5 Strategies for Staying on Top of Your Laundry—So It Doesn't Totally Overwhelm Your To-Do List

We'll show you how to establish a laundry cadence that you can stick to—as well as some tips to speed up this task.

Woman doing laundry
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Staying on top of your home's dirty linens can seem like an impossible task, especially if you have a large family. Between sorting colors, folding seemingly endless piles of clean clothes, and then putting it all away when you're done, it's no wonder that so many people point to laundry as their most dreaded household chore. Fortunately, Patric Richardson of The Laundry Evangelist has several tips to help you move your mountains of wash—and establish a cadence so you can stay in control of each and every load.

Schedule Your Wash Days

According to Richardson, the best way to stay on top of laundry is by putting it on the calendar. "Set a time to do it and plow through," he says, adding that you should always use your machine's quick wash or express cycle. This makes your wash cycle long enough to get the job done, but short enough that you can quickly move through the process.

Don't Wash After Every Wear

Not all of your garments need to be washed after just one use, which is why Richardson notes that one of the ways to make your laundry more manageable is to (literally) decrease your load. "We have this idea that we need to wash something after every wear—and that is not true," he says. "I wear my jeans 10 times before washing them. Or, maybe a shirt has a tiny spot that you simply get out—and then hang it back in the closet."

Try a Booster—Not a Longer Cycle

Richardson is serious about the importance of keeping wash cycles short. "Always use the express cycle and a small amount of detergent, and if you need to add a booster, like baking soda, for extra dirty clothes, do that," he says, affirming that he is opposed to extending the time of your cycle. The reason? Not only is adding minutes hard on your clothes—it also makes your total wash day so much longer.

Fold Your Clothes While They're Hot

Folding your items as soon as you take them out of the dryer will contain the process, notes Richardson. "If you fold in the moment and get clothes to their correct rooms, it won't seem as daunting," he says. "I have read that dopamine is released when we complete a project, so you get this rush [when you near the end of laundry day]. Use that rush to complete the task and then sit down and enjoy the satisfaction of being done (celebrate with a drink or a treat!)."

Skip the Soak

If you live in a household that's hard on clothing (like families with young kids who play sports), it may seem like soaking dirtier items will speed up the process (it's a hands-free task, right?). However, Richardson says to skip this step. "I never soak," he says. "I add a booster, like baking soda or oxygen bleach, and if clothes are really dirty, I scrub them for a few seconds with a horsehair brush and laundry soap before I toss them into the wash." To really maximize your time, Richardson says to tackle a dirtier load after you've already loaded an easy one; this way, you'll already be cycling through your wash when you reach this step.

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