Works For Me: Scheduling Laundry

The last few months, I’ve been trying out a new way to manage my laundry, and it’s working really well for me.

And it’s a good thing, because my laundry?  It needed managing. Before, I was letting it all pile up, and then, overwhelmed and stressed, I’d feel like I needed a marthon laundry day to catch up on it all.  It was a constant battle.

Instead, I’ve made out a schedule for myself.  I’ve assigned each day one or two specific loads of laundry that need to be done that day.  Wednesday, for example, is towels and Adam’s laundry (which he does himself, but a fair bit of supervision is required).  Thursdays is for mine and Hubs’ whites and lights.

Each day I try to get only those couple of loads done.  I don’t worry about trying to have a moment when all the laundry in the house is finished (does such a thing even exist?), I simply concentrate on each day’s particular “assignment”.  The best part is that when (not if) I get behind, I only have to catch up to that particular day of the week, which is much less overwhelming than trying to launder everything.  I keep a copy of the schedule taped to the washer, and another copy to my upstairs bathroom mirror, to remind me each morning to get that load downstairs and started at the beginning of the day.

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85 thoughts on “Works For Me: Scheduling Laundry

  1. Blue Castle says:

    Now this, I need to do. I’m really good at letting the laundry go for, oh, maybe a week. Then it’s a marathon session, and one washer just isn’t enough.
    Thank you for the great idea. 🙂

  2. Kirsty says:

    I love this. So simple but so smart. I too suffer from the need to have it all caught up on one day, and no, such a thing is not possible unless everyone stands around naked for a few hours so you can enjoy being all.caught.up. I’m still trying to accept this. I love the idea of having the sense of accomplishment without the marathon. Brilliant 🙂

  3. Robin ~ PENSIEVE says:

    Ugh…laundry…isn’t that a four-letter word, too? For some reason, this is one chore I haven’t shared with my children (the folding and putting away, yes; the washing, no). Maybe if I scheduled it similarly, I might be more willing.
    What’s funny (to me) is otherwise, I’m not a huge micro-manager with how well my kids handle their responsibilities. Laundry? I’m too darn picky.
    I’ll take any ideas I can, though, to make it easier! Thanks, Shannon :).

  4. Stacy says:

    Great idea for scheduling laundry. I often get on a roll and want to finish it ALL. But then I can’t seem to put it all away.
    I like the scheduling idea…or at the very least sticking with one to two loads in a day and then stopping 🙂

  5. Raise Them Up says:

    Laundry has got to be the most thankless job of motherhood. Do two loads today, and the family promptly replaces the pile so you have something to do tomorrow. At least it’s great job security!
    Thanks for the scheduling tip! Maybe it will free me from constantly looking for the floor!

  6. Daiquiri says:

    Hey, good idea! I try to just do one (gigantic) load a day, but always seem to get behind. Maybe if I had a specific schedule…
    My main problem is that I don’t mind getting it started and eventually transferred to the dryer. I really don’t even mind folding it all that much. But putting it away? Completely different ball game. It seems someone is always running to the laundry room in their undies looking for some clean pants!
    Thanks for the idea 🙂

  7. Grammy says:

    Hi, This is my first time linking here. I had those problems with laundry. And used a 3 compartment hamper. I also made my kids and hubby responsible for there own laundry. As I could not get up and down the steps so easy. I had and area made up stairs for laundry and all was well with the world. I have no basement here at this house. And it is just me and hubby now. So I do all laundry. I just love main floor laundry area. Would never do without it again.

  8. Ashleigh (Heart and Home) says:

    I do the same thing with the normal housework–have a few things a day to do so I don’t end up trying to do it all in one day. Laundry is one day for now, being that we don’t yet generate more than can usually be done in one day. But it helps big time!!

  9. Reading Rosie says:

    Since I am a SAHM I enjoy doing laundry. I sort all my laundry into loads every monday evening. I will usually have ten loads. First think on Tuesday I put the first load in, do a few chores, then throw them into the dryer, etc. I usually finish up the ten loads by Wednesday and have everything put away. I may iron a few things on Thursday. But that is it. No more laundry until the next Tuesday. I can’t bare to face laundry everyday. This works best for me.

