When it comes to dreaded chores, laundry tops the list for many people. It’s not particularly hard, but the sheer volume (especially if you have kids) can get overwhelming. Plus, it’s pretty much essential, right up there with washing dishes.
If you skip washing the floor, it’s going to get dirty and gross, but you can carry on with life. But if you let your laundry pile up, you’ll literally have nothing to wear.
Like so many things, if you can find a way to make laundry more manageable, you’ll resent it less and simplify your life. These nine laundry hacks are the answer.
1. Buy Separate Baskets for Clean and Dirty Laundry
You probably think you only need one laundry basket. Throw the dirty laundry in, carry it to the laundry room, and toss the clothes in the washer. When they’re clean and dry, pop them in the same basket and take them to your closet. Right?
Wrong! This is inefficient and kind of unhygienic.
From a hygiene perspective, you’re throwing freshly washed laundry in the same basket that contained your dirty laundry just hours ago. If you had your office attire in it, maybe this isn’t terribly concerning.
But what else do you indiscriminately throw in that basket? Wet towels? Your toddler’s spaghetti-crusted shirt from lunch? I’m betting you’d rather keep that away from your freshly laundered clothes and bedding, right?
Having separate laundry baskets solves this problem and makes it much easier to stay organized. I recommend using a different color for each, so there’s no confusion about whether the contents are clean or dirty.
Try these highly-rated and attractive collapsible laundry baskets, available in multiple colors.
- Related article: 8 Habits of People Who Always Have Tidy Homes
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2. Stick to One Kind of Sock
Do you have a pile of odd socks hanging out in your dresser, unworn, because you can’t find the matches? Few things are more annoying. The solution is so easy you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it sooner: Buy multiple pairs of the same sock, in the same color, and always buy that sock from now on.
Okay, fine, you can have a couple of pairs of “special” socks if you must, but buy a bunch of the same socks for everyday wear, and you’ll never deal with odd socks again.
Basic black socks like these are my go-to. For men, these Hanes crew socks are a well-loved and versatile choice. And, for those guys who don’t like socks hugging your thighs, check out these low-cut socks.
3. Prevent a Messy Laundry Detergent Bottle with This Hack
Are you sick of laundry detergent dripping down the side of the bottle, leaving a sticky, unsightly mess? Instead of grabbing a paper towel to wipe it away, use a piece of clothing you’re about to toss in the washer. That way, you don’t waste paper towels or laundry detergent.
- Related article: 21 Cleaning Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
4. Speed Up the Dry Cycle by Tossing in a Dry Towel
If you’re in a hurry for your clothes to dry, toss a dry towel in with them. It helps absorb the water and speed up the drying process. Don’t believe me? Give it a try! And, if you want to dry those close just a little faster, remove the towel after about 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Throw Wrinkly Clothes in The Dryer With a Wet Hand Towel to Banish Wrinkles
I absolutely detest ironing. Not only is it a total pain, but it can also be terrible for your clothes. Of course, you can avoid wrinkles by hanging up your clothes when you take them out of the dryer. The problem is that most of us don’t do that because we’re busy living life and aren’t usually waiting anxiously by the dryer.
So, what do you do when the dress shirt you need is a crumpled mess, and you have just enough time to jump in the shower and grab a quick breakfast before you head out the door?
Throw your shirt in the dryer with a wet hand towel for 15 minutes while you get ready. The combination of heat and water produces steam that will smooth out the wrinkles. This works surprisingly well, as long as you don’t use the cool setting.
Just how far can you take this? Tossing a few wrinkly items in with a wet towel is fair game. Don’t overload the dryer, though, or the results will be less impressive.
6. Attack Food Stains with a Quality Laundry Stain Remover
I find there are two types of people in the world when it comes to laundry: Those who own exactly one product (laundry detergent) and those who try everything.
I’m not saying you need to shell out money for every product whose ad catches your eye, but there are a few essentials worth the investment.
A quality stain remover is an especially good buy because it saves clothes that would otherwise be ruined by stains that make them unwearable outside the house. A high-performing product can even save clothes from monster stains caused by tomato sauce, blueberries, or red wine. Just spray the dirty spot and then toss the clothes in the wash — easy!
It might look pricey upfront, but if it helps your clothes last longer, it’ll save you money in the long run.
Shout Advanced Stain Remover is an excellent choice for stubborn stains — it even comes with a scrubber brush.
7. Make Grease Stains a Thing of the Past
It used to be if a shirt or pair of pants had a grease stain, then the only option you had was to throw the article of clothing out. But, thankfully, you have a solution to eliminating the grease stain in most instances. You might even have the answer to these dreadful stains in your kitchen right now.
The secret? Dawn Platinum Dishwashing Liquid. Just put a drop or two on the grease stain, rub it in, and toss the shirt or pants in the hamper until the next time you do laundry. You will be amazed at how well the Dawn laundry hack works.
8. Invest in a Proper Folding Drying Rack
If you’re like most people, you own some clothing that should be hung to dry. And, like most people, you probably ignore those instructions and throw those clothes in the dryer along with everything else.
Granted, tossing the clothes into the dryer is undeniably easier, but in most cases, it shortens the life of your clothes. The problem is that you don’t really have anywhere to hang clothes. Even if you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor clothesline, that’s too weather-dependent to be reliable. You are forced to follow the forecast instead of when you have free time.
When you invest in a proper folding dryer rack, you make it 100 times easier to hang your clothes to dry. And, when something is more manageable, you’re way more likely to do it.
Just like the stain remover, you will have an up-front cost, but you save money because your clothes will last longer. Unlike the stain remover, a sturdy, foldable drying rack will last forever. Plus, it folds up for easy storage so that it won’t take up valuable space in your home.
- Related article: Minimalist Living 101: Easy tips for Beginners
9. Master Your Washing Machine’s Fancy Features
Be honest: Do you use all your washing machine’s features? Do you even know all its tricks?
If you answered, “No,” be assured you are not alone. Most people get a new washer, glance at the instruction manual long enough to figure out how to start a wash cycle, and never look at it again.
I challenge you to sit down with the manual and learn what your washer can do. You might be surprised at how some features can take your laundry game to the next level.
For example, some machines come with a sanitize setting, a stain remover feature, or an ultra-quick cycle.
What might you be missing?
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Want More Life Hacks? Check these out…
- 7 Hacks to Make Your Home Look Expensive on the Cheap
- 21 Habits of Busy Women Who Always Have Clean Homes
- 15 Cheap Kitchen Organization Tips You Need to Try!
Need Help Saving Money? Read these next…
- 5 Things Frugal People Never Buy
- 6 Habits of People Who Never Overspend (you should copy)
- 43 Hacks to Live on One Income and Never be Poor
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Sandra Parsons is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, travel, and health & psychology. Her work has been featured on sites like Club Thrifty, MoneyTips, and Credit Knocks. She also freelances for Wooster Media Group LLC. Sandra lives in Eastern Canada with her husband and son.