You open your washing machine, pull out your white clothes and gasp. They’re pink! After a little investigation, you notice a rogue red sock that’s ruined the whole load. Now all of your white clothes are ruined, and you still have nothing clean to wear.
Or perhaps you’ve mixed up the right temperature for drying clothes, and your daughter’s favourite sweater has shrunken. Now it’ll barely fit a Barbie doll.
In order to avoid having to replace your family’s wardrobe every week, all you need is a solid laundry routine that ensures you never mix colours and your whites always stay white.
Check out this fool-proof laundry routine that will help you keep your laundry, fresh, clean and intact.
1. Separate your clothes
Your first step is to organise all of your clothes by colour. You should have four categories:
- Whites – Socks, underwear, and crisp, white shirts should go here.
- Darks – Jeans, black shirts, school uniforms go in this load. You may have to do several loads of dark clothes each week to ensure your kids’ uniforms are clean.
- Colours – Anything bright blue, pink or any other colour under the rainbow should go in this load to ensure that they do not share their colours with your other clothes.
- Sheets and towels – Depending on how many people you have in your house, you can wash these either together or separate. If you have three or more beds to strip every week, it’s best to do separate loads so you don’t overload your washing machine. If your sheets or towels are brightly coloured, it’s better to keep them apart as well.
Every person in your home should have their own hampers. You and your partner might share, but your kids should have their own laundry hampers for all their clothes. If possible, give them a hamper for white clothes and one for darker clothes and colours. This will save you some time sorting out everyone’s clothes.
2. Create a weekly schedule
It’s true, laundry is a chore that no one particularly enjoys, but it’s got to be done. The best way to go about doing laundry is to create a weekly schedule and stick to it. Here’s a sample schedule:
- Monday – Colours
- Tuesday – Rest
- Wednesday – Darks
- Thursday – Towels
- Friday – Sheets
- Saturday – Darks and Whites
- Sunday – Rest
Every household is different, so adjust the schedule accordingly to fit your family’s lifestyle. If it’s just you and your spouse, you might only need one load of darks per week, and you could probably combine towels, wash rags and sheets. If you have kids, you’ll probably need two loads of darks, and you’ll need to do sheets and towels separately.
Some people like to try and do all laundry on one day, usually Saturday or a Sunday, but for most homes, this just isn’t practical. There are baseball games, dance recitals and a mess of other fun activities that happen every weekend. You definitely don’t want to spend your entire weekend in the laundry room.
Make sure everyone in your home is aware of the schedule. Have your kids put their hampers in the laundry room on the corresponding day. Keep your whole family aware of the schedule so that they can bring the right clothes down to the laundry room each day. This saves you the trouble of having to go on a hunt for everyone’s dirty clothes.
3. Pick a time to start
Having a definite start time for laundry will help keep your family on track. Your kids will be able to plan outfits ahead of time if they know their favourite white t-shirt will be washed on Saturday and ready for the next week.
Of course, this time depends on you and your family. Stay-at-home mums or dads might want to start in the mornings when the kids leave for school, but working parents might not have time until after dinner.
4. Involve the family
No matter if you’re a stay-at-home parent or the breadwinner of the household, you shouldn’t be the only one taking care of the laundry every week. Your partner should also be doing loads, and your kids can help out too. Assign each member of your family a laundry-related task to be completed each week.
Take turns with your spouse on different loads and break up the week. Splitting the chores means no one person is doing all the work for the family and neither of you will come home every night with a load of laundry to look forward to.
Don’t forget about your kids! Assigning chores to kids teaches them responsibility and can help you set up an allowance system. You probably don’t want young kids messing with bleaches and chemicals, but they can fold and sort laundry. That’s one less step for you to do, and now you just have to put the clothes away.
Older kids, especially ages 12 to 18, could help out and do a load of laundry on a designated day. As kids get older, their clothing style becomes a little more important to them so they might not want to wait for their favourite shirt until Saturday if they want it on Friday. That’s not a problem. Teach them how to do their own laundry so they can remain stylish and help out. It might even be worth a raise on their allowance.
No one really enjoys doing laundry, but if you want clean clothes, it’s an inevitable task. However, you don’t have to face the laundry alone in your home. Talk to your family and set up a laundry routine that works best for everyone. If everyone has a vested interest, they’ll be more likely to participate.
Start a laundry routine in your home and never have a pink sock again!