  10. kristine says:

    Hi shannon…
    Thank you very much for your posts and your Meme.
    It’s an awesome way to meet other ppl in the blogosphere and learn a few new tips…
    You’re Wonderful!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Ok, I gotta ask… Are there people out there using a scrub board or what? Laundry is such a nonevent at our house. Saturday is sheet day, but aside from that, when someone is near the washing machine they peek inside to see if it needs to be changed. If it does, they do it. If it’s empty they put in a load and announce that in the kitchen, where all the people hang out, so everyone knows to check it later. If one forgets to put ones favorite whatever into one of the hampers- white and not white-that something doesn’t get washed. There are also frequent service announcements regarding the need for a particular item to be washed ASAP and for any number of items to be line dried. It works out somehow… When it’s time to change, if there’s a load in the dryer they fold it, take the stuff that belongs to them plus one other stack and let the other people know there are clean clothes on the ironing board. That’s what an ironing board’s for, right? Ok, I know, I know… Seriously, if someone wants something to be ironed, they do it or ask a parent, both of whom practice the fine art of ironing. Laundry is a living, breathing thing. Don’t make it wait:)

  12. Chelsey @ Brown Eyed Basics says:

    I’m not a mom yet, but I just moved back home to live with my family after living on my own for four years. Laundry was never an issue, because I just did all my laundry every two weeks (maybe 2-3 loads). Now that I’m back at home, I see why my mom always used to complain about the laundry. My parents were out of town last weekend and I did all the laundry in the house, which was about six loads. I was proud of myself, but then two days later, all the hampers were full!
    All that to say, I really admire moms who even try to keep their laundry under control. You have this 22-year-old’s respect.

  13. Saucy Momma says:

    My laundry woes are not in the starting, but in the finishing! I actually love to sort the colors, put the fresh smelling detergent in the big basin and start up a load. I don’t even mind transferring the clean, wet clothes to the dryer. But please.don’!!! If anyone ever invents a strategy for folding and delivering please share the good news!

  14. Photoqueen says:

    Scheduling laundry is a good idea. My biggest problem with laundry (besides the fact that it’s never done and seems to multiply on its own!) is putting away the clean stuff. I have the annoying habit of letting it pile up on top of the dryer until it’s a leaning tower of clothes…actually, it’s only annoying to my husband. I don’t mind seeing how tall a tower we can build! 🙂

  15. jodi @ bpr says:

    I’ve been doing similarly for awhile now and it makes such a difference! There are only 3 of us, so I do the majority of our washing on Monday (usually 3 loads) and then put up the things that needed to hang dry on Tues – it’s so nice not to run out of undies midweek! 🙂 If laundry seems to be piling up more than normal, I’ll do an extra load Thurs/Fri – but so far, it’s really worked for us!

  16. Lori says:

    Good idea – I don’t have anything so defined, but my plan is always to a load or two a day and stay on top of it. Not always the case, but that is what I attempt each week.

  17. Shannon says:

    Fabulous tip! I always do one load every day, but I don’t have them designated and that would really help me. I put a load in the washing machine at night, and then set my timer for 6:00 a.m. – when I get up I have a load all finished and ready to go on the clothes line (or in the dryer in the winter).

  18. katherine from senor elefante says:

    you know, i wanted to try that a couple years ago, but hubs was mostly in charge of the laundry at that time and wasn’t so interested in my “schedule” (ironically, because he is the more scheduled of the two of us!).
    so, the laundry schedule never happened. now that i’m home more, i’m doing more of the laundry and definitely feeling overwhelmed (i wash cloth diapers too, though). a schedule sounds like the perfect solution!

  19. Linda says:

    I’ve been thinking about doing this and loosely made a schedule in my mind. I need to move to the next step of writing it down and putting it where I will be reminded. Thanks for the tip!

  20. Michelle says:

    Great idea! I have been trying something similar…on a smaller scale. I just tell myself to do 1-2 loads a day, but I never thought of a schedule. I may just try it!

