Solving Laundry Issues

Laundry Room

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I left my laundry in the basket and now it’s all wrinkled.

You have several options.

  1. You can put it away wrinkled and not worry about it.
  2. You can put it back in the dryer with a wet rag for about 10 minutes.
  3. You can iron the items that matter.
  4. You can use a product like Downey Wrinkle Releaser.  I’ve used that a couple of times and had some success.
I washed a lot of laundry but didn’t get it put away and now I can’t remember what’s clean and what’s dirty.

You can go through it and try to figure out what’s clean and what’s dirty by touching it or smelling it, but if it was me, I’d wash it all again.

I don’t have time to wash, fold and put away the laundry but I’m out of clothes.

If you absolutely don’t have time to complete the process from start to finish, and it does happen to all of us occasionally, then wash and dry what you can and live out of the laundry basket until you can put it away.  It’s not ideal but it’s better than nothing.

I have a hard time figuring out when to do laundry because of my schedule so I don’t do it until I’m desperate for clothes.

You might need to do some creative thinking to figure out how to get it done.  When I was working full-time, I had a harder time getting laundry done.  I finally came up with a system that worked fairly well.  I put a load in the washer in the morning, switched it to the dryer when I got home, and folded it after dinner.  I did that every day.  It wasn’t ideal but it got the job done.

So if your schedule is complicated, look at your calendar and try to come up with a creative solution to getting the laundry done.  Think outside the box.  Then create a routine.   A routine will make it a lot easier.

My laundry room is far away and unpleasant to use.

I’ve been there!  The laundry room in my last house was in the basement.  But I had to go through the cold or hot garage (depending on the season), go down the narrow concrete stairwell, open the door, and finally go into the laundry area.  It was really unpleasant.  And sometimes snakes were in there.  And sometimes I scraped my knuckles on the concrete wall because the laundry basket was so wide.  And my hands were full so it was hard to open the door.

Fortunately for me my husband created a very nice laundry room for me and solved some of those problems.  But if you don’t have that option, there are still things you can do.  For example:

  1. Put down an inexpensive rug so you don’t have to stand on the bare floor.  Also, if clothes fall out of the dryer, they won’t land on a dirty floor.
  2. Clean up the area so at least it’s not dirty.
  3. Add some conveniences – like a laundry sorter, drying rack or ironing board (if you iron, which I don’t).  Maybe even some shelves to hold your supplies.
  4. If you can, add some lighting so you can see what you’re doing.
  5. Clear out the clutter.  Lots of times laundry rooms tend to be catch-all locations for anything and everything.  Try to keep the clutter out of your way.  If you struggle to get to your machines, you won’t want to do laundry.
  6. Solve any of the problems you can.  For example, my wide laundry basket caused me to scrape my knuckles on the concrete.  So I got a tall basket and ditched the wide one.  It was hard to open the door at the bottom of the steps so David installed a different kind of door knob so I could open it with my elbow.   You get the idea.
I don’t have a washer and dryer so I have to go to the laundromat.

If you can, start saving for a washer & dryer.  You can get them used or at scratch and dent sales for a reasonable price.  If you can’t get both, save for a washer.  You can dry clothes on a line stretched across your basement or bedroom.

But if you can’t get a washer & dryer or your living arrangements won’t allow it, then the laundromat it is.  The bottom line is that going to the laundromat is going to be a pain.  To make it better, though:

  1. Have plenty of cash in the right denomination.
  2. Schedule time to go.  If you go whenever it works out or whenever you feel like it, you’ll never go.  Schedule it and stick to your schedule as much as possible.
  3. Get a container that makes it easy to cart your clothes to and from the facility.
  4. This would be personal preference, but I’d probably rather go twice a week and have less clothing to deal with each time than going once a week and having a mammoth pile of clothes.  But you’ll have to decide which you prefer.
  5. Be conservative with your clothing use so you have less to wash.  Use a towel twice instead of washing after every use.  Where a shirt a second day if it’s not dirty.
  6. Take something to do with you.  Check email on your smart phone; read a book; write letters, etc.  Use the time you’re waiting to do something you don’t normally get to do.  Try to think of laundromat time as “me time”.

