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3 Simple Steps to conquering the laundry
by Professional Organiser Dawn Tindall from Tidy and Thrive
Well friends, it’s official. Winter is coming. We’ve now entered the season when it will take a bit longer for your laundry to dry. Being surrounded by damp clothes while you are already feeling housebound sounds frustrating. So, my gift to you is three simple steps that will help you make the best of this soggy situation.
Only wash items that are dirty
Did you know that not all clothes need to be washed after one wear? Here’s a handy list of how often to launder clothes and other household items. Things that should be washed after one wear include socks, jocks, tops and anything else that is stained or smelly. Dresses, jeans, jumpers and outerwear get hung neatly or folded and put back into the wardrobe until they are stained or start to smell. Less washing means fewer wet clothes hanging around your home and encroaching on your space.
Spread the load
If you have a Hills Hoist, hanging laundry is as simple as checking the weather to make sure you put your clothes out on a sunny day. For those of you without an outdoor space to dry your laundry, it’s time to get creative.
First, let’s talk laundry-drying optimisation. Laundry dries best when it’s spread out. You’ve probably noticed the difference between hanging your towels on a hook versus a towel rail. Towels hung on a hook are often still damp when you need you need them the next day. Eww. Towels hung nicely on a towel rail have a much better chance of drying. What happens when you have more towels than towel rails? In our home we installed extendible clothes lines when, after the birth of our daughter, we suddenly found ourselves with an extra towel (and tons of baby clothes, wash cloths, etc).
Extendible rails are amazing. We hang long items, like bath towels, from the bottom rail. Shorter items like undies and kid’s clothing are hung from the top rail which I access using a step stool. Both rails get lots of sun and breeze from our bathroom window which means that anything hung here dries quickly. To further utilise this space, I’ve invested a whole $10 in a portable clothes dryer (or “sock octopus” as my daughter calls it) to dry socks, cleaning cloths and dish towels.
In my home I only wash one flat sheet, one fitted sheet and one duvet cover at a time. Why? Because we only have three internal doors in our apartment! I’ve found that hanging sheets over doors is a great way to increase their drying area and get them dry faster.
Curtains? That’s easy. Once a pair of curtains is washed, I simply hang them back up on their rod. A curtain rod is the perfect curtain-sized drying rack. Actually, now that I’ve written this, I’m going to have to give drying my sheets on my double curtain rod a try.
For long or bulky items like jeans, dresses and jumpers, I use an A-frame airer that I set up in front of the window of our least-used room. Some days it’s in my bedroom, other days it’s my daughter’s room. Regardless of where it’s set up, the airer is moved to our living room at night so we’re not sleeping next to damp laundry. Don’t have much horizontal space? Consider a vertical airer!
What underutilised spaces do you have that could be the perfect solution to hanging your laundry? Maybe you could move your clothes airer into the bathtub and take it back out at bath time, hang a portable airer from those random hooks in the ceiling or install a retractable clothing line from one end of an odd-shaped room to the other.
Try to choose areas that are close to windows or open doors and are out of the way. Also make sure to leave space between items. It’s better to do a small load of laundry every day than one huge load that mildews before it’s able to dry.
Create a laundry Routine
Now that you know how often to wash your clothes and have a good idea of how/where to hang them, it’s time to create a routine that works for you. Here’s an example of my family’s laundry routine (we live in a unit) which you can tweak to fit around your family’s needs:
Mondays – One set of bedding (hung over the doors). One load of clothing (hung on the washing lines above the washing machine)
Tuesdays – One load of clothing (hung on the A-frame)
Wednesdays – One set of bedding (hung over the doors). One load of cleaning cloths and washers (hung from the sock octopus and the washing line above the washing machine)
Thursdays – One load of clothes (hung on the a-frame)
Fridays – Curtains (hung back on up the curtain rod)
Saturdays – Towels and bathmats (hung from the line above the washing machine)
Sundays – Soft toys or other soft furnishings (set up on the a-frame)
Ok team, you now know how often to wash your clothes, where to hang them and have a routine that will help you to get it all done with as little stress and nuisance as possible. Still feel like you need help? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local professional organiser. We can be found on the Institute of Professional Organisers (IOPO) website – https://www.iopo.com.au/. An organiser can help you create specific solutions to keeping your home tidy so that you can thrive.
(Dawn Tindall is a professional organiser, KonMari Consultant in Training, Teacher and Life skills/Wellbeing Trainer. She is also American, so if you read this article with an Australian accent, go ahead and reread it with an American one (that’ll probably explain some things). Want Dawn to help you create your own solutions to drying laundry in awkward spaces? Just send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find advice on organising, sustainability and small space living at tidyandthrive.org, facebook.com/tidyandthrive or Instagram.com/tidyandthrive/)
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