Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Monday, April 7, 2014

Homemaking: Five Simple Laundry Tips

Good Monday morning! Last week I got to thinking about how being a newlywed in today's world is so much different than when I tied the knot back in 1997 (gasp). Between blogs and Pinterest alone, I think I'd have had my entire wedding, honeymoon, first apartment decor, maternity inspiration board, and future baby names (plus homecoming outfits) mapped out all within the first day or two of my engagement.

Sadly, it was not so. And we survived, imagine that.  =)

Anyhoo. I hadn't done much laundry on my own and felt a little overwhelmed when I started washing for two, then three, four...of us. Since lots of my friends ask me about how I stay on top of the laundry (and I don't always) with our large brood, I thought I'd share some tips I've learned along the way. Nothing earth-shattering here, mind you, but I know I always welcome new ideas if they help me run a smoother household.

Laundry Tip #1
Toss your delicates in with the sheets
From silky pajamas to undergarments and pantyhose, they wash well together without fear of catching or snagging on clothing with zippers and buttons, etc.; even the sturdier fabrics can wear and tear those delicate items. Sometimes I do have enough in the laundry basket to warrant a delicate wash, but mostly, I simply toss in a few things here and there when I wash our 5 sets of sheets weekly.

Laundry Tip #2
Save money and cut the dryer sheets in half
Or don't even use one every time
Half the sheet works fine, and it makes that package of dryer sheets last much longer

Laundry Tip #3
Save the hot water washes for dirty socks and germs
Yes, if someone has been sick, their stuff gets washed in hot water. The same goes for muddy socks (speaking from many years' experience here...); normal loads wash well in warm or cold, and many machines now have eco-warm as an option. I do rely on warm washes throughout the winter because the water is simply too cold to be as effective.

Laundry Tip #4
Use a towel or cloth to wipe down the washing machine after each use (or series of uses)
This is especially important with front loaders, as they tend to accumulate gunk and debris in that rubber "lip" in the front. When we had a top-loader, I wiped down the edges and under the rim, just to keep things from building up.

Laundry Tip #5
Establish a routine
I'm not as rigid with my routines as I used to be, but I find that having a set time or day for certain items is key to staying on top of those never-ending laundry piles. Otherwise, there would always be another pile to sort, to wash, dry, fold, to put away...without any end in sight, which nags at me. Having a routine alleviates those frenzied moments of needing something ready that isn't ready, and once things are put away the job feels done, which affects my mood tremendously.
On Mondays, it's clothes, separated into lights and darks; Tuesdays, sheets & towels; and often times I'll need to toss in another load or two of clothes on Thursday.  
I know this would not work for lots of people, which is fine. Maybe Saturday morning or afternoon is the best time, or even one full week day devoted to laundry tasks. 

I like to hang my clothes out on the line as often as I can. The snow has finally melted near my line so I'll be able to do that, weather permitting, this week. Happy happy! 

There are hundreds of recipes for laundry detergent out there. You can read about my homemade powdered laundry detergent HERE. Happy laundering!

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