mindful living, effortless style

Great tips for making laundry less of a pain!

Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life: Tackling the Laundry

Something fun today – we’re partnering with the one and only Martha Stewart to bring you a Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life laundry post sponsored by our friends at Tide HE and Maytag Powerwash. I’ve actually been meaning to do a POYEL laundry post for a while now but have been putting it off because, frankly, laundry and I aren’t exactly BFFs.

But it has to be dealt with none-the-less, and who better to learn the tricks of the trade from than Martha herself right?

She’s sharing 8 new laundry rules to live by, as well as tips to get it all done, and I absolutely love #1: The Grass is Always Greener on the Lawn. It goes so well with MPMK’s mantra of not being afraid to get outside and get messy with the kids.

So here’s your POYEL mission – go check out Martha’s laundry tips and then be sure to share your best tricks here with all of us.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

What are your best laundry tips?

Here are my current favorite ideas for tackling the never-ending laundry load:

  • Do it all in one day – I started doing this on accident (i.e. putting laundry off all week and then finally caving and doing several loads at once when no one had any clean underwear left). But I actually found that planning on doing several loads on Sunday, and not worrying about it the rest of the week, is much less stressful for me. I like it because I don’t feel like I’m behind all week.
  • Stop folding the kids’ clothes – My toddlers could care less if their clothes have a few wrinkles. Plus, I’m fostering their independence by letting them be in charge of putting away their clothes and getting them out to wear the night before. The net result is a lot of saved time for me.
  • Sort as you go – We have a separate hamper for colors, whites, and dry cleaning. Come laundry day I don’t have to spend so much time sorting before I even begin washing.

So there you go. I showed you mine, time to show me yours! And while we’re on the topic of laundry – do you all have HE washers? When we bought our house 5 years ago it came with an HE washer and dryer and I have to say I’ve loved them. The one thing about them, though, is you have to be sure to use the right type of detergent – this is key!

Ours broke last year and I’m convinced it’s because we used non-HE detergent after running out of our usual stuff. My hubby didn’t think so but the Tide people have clearly explained the benefit of their HE detergent and it makes sense to me, “Tide HE provides excellent cleaning with the right level of sudsing for high-efficiency washers. It creates few suds and disperses quickly to get great cleaning performance with only a fraction of the amount of water used in traditional machines”.

What do you guys think? Also, don’t forget to share those laundry tips – I can always use more!

 

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Shontell June 17, 2013 at 3:36 am

I wash loads of clothes by owner, not type. I have five kids and a husband in smoke smelly uniforms. With seven of us, I assign a laundry day to each kid. Only his/her clothes come into the laundry room, and all of his/her clothes go into the machines. That makes one like that I fold, and they have to get from the laundry room before bed an it away. I am saving my pennies for an HE washer and dryer. Until then, this method is the least stressful.

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Steph (MPMK Founder) June 17, 2013 at 4:07 am

Thanks for sharing! This sounds like a great system for large families and I love the kids’ level of responsibility.

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Natalija August 17, 2013 at 4:36 am

This is exactly what I do. I have a large family – 7 children. My sanity returned when I started doing laundry by persons/room. I usually do two loads per day/room. One light that gets put in the evening (on a timer – to use cheaper night time electricity), then in the morning the next day the dark load. On Sunday night I put mine and DH’s, Monday night first kids room, Tuesday, second, Wednesday third (we have a laundry hamper in each room, so clothes do not mix), then on Thursday I put in bedding (each Thursday we change 2-3 beds according to schedule so beds get changed every 3 weeks on rotation) and Friday morning towels. Usually I am done with laundry by then and have the weekend laundry free :) For the older children, they are supposed to fold their clean laundry (and take down from line in the summer) their assigned day and put them away. For the younger children I do it, but I only have to sort/fold laundry from 2-3 people, not 9 all the time! Summer things get mixed up with camps and people not always being home, but I am looking forward to September when we get back on our laundry schedule :)

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Charlotte June 17, 2013 at 5:01 am

We put an end to raging piles of laundry by dramatically reducing everyone’s clothes.
Each of us (2 adults, 4 children) have four sets of clothes + school uniforms and nothing else, it’s all gone to charity.
I do 6 loads of washing a week and just love seeing the bottom of the laundry basket! :D

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Jill @ A Mom With A Lesson Plan June 17, 2013 at 9:58 am

I love those tricks! I so wish I had the space to “sort as you go”… that would be a game changer. I already do all the laundry on one day and recently found a time saver. I fold the clothes straight out of the dryer onto my bed. That way they HAVE to be put away before the day is over and its really easy to say “go grab your clothes and put them away.” It cuts out a few steps for me and gets the entire family involved.

