Lighten Your Load.

If you are reading this, I’m sure you’re a busy mom, wife, professional or all of the above. Regardless of if you check only one of those boxes or all of them, I guarantee you have a checklist of a million and one things to do on a daily basis. If you are like me, I bet laundry is at the bottom of the list. Unlike cooking, a daily “chore” that at least affords some creative liberties, laundry is laundry. Sort, wash, dry, fold, put away, repeat. If you don’t tackle it on a daily (yes, daily) it piles up, literally. Put off a few days and it becomes overwhelming.

I have a small child who loves to play outside. I also have a husband who loves to play outside. He also works out six days a week and has a career that requires a collared shirt. This means at least four outfits a day that need to be laundered, not counting my own wardrobe. Miss a day and I’m overloaded (pun intended).

Here are some tips I have for lightening your load, so you can focus on other more creative, fun and important things…rather than spending 6 hours on a Saturday doing laundry.

Commit to load each day.
It sounds daunting, but trust me, once you get started it’s worth it. You don’t have the time, you say? Spend two minutes to throw it in before cooking dinner. Right before dinner, it will be ready to throw in the dryer. When dinner is over, you can quickly fold and put away. Best part? The rest of the evening can be spent on relaxing.

2. Designate a day for the “big stuff”
In our house it’s Sunday and we call it “clean sheet day” when towels and sheets are washed. There is nothing like climbing into a freshly made bed after a busy weekend, watching TV for a few minutes and winding down and preparing for the week ahead.

3. Create a signature look.
I have worn black 99.9% of the time for years. And, no, I am not a miserable person. Black is always in style, pairs well with every color, and is slimming. I can dress black up with jewels, or dress it down with jeans. And I can throw it all in the same load, with out sorting. It doesn’t have to be black, but sticking to a signature color really simplifies things.

My daughter is 3, and despite the fact she pretty much looks adorable in anything, all black all the time is a bit much for a child her age. I do however create a “signature look” for her each season. This sounds overwhelming, but, trust me it’s not. Summer time? I visit my favorite stores and purchase about 15-20 pieces that mix and match well together. For example, in her closet right now, she roughly has 2 pairs of denim shorts, 3 pairs of brightly colored shorts, 7-10 shirts/tanks with minimal graphics, 3 dresses, a lightweight cardigan, and a jean jacket. This list doesn’t count jammies or bathing suits, since they are “stand alone” items. I don’t believe in buying the matching “set” from the children’s store, unless all pieces can be paired well with other outfits.

The “signature look” doesn’t just apply to clothing, but bedding and towels too. Towels are interchangeable in the bathrooms, cutting down on time sorting and putting away. Bedding is mostly all white and can all be thrown in the same load.

4. Buy for quality and for fit.
I was lucky enough to have a Mother who taught me to buy quality, “spend a little bit more, and you’ll only have to buy it once”, she said. Regardless of if you are shopping at Saks or the Salvation Army, look at the construction of the garment. Inspect the fabric. Look at the seams. I always know if a piece is worthy of my closet if I can hear my mother saying “look at all the work on this.” If a piece has shoddy fabric and construction, it will most likely fall apart after a wash or two. The same attributes hold true for fit. If it doesn’t fit well in the store, it certainly won’t look good after laundering.

By spending a few extra moments in the store inspecting garment quality and construction, you will eliminate time spent on laundering clothes that will fall apart or looked ragged after a few washes, and ultimately, waste your time.

5. Take care of your clothing.
No, I don’t mean dry clean everything. Sort items according to use–clothes go with clothes, and towels go with towels. Drop a big glob of cherry pie on your shirt? Spot treat as soon as you can, then sort appropriately, and wash. I do whites once a week, spot treating as necessary, then put them in a load with hot water and Oxyclean to soak overnight, starting the load in the morning.

I know this is loads (pun intended) of information, but hoping these tips will help you lighten your load and ultimately cut down on the amount of time you spend doing laundry. What tips do you have for tackling this never-ending task?

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Rachel Gehrs

Mom. Wife. Designer. Want-to-be-foodie. Classic rock listener. Neat-freak. Black coffee addict with a wardrobe to match.

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