It’s crazy how much dirty laundry Austin and I can create in a week. I totally understand why families with kids can easily get overwhelmed!
We just moved out of our house with a washer and dryer in the basement and into an apartment. The apartment does have laundry facilities, but they’re two floors down and we have to pay for each load.
I definitely tried not to do extra laundry unnecessarily while we were at our house, but I’m super aware of it now that I have to swipe my credit card for each washing and drying.
So if you’re like me and don’t want to spend tons of extra money on laundry or if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of laundry that piles up, I’ve come up with some systems that are helping us do less laundry.
How to Do Less Laundry
How Often We Wash Things
First, let’s talk about how often to wash things. When you wash clothes or linens less often, there’s less laundry to do each week.
I think it’s super interesting that we all have different standards for when to wash things. I’d love to read in the comments how often you wash things like sheets, towels, or jeans.
Sheets: We wash our sheets once a week. They start to feel kind of gross to me after that. I know some people change their sheets daily and others go a month or two without washing their sheets. I have to confess that in college, I probably fell into that latter category!
Bath Towels: We’ve always tried to use a towel twice before washing it. If it’s hung up nicely to dry, you don’t have to deal with a damp towel (gross). Now that we’re paying for laundry, I’m going to try to use my bath towel three times before washing it. I’m clean when I step out of the shower, so it seems ok.
Bathroom Hand Towels: I change our hand towel in the bathroom out every two or three days. I don’t have an exact system or anything, it just usually happens like that.
Kitchen Towels and Wash Cloths: These usually only last a day, maybe two days before I throw them in the laundry basket.
Dress Clothes: Austin wears dress pants and a nice collared shirt to work most days. He usually wears pants twice and shirts once or twice depending on if they seem dirty. I don’t really wear dress clothes ever, but if I dress up nicely for something, I’ll hang clothes back up instead of washing them if I wore them for less than 6 hours-ish. That is, unless it’s something that gets stretched out or I spilled on it (that happens a lot 🙂 ).
Jeans: I’ll wash my jeans if I wore them for a whole day. I know most sources say to wear them a few times, but they feel stretched out so I like the wash them.
Bras: I’ll wear bras multiple times before washing them unless I got sweaty wearing one.
Pajamas: I wear pajama pants for two nights, but I put on a fresh t-shirt each night.
Yoga Pants: Let’s face it, I basically live in yoga pants. I wear them for two days before throwing them in the laundry pile.
Sweatshirts and Fleeces: I’ll wear sweatshirts and fleeces for a few days before washing them unless they get dirty.
Wear It Once: The things I’ll only wear once are underwear, camisoles, t-shirts, casual cotton tops, and sweaters. Those all go straight into the laundry basket.
Blankets: I wash the blankets on our bed and our comfy couch blankets about every three months.
I found a pin on on how often to wash things for a second opinion. Obviously, I don’t agree with everything on the image but it’s interesting.
Don’t Wash What’s Not Dirty
To do less laundry, you need to stop washing what’s not dirty. To be successful, I think it helps to have some systems in place.
You’ll throw a towel in the dirty laundry instead of reusing it if you don’t know which towel is yours or it’s still damp from the day before.
You’ll have to dig through piles of dirty laundry to find the pants you were going to wear again and they’ll probably be super wrinkly because you didn’t have a good place for them.
Or, you’ll have piles of clothes on your floor because they’re not quite dirty enough for the laundry basket, but not quite clean enough for the closet.
Hang Towels to Dry and Reuse
To reuse bath towels, we make sure they have a good place to dry fully before the next use. No one likes getting out of the shower and using a damp towel. We also make sure we know which towel is ours. If I’m not sure if a towel is mine, I’ll probably just grab a new one.
In our old house, we had plenty of towel racks in the bathroom. We had a mini-conference to decide which towel rack belonged to who so that we never mixed up towels.
In our apartment, the bathroom is tiny so we keep our towels in our bedroom. We have a blanket rack that I’ll talk about later, and we’ve each got a bar of that for our bath towels to dry on now.
Another great idea is to designate a specific color of towel to each person. This would be great for a family with multiple kids. Let each kid pick out what color towel they want and buy each person two or three of their color. Then they’re responsible for making sure they hang their towel up and you can tell who left theirs on the floor.
I will add, that I think towels dry much better on a rack/bar instead of a hook. If you’re trying to figure out a system, having a towel bar or rack is definitely ideal.
Use a Blanket Rack
We have a blanket rack that we rarely put blankets on. We use it for clothes that are in that weird in between stage of not being clean and not being quite dirty.
In the morning I hang my pajama pants on it so that I can wear them again the next night. If Austin wears shorts and a t shirt for a few hours after work, he puts them on the blanket rack so that he can wear them again. You get the idea.
It’s super handy because clothes are either clean and put away, dirty and in the laundry basket, or on the rack to be worn again. No clothes on the floor which makes me happy!
Like I mentioned before, we’re also using our blanket rack to dry our bath towels on as well right now. Sometimes, when I pick my clothes out for the next day I’ll drape them on the rack too. Basically, it’s a super handy piece of furniture. This blanket rack looks really similar to the one we have.
This might seems pretty obvious, but the last tip for doing less laundry is to have less laundry (aka less clothing).
I remember as a kid I would try on five outfits and then throw it all in the laundry even though I’d worn each thing for a few minutes. Haha, no wonder laundry was out of hand.
Right now Austin only has a few pairs of dress pants and he needs to wear them to work everyday, so you better believe we don’t throw them in the wash unless they need to be washed.
We do laundry once a week unless there’s a very good reason to do a spare load, so if we throw things in the laundry basket willy-nilly, we might run out of clothes before laundry day!
When you have less, you’re much more thoughtful and careful with what you do have.
⇒Do you get overwhelmed by laundry? How often do you wash your sheets or towels?
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