I read a number of "Mommy Blogs," and I'm amazed at how many of them bemoan the unfolded piles of clothes in their laundry rooms. Granted, most of these gals have a lot of little kids underfoot. Laundry takes a back seat to the bloody nose, the leaking diaper, the dog that dashes out into the street.
But still, there are a few tricks to ensure that half your wardrobe won't linger for days, unfolded and unsorted, in nasty piles.
Here's what works for me:
1. When you've got a load in the washer or dryer, keep the door to the laundry room open. Or clip a timer on you as you move around the house. That way you're more likely to hear when the machine buzzes or dings its completion. Quickly moving the clothes from washer to dryer to closet lessens the chance that you'll forget you had a load going.
2. Don't have time to completely fold a load of clean clothes? Resist the temptation to ignore what's in the dryer. Instead, pull the still-warm clothes out, and spend just a few minutes flattening them out on the top of the dryer. Lay them any which way, inside out or upside down. But lay them flat. The lingering warmth in the fabric, and the weight of the pile, will help smooth out wrinkles and prevent new ones from setting in. Then, when you have a little more time, you can go back to hang and fold the clothes properly.
4. Buy an inexpensive, indelible-ink laundry pen. (They're at most craft and bed-and-bath stores.) If you have multiple kids in the family, or if several folks wear almost the same size, it can be hard to remember whose stuff is whose. Mark their initials inside the clothes, and your sorting will go much faster.
5. If, like me, you keep ratty clothes around for dog-walking and gardening, mark them with the pen, too. Many times I've gone out in public in something sporting a hole in it because I forgot it recently fell in rank from "Cute Top" to "Crummy Top With a Visible Hole." In my case, I use the initials "DW" to indicate "Dog Walking"--that is, clothes only fit for running pooches around the neighborhood.
6. Use the top of your dryer to dry and "cheat iron" any small or dainty articles like hankies, microfiber cloths, and delicates.
Some things, like my vintage hankies, shouldn't be dried in the dryer. It's too harsh for them. Ideally, I'd iron my hankies, but who has time for that? To dry them safely and get a "Sort-of-Ironed" look, I smooth the just-washed hankies out on the top of my dryer. As the next load tumbles around, the top of the dryer warms up just enough to put a nice, crisp finish on them.
If you follow these tips, I can't guarantee you'll love doing laundry from now on, but at least you can spend less time doing it!