Over the years, I have recorded loads of laundry hacks, and my full laundry routine on Instagram stories. It's extremely unconventional (as you'll see in a minute!) so I wasn't sure if it would be of interest to anyone. Well, Freebs, it basically broke the internet and left you begging for more! #GoFigure.
I certainly am no laundry physicist and have no degree in Laundryism, but I do have 8 kids which amounts to an INSANE amount of laundry each week. We buy inexpensive clothes that I don't want to look inexpensive, so over the years, I have become a bit of a laundry expert (albeit, self-proclaimed).
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Today, I'm giving you a tour of my laundry room. I'm sharing my laundry hacks, tips, tricks, and, of course, my (unconventional – but it will change your life, I promise!) laundry routine.
If you didn't know, I do new videos every week on YouTube, so be sure to subscribe, turn on the bell notification, and check back each week for more goodness like this! Ok enough blabbing, let's air out the dirty laundry!
Check out the video online or click and watch below:
Aren't those tips great?! And for the older (but still full of information!) video that goes into more detail on how I sort our laundry…
Check out the video online HERE, or click and watch below:
I know, I know, it's mind blowing! Here's a quick recap of my laundry hacks that are sure to change the way that you do laundry!
CHOOSE A LAUNDRY DAY
The first thing that you need to do is choose a laundry day. Choose any day of the week that works best for you where you will have time to go through the house to gather, sort, and start washing your laundry.
You don't necessarily have to only do laundry on this day, but you do all of the prep work for it so that then you only have to focus on moving clothes through the washer and dryer. Monday is my laundry day, but yours could very well be Saturday. The day doesn't matter as long as you have the time to work on your laundry!
GATHERING THE LAUNDRY
We have an old school laundry chute in our house. I'm not really sure if this is a blessing or a curse! All of our kids throw their dirty clothes and towels down the chute throughout the week.
The nice side to it? All of the clothes are in the same spot. The not-so-nice side to it? All of the clothes are in the same spot. It's just a teensy bit daunting to see all of those clothes piled up, waiting for me!
SORTING THE LAUNDRY
Take the time to sort your laundry so that all of your clothes, towels, uniforms, whatever, get cleaned the way that they should. Sorting your laundry will keep everything looking nicer for longer and will keep you from having to go buy new clothes because your old ones got all raggedy-looking! Turn the clothes right-side-out and zip them up. This will help them to get cleaner and to take up less space.
Use my unconventional tips for sorting and be amazed at how your clothes will hold up longer. You can even sort your clothes throughout the week so that you don't have as much time spent doing it all at once. I just choose to take the 30 minutes and do it all on my laundry day. But to each their own!
SORT BY TEXTURE, NOT COLOR
Yes, you read that right! This is the greatest hack of all laundry hacks. I know that you've probably always heard to sort by color (which has been passed down from generation to generation). But you're not using your grandma's washing machine! Technology is amazing, giving us much more advanced washers and dryers. The colors will be fine as long as you wash them the way that I'm telling you! 😉
In order to get your clothes as clean as possible – and to last as long as possible – you need to be more concerned with separating them by texture. I'm lucky enough to have some awesome pull-out cabinet sorters.
Before I had those, I simply had several tall hampers lined up in my laundry room. They took up some floor and wall space, but the functionality was worth the tight spaces. You could also opt for this 4-basket sorter or this door hamper.
SORT YOUR LAUNDRY
Regardless of how you do it, make sure that you sort that laundry! Here's how I sort our laundry:
- Heavy Kids Clothes – This includes heavy materials, such as thick pants, fleece pajamas, sweatshirts, and denim. I will also throw in lightweight play clothes that aren't heavily soiled and don't need a lot of TLC.
- Light Kids Clothes – Here's where I'll put lighter weight shirts, leggings, school clothes, underwear, and any soiled play clothes that need a little extra lovin'.
- Delicate Kids Clothes – This is for items that really don't need a heavy wash, but need to be cleaned. I include fancier clothes that need to be washed on gentle, leotards, athletic gear, and swimsuits.
- White Kids Clothes – This is the one and only thing that I sort by color! If it's mostly (or pure) white, keep them together away from everything else. This is how you'll keep your whites whiter! And don't worry, that tip is coming up in just a few!
- Adult Clothes – Separated into heavy, light, whites, and delicate. With the exception of a few really nice clothes, we don't send anything to the cleaners. We just wash them on the hand wash cycle and I've never had a problem!
