Just putting this out there, I’m not a natural when it comes to housework. I’d rather be making music, reading, crafting, binge-watching Netflix, going to the Dentist (yes, for real!), or a gazillion other things. Trying to keep up with a rambunctious boy means that I’m constantly pulled in other directions even when I’m trying to clean. Add to that the never-ending cycle of laundry and it seems like we’ll never have clean clothes.
Since throwing dirty clothes out and buying new isn’t an option (hello budget, practicality, and the fact that I probably wouldn’t even be able to make time to shop!), that mountain of laundry needs to be done. So it becomes frustrating when I actually try to keep up with laundry, but still screw it up. I’ve talked with enough people to know I’m not alone (thanks guys, you make me feel better).
So here are 3 ways you’re (okay, I’m) screwing up laundry… and how to fix it:
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Screw-Up 1: Leaving wet clothes in the washer too long
Don’t beat yourself up. We all do this. Life has a way of distracting us and the washing machine is much lower on the totem pole of life than a child who is chasing after the dog with a light saber in one hand and a teacup from your good China dishes in the other as the phone is ringing. There have been times when I didn’t even remember I had clothes in the washer until I could walk by and smell them (gross!).
Fix: Add vinegar
Get rid of the mildew smell by running the load through the wash again with the same detergent you would normally use, but add 1 cup of vinegar.
Fix #2: Essential Oils
I’m a big fan of Eden’s Garden essential oils. There are several other companies that you can go through too, but they’re my favorite. One of my most-used oils is called Purification. It is an all-natural disinfectant and deodorizer. I keep at least one bottle in my laundry room so I can easily add a couple drops to my washer (either directly in the water or along with the laundry detergent) and regularly add a couple drops to my wool dryer balls for a nice clean scent that won’t irritate my sensitive skin.
Screw-Up 2: Leaving clothes in the dryer too long
Notice a theme? So you made it through both the wash and dry cycles, but either forgot the clothes or distraction hits again. Your clothes are clean, but now they’re super wrinkly. Not gonna lie, I used to just run with it. Who cares, right? Except wrinkly clothes have a way of looking dirty, like you just grabbed something off the floor. Definitely not in regs for my husband’s Navy uniform.
Fix: Let the dryer “iron” for you
Depending on how wrinkly your clothes are, you could probably get away with running them through the dryer on the Timed Dry setting for about 20 minutes. If they are super wrinkly, throw in a wet wash cloth or hand towel or increase the time to 30 minutes… and maybe set a timer on your phone. It’ll save you time instead of standing in front of an ironing board forever.
Screw-Up 3: Leaving clean clothes in the laundry basket too long
Yep, definitely a theme here. You washed. You dried. You even took the clothes immediately out of the dryer into a basket, but then they sit there getting wrinkly again waiting to be folded and put away. It gets even worse when you’re in a rush trying to find a specific shirt and all the clothes get tossed around while you’re on the hunt.
Fix: Fold them straight out of the dryer
I had an epiphany the day I decided not to use a laundry basket! I stand at the dryer and fold the clothes right away, using the top of my washer as a table. Somehow it seems to take less time and it *magically* gets the job done! And while folding the clothes, stack into a different pile for each person. I know this fix seems really simple, but trust me, if you’re not doing this step, you should.
Bonus Screw-Up: Leaving folded clothes in the laundry basket
Can’t get more of a theme than this! Raise your hand if you have empty dresser drawers because you miss the last step of putting your folded clothes away? It might not seem like a big deal because, hey, at least they’re clean and folded. It turns into a big deal when you’re stubbing your toe on laundry baskets, turn the basket into an unfolded mess trying to find something specific, or can’t sit on your couch because you’ve piled the folded clothes there. (Don’t ask me how I know that! haha!)
Fix: Put your folded clothes on the bed
When you can’t immediately put the clothes away in the dresser drawers, put them on each persons bed or side of a bed, if shared. Since you can’t go to bed if you can’t get into your bed, this ensures that the clothes get put away before getting under the covers. And since it breaks down the load per person, everyone shares the responsibility. Win-win!