Laundry is not something most people are naturally talented at. There's no genetic marker or ancestral skill that makes you great at pushing cloth through two machines and getting it tidily into closets and drawers.
This is something that unifies us: Love it or hate it, everyone has to teach themselves how to do laundry. A big part of being an adult is realizing that a laundry schedule is way more effective than trying to remember to get all your clothes, towels, and delicates done "sometime" during the week.
Whether you have roommates, a partner, or are doing laundry solo, a laundry schedule is a system that helps you streamline your washing to take the least time and have those towels and best clothes ready when you actually need them. No mistakes, no souring in the wash, every time.
So how do you make a great laundry room schedule without turning it into a major research project? As it turns out, making a laundry schedule is easier than it sounds.
How Many Loads Do You Wash in a Week?
Start with a simple number. How many laundry loads do you do every week? How many times do you need to load fabric into the washer, then the dryer, then fold it and put it away? This number alone can help you break up your laundry tasks by being aware of how many you've done and how many are left to go.
Not sure? Tape up a piece of paper and tally every time you load the washer or empty the dryer (pick one) for a week.
What Types of Laundry Do You Wash?
- Colors and whites or both together?
- Delicates, gym clothes, pet stuff, baby - take your pick
Now sophisticate your tally marks. Determine how many of each type of load you do - they often require different timing and steps. Every household is different, depending on the number of people in your house and how you go through your linens.
What Steps are Required?
Now break down the steps required to do a load of laundry.
- Do you bother or use separate hampers?
- Do you iron some loads or none?
- Put Away
It's also worth noting that doing loads of laundry in-sequence means drying one load and starting the next is more like one step.
How Long Does Each Step Take?
Now break out the stop-watch or smart home timer. How long does it take to do each step? Starting a load? Should be somewhere between 30-120 seconds. Moving from washer to dryer is about the same. Sorting can take up to 5 minutes, and folding can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the load.
Can you tell we've already done this step? You may also find that just being aware of a timer helps you speed up the slow parts of doing laundry and turns it into a self-racing game. We did.
Markdown the amount of time it takes to do each step, possibly by load-type because delicates take way longer to fold than towels.
What is Your Laundry Demand Cycle?
Now determine what your laundry demand is throughout the week. For example, you might only have enough towels to make it half the week, so you'll need to do towels twice a week, about three days apart (Sunday and Wednesday?) to keep up. You might want to do clothes on the weekend so there's a week of fresh outfits, or you might need to wash your gym clothes immediately after workout day every time you exercise.
Let your laundry demand cycle from the early structure of your laundry schedule.