- Towels and Washcloths – Towels, cleaning rags, and bibs tend to get stinky after a while. What's the best laundry hack to combat this? Vinegar! Put a cup of it in the load just like you would your detergent. It will help to clean the fibers and strip them of any of the buildup on them that causes the stank. This and washing in hot water will get them clean and smelling fresh every time!
USE STAIN REMOVER
We fully believe in hand-me-downs in our house. However, the only way to make the clothes last from kid to kid is by sticking to this laundry hack and using stain remover! As I'm sorting through the laundry, I'll keep my handy dandy bottle next to me and spray as I go. The only downfall to doing this is that you can't let it dry on the clothes.
If the clothes are all the same texture, then throw them straight into the wash so that you don't forget to do those first. If it's varying textures, or you're sorting during the week and not washing right then, make sure that you rinse it off once you've let it sit so that it doesn't ruin your clothes.
I'll also use Clorox 2 in the washing machine if I've got a really dirty load of clothes. It's totally worth it when it helps to get rid of the stains and keeps my clothes nice and bright!
USE NAME BRAND LAUNDRY DETERGENT
If you know me, you know I prefer store brands to name brands nine times out of ten. In the case of laundry… I'm the opposite! With the exception of dryer sheets (they are one in the same, just go with the scent you like), it's worth the money to get name brand.
I've tried everything on the market, and I see a noticeable difference when I use Tide vs store brands, even Kirkland! I really like to use Tide pods when I wash my clothes. Yes, I know that they're expensive, so I'll stock up on them at Costco when they're on sale. They help to regulate how much soap I use at a time, so it really saves me money since it keeps me from using too much soap.
While I love the pods, I do still keep a bottle of normal liquid Tide on hand for presoaking really dirty clothes. The pods are great, but they don't work for presoaking. I also keep a store brand on-hand. I use them for loads like towels, sheets, and other items that don't need the expensive stuff.
You also need to keep in mind that if your washer is a HE (High Efficiency) performance washer, you MUST use HE detergent! That isn't a marketing gimmick. It will truly mess up your machine if you don't use HE. Turn this into one of your laundry hacks so that you don't have to go buy a new washing machine!
WASH IN COLD WATER
With the exception of towels and whites, I wash everything in cold water! Warm or hot water will set stains, so I always play it safe and wash them in cold. This will also help to keep your colors from running (if you have an older machine and are worried about that). It also helps you to save money because it's not using hot water that had to go through the hot water heater.
HOW TO KEEP WHITES BRIGHT
We have a ton of white clothes in our house between socks and school uniforms, along with any other mainly white clothes that we wear. I get asked how I keep my whites so white all of the time, so you're about to get some great white laundry hacks!
- Wash whites only with other whites.
- Wash in the hottest water possible.
- Use a quality liquid detergent (as I mentioned above).
- Wash with a scoop of Oxiclean powder.
- Use a healthy portion of bleach (fill to the max fill line). I definitely prefer Clorox bleach. For whatever reason, the store brands just don't get my clothes as white!
- Wash on a presoak cycle (hence the liquid detergent).
- Be amazed at how white your whites come out every time!
A FEW SOCK HACKS
Let's all take a moment of silence for all of the lost socks in the world! Okay, so are you ready for some great laundry hacks that will help out with all of your sock dilemmas?!
ONLY BUY WHITE SOCKS
The way that we combat having to pair all. of. the. socks. is by only buying white socks! I'll grab a giant package from Costco or Amazon. My boys get the tall socks and my girls get the ankle socks. I may buy some with grey toes and heels, but the main thing is that the ankles that will be seen have to be plain white!
There's no more matching pairs of socks this way, hallelujah! We throw all of the boys' socks into one basket and all of the girls' socks into another and they go to town. My kids are close enough in age that the older boys can share socks and the girls can all share socks without having to worry about having different sizes to sort through.
(We do have a basket of black socks for church, but they're all the same, so we still don't have to match them!)
SAFETY PIN SOCK PAIRS TOGETHER
If colored socks are a must-have in your house, but you're still tired of always matching them, don't worry! This laundry hack is going to save your sanity. Leave a small safety pin attached to the side of a sock and train your family to pin them together before throwing them in the dirty clothes. You'll never have to worry about sorting and matching socks again!
CHECK THE LINING OF THE WASHER FOR LOST SOCKS
My last sock laundry hack is one that you may or may not already be doing. I have a front loading washer and I've found lots of socks stuck in the lining of the drum of my washer!
