Inside: Who doesn’t hate laundry? It’s neverending and can take over your home. Learn how to create a simple laundry schedule and get control of the laundry.

A mom sitting on a white couch and staring out in the distance while toys are scattered across the floor and a basket full of laundry and an ironing board wait for her. | laundry schedule.

“How does this tiny human being create soo. much. laundry??!” I cried. 😭 Between the burp cloths, cloth diapers and multiple outfit changes for both us and the baby (thank you, spit up!), it quickly became clear what we were doing wasn’t working.

Keeping up on laundry had never been my forte. In high school, I often slept next to a pile of clean laundry I had forgotten about until I was too exhausted to care. In early marriage, we waited until the last clean pair of underwear before devoting an entire day to laundry and Netflix.

But with a newborn, this halfhearted approach wasn’t going to cut it. 

We survived in a sleep-deprived fog with a baby who woke several times throughout the night and often needed 45 minutes of bouncing to get back to sleep…only to wake up an hour later. Ugh. I shudder at the memory.

Laundry had never been our strength, and now we couldn’t rely on our brains to remember to move the wet laundry over to the dryer before it started to smell. We needed a laundry schedule.

It’s been five years since we created that first laundry schedule, and it’s no longer overwhelming or stressful. We developed great habits that allow us to fit laundry into the spare moments of the day. No longer do we take an entire day to catch up on laundry.

Toddler boy playing with the knobs on the front facing washing machine. | laundry routine

Imagine getting ready in the morning without smelling the dirty clothes pile to find something that can get a second wear. Imagine having clean clothes without sacrificing an entire day.

Imagine if doing laundry seamlessly fit around the fun parts of your life.

That’s what we’re going to work towards in this post. We’ll talk tips for making laundry easier and how to create a weekly laundry schedule that best fits your life and your family.

The best laundry tips for people who hate laundry

Break it down.

This is possibly my best tip, and the thing that nearly ended the laundry overwhelm.

Instead of adding “laundry” or to your to-do list, be specific. Laundry typically has four parts: wash, dry, fold, put away. You can write each of these out as its own task. 

Doing this does two things. First, it gives you a sense of satisfaction when you cross an item off the list. Second, it allows you to see at a glance where you are in the process.

Use a stopwatch to avoid procrastination.

Timing how long it takes to fold a load can be a great tool to use against the “idontwannas.” It’s a heck of a lot harder to procrastinate folding the laundry when you know that to fold and put it away only takes 15 minutes. 

I know it takes 15 minutes to fold a load of laundry after the kids are in bed. My husband and I chat about our day while folding.

On the flip side, it takes about a bajillion hours (aka 45 minutes) to fold a load of laundry when I have to reprimand my 1-year-old every five seconds for trying to steal my recently folded laundry. 

Because of this, I’d much rather fold laundry after they’re asleep. I used to avoid this because I’m tired at the end of the day. I want to relax, not fold clothes. But when I timed it and realized it only took us 15 minutes PLUS we could spend time talking and bonding, it was an obvious choice.

A woman puts laundry into the washer. | laundry routine

Use a timer to keep you on track.

If you are like me and will forget about wet laundry for days, this tip is for you. When I set the washer to go, I look to see how much time it estimates the load will take, then I set a timer for 5 minutes more than that.

When the timer goes off, I’m reminded to switch the load over.

Make sure you set the timer for longer than the estimated cycle time to guarantee the cycle is done when the timer goes off. Quickly pause what you’re doing and go switch the load over.

Think of laundry as brackets around other tasks.

Unlike many household chores, laundry is passive for the most part. You round up all the laundry, throw it in the washer, put in the soap, and set it to go.

An hour later, you come back and throw it in the dryer with some wool dryer balls and set it to go. 

It’s only after the dryer is done that laundry transforms from a passive task to an active one. Once the laundry is dry, it requires your work to fold and put away.

Because of this mostly passive nature, I like to think of laundry as a bracket that goes around other tasks:

Put laundry in the washer and start [ do other tasks ] Transfer laundry to dryer [ do other tasks ] Fold and put away laundry

During that hour or so the washer or dryer is doing its thing, what do you want to do with that time? You can empty the dishwasher, vacuum the living room or play Candy Land for the umpteenth time with your kids.

You don’t have to schedule the passive parts of laundry into your day. Just pop in the laundry or move the load over to the dryer when you have a few spare moments. The only time you need to block out time is when it comes to folding and putting away.

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    Pop in a load as soon as you wake.

    By throwing a load of laundry into the washer as soon as you get up, often it will be done washing before you are done with breakfast. 

    If you are going somewhere for the day, pop the laundry in the dryer before you leave so you’ll come home to a clean load ready to fold.

    I’m going to be honest with you. Do I follow this one to a T? Absolutely not. 😂 But I try to get laundry started in the morning so it can progress throughout the day.

    The goal is not to shoot for perfection (it’s a myth, anyway). The goal is to continuously walk one step closer to your goal.

    How to Create a Weekly Laundry Schedule

    #1: Determine what needs to be washed.

    Write down a list of the laundry you need to wash on a weekly basis. For us, this includes clothes (twice/week), my husband’s work clothes, heavies (towels and sweatshirts), cloth diapers (twice/week), and sheets.

    Girl and her mom folding laundry and smiling at the camera. | laundry schedule

    #2: Pick the days that work best for you.

    Some people love having four loads of laundry to fold while they watch Netflix. Others prefer to have a little bit to fold every day so it doesn’t get overwhelming. What works best for you?

    Depending on your schedule, it might work better for you to pop a load in the washer every morning and throw it in the dryer after breakfast. Or you might prefer picking one day as your official “Laundry Day”.

    #3: Set up a schedule.

    Write up a schedule, then test it out. What worked? What didn’t?

    Don’t strive for perfection. Perfection is a myth, it doesn’t exist.

    Instead, set up a schedule and tweak it as you go. Your first laundry schedule will be your starting point, which you’ll refine and change until you find what works best for you.

    Even though I’m now five years into having a laundry schedule, I tweak my laundry schedule all. the. time. Some weeks I’m busy and don’t get to the laundry until Saturday. Conversely, if I have some extra time, I’ll look ahead to see if I can wash any loads earlier in the week.

    Having a schedule doesn’t have to be rigid. Use it as a guideline to keep you on track.

    #4: Give yourself grace.

    Some things you won’t know until after you start. Don’t get down on yourself if the first few weeks (or months) don’t work out as you envisioned. That’s okay!

    Give yourself grace and focus on each week being better than the last. The more you follow a laundry schedule, the easier it will get. Before you know it, you’ll be able to recite your schedule from memory. (Not that anyone will ask…)

    Mom holding a baby standing next to washer is putting laundry into the washer with 5 year old boy sitting on dryer. | laundry schedule

    Let me tell you a secret…

    If you keep up with laundry, it becomes no big deal if life calls you to skip a day or two. Imagine a friend calls with an amazing invitation. Do you want to turn her down because you have nothing to wear?

    Or imagine there’s a family emergency. Being caught up on laundry allows you to drop everything and go help for a few days without worrying about your own house exploding from all the dirty laundry.

    Keeping a weekly laundry schedule allows you to take control of the laundry instead of letting it take control of you.

    I’m here for you friend. You can set up a laundry schedule that greatly decreases overwhelm and helps you to focus on the things that are most important in life.

    Because I’m pretty sure it’s not laundry! 😉

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