Savannah Shea Blake is a Spiritual Life Coach, Meditation Teacher and Birth Doula at EarthandWater.co who helps women unleash their inner warrior goddesses through chakras, mindset and alignment work so that they can conquer the battles of life, feel more supported in their ventures and love who they are.
I know what it’s like to sit in a pile of laundry and cry because it’s getting all of your attention with no end in sight. If you’re not careful you can drown under mountains of laundry.
I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Washing load after load, spending an hour folding clothes only to still never reach the bottom. Especially as a parent, it can seem impossible to keep up.
This is how I felt. No matter what I did, there was no way I could keep up. Every day I was washing a load or two and every day I was spending my valuable time folding and folding and never finding the bottom of the laundry basket.
There’s a few things I did to ease my load. Grant it, not all of these things are easy. But they will greatly benefit you in the long run.
Minimize What you Have
It’s so tempting to run out and buy another 6 pairs of underwear so that you can go an extra week between laundry. This isn’t actually helping your load though. It’s enabling you to create a bigger pile of clothes that needs tending to.
When we have less clothes in circulation, we’re forced to keep up the routine of washing, making it more of a priority. Finding this routine and priority for them is key to keeping up with it.
Less clothes equals less clothes to wash/ fold/ put away.
To do this, you’ll first have to stop the flow of clothes coming into your life. This means conquering your shopping and fast fashion addictions. If there’s still a ton coming in, you’re never going to keep up.
Next, you’ll need to minimize what you already have. Routinely go through your own clothes as well as your kid’s. Get rid of, donate or sell anything that you don’t wear, is old and tattered and doesn’t fit.
Create as much space as possible. Know that this is a forever ongoing thing when you have children, since they grow out of things so quickly.
Try to get down to the basics of what you really need. Do you really need 15 pairs of pants? No. You can probably do just fine with 3-6 strategically selected pairs. You’ll probably want twice that in tops but then only enough undergarments for about a week.
Of course, this will vary for each person depending on what your daily routines look like and for children who are obviously much messier generally. Do what works for you and your family but try to keep things as simple as possible.
Some things don’t always need washing after a single wear. We get lost in the unconscious habit of throwing things into the hamper or floor when we undress, whether they’re actually dirty or not.
Use a little mindfulness when you’re undressing. Are the clothes actually dirty? Did you work up a sweat in them? Can you wear these pajamas again tonight? Some things are meant to be worn several times before being washed.
For example: Jeans, jackets and fancy business clothes. Some say you can go as long as six months between washing some of these things. I’ll leave that discretion up to you. There really are a lot of variables that could be at play with that one.
Reuse your towels two to three times before throwing them in the wash and change your sheets only when they need it. Washing your clothes less has all sorts of extra benefits beyond cutting down your laundry load. It also makes them last longer and conserves water and energy resources!
There are some things I don’t fold. If I have a ton of extra time and I’m feeling particularly fold-y then sometimes I will but most of the time, nobody’s got time for all of that. And honestly, life isn’t picture perfect like in those Instagram posts and that’s ok.
I don’t fold fitted sheets (I didn’t get that magical power), my 4 year old’s clothes besides shirts or my undies. Fitted sheets are difficult so they get balled up and shoved into a container at the bottom of my closet. My 4 year old is going to rummage through his dresser drawers and mess everything up anyway.
There have been various other things that I didn’t fold in the past as well. Baby clothes used to be one of those things. I never had time to fold every piece of laundry so sacrifices have been made and honestly, it feels so nice and freeing when you come across a piece that doesn’t need your attention. You’ll joyfully shove it, as is, into its designated home.
Make it a Routine
Routine is really the key to it all. You have to find something that works for you but it doesn’t have to be hugely time consuming either.
I always try and start a load in the washer in the morning and then I’ll switch it over to the dryer sometime around lunch. I usually do this while I’m cooking meals since our laundry room is right outside of our kitchen.
When I empty the dryer, I throw the clothes on my bed instead of in the clean clothes basket and routinely throughout the day I’ll fold a couple of pieces. It’s always easier to fold clothes one load at a time rather than after a few loads.
Grant it, I work from home and can take little five minute folding breaks throughout the day. A routine for someone that works outside of the home may look like a designated laundry day or part of your morning and night time routine. Once you minimize and apply the other philosophies, though, you shouldn’t have to do laundry every single day to keep up.
Pro tip: Don’t do it all alone. Enlist help from the other members of your household. Knock it out all together as a family or get others to make pieces of the process part of their routine.
You don’t have to do it alone. Expecting a single person to keep up with an entire family’s worth of laundry and have a life is an outdated belief that causes more stress than it’s worth.