My Story: Laundry Tips

contributed by lmf

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We have five children and live in the country. Here are some things I've learned from others over the years that have saved me much money and time when it comes to laundry.

Saving money:

  • I prefer Tide, but do not appreciate the price. When it goes on sale, I buy enough to last until the next sale.
  • The agitation is the main thing that gets clothes clean. I use only two tablespoons of Tide per load. I do use about four tablespoons for very soiled loads.
  • Never wash until you have enough for a full washer load. It takes the same amount of electricity to wash a small load as it does a large one.
  • Don't over fill the washer, as your clothes will not get as clean. (Remember the agitation cleans!)
  • I use dryer balls in the dryer, and they work quite well. A pair costs right at $10. Before buying my dryer balls, I cut my dryer sheets in half.

Saving time:

  • I use, and teach my family to use, three hampers. One is for whites, one is for darks, and one is for reds. No more wasting time sorting clothes.
  • Each family member has a mesh bag in which they place dirty socks and sometimes underclothes. They go from the hamper, to washer, to dryer, and back to the owner. Even if only a few family members use their "sock bags," it will still be a big help.
  • We hang our towels after use and reuse them. Each family member has his own bathroom hook. They can be bought inexpensively. Ours hang over the door. I have sewn a heavy duty strip to many of our towels from which we hang them.
  • Each family member has a dishpan with his name on it that is kept in the laundry room. Clothes are folded and put directly into their owner's "bucket." Clothes are put up twice a week. We do not have a huge laundry area, but have made this work.
  • When a friend had her new house built, she planned for a huge laundry room with a built-in chest of drawers for her younger children.
  • We do not wash our clothing after wearing it only one time, unless it really needs it.
  • I have found that hampers in the children's bedrooms tempt them to put clothes into the hamper when they could easily be worn again.
  • We have five children. Each one is responsible for two loads per day, if needed. I team up with the younger ones to train them. I begin training them around age 5. I normally don't let them do it alone until 9 or 10, but each family is different. When the children are involved in doing the laundry, it causes them to think twice about putting something in the hamper that does not truly need washing. It also gives extra time to talk and share with your child.
  • We think twice before buying garments that need to be ironed or dry cleaned.

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