Laundry: Tips for Saving Time and Money

Laundry, the oft-hated chore, doesn’t have to be the worst thing ever. Here’s what I do to save time and money on mine.

Saving Time and Space

  1. Have a set laundry day or days. My laundry days are Tuesday and Friday. On Tuesday, I get all the colors done, and on Friday, I wash everything. That usually means two loads on Tuesday and two to three on Friday. It makes sense to do at least two loads from start to finish because you save an hour with the overlap in time where one is washing and one is drying. Also, full loads are more energy-efficient than several smaller ones.
  2. Going along with #1, have your kids (or other family members you do laundry for) clean their rooms so you don’t miss any laundry and find a whole basket’s worth the day after it’s done. (This has never happened to me. *insert sarcasm*)
  3. Fold it as soon as it’s dry and put it away when it’s all folded for the day. Doing two loads first thing in the morning usually means it’s all done by naptime (1:00). I fold it immediately so nothing gets too wrinkled, and I shut my bedroom door so no small child can jump on the bed and knock everything on the floor. (It’s been known to happen.)
  4. Tip for folding: If you fold items into thirds and then put them vertically into the dresser, it saves a TON of space! Some of my kids can share dressers, thanks to this method.
laundry

Saving Money

  1. Use less detergent, and buy it in bulk. I once tried the laundry detergent recipe floating around Pinterest, but I figured out that it would only save me $1.20 a year. I buy the biggest bucket of detergent from Walmart (Sun brand) and use 1/3 of a scoop per load. When the bucket is empty, I get a free bucket to reuse for when my kids pull weeds.
  2. Keep it simple. The only other laundry item I use it Shout (or the off brand) that I buy in a refillable container. I made my own once, and it worked, but it clogged up my spray bottle and got on my nerves. I never use dryer sheets, fabric softener, or other other fancy stuff.
  3. Wash with cold water instead of warm or hot. Heating water takes up quite a bit of energy, and I haven’t found it to make a huge difference in how clean my clothes get.
  4. Spin the washer twice. An extra spin cycle takes less energy (and money) than 30 more minutes in the dryer.
  5. Use dryer balls. I recommend having at least four. They help the clothes separate and get better air flow. Bonus: You can dry pillows without them getting bunched up at one end.
  6. Keep the lint trap clean. Everyone knows about the little screen you pull out of the dryer after each load. If it holds water, scrub it with a toothbrush to remove any buildup. I’ve never had this problem since I don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets, which tend to leave residue.
  7. Air dry things instead of using the dryer. I don’t like how air-dried clothes feel, but I occasionally hang things up when they’re not quite dry and the rest of the load is.

Conclusion

Saving on laundry, as with many things, means consistency in the small things with occasional changes to the big things. For more information on saving on your laundry, check this out.

Note: Something I haven’t done yet is worry about getting a newer, fancier washing machine or dryer. Though my 20-year-old set has needed some repairs, they are still going strong, so I don’t see a reason to replace them any time soon. According to the website I posted in the last paragraph, I’d save about $80 on my laundry every year if I got a front-loading washing machine, but I’m not convinced that it would be worth it once I factor in the cost of the machine. The cheapest machine from Lowe’s currently costs $600 on sale, so it would take 7 1/2 years to recoup that cost.

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