Are you ready to elevate your homemaking in the next area of your home? I thought it would be appropriate to tackle laundry next. Next to dishes, this is the next most repetitive chore in most of our homes, and also one of the easiest things to get overwhelmed by. Chances are, at this very moment, there is probably some laundry in your home that needs tending to. Let’s start with the heart, and then we’ll make it pretty, shall we?
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We’ve got to get the right perspective about our homes and the work we do in them if our efforts to elevate our homemaking are going to be successful. What if, instead of viewing laundry as another annoying, boring, difficult thing we have to do, we viewed it as something that is actually quite easy; a privilege and a joy? We are fortunate enough to be living in a time where we need to do little more than press a button to clean our clothing and linens. That is pretty spectacular. The fact is, laundry is a part of life for the homemaker. When we dread it and complain about it’s existence, we are actually letting it take up more of our life and energy than it needs to. It’s just laundry; they’re just clothes.
Doing laundry is another beautiful way that we can serve our families. I am so grateful to have good, seasonally appropriate clothes for myself, my husband, and my children. I am so grateful to have these sweet people in my home to take care of. And I get to be the one to make sure their clothes are clean, accessible, easy to find, and ready to wear. Yes, it’s repetitive. Yes, it can become overwhelming, especially with each person you add to your household, and each day that goes by that you don’t chip away at it. But it is a privilege, it is good work, it is both honorable and humbling.
A lot of my frustration, not just in the laundry room but in homemaking in general, is because I have the wrong goal. I am a task-oriented, goal motivated, list-making kind of gal and I thoroughly enjoy finishing projects, basking in the end result of my efforts. So often we want things to be DONE, and when we finish the task we get upset that it needs to be done again. I think this rings very true when it comes to laundry. Why are we so upset that there’s always more? Of course there’s always more. There are actual people living in our homes, who need to wear clothes, use towels and other linens on a daily basis.
Maybe we just need to reframe the goal for ourselves. The goal isn’t an empty laundry hamper. At least for me. The goal is not to get all the laundry done so that you never have to do it again. That’s obviously not realistic. Laundry is a part of life. We must surrender to the fact and let go of the victim mentality if we are going to move forward powerfully. The goal is to take care of the clothing and linens of your household- to steward them well- and to have some kind of a plan or rhythm so that laundry doesn’t overtake you or rule your life. Lets look at some ways we can do this job really well, and make it lovely and enjoyable in the process.
Have a system
If you’ve known me for any time at all, you’d know that I love a good system. Even if you don’t think you’re really a “systems kind of person” let me just tell you… you need a system. Even if you don’t think you have a system, you’re doing your laundry in a certain way. It is for you to evaluate and decide if your system is really working for you… or not. Perhaps your system is to just do laundry whenever it needs doing. Or to let it pile up until you’re overwhelmed and have to spend an entire week digging yourself out of that hole. Maybe your system is to wait to do laundry until everyone is out of socks and underwear. If that works for you, great. That is your system; more power to you. But why wouldn’t you want to have a system that works for you? This doesn’t mean you’re a slave to the system, that your whole life needs to revolve around laundry. On the contrary, having a good system that works for you will free up so much time and mental energy because when you have a system, you don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to make another handful of micro decisions. You just do it.
There’s a million different laundry systems out there, and really I think that most of them probably work great. I’m not here to tell you how exactly to do your laundry, but just to suggest that you find a way that works for you, and do your best to be consistent with it. I am absolutely team one-load-a-day. Every day, I run at least one load of laundry. Start to finish. Washed, dried, folded, and mostly put away. Some days I will do more loads if I am washing sheets or towels, or if I have fallen off the one load a day bandwagon that week. But at least one load gets done most days, and that keeps me from having to dig myself out of a laundry hole.
It may sound like a lot to do a load every single day, but once you get in the habit, like most things, it becomes second nature. And the more consistent you are, the less laundry there is to deal with each day. For me, it was really helpful to attach laundry to our routine; again, so I don’t have to think about it too much.
I start a load in the morning as we’re getting ready for the day. It’s usually ready to switch as we’re getting the house cleaned up in the morning. I’ll either run another load at nap time or quickly fold the first load. When it’s just one day’s worth of clothing it really doesn’t take that long. Then my goal is to get the kids clothes put away before they go to bed that evening, and put our clothes away before we go to bed. Then, as I’m re-setting the house in the evening, I collect all the laundry from the house and sort it in the laundry room so that it’s ready to be run through the next morning.
