Take the chore out of laundry
Our mission at Soak is to help everyone love their laundry. We get it though…it's not always #1 on your list of fun things to do. We talked to designer and organizer Tinka Markham Piper of Solve My Space about ways to make caring for your washables easier.
In addition to suggestion that you create a beautiful laundry space and get everything organized, she’s got a few pretty simple ways to make laundry feel like less of a chore:
Tip #1: Have fewer clothes
Simple, right? If you want to do any kind of “laundry intervention” Tinka recommends starting with a hard look at what you own. Instead of trying to become more efficient, reduce at the source and only keep the clothes you really love. You'll have less to clean, less to fold, and less to put away. And if you're wearing your favorites more often (totally Soakworthy®!), you’ll probably be more motivated to take care of them (and not throw them on the floor)!
Tips #2: Wash your clothes less often
We all over-wash our clothes, says Tinka. How often do you throw things in the hamper after just one wear…even if they aren’t dirty? (We’re guilty of that too.) Wear your jeans a few times before you toss them in the hamper. Sweaters you wear over a t-shirt are probably fine for multiple wears. Even shirts that pass the sniff check are fine to wear again, unless they're physically dirty. Underwear and workout gear should get cleaned every time (obviously), but other than that, make an effort to re-wear your clothes.
Got kids who wear things for 5 minutes and then throw them in the hamper? We feel your pain. Get them a coat rack or some hooks, so they can hang up items they’ve worn once, or dedicate a special drawer for re-wearables. Or better yet, get them doing their own laundry – they’ll be a lot less cavalier about what’s dirty and what isn’t.
Tip #3: Get more laundry baskets
According to Tinka, homes that have laundry issues generally don’t have enough laundry baskets – clothes end up on the floor because there’s nowhere else to put them. She recommends having enough baskets or hampers so there’s an “intermediary collector” for dirty clothes in everyone’s room, and another one for clean items that haven’t been put away.
Psst…Phil basins make great laundry baskets: pick ‘em up here
Tip #4: Get your family in on the fun
The responsibility for washing, folding and putting away often falls to one person. If you're fuming about being the only one doing the laundry, enlist help. Making laundry a team activity saves time, teaches household responsibilities, and encourages ongoing contributions to the family. Here are a few ideas to make that happen:
→ Get everyone folding and sorting while you watch TV together.
→ Got little kids? Get them started by folding dishcloths and towels and hunting for matching socks.
→ Have everyone bring their own clothes to the laundry area – if they don’t, their clothes don't get washed.
→ If your kids are old enough, have them take care of their own clothes – they’ll need to figure it out at some point, why not now?
Tip #5: Don’t worry about perfection
Is every item in your pile of clean clothes inside out? Instead of fixing that as you fold (which can take forever – and cause you to say words your kids might not need to hear), fold items “as is.” Everyone can turn their own clothes right side out again when they put them on.
Also, don’t stress if some family members don’t put their clean clothes away. “At my home, we put the kids’ folded clothes in their baskets and leave them in their rooms,” says Tinka. “If they choose to not put their clothes away and live out of the basket for a week, so be it.”
Tip #6: Make it fun
Every household task becomes less of a chore if you do it while listening to music you love. If you've got a bunch of items that need to be hand washed or folded and put away, throw on some tunes and get down to business.
For more tips from Tinka – and other awesome ideas to help you take care of your worthiest washables – explore Soak School!
Tinka Markham Piper is the founder of Solve My Space. A self-described “chaos counsellor,” she’s part organizer, part designer, part life coach – and fully committed to transforming spaces to help transform lives. She also has a home advice column and you can find her on Instagram at @solvemyspace
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