DISCLAIMER:  I have only had to go to the laundromat one time in my life so I may not know what I’m talking about.  Based on that one time and what I’ve observed, this is my uneducated opinion. I just wanted you to know that.

Multiple family members are using the same machine so it’s not always available when it’s convenient for me.

I’ve been down this road before.  My son and daughter-in-law lived with us for a while.  They needed the machine; my daughter needed the machine and we needed the machine.  So we set up a schedule.  Problem solved.

Occasionally we deviated from the schedule but it had to be okay with whoever’s day it was.  And on my day, I usually had my laundry done pretty early so anyone was welcome to the machine after that.

There’s no way we could have survived without the schedule.

I don’t mind washing and drying but I hate folding and putting away.

You have several options:

  1. Live out of the laundry basket.  I have a friend whose husband called the dryer the “second dresser”.
  2. Have someone else in the family fold and put clothes away.
  3. Have each family member do their own laundry.  You’ll still have to put your own away but there will be less of it.
  4. Have the whole family help fold and put away.  Make a game out of it to see who can do the most.  You could even assign piles and see who could process their pile the fastest.
  5. Suck it up and just do it.

I haven’t come across very many people who like doing laundry.  The bottom line is that laundry is just a pain.  That’s all there is to it.  But it has to be done so we may as well do what we can to make it tolerable.

What laundry issues give you a headache? 

Comments

  1. This might be a surprising question for you, but I have never used a dryer before. It seems like an American thing to do. Does the clothes come out not wrinkled from the dryer so you don’t have to use an iron?
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    • Josh LaPorte says:

      I’ve never owned a dryer and I do not like how clothes come out from the dryer when I’ve used one. I feel that clothes still need ironing after running through the dryer so see no advantage. They are not as fresh smelling and the dryer uses quite a lot of electricity.

      Regarding the laundromat, the great convenience is in being able to do all of your laundry at the same time by using multiple machines. Instead of doing one load per day you do 5 or 6 big loads at once at the laundromat and you’re done. The issue is lugging all this laundry too and from the laundromat. Definitely a pain.

      • That’s definitely an advantage to a laundromat – getting them all done at once instead of working all day.

        I love my dryer. I actually tried hanging my clothes on a clothes line years ago. A friend talked me into it. I HATED it!!! The clothes were stiff and required ironing. And sometimes bugs got on them. Or the wind started blowing and I worried they would blow off the line into the neighbor’s yard. Plus it was a lot of work!

        I did some research on the electricity use of my dryer and decided it was worth every penny. I know some people like hanging their clothes out (like my friend) but it’s not for me.

    • Clara, I LOVE my dryer!!! Yes, if you use the dryer correctly the clothes come out unwrinkled. Some fabrics still have to be ironed a little, but most of them come out just fine. If you leave the clothes sitting the dryer they get wrinkled but if you take them out as soon as the dryer stops, most don’t need ironed. And they’re soft!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    If you don’t use a dryer, where do you hang in the colder temperatures and in the warmer temps, do the allergens in the air bother you? We tried to line dry everything a couple of summers ago and it was too hard on our allergies.

    I hate hate hate putting laundry away! It takes so little time when you actually do it but I put it off for way too long. Recently my older kids (4-6) have started folding and putting their clothes away for chore money. I give them .50 for each load they compete. I’m about 3.00 poorer each week but it is well worth it! And now with my own laundry, I try to make it a game to see if I can get it all done in one day.

    • That’s what I’m talking about, Elizabeth! Make a game out of it. It’s great you’re getting the little kids involved. And I would say that $3.00 a week is worth every penny!

