The equation is simple: You wear clothes. You wash clothes and towels, sheets and bedding, too. Put off the laundry side of the equation, and the job becomes much harder. In the laundry hamper, stains and wrinkles have a chance to settle in and make themselves permanent. A load of wet laundry, left to itself in the washing machine, invites mildew. The dryer load, forgotten and unfolded, settles back into rumpled comfort once the heat dies down. Solution: Schedule laundry chores regularly. How often to do laundry will depend on your family's needs. Households with young children may have to launder multiple loads each day, while singletons can go for a week at a time between laundry sessions as long as laundry operations are conducted regularly.
Create a Laundry Activity Center
A laundry activity center combines the equipment, tools and supplies needed to get in and get the job done quickly. Establish a space to assemble, sort, wash, dry, fold and return clean clothing and bedding.
Clear Counter Space
Look to the location of the washing machine (if you have one) to set up the laundry center. Clear space around the machine; folding laundry is an active process, so you'll need as much clear counter space as you can create. A sink nearby will make it easier to treat stains and presoak soiled clothing.
Good lighting will help you find and identify stains, so supplement existing lighting if it's dark or dreary. Can you read the fine print on a garment label? If not, provide additional lamps or lighting fixtures.
Take Advantage of Storage Space
Store detergents and laundry products in an overhead cabinet, or mount a shelf unit on the wall above the washing machine. Households with small children will need to locate cleaning products up and away from little hands, but within reach of preteens and up, to make it easy for growing youngsters to take over their own laundry chores.
Hold in the Permanent Press
Install a closet rod in the laundry center to hang permanent-press garments. If cabinetry permits, an expandable shower-curtain rod will hold clean shirts and extra hangers in smaller spaces.
Take Clothes Vertical
If space permits, add a retractable clothesline or folding drying rack to the laundry center. Even if the house has an automatic dryer, a clothesline or rack makes it a quick matter to dry sweaters and underthings that should not be placed in the dryer.
Keep Laundry Separated
Code laundry baskets with a different color for each family member and place baskets in every bedroom and bathroom. On laundry days, family members who can take their own baskets to the laundry center, and return the clean and folded clothing to their own closets at day's end.