5 Top Tips for Reducing Ironing Time

by Professional Organiser Ulrike Cao – Skilfully Sorted

Some time ago, I read in the Sydney Morning Herald that 69% of Australians avoid ironing as much as possible, and 41% had never ironed. In the UK, the average person spends 61 minutes per week (that is 106 days in a lifetime!) on ironing. We’re always looking at reducing ironing time!

Ironing has never been one of favourite pastimes, but I like a crisp and unwrinkled look on many of my clothes. Over time, I’ve tried many options to lighten the load, including some drastic ones, like going slinky jersey for an entire year, and outsourcing the task – with very mediocre results.

Today, I’m sharing a few simple learnings that I have picked up over the last few years of organising homes and wardrobes, which can significantly cut down on the volume and duration of the ironing task.


Take stock of your wardrobe.

If you really don’t enjoy ironing and don’t want to go down the ‘outsourcing’ path for ironing, chances are that any wrinkle-prone clothes will sit in your ironing basket more often than you will get to wear them.

I’m not suggesting that you go all slinky jersey from now on, but consider how well a garment supports your lifestyle, including how much time you want to spend on ironing, before you buy it. Iron-free or iron-easy clothing comes in all shapes, sizes and price ranges, including business shirts. If you love a crisp finish, you might still want to give it a quick once-over with the iron or a bit of steam, but it’s a great time saver if there are no major wrinkles that need tackling to start with.

If needed, declutter and organise your wardrobe. This will prevent clothes from getting lost, wrinkled and musty in the wardrobe, and will keep you from pulling out different tops and bottoms in a hurry, and then not returning them properly. There are many benefits to a carefully curated wardrobe, and cutting down on unnecessary washing and reducing ironing time is one of them.


Take items out of the machine promptly.

This applies to the washing machine and dryer (if using), and avoids wrinkles forming and setting, which in turn will reduce your ironing time.


If line drying, hang with care.

When you hang your items on the line, gently pull them into shape and give them a tuck or smooth. Linens and cotton shirts like a quick spray of water while drying. In Queensland, we’re often blessed with light rain showers which also helps to straighten clothes out with no extra effort, ultimately reducing ironing time.

Light garments, like business shirts and T-shirts are prime candidates to be dried on a hanger. This avoids those little ‘ears’ from pegs pulling on the fabric, which can be time consuming to iron out. I use simple plastic hangers without sharp edges; they don’t make creases and won’t rust. There are even some that come with a clip to avoid hangers bunching up or flying off in the wind. Alternatively, you can simply fix them with a peg.


Apply your hands, fold and file.

Using one of the favourite tools from the KonMari practice, you can avoid ironing a range of clothes altogether if you fold them straight from the line or dryer. This works well for T-shirts and pants that come off the line in a fairly unwrinkled state. Place the item on a flat, hard surface and smooth over them with your hands to relax the fibres. You can then fold the garment into a small parcel that stands up by itself, to be ‘filed’, rather than stacked. Filing avoids the weight of the stack creating creases.

Tip: fold items straight away, or store them on a hanger prior to ironing. Sitting in an ironing basket for any length of time will make it only harder to iron.


Check your ironing technique to avoid time wasters and re-work

–        Always check that the temperature setting is appropriate for the garment.

–        Make sure the iron is clean (especially that there’s no scale build up in the steam tank – this can soil your clothes and require a re-wash).

–        Place clothes on an ironing board and smooth out any folds.

–        Iron like a pro:

  • Only iron in ‘forward’ direction, towards the point of the iron. Ironing forth and back will create creases that are difficult to remove.

  • Keep the iron moving so you don’t burn the fabric.

  • Iron shirts in sequence: collar back and front, then arms back and front, shirt back and front.

  • Hang onto a good quality hanger buttoning the top button, or fold KonMari style to ‘file’ in a drawer.

A good ironing board cover which reflects the heat of the iron can make things much quicker and help at reducing ironing time.

The Leifheit Airboard Ironing Boards have a superglide ironing surface with special Thermo Reflect Technology. This causes a unique steam and heat reflection effect to enable 33 percent faster ironing and perfect results.

Turn ironing time into joy-sparking ‘me’ time.

In the past I’ve always lamented that I don’t have enough time to learn new things (which is something that I love!). So now, when I set up my ironing board, I pop my laptop on a shelf in the wardrobe, grab a notepad and put on a webinar or podcast. And then I get stuck into the ironing, while filling my brain with lots of new ideas…

I even volunteer to iron my husband’s shirts these days – in return for a delicious dinner. Win-win!

How can you use ironing time to your benefit?



Ulrike Cao, owner of Skilfully Sorted and Professional Member of the IOPO (Institute of Professional Organisers). www.iopo.com.au

Ulrike is a Brisbane-based home organising consultant who specialises in the KonMari Method™ of tidying. She has trained with Marie Kondo in Chicago in 2017 and is passionate about helping her clients experience the transformative effect that a tidy and organised home can have on their time, stress levels and sense of self.

Skilfully Sorted – Home Organisation, Brisbane



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