  21. Nichole says:

    Laundry has become a MAJOR source of stress for me lately. We moved a few months ago, and the place we’re renting now didn’t come with a washer and dryer. We were able to buy a washer when we first moved in, but the dryer is on hold until we have the cash for it. Which is going to be awhile. Meanwhile, the piles of laundry are growing and growing while the one load a day I’m able to do s.l.o.w.l.y. dries on the drying rack. And I’ve started clenching my jaw in my sleep again. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

  22. MamaHenClucks says:

    That’s how my mom used to do laundry. I do it all on Monday. If it doesn’t get done then, well, so be it. Or at least that’s what I tell myself! I’m just happy the kids are finally putting their own away!

  23. Tami says:

    Great plan, Shannon! We have to schedule our laundry daily, too. The only day off we have from it is Sunday. Of course, if we have sickies in the house, we do laundry on Sundays, too.

  24. Stephanie says:

    That’s how I do my laundry, too. I don’t have a specific schedule for each day, but I bring it down to the laundry room, sort it, and then depending on what we need the most, I decide on one or two loads to do each weekday. And that’s it. If I’m feeling up to it, I toss in an extra one, but if I can only manage the one I started, then that’s fine. I find I keep on top of it way better than I did when I tried to do it all in one day.

  25. SheilaG says:

    Great idea! I just put the laundry on every morning at exactly the same time, and do one load a day. It seems to work fine.
    Except when you run out of laundry soap, as I have. I dumped the remains of three jugs of detergent into the washer today and still barely had enough. And I have no plans to go grocery shopping for a while.
    So next time I’m going to buy a bigger jug!
    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  26. hogphan says:

    A lady used to work in my office and had a teenage son. One September he went off to college and she came shortly after that and announced to us all: “I saw something in my house today I haven’t seen in 18 years!” We all were interested to hear what she had seen and she told us: “the bottom of my laundry basket!”

  27. Sarah says:

    This has been my system for the last five years, and it works great. And the best part is, I rarely have to do laundry on the weekend!

  28. Michelle- says:

    You mean you have a schedule??? I just do laundry 24/7. No joke. First thing I check when I wake up. Change it after breakfast. Again after lunch, etc… Last thing I do before I go to bed. I’d never stay ahead of it otherwise.

  29. jen says:

    I do laundry on Monday (everything), Tuesday (sheets only), and Thursday (everything again). So far, it seems to work. Now…folding and putting away is still a pain in the neck, but hey, it’s clean! LOL

  30. Shani Dutton says:

    There are some days that I look at my pile of ever mounting laundry and I get crazy urges to throw away all my childrens clothing except for an outfit for each day of the week! Alas this wardrobe simplicity never comes to pass because when it comes right down to it I’m addicted to my Childrens clothing. I worked hard to find those good deals and the pants with the buttons on the inseam so that they’ed fit my string bean boys.

  31. Josie says:

    A friend of mine said her house could never be totally, completely clean because she wore clothes to clean. Even if everything else was done, she would still have dirty clothes in the evening. Of course, I’ve never come close to having it all done! 🙂

  32. Anna says:

    I really dislike laundry… and perhaps I should try a schedule. I will try anything to help with laundry. It is the bane of my existence!
    This is my first time trying out the Works for Me Wednesday… lets hope I did it right!

  33. Steph at the Red Clay Diaries says:

    Love this. I haven’t tried scheduling, but I think I will. I’ve been trying to do “only” one or two loads a day. I like having specific types on any given day.
    I might actually keep up with sports uniforms and socks that way. 😉

  34. Barbara Frank says:

    I know what you mean about this being a great system; it’s kept my sanity for many years now. But the best thing I ever did was teach my kids to do their own wash at age 9 or 10. When they went off on their own, they had to teach their friends how to do laundry because no one else knew! And my today ddil thanks me because my son has no problem doing wash with her…or surprising her by doing it on the weekend himself 🙂

  35. Condo Blues says:

    I don’t have a specific day I do laundry either, I do it when one of the three laundry baskets I have for darks, whites, or colors has a full load’s worth of clothes in it. I also keep an extra bottle of stain treater next to the laundry baskets, so I can pretreat stains on my clothes before they hit the basket. Otherwise I’d never do it.
    Now if only I could teach my husband the difference between dark clothes and brightly colored ones, I’d be in buisness. Oh, and yes, I already tried labling the baskets. It didn’t work except for the whites.

