refuse to do laundry on Sundays on principle. A girl’s gotta have a break from laundry every once in a while. 😉
There really have been zero drawbacks for me switching to this system. I can see where it might be more difficult if you work full-time (although it has to be done sometime, right? So I still think doing one load a day feels better than spending all of Saturday a slave to your washing machine).
And doing only one load each day is probably impossible if you have a large family. (In which case, I would still highly recommend not starting another load until you’ve finished the previous one if you can avoid it. That’s the biggest key to this system’s magic!)
But for me, this system has literally changed my life. Or at least my laundry, which, as a busy mom, is pretty much the same thing.
We’ll see how it works this spring/summer when I hang everything on the line. On the one hand, it will be great because I won’t have to take multiple loads back and forth in a day. But it won’t be so great on the days I have to work and have to hang things before I leave. We’ll see! It may take a little trial and error, but I’m committed to giving it a shot.
Laundry is a frustrating struggle for a lot of moms, and several months ago, I was one of those frustrated moms! But thanks to this new system, it’s not the dreaded, overwhelming chore it once was. I was skeptical to try it for the longest time, but once I committed to it for a week, I quickly changed my tune. Now I can’t imagine returning to my former ways.
If you think this system couldn’t possibly work for you, I won’t argue with you — I’m not trying to force anyone into a laundry box. If what you’re doing is working for you, then you do you! If, however, you or your family are unsatisfied with your current system, then I urge you to give it a chance. You never know until you try it. This new system very well could be as life-changing for you as it was for me.
What do you think? Is this a system that you think you might like to try? Share these or any other thoughts in the comments below!
OTHER RECOMMENDED READING:
- Why “Homemaking” Means More Than You Think
- The Life-Changing Tool Every Mom Deserves
- How to Clean Your Microwave Like Magic
- 12 Unique Ways to Enjoy Housework (Even When You Hate It!)