Laundry is just one of those chores that everyone dreads. Wash, dry, fold, and then do it all over again. Oh, and having a couple of kids only adds to the task at hand, transforming an hour’s worth of work to several hours at a time. Needless to say, laundry falls under the category of “housework” for a reason.
“There is very little reward in doing the laundry, aside from the obvious—clean clothes,” says Jeanie Engelbach, owner and founder of New York-based interior design and professional organization company, apartment Jeanie. “Unlike organizing a closet or rearranging the kitchen cabinets, you rarely experience the elation that comes from completing this task.”
The good news: It doesn’t have to be a task you can’t stand—or one that takes you forever. To help streamline the process, we reached out to expert organizers for their best-kept tips and laundry hacks, and what they shared is super helpful. So, ready to spend less time with your washing machine and more time doing things you enjoy?
Delegate laundry responsibilities
If you live with your significant other or family, there’s no reason the entire laundry task should fall on your shoulders. “As a couple or a family, decide who’ll do which parts—put clothes in the washer and dryer, fold and put away—and decide the best days and times to do laundry based on your schedules,” suggests Engelbach. “Delegate age-appropriate parts of the system to your kids—i.e. have the younger ones put dirty clothes in laundry sorters and teens remove clothes from the dryer and fold them.”
Don’t do more loads than you can manage
Laundry piles up quickly and becomes a time-consuming task. If you only have an hour, don’t attempt to do more than one load—and don’t attempt to even do one if you won’t have time to switch it from the washer to the dryer. “Knowing your time limitations will make the laundry part of your life much easier,” says Stacey Agin Murray, Professional Organizer at Organized Artistry, LLC.
Use a timer to keep track of the process
If you lose track of time and forget to switch your laundry, you might be creating even more work for yourself—i.e. you may have to run a wash cycle a second time or the clothes in the dryer will wrinkle and need ironing. “Using a timer will keep you on track and focused on the task of getting your clothes clean,” says Murray.
Speed things up with a towel
If you do find yourself strapped for time, add a clean, dry towel to the dryer. It will absorb some of the moisture from the wet laundry, speeding up the drying process.
Make use of mesh bags
Instead of using one single laundry bag for all of your items, consider investing in a few mesh bags to store things like underwear, socks, bras, and bathing suits. (Parents: They also work great for stuffed animals.) “These bags are designed to hold the shape and protect their contents,” says Engelbach, who also uses them for travel. “You can pack your dirty bras, bikini tops, and workout bras right inside and then toss directly in the laundry when unpacking at home.”
Designate laundry-only hangers
For those clothes you don’t want to go in the dryer, Murray recommends purchasing extra hangers for your laundry space. “Buy them in a different color than you use in your closet and leave them on a rod, hook or in a bin in your laundry room,” she suggests.
Use dry-erase markers to make notes
Another way to ensure your delicate clothing items don’t get ruined in the dryer? Write notes directly on your machine using a dry-erase marker. This is especially helpful when delegating laundry duties to family members.
Store all of your laundry gear together
Murray recommends creating a home in your laundry space for all laundry-related items. “Cabinetry, free standing shelves or a rolling cart are perfect places to store detergent and other laundry items you’ll need on hand,” she says. “You don’t want to have to spend time searching for your fabric softener sheets or lingerie bag when your clothes are ready to be washed.”