Doing the laundry can be a real hassle. Whether you do it all on one day once a week, or whether you’re like this writer and have to do several loads a day, we can all do with ways to make the continual grind of sorting, washing, drying, sorting, folding, ironing and putting away easier and quicker. As someone once said, you can keep up with the laundry, but you can never get ahead.
Fortunately, there are some ways we can cheat when doing the laundry. Yes, there is supposed to be a correct way to do the laundry to make sure that everything is perfect. But if you’re pushed for time, it’s also possible to cheat outrageously and still get clean, well-kept clothes in good condition.
First of all, don’t sort into lights and darks. Most modern clothes are colour fast, so your white work shirt can go in with the blue towels and you won’t get your shirt turning a shabby shade of blue-grey. Let’s face it: if you sort clothes into dark and light (0r, alternatively, white and coloured), this wouldn’t stop red shirts turning yellow things orange or similar. The only times you really need to separate light and dark is if you are going to add bleach to the wash or if the items are likely to shed lint (fluffy cottons are the worst offenders here). And naturally, items that are not colour fast should be washed on their own or with similar colours (e.g. blues with blues, reds with reds and pinks, and so forth).
Wool and delicate fabrics both need a gentle machine cycle or handwashing. However (at least on my washing machine), the delicate cycle and the wool cycle are pretty similar, especially if you wash in cold water like I do to save power. These items can go in together. However, the old trick of putting lingerie, especially bras, inside a pillowslip before putting them in the machine still is a good idea to stop bra hooks snagging pantyhose or woolly jumpers.
It’s not really a cheat, but I always find that if you group items together as you hang them on the line, you will save quite a few minutes at the other end of the day when it comes to sorting.
Iron as little as possible. If items have been air-dried properly, the breeze and gravity will have taken care of most of the wrinkles. And many things don’t need ironing, thanks to modern wash and wear fabrics. And even nice crisp cottons don’t wrinkle very much if they’ve been air-dried on the washing line and hung up as soon as possible. And think of the power you’ll save!
Don’t waste time stressing over odd socks. Have a depot (such as a cardboard box in the corner of the laundry room) to put singletons in as they come back from the wash. Every once in a while, check to see if you’ve got any matches. If a sock stays in the depot for a year, its mate is well an truly lost, so you can go ahead and use that odd sock as a polishing rag or to make a glove puppet.