How I do one load of laundry once a week

These babies are wash and wear... just kidding.
These babies are wash and wear… just kidding.

Recently while chatting with a BFF via FaceTime, I mentioned I do laundry once a week. She looked me like I was crazy (the perks of FaceTime), then nodded and agreed it makes sense I would only do it once a week, but she has no clue how I manage with a family of 5. And so a blog post is born!

Now this will really blow your mind, I only do ONE load of laundry a week. It isn’t like I designate a day for 5 loads of laundry. I bring down JUST ONE basket, ONCE a week. Why? Because I don’t enjoy doing laundry and I don’t want to waste my time. Read below and perhaps you’ll find ways to save a bit of time too.

How I minimize my volume of laundry

This may be too much information, but it’s practical knowledge to help you simplify your life. This is not about reducing the number of clothes I wear; it’s about being thoughtful in how I wash my clothes.

  • Only wash what I must wash.
    • This applies to jeans, jackets, vests, cardigan sweaters… these are pretty much items I layer (i.e. they do not touch my skin- with the exception of jeans). Jeans get washed when they are dirty, but I don’t wear them often enough to warrant washing all the time. Also, they shrink in the dryer and I don’t like squeezing into my pants right after.
    • Another example: I don’t put my blazers in the wash. These are dry clean only because I’m afraid I’ll ruin them. And blazers only go to the cleaner if they have stains and really need it. I view blazers almost like outerwear. I’m not washing my winter coat every week (more like once a year). I’m not stressing over wearing something a few times and worrying about it getting washed if it looks (and smells) perfectly fine.
    • I don’t have a ton of clothes. In fact, I try to make my clothes go the extra mile and work with as many outfits as possible! I can thank my stylist/image consultant, Traci for this!
READ: Not just for the rich and famous – Why I have a stylist
  • Caveat, when my kids were very small, they would spit up and I would wash my clothes more frequently because something was always landing on my clothes, however breast milk doesn’t stain (even spit up breast milk!). I could spot clean with some water, no problem!
READ: Breastfeeding support
  • Please note, I’m not advocating for going around in dirty, smelly and stained clothing. There are days one of my younger daughters goes through three shirts before noon because my 18 month old twins are becoming increasingly independent and want to feed themselves yogurt, toast with cream cheese, and berries for breakfast. If something is dirty, I’ll toss it in a basket. But I’m not going to wash it the very same day, or week for that matter! We make it work.
Not to worry, I remove the baby before loading the washer.
Not to worry, I remove the baby before loading the washer.
  • Buy enough undergarments to last two weeks.
    • I rotate through a couple of bras before putting some in the wash. Once some go in the wash, I start wearing the others so I have enough bras to last me two weeks.
    • Each family member has enough underwear to get them through 2 weeks. I’m not about to do a tiny load of laundry for a few pairs of underwear. Invest in more pairs of underwear and you’ll save on the back end in time and effort. Also, there will be less wear and tear on the underwear if you don’t wash it every week. They’ll last longer over time.
    • What I have learned with the twins is the importance of having enough jammies. I have not had to buy them a lot of new clothes because they get hand-me-downs from big sister, but we could always use more pajamas since they will often wake up wet. In a pinch, when they’ve peed through all their sleepwear, we’ve changed them out of their daytime clothes at night and put on a long-sleeve comfy/snuggy onesie and comfy pants as jammies. I view this as the equivalent of me throwing on an old T-shirt and workout/lounging shorts for bed. The babies don’t seem to mind. Also, I find this is a great way to get some more use out of appropriately sized clothing which are clean, but sadly irreparably stained, therefore deemed unworthy to wear during the day or out and about. They get a little more wear until the babies grow out of them, then they get tossed into the trash.

 

  • Only do laundry when you have a full load for the washer.
    • I know people who do laundry EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I don’t know how I could produce enough soiled clothing to create a full load of laundry every day. I only plan to do laundry when I have a FULL load. My husband says my laundry basket is too full. Yes, it seems like it is overflowing and I drop socks along the way to the basement (perhaps how there’s always one sock missing?), but it all fits in the washer and dryer. The way I see it is I am investing my time & energy and paying for the water & electricity to get this done. I want to get the most out of this, so having a very full basket is how I make this task worth it.
READ: Learn about the many different ways I manage my time
  • Squeeze in linens, towels, bibs, misc. where there is room.
    • This probably goes against the rules of good laundering, but I don’t care. I spent 6 years of my life (college and grad school) putting all my laundry in one basket and throwing it all in the washer together (darks, lights, sheets, towels EVERYTHING!). Once I met my husband, he showed me the ways of sorting. SO, I feel like I’m already doing 100% better by separating darks and lights at all!
    • Once a basket is destined for the washer, I will then grab sheets, towels, linens and other miscellaneous items to add to it. Oftentimes, the items are already in the basket because a baby woke up wet from sleeping all night and we need to change her sheets and jammies. Items like towels and washcloths are plentiful, so we often throw them in the baskets and grab a fresh one without any more thought.
READ: How I got my kids to sleep through the night, yes twins too!

Another caveat: there are times I need to do more than one load a week. This happened a lot when my oldest daughter officially said goodbye to diapers. When she had pee-pee accidents at night or naptime we would replace the sheets and plan to wash the soiled linens with the regular wash (everything would go downstairs to the basement immediately), but if she had another accident in a day or so, we would need to replace her replacement sheets and do a load of laundry in the shortterm. We only have two sets of sheets for her (which makes me think we’ll need A LOT more linens when the twins start potty training!).

Moreover, there have been times we’ve “MacGyvered” our queen size bedsheets to fit on her twin bed (I think she personally loved sleeping on mama and daddy’s sheets) and used her many extra blankets (what’s with giving newborn babies a million blankets anyway?) to create a comfy bed while all her sheets/blankets waited to be washed.

4 steps to doing one load of laundry once a week

  1. Place a laundry basket in every bedroom closet (or next to it if there is no room)
    1. This means 3 basket locations in my 3 bedroom home.
      1. 2 baskets in the master bedroom
        1. Darks basket
        2. Lights basket
      2. 1 basket in big sister’s closet
      3. 1 basket in baby sisters’ closet (the twins share a room and I don’t see it changing in the near future)
  1. When I notice one basket in the master bedroom becoming particularly full, I gather the girls’ baskets and sort their darks/lights into the master baskets
    1. It’s clear I could make my life even easier by giving every closet a dark/light basket, but I like the simplicity of telling my girls to put their clothes in the basket in their closet at the end of the day without them needing to think about which one exactly.  Also, I think my oldest likes the sense of ownership over her basket too. Sorting the kids’ clothes into the “master baskets” doesn’t take long and the girls like to get involved too (ie. mess up the baskets by throwing clothes in and out all willy-nilly)
  2. Depending on how full each basket is, with the addition of the girls clothes, I choose the most full and bring it downstairs to the basement where the washer/dryer is located
  3. The kids’ baskets go back to their closets until the other basket starts to get full (which takes about a week)

 

Please follow and like us:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)