Coping with the tonnes of laundry that the average family produces is no mean feat! Just when you think it’s in hand, another load arrives. Here’s how to get a handle on it and establish a system.
1. Drying space
First, install the maximum drying space in your home. Put a retractable laundry rack across your bath. It’s also great for extra wet items like swimming costumes – plus it’s out of sight when not in use. Get radiator airers for smaller items. Rotary hanging airers with clothes pegs are ideal for underwear in the airing cupboard.
2. Laundry racks
Invest in one or two well-designed laundry racks. They should fold up small, be able to do flat-drying, and be tall rather than wide when erected to save space. There are loads of different designs out there, so shop around before you commit to get one that works best for your living space.
3. Outdoor washing lines
Outdoors, go for a rotary washing line or multi-lined retractable one – whichever works best for your garden. While both fold away, the rotary one is more visible when folded, while the retractable one is more visible when loaded. Wall-mounted ones work well along patios and balconies.
4. Laundry basket
Get a laundry basket with separate sections for darks and whites. Places like Argos and TescoDirect have a decent and reasonably priced selection. Have a third for pale coloured items, mainly for the kids’ clothes. Kids are perfectly capable of putting things in the laundry basket!
5. Net laundry bags
Buy a few net laundry bags – usually situated on the end of the isle in the supermarket. Get at least one each for darks/whites/pale colours. Encourage your family to put their underwear in these so you don’t have to, and keep them at the top of the laundry basket for easy access.
6. Washing fillers
Keep the washing machine loaded with whatever you have the biggest amount of, all the time. This way it’ll be ready to go as soon as there’s enough there. If you need to fill the machine to get that load started, towels and bedding are good filler and always benefit from freshening up.
7. Detergent stocks
Keep all washing powders, liquids and stain removers in one tidy place near the washing machine. Make sure you always have a spare ready when you begin to run low. You need to be fully stocked to be able to bung a wash on easily.
Pre-soak clothes that are stained with either paint or blood first in plain cold water for 24 hours. Then add a good stain remover, plus salt for blood stains. Warm water tends to make paints keep hold for longer. Instead, use warm water and detergents for greasy stains and food. Finally use a small scrubbing brush to coax the stain out of the fabric, before applying a stain-removing soap stick to the spot and putting in the machine.
9. Minimise creases
Get children’s clothes that don’t need ironing, especially school uniforms. Hang shirts to dry on hangers and lay items out flat to minimise creases. If you run out of drying space, hang coat-hangers from the shower rail. Sheets, underwear and towels can all get by without ever seeing an iron – so spare yourself the hassle.
10. Ironing system
Iron what you do need to on a weekly basis for when you’re going to wear it. Ironing things to put away in the wardrobe is a waste of time: you’ll only have to do them again before wearing. Stick the telly on and iron on a Sunday evening and it’ll distract you from the job in hand!