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Hannah June 17, 2013 at 10:10 am

We rent, so not only do we not have HE, but what we do have leaks all over the floor if I load too much or sides too much, so I’m thinking maybe that HE detergent might help!

My biggest trick is Dawn dish soap for any grease stain, ANY, even after its been through the dryer. If it doesn’t come out with one application redo, it will eventually come out entirely, and is quite safe on at least cotton, blends, and all my machine washables. I also use it to pre-wash my children’s toys and blankies that get covered in all kinds of food, spit, dirt etc.

My other trick is that I use only cold water for everything. Every once in awhile I use a hot or warm wash for the whites, usually when I’m removing iron buildup. But cold water is best for most stains, uses less energy, sudses less, and is gentler on all fabrics, especially stretchy and lingerie. This allows me to spot treat 95% of stains at the time of loading with no ill effect.

My last tip is that I realized that, in addition to not caring about wrinkles, kids don’t care about stains either. So unless its a particularly dressy outfit or has sentimental value I simply don’t bother treating.

Now I just need to readjust my schedule of loads….

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Kat Chavez June 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

It starts with pretreating each thing the kids put in the laundry, my 10 year old and 3 year old can do this them selves (most of the time) and then I never separate anything. Just throw it all in on cold (HE front loader). And I work full time so I start a small load every morning before I leave for work and when I get home or first one in the house throws it in the dryer and I fold after the kids go to bed. Laundry is a super pain but if I leave it all to the end I feel buried like I can’t go outside and only do laundry :(

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Andrea S. June 17, 2013 at 10:35 am

I like to wash once per week. Usually Friday so that if it doesn’t get done I still have a couple more days so everything is washed for the week.

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Moira June 17, 2013 at 10:38 am

I was by owner as well, though since I only have 2 boys right now I basically divide into kids and grownups. I’ve tried to do one massive day of laundry a week, but potty training made that impossible last year. So instead I got in the habit of doing at least one load a day…if I don’t have a full load of clothes, I’ll do a load of something else instead (like towels). Laundry is one of those chores I feel we have to constantly adjust to make work based on what’s happening right then in our lives though! I’m looking forward to hearing other people’s ideas so I can tweak our process some more :)

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Katherine June 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I do at least one many times two complete loads a day. The thing I used to do is not finish the loads I would have a pile of clean wrinkled clothes on my bed every night so I make myself finish it so I don’t have to look at piles! I do love my HE machine and Tide is so good on stains, we have five kids that hit every mud puddle and blue Popsicle in town in the summer, love Tide for that mess! We also do not have a ton of clothes per kid, we don’t wash Pjs every time since they took a shower before putting them on, and we use thinner than comforter quilts with no flat sheets for the kids. The quilts are very warm but easy to wash and don’t take a long time to wash and dry. Easy to make the beds too!

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jennifer June 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Is it me or does the Martha link send us to a sweaters and stains SOS page? Is this correct?

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Steph (MPMK Founder) June 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm

That’s the right one Jennifer – it’s a slide show so if you scroll through it has various laundry tips like taking care of sweaters and getting out grass stains. Hope that helps.

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Joy June 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I’m disappointed. You say Martha is sharing “8 new laundry rules to live by”, but the link is to an 11-slide stain removal page! I am not going to revolutionize my laundry methods by stain removal tips, and I don’t feel it’s up to the usual standard of POYEL. I think you do better when you share from your own experience, rather than calling in the “experts”. I’d rather hear what you think works for you, even if the reality is that your laundry gets out of control just like every other busy mother!!

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Steph (MPMK Founder) June 19, 2013 at 11:53 pm

I understand the confusion Joy. Martha has a new project with 8 new laundry rules, which are more about your attitude towards laundry than actual rules, and I chose to highlight #1 – “the grass is always greener on the lawn” because I liked how the tone of it fits with MPMK’s mission. The link to the stain removal tips is something I find useful on laundry day (and felt you guys would too) but the real purpose of this post, as with all POYEL posts, is to share what’s working for me and to hear what’s working for you. POYEL is all about sharing, which is why I’m so glad to see all of the comments here!

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Faigie June 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

I personally can’t see learning laundry tips from Martha Stewart. Does she have a household full of kids ? Shes also too perfect. Its only from mothers like the ones who’ve commented that you can get real actionable ideas

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Steph (MPMK Founder) June 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Hi there,

I agree that tips from mothers in the trenches are always invaluable. On the other hand, Martha does have a veritable army working for her – might as well take advantage of her knowledge too, right?

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Marcy August 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I try to do one load of laundry per day, from washing to putting away. My 9 year-old son helps start his laundry, helps fold, and puts his clothes away himself (he can’t reach into the machine–I have a top loader). My 12 year-old daughter does all her own laundry, start to finish–but we’re still working on the folding part…

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