Ah, laundry. The arch nemesis of literally every mom, everywhere. Trust me, even “supermom” (doesn’t exist, by the way!) has a hard time staying on top of the laundry. So how’s a mom to catch up on the never ending laundry?
I’ve found that catching up and staying caught up are both tasks that never really end. Even if you stay on top of it one week, the next week you have to start over. Which I guess is true of any chore, really, but for some reason laundry always feels more daunting.
Maybe it’s because of the amount of time it takes to get everything washed, dried, folded, and put away. If you’re not careful, it can easily turn into an all day thing.
But it doesn’t have to feel that way. Over the last few years since we had our son and our laundry somehow tripled, I’ve learned several different ways to “lighten the load” (pardon my pun). And you can too!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclaimer here.
Laundry: Every Mom’s Nemesis
Look, is there actually anyone out there that truly likes to take care of the laundry? Or any chore, for that matter?
I think for most of us, we like the end result far more than the actual task of getting it done. And it’s worth focusing on the end result in order to push through to it.
For me, some weeks have felt like I would never have a free second and all I did was take care of laundry. But after a while, I figured out what worked well for me. And it hasn’t always been the same strategy.
In fact, my laundry strategy has varied quite a bit over the last three years. And each variation has adapted to fit the season we were in at that time.
If you feel like what you’re doing isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something else! You aren’t eternally locked into however you currently do things. Allow yourself and your routines to adapt to the season you are currently in.
How to quickly catch up on laundry
Now, remember what I just said in the paragraph above. Not everything will work for you in the season you are in. Play around with it until you figure out what works best for you right now.
That being said, here are several strategies I’ve used that have helped me to catch up on laundry, and stay caught up.
1. Wash and fold one load every day
For most of us, washing and folded one load of laundry per day is doable. And even if you only get one load done, it’s still one less load to do.
Take it one day at a time and give yourself credit for getting the load done. Then tomorrow, do the same thing. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can catch up, even if there’s a lot of laundry to be done.
This is one strategy that can be done several different ways. Set specific days to do specific loads, or just do whatever laundry needs to be done that day. I know some families combine everyone’s clothes from the previous day(s) and wash it all in one big load.
2. Have specific days for specific loads of laundry
Another way you can catch up on laundry is to set specific days to do specific loads of laundry. Personally, this option is one I’ve favored.
For a long time I washed my husband and my clothes one one day, and our son’s on another. I also had days where I washed sheets and towels, and cloth diapers when we were using those.
I still use this strategy to some degree. Currently I like to wash towels on Monday or Tuesday, and then the rest of the laundry I’ve been tackling on Friday’s.
While lately I’ve been favoring doing all the laundry in one day, I still like to do the one load of towels early in the week. I like that it gives me the option to throw something else in there too if it needs cleaning.
For example, I frequently toss in my workout clothes with that load. This allows me to own fewer workout clothes without having to use the same dirty clothes over and over all week.
3. Designate one day to do all the laundry
Right now, designating one day to do most or all of the laundry is what works best for me. I usually do most of our laundry on Friday, or sometimes Saturday if we’re busy. The only load I don’t do on Friday is a load of towels, which I do earlier in the week with anything else that needs to be done before Friday.
Sometimes it’s easiest to catch up on things if you set a day aside to do so. Consider if your “power” day to be super productive and check those tasks off your to do list.
4. Wash overnight and switch to the dryer in the morning
Another way to handle laundry is to start a load before you go to bed, and switch it to the dryer in the morning. Alternatively, you could start it in the evening, and switch to the dryer before you go to bed. Either way can work well, and might even save you money on energy costs.
This is the one strategy I haven’t tried myself. But only because our washer is very loud, and it sits in the hallway directly between the two bedroom doors in our apartment. So for that reason, running our washer while we’re trying to sleep doesn’t work very well for us.
However, I’ve heard of this working well for many families. Especially if you’re gone a lot during the day!
5. Set specific times to start and switch loads
One of the biggest problems with laundry is that it’s easy to forget to start that load. Or more commonly, you forget that you started it and now it’s sitting in the washer for a day or two before you remember it. And then you have to rewash it to prevent mold, but then you end up with the same problem on repeat.
One way to combat that mom brain is to set specific times to start and switch loads of laundry. For example, you could make it a habit to start a load before or after breakfast each day, and then switch it to the dryer at lunch time.
