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I’m a recent convert to Downton Abbey (I know, I’m terribly late to the party! But at least I’ve arrived, right?) I’m loving all the gorgeous clothing and hairstyles and beautifully decorated rooms. But I have to confess that when I see all those servants in starched white shirts and aprons that my first thought is sympathy for whomever had to do all that laundry!
Thank goodness we don’t have all those rules requiring such time-consuming laundry these days. But still, laundry is a chore that demands almost daily attention in a busy family. Any systems that help me to reduce the time I spend on laundry are definitely appreciated!
Here are 7 laundry tips to help you cut back
- Wear it again. If you’re wearing multiple layers (hello arctic temperatures!) or something hasn’t really gotten dirty, there’s no reason not to hang it up at the end of the day. Jeans and sweaters in particular can be worn multiple times without washing. In my house, if it passes the sniff test, it gets put away for another day.Teaching your kids to put away clothes that are still clean is an excellent way to cut down on laundry. If everyone in your house puts back 1 or 2 articles of clothing each day, you can cut back on the household laundry by up to 50%!
- Have your kids do their own laundry. I know there are a million reasons not to do this. They will overstuff the washing machine. They might miss a stain and it gets set in. But with a lot of supervision and some training this task is so worthwhile. If you need somewhere to start, have them help you sort dirty laundry and put away clean things. Besides, this is an important skill for life that they need to know.
- Keep the clothing in circulation to a minimum. If your child only has 4 pairs of jeans, you won’t end up with 3 loads of jeans to wash. Once they’re all dirty, it’s time to do laundry and it won’t take all week to catch up, either. I find that with a smaller wardrobe, I am only keeping the things I love to wear and they all get worn. I put out-of-season items in a box in each child’s closet so he’s not tempted to wear shorts in the winter and there’s more room in the closets for the clothes that are available. Since my boys are so hard on their jeans, I do buy extra pairs, usually for cheap at ThredUp. I keep them in reserve. When a pair wears out, I can pull out a new pair.
- Have a laundry system in place that works for you. Maybe you like to do a load a day, maybe you save it all for the weekend. With a streamlined system, you’ll get it done faster and it won’t seem like such a chore. Use eco-friendly wool dryer balls to speed up drying time.
- Use effective stain-fighting techniques. Doing battle with set-in stains can easily double your laundry time. Dawn dish soap works on tough grease stains. Soaking in diluted hydrogen peroxide is great for stains as well. Here is a list of 10 natural stain removers.
- Wear an apron when cooking. It may feel a little old-fashioned, but wearing an apron while cooking can spare your favorite clothes. Kids can wear them too! My 3 year old has this one and he loves wearing it when we bake.
- Skip high-maintenance clothes. If it requires hand-washing, dry-cleaning, or even ironing, it’s probably not going to be found in my house! I have better things to do with my time than fuss over clothing.
I love the formality and beauty of Downton Abbey, but I sure am glad I don’t have to keep up appearances the way they did. (By the way, did you know watching shows like Downton Abbey for free is one of the secret features of Amazon Prime?)
What are your favorite laundry tips?
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