I stood there staring.
In front of me, my dirty clothes were piling up on top of my hamper because there was no more room in it for any more clothes.
I hope not but if you landed on this page, chances are, you’re having the same problem I used to have.
I said used to.
Because, although I actually enjoy doing the laundry, I would often put it off because I wanted to do something else first and because what happens after the washing was daunting me: I didn’t want to hang it, iron it, fold it, etc. until I thought I had the time to. There is more to it than just the washing after all!
Anyway, I would always grab a fresh piece of clothing from my wardrobe until the pile in the bathroom was almost screaming for attention.
Then we had our first baby and about three or four months later, we moved house.
More storage space is not the solution.
When we moved house, my husband and I tried to figure out where we could install the huge wardrobe we had purchased second hand (for the purpose of storing all my stuff!). But our bedroom was just too small for it (it would’ve made it impossible to open the window beyond a few inches and it would’ve blocked part of the doorway). And I didn’t want that wardrobe anywhere else. I wanted our new home to have as little furniture as was possible.
Be a minimalist when it comes to clothes and linen.
Because I had been trying to downsize anyway, I decided that I only wanted my clothes to fit in a small set of drawers and that I just had to pick a handful of my favourites for the season. My husband was sceptical at first, but it’s worked out really well until now.
I now only have a handful of clothes (let’s be honest, we only ever wear the same stuff for a certain time anyway) and that works fine for me. My cupboard is not a mess anymore and my clothes don’t pile up (much) anymore either.
My husband doesn’t have many clothes either and does the same like I do and our baby follows suit.
When it comes to linen, I have only the essentials. I have three towels for drying hands in the bathroom. Three for drying hands in the kitchen and three towels for drying dishes in the kitchen. That’s it. I change them once or twice during the ten days interval between the washing and that’s okay (for me!).
We also have very few towels and wash cloths.
Wear the same things several times a week.
Because I only have about four or five favourite tops and a couple of sweaters I wear, I wear them several times during the week or ten days.
I’m European and over here, most people will wear their stuff at least twice before putting them to the wash. Many people will actually wear clothes more often than that if it passes the “smell test”. I usually wear mine at least 3 times (smell test usually fine :D). But it really depends on your activities, which leads me to the next point.
Change clothes during the day.
To make the most of my clothes, I have a sort of hierarchy for them.
- The ones that I don’t mind so much if they get stains or if they get smelly from the cooking.
- The ones that are dirtier than the others and have to be worn first.
- The ones that are still okay to wear a couple of times.
- The ones that are still clean.
The first I quickly change into before I start cooking or feeding the baby (ho hum). The second I would put on if I’m working out or going for a walk or some activity where I know I will probably sweat and “finish off” the top. The third I wear during normal activities and the fourth I save up for when I suddenly have to go somewhere or if we have an unannounced guest.
Changing tops is faster than a trip to the ladies’ room so, I honestly think it’s worth it, in order to avoid having too much laundry piling up too fast. After about a week or a little longer, I will usually wash all of them at once (they all fit into one load because there aren’t that many), and I’m good to go for the next week or ten days.
Have a laundry day.
I know this sounds ultra first half of the 20th century, but it’s honestly such a good idea. I don’t even wash every week, so I’ll usually have a laundry day or two about every ten days. I’ll do a load in the evening, leave it to dry over night (we don’t have a tumble dryer), do one early the next day and one later in the day (when the second load is almost dry) and that’s it.
Sure, I don’t have a pair of young boys running around getting dirty all day at the moment but until then, my system works fine for us and I hope that it will help some of you rethink how you plan your clothes wearing and laundry making.
Happy Wash Day!