  36. Melissa says:

    That’s a great idea! I’m still very much in the college mode of doing laundry… keep it all piled in the hamper until I absolutely have nothing left to wear of some essential item, and then spend a whole afternoon and night doing it. Of course, it helped living in a dorm with a ton of washer, so I could do 3 loads at a time. Even now, my apartment building has 2 washers which are never occupied, so I can still get away with it.
    Problem is, laundry is doubling next week (getting married!). Also, this method means things like linens and towels get neglected, because there usually isn’t room for them once I’ve stuffed all of the shirts that I own into a washer. I think I’ll have to try your way.

  37. Rebeckah says:

    I forgot to put in my little summary. Whoops! All my laundry problems were solved when we got a washing machine on the second floor : ). Oh, and I decided to mix whites and colors and everything else, and just hope for the best. I can’t be separating. That’s WAY too stressful for me : )!

  38. Carol Anne says:

    I do this too. Another thing that helps is that we sort as we take the clothes off. I have the wire and net collapsible hampers. I have signs on each one that my mom made for me. There is one for whites, darks, reds and colors. I have a separate hamper for towels. I hope to get back to the schedule, but for now, I just grab the hamper that is the fullest and get it in the wash in the AM when the kids are eating. Now, if only I could find an efficient way to get the folding done!

  39. Diane says:

    I too have a hard time with laundry. Not neccessarily getting it done but getting it folded and put away. So my question for you is do you do that one load then fold it right away and put it away too?????????

  40. Kalisha says:

    Great! I wish I could do a load of laundry everyday. I always have to play catch up at least once a week because I don’t have a washer/dryer in my house. But recently I took all my backed up loads and did them at the laundry mat so now I am almost caught up. You’re right–you can never be totally caught up. But it’s nice to have the laundry done.

  41. laura says:

    Thanks for the great post. I am totally overwhelmed by laundry, and then get so out of sorts when I can’t find anything to wear — ever. I just made my schedule, and it’s going on the wall!

  42. Bailey's Leaf says:

    My laundry discipline method has been my pledge to line dry all but towels. Line drying takes commitment and needs a day or two on the inside line. I’ve only been at it for about 6 weeks, but I’ve already seen a 30.00 drop in my electric bill. Let me tell you what I do.
    If they day is predicted to be sunny, I’ll get moving, wash and hang a load or two outside. In Ohio, it is warm but notsomuch that laundry is dry lickedy-split. I’ll leave it out all day.
    When it is damp, rainy, cold or soon-to-be-snowing, I’ll hang the laundry on the downstairs lines. It’ll take sometimes overnight or a few days depending.
    A tip mom gave me? Tumble the clothes for 5 minutes in the dryer before hanging. I admit that the only draw back was some stiffness (and I don’t use softener because of allergies in the family.) You know? It works!
    I get one dryer load a week, which I reserve for towels. I haven’t found the trick to line drying towels without them feeling like I was rubbing very coarse sandpaper against my wet skin. Ugh!

  43. SHOE says:

    With 6 people living in my house, and 4 are under 9, laundry is a never ending battle. I have a plan similar to yours, except, I just plan on doing 2 loads a day, except for weekends. The only issue with that is when I have to do the sheets, then I must add another load to a day. I have found the 2 loads a day is just enough to keep ahead, and not let it back up. Since I hang to clothes out when the weather is nice, 2 loads are just enough to let them dry during the day. I am done washing by 9am, and they hang all day until 4pm.

  44. Kristine says:

    Took your suggestion, and it’s working wonderfully. I crave all the laundry to be done at once, but it’s a good feeling to stay “on top of it” more than once a week!!

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