    • Josh LaPorte says:

      Elizabeth,

      We hang the wash outside even in temperatures well below-freezing. In many cases, the clothes or linens essentially flash freeze once hung, and will come off the line a few hours later stiff as a board. Once they thaw inside, they finish drying almost instantly and smell so amazingly fresh and clean, it’s unreal. We generally set up racks in the guest room or dining room to dry items if it’s rainy or very damp. It is actually much easier to dry laundry in the winter because the dry winter air along with the heat running makes the house very dry; the clothes dry very rapidly and give some moisture up to the air inside the house which is quite welcome!

      I realize it’s not for everyone but I hate how clothes come out of the dryer… they feel way too soft! I can’t answer the allergen question; we don’t have air conditioning (really not needed in the New England climate) so all summer the house is open anyway, so any allergens on the laundry would be floating in the air as well.

  3. I don’t have a dryer, which makes it difficult to get clothes dry here in Scotland, especially this time of year. I put clothes on the radiators, but I’m limited in how many loads I can get dry because of the limited radiator space! So I always have a backlog of laundry to do and have to prioritize. Also our washer is one of those tiny European ones that fits under the kitchen counter so I can’t fit very much in one load, which contributes to the backlog. We are saving for a dryer!
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    • You have my sympathy. I love my dryer! Are dryers more expensive in Scotland?

      • Dryers are more expensive, and it’s hard to find one that actually dries the clothes! Most seem to just get the clothes hot without actually taking any moisture out. Also, most dryers are condenser dryers where the water collects in a drawer-like tank that you have to empty, because houses were not built with the necessary vents so the dryers can’t vent outside. And, electricity is MUCH more expensive here so it’s seen as much more of a luxury to have a dryer.

    • Josh LaPorte says:

      Laurie,
      Is your central heating boiler situated in a way that you could install slatted shelves above it to create an airing cupboard? I’ve seen those in homes in the UK and it seems almost essential given the climate. I’ve seen the domestic hot water cylinder used in an airing cupboard as well. May not be practical depending on the setup in your home. During rainy periods, we occasionally do a marathon of laundry loads on a weekend and put all the racks in one room along with a dehumidifier and a fan or two. It acts like a giant dryer.

      • Hi Josh, no our boiler and our hot water tank are in our already-cramped kitchen so there’s no space for drying shelves. I would love to have a room for drying the clothes! As it is, the clothes go all over the house to dry.

        The other problem with drying clothes inside our small 200 year old stone cottage is the increased indoor humidity contributing to mold. I have found some mold patches on some of the walls and around windows in the caulk. We treat it right away when we find it, but I know that means it’s also in hidden areas too. I need to get a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the air. Also we have a fire in our fireplace most evenings and that helps to dry the air too.

  4. Dianne in the desert says:

    Okay… I am just weird… I do like doing the laundry. I know I like it better than cleaning windows and floors! Ha ha!

    All of the tips and ideas you presented are terrific! The one “Just suck it up and do it” is great! A friend of mine came to me years ago and mentioned that she was thinking about having another baby. I laughed my head off! She absolutely hated doing the laundry and always griped about the amount of laundry her two children created. I reminded her that she would be adding to her laundry problem if she had another baby… She really thought about that for some time and set up a laundry routine for her home and two years later had her new baby without any difficulty and without griping over the laundry situation.

    There are four adults living here. My husband and myself, our daughter (adult) and a nephew (adult). We worked out a schedule for getting the luandry done. The bedding gets done on Saturday and we each take turns. Hubby and I do laundry twice a week: Monday and Thursday. Daughter does her laundry on Wednesday. Nephew does his laundry on Tuesday.

    The sorter is in the garage, but it is on wheels, so I can bring it inside when I need to. Our old kitchen table is the folding table. I have some storage cubes to hold the supplies. There is an electrical connection out there and the iron and board are out there. It is too hot here in the summer, so the iron and board are brought into the house if/when they are needed.

    • Sounds like a great set-up, Dianne.

      Our family had a schedule, too. When more than one person is using the machine, you just about have to.

      Love the story about your friend and her laundry issues.

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