There's no telling how long those puppies have been hiding in there, so make sure that you check it regularly, especially after you wash socks.
PRINT A COPY OF YOUR LAUNDRY SYSTEM
I'm not kidding when I say that I'm extremely particular about how we do our laundry! With how many people we have in our family, we have to keep our clothes nice so that they'll last as long as possible. Occasionally, someone else will do the laundry when I'm not here.
Instead of having them guess how we do it, I've printed a copy of my system and have it hanging in my laundry room. I have a column for clothing, soap, washer setting, water temperature, soil level if it needs to be presoaked, and how to dry them. This really assists anyone who is helping out with laundry!
We even created a laundry cheat sheet for YOU!! Keep in mind that your washer and dryer may be different from mine. This is my personal cheat sheet, and it may not work the same for your machines. Hopefully, it will give you an idea of how I organize my laundry system so you can adapt it for yourself. We even included a blank version so you can build a system and cheat sheet specific to you!
I hope you love this laundry cheat sheet we put together for you!
It's no secret that you can shrink your clothes in the dryer if you're not careful. To combat this, only dry your clothes on low heat. If you're still concerned about shrinking or messing up your clothes, you can also air dry them.
A basic clothes drying rack works great for this if you have the floor space. You can also use the wall mounted clothes drying racks that fold back onto the wall when they're not in use. This is also a great way to save on your electricity bill!
Oh man, have I got the hack of all laundry hacks for you with this one! Dryer sheets are great for helping to cut down on static in clothes. But did you know that a full dryer sheet is way more than you need? Rip your dryer sheets in half, that's all that you need and it'll stretch them twice as long!
If you're not big on the waste of dryer sheets, try out some of these options instead:
- Make your own reusable ones! Pinterest is a great resource for ideas.
- Use reusable dryer balls.
- Make your own reusable dryer ball (the size of a baseball) out of aluminum foil.
As you'll see in a minute, I don't fold the clothes straight out of the dryer. The only exception is for church clothes, or mine and Bubba's clothes (and I try to fold those right away). So, how do I keep our clothes wrinkle-free if I don't fold and put them away ASAP?
I dry everything on the wrinkle-free setting. It works!! Of course, the kids' clothes won't be perfectly non-wrinkled, but it doesn't bother me much. If they are super wrinkly, that's where a quick 30 seconds with the steamer comes in handy. (No, I don't iron our clothes because the steamer is so much quicker and works just as well!)
CREATE A LAUNDRY BASKET SYSTEM
I don't know about you, but putting away the clothes after they come out of the dryer is the absolute worst part of laundry for me! Creating a laundry basket system was a game changer for our family. Each person has their own laundry basket, which is labeled with their name and the size of clothes that they wear.
My younger kids are able to help take the clothes out of the dryer and put them into the appropriate baskets. Once the laundry is done, the kids are in charge of getting the baskets up to their rooms. They have to fold and put their clothes away as part of their chores.
CREATE A DOT SYSTEM
Do you struggle with knowing which clothes belong to which kid? Maybe they're really close in age, or the sizing is weird and not what they normally wear. Boy, have I got a laundry hack that's going to save your sanity! Start using the dot system. I explained this in my back to school organization post, but I'll give you a quick summary!
Assign a dot to each of your kids. Since ours our split down the middle, we do ours by gender. Our oldest girl has one dot, our second oldest has two, and our third has three. The same goes for our boys. Use a Sharpie and mark their clothes. You can do it on the tags or on the thickest part of the hem where it won't show through on the other side.
My kids all know whose dots are whose, so this helps them to easily be able to sort the clothes into the correct baskets once they come out of the dryer. It's been such a life-saver for us and has taken the guessing out of who the clothes belong to.
TEACH YOUR KIDS TO DO LAUNDRY
This is my last and greatest of the laundry hacks. Parents, teach your kids to do laundry! The burden of laundry doesn't have to only fall on you and your husbands' shoulders! When our kids turn 8, they start doing the laundry. Thanks to the handy printed copy of my laundry system, they're able to remember how to wash and dry the appropriate way.
Our kids also help to sort the clean clothes at the age of 3 or 4, thanks to the dot and basket systems. Share the load (literally) and teach your kids these life skills that they'll need later in life! When they go off to college and get married, they'll have the skills to become a laundry master just like you.
Hopefully these ideas have given you some motivation and new ideas for tackling your own laundry monster. Do you have any laundry hacks that you swear by? Share with us in the comments!
So there you have it!
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