Don’t get me wrong, it does NOT go perfectly, exactly like this every single day. But for the most part, there are those points in my routine where I’m just used to dealing with the laundry, so most of the time I just do it without thinking. Take a look at your routine and decide what times of the day it would make sense to deal with laundry, and attach your laundry routine to your existing habits.
Make it functional
Oftentimes, the laundry room can become a catch-all storage place for random odds-and-ends. First things first: clear out the clutter and get rid of or re-locate anything that doesn’t absolutely need to be in there. Make sure you’re well stocked with everything that you need, and that it is easily accessible. Tuck things away, where practical. The drawers that stack underneath the washer and dryer are super helpful for organization, but a shelf with a nice curtain does the trick as well. Keep a mini trash can near the dryer to help you remember to remove the lint, and a stack of rags near the washer so that you’ll give it all a good wipe down every once in a while. Have a designated spot for baskets, and- you guessed it- a system for whose clothes go in which basket. I really like to have a divided laundry bin in the laundry room for sorting dirty clothes, and I also am sure to have a dirty clothes bin in each bedroom and one for our downstairs- you may need more or less depending on your home’s layout but I find it really helpful to have a place where everyone knows to put their laundry in each spot where it naturally accumulates.
Make it beautiful
There’s nothing all that romantic about dirty clothes and plastic, sticky laundry detergent containers. Just like with the kitchen: if you’re going to be spending so much time in this same space caring for your family’s clothes, towels, and linens, you may as well make it beautiful.
Hang some art or something you find lovely in your laundry room. Why not? Just because it’s not a heavily trafficked area for guests, or maybe even for the other people in your home doesn’t mean it can’t look nice. If you are the one who takes care of laundry in your home, you will be spending a fair amount of time in there. What a great chance to make it a place you enjoy being! The laundry room is also a great place to have some fun design wise. Love deep colors and bold wallpapers but unsure about how to make it work on a large scale in your home? Give it a whirl in your laundry room first to see how you like it. Bring in a fun, moody rug, just because. And you know I’m going to suggest a houseplant or two. If you don’t have windows, there are a lot of good faux options these days. Dried florals are another great option. Bring in something vibrant to liven up the space. Or keep it really white, bright, and clean if that’s more your vibe. The laundry room is usually tucked away somewhere where you can keep it clean, tidy, and orderly. Sometimes its nice to have a pocket of order if your home starts to feel a little chaotic, especially if you have small children.
Decant laundry soaps and detergents where possible, or find a way to hide products with packaging. Removing packaging from view is one of my favorite tricks for helping my home feel less cluttered, it really clears up so much visual space. What are some things that you need to have available to do laundry, but maybe could be made to look a little nicer? If you are able to have a clothesline or hang your laundry outside to dry, even some of the time, this is a beautiful way to elevate your laundry routine and make it a little more special, romantic, and enjoyable.
I have been on the hunt for some simple wicker baskets to use instead of the plastic ones I’ve always used. I recently found some, and it is amazing the difference that it makes in how I feel about doing laundry! I actually enjoy carefully folding and placing clothes into these baskets and toting them around the house on my hip. Best of all, if they get left sitting out, they don’t look like such an eyesore like my plastic ones do. They are not anything fancy, just some wicker baskets I picked up at the thrift store. This makes the daily routine of doing laundry just a little more enjoyable, and that counts for a lot in my book!
If you are looking to purchase a new laundry basket or hamper, I would love to recommend you check out American Blossom Linens. They make beautiful American-made, 100% natural wool hampers. This is an incredible, family-owned company that you can feel good about supporting, and the natural, organic fibers in their products are better for your home and your family than the plastic, cheaply-made counterparts you’ll find at the big-box stores. All American Blossom Linens products are made in America, and the cotton for their sheet sets and blankets is grown here in the states as well. If you reside in the USA, you can also enjoy free shipping.
Laundry is something we all have to deal with as homemakers, but I believe it doesn’t have to be drudgery. I hope you feel inspired to refresh your laundry room and routine, and will choose at least one of these things to implement in your home.