Using meal times or nap times as indicators works well because those times are usually fairly set and regular. Use those big moments in your day to remind yourself to take care of that laundry.
Tips for getting the laundry folded the same day
Okay, so you’ve managed to catch up on all the laundry. But what about folding it?
Honestly, for me, folding it is the worst part. It’s easy for me to get a load going, and even to remember to switch it to the dryer. But I hate folding clothes, and it’s so easy to let it sit in the basket for days…or even until next week.
But folding and putting away your laundry promptly will benefit you in so many ways. You won’t have to waste valuable time searching for that one piece of clothing. You won’t have that basket of unfolded laundry in the way every time you walk into the room. And your clothes won’t be wrinkled.
Honestly, it will help you feel much better to have it all folded and put away. Which makes it worth finding a way to get it done as soon as possible.
Here are a few different ways you can help yourself get the job done, even if it’s not your favorite chore.
Fold immediately after the load dries
One thing I’ve found helps me the most is to fold laundry as soon as it’s done drying. This usually works well for me since I already wash most of our laundry on Friday. Since it’s already the main laundry day, it’s relatively easy to commit to folding it immediately.
If nothing else, commit to folding it by the end of the day if you can’t do it right away. For me, if a load doesn’t get folded that same day, it becomes much, much harder to get it done the next day.
If you can avoid procrastinating, do so!
Set specific times to fold
Another good way to make sure laundry gets folded is to set specific times to fold. For example, you might spend fifteen minutes after a meal folding as much laundry as you can. Or perhaps you spend the first few minutes of nap time folding it.
Whatever the case, find an existing habit to build it onto (that’s a trick I learned in Atomic Habits—highly recommend reading it!). It will help remind you that it needs to be done.
Give yourself a reward for getting it done
You might also consider giving yourself a reward for folding the laundry in a timely manner. I know, that may seem silly, but it works. And it’s nothing to feel ashamed about!
You could do this by folding while you watch your favorite TV show. Or by allowing yourself a small piece of chocolate (or whatever your favorite treat is).
If nothing else, rewards help us to form a new habit of quickly catch up on the laundry before it’s sat there for days.
Have everyone fold their own laundry
Another alternative is to have every family member fold their own laundry. Now, this may not work if your little one(s) is a baby. But if you have toddlers or older children in the house, consider teaching them to fold and put away their laundry.
Taking care of their laundry is a great chore to start toddlers on. While they may not be able to do all of it themselves, it’s a good time to start learning.
Start with having them find and match all the socks. Then you can build up to folding pants and shirts. If may take more time at first, but it’s 100% teaching your kids these things early.
Tips for making it easier to catch up on laundry
Maybe you’re still struggling to get that laundry washed and folded. Part of the problem may be that you need to streamline your process.
If you find that laundry still takes too much of your time, try these things to help you.
Use the same detergent for everything
One of the biggest time wasters for most of us is simply having to stop and think about things. I’m not talking about important things—you should stop to think about those.
I’m talking about the tiny, insignificant details we spend too much time on. And when it comes to laundry, sometimes we overcomplicate things that can be easily streamlined.
One way to do this is to use the same detergent for everything. When you start having babies, it’s easy to feel like you need to have a separate detergent to wash all the baby stuff. And then if you decide to cloth diaper, you may need a particular kind of detergent to ensure those get cleaned properly.
But stopping to make sure you get the right detergent with the right laundry wastes time. Not only that, it also derails you from your flow of productivity.
To avoid that, switch to a laundry detergent you can use for everything. Maybe it’s a non toxic detergent that you feel good about using for everything. Or maybe it’s just one you feel confident will get it all clean.
Fold everything the same way
Another easy way to simplify laundry is to fold everything the same way. Or at least, everyone’s clothes the same way.
Sometimes we just overcomplicate things by folding everyone’s laundry a different way. Unfortunately, this just isn’t super practical in the long run.
Try folding all the clothes the same way. It will help you fall into a rhythm and ultimately fold faster. Which of course, gets the job done faster.
Ready to catch up on that laundry?
Ready to catch up on that laundry, mama?
I hope you’ve found this post helpful. I know few of us really like doing laundry, and it can often feel like the never ending chore. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be able to catch up and stay on top the laundry.
Do you have any other tips you would add? What helps you stay on top of it all?