Does your laundry schedule have you doing the laundry every day?
If your answer is yes (or even almost), it’s time to STOP wasting your valuable time and try a once-a-week laundry schedule instead!
It really is possible!
I’ve done clothes laundry ONCE a WEEK for SEVEN PEOPLE for over three years now.
Sometimes people think I’m crazy when I say that switching up the laundry routine changed my life – but as a mom, you know what I’m talking about, right?!
First, let’s talk about the bane of every mother’s existence everywhere.
We find it lurking in pile after stinky pile, overtaking our laundry rooms, and spilling out into the living room, taking up residence in the bedrooms and spreading faster than frosting on a still-cooling birthday cake.
According to The Spruce, the average American family does 8-10 loads of laundry a week, and each load takes an average of one hour and 27 minutes to complete.
Without overlapping the loads, that’s 12 hours of laundry every week!
(But just in case you’re wondering, that’s NOTHING compared to how much laundry is done at Disney World every day, where they wash an astounding 285,000 pounds of clothes every single day.).
But I digress.
Free Printable Laundry Schedule
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You’ll also get a free list of homemade cleaners and weekly and daily cleaning schedules! Click right here or on the image below to get your free laundry tips!
Why I Needed a Laundry Schedule
I knew I needed a laundry plan on the day that my daughter chose to wear her hooded towel until lunch because she had no clean underwear.
Also, I was so blasted tired of the laundry basket full of clean clothes mocking me every time I walked past it.
What did it say, you ask? Here’s a sampling that might sound familiar:
- “Jen, you’re a total mess. Why can’t you even find 10 minutes to fold these clothes?”
- “Dang, lady. If you had your life together you would have folded me two days ago.”
- “Are you just waiting for these clothes to fold themselves? Not gonna happen.”
Those days of desperately wishing for the Laundry Fairy to show up were oh so real.
It wasn’t long after baby number 5 that I realized if I could come up with and stick to a laundry schedule, my life would get so. much. better.
Another thing that is making my life better lately is this adorable and cozy tee from Simply Sage Market! The slogan couldn’t be more perfect: “I move mountains … of laundry that is!”
Benefits of Time Blocking
Have you ever heard about time blocking?
It’s the idea that we do specific things that correlate with each other at the same time to save mental energy and streamline our lives.
Take meal prepping for example.
Many mamas swear by a once-a-week meal prepping session where they make all of their meals for the week in one several-hour jam session in the kitchen.
They cook all their meat, prep noodles, soups, casseroles, and chop veggies in one go. They make one huge mess in the kitchen instead of 5 or 6 separate little messes.
I decided to try this time blocking idea with laundry and only do clothes laundry once a week.
Long story short: It’s been amazing. And I’m never going back.
Here’s how you can make the switch to a once-a-week laundry schedule too:
How to switch to a once-a-week laundry schedule:
Here’s what it looks like:
Step 1. Choose a laundry day
You want to dedicate the same day to do the laundry every week, if at all possible.
It’s best to choose the day that you are home the most.
For me this day is Friday.
I don’t schedule a lot of things outside of the house, especially in the morning. No appointments, no playdates, no grocery shopping, no field trips.
Whatever day you choose, make your schedule as free as possible.
Step 2: Gather all the clothes laundry in one place
You may consider having your family deliver all of their laundry to the washing machine and dryer area the night before laundry day.
(You could also have your kids go through their pockets and turn everything right side out so all the clothes will be waiting for you like obedient laundry children the next morning! How cool would that be?!)
If you are looking for lightweight laundry hampers that kids can carry or push, check out these super inexpensive laundry hampers that I love! They are collapsible, fit a ton of clothes, and come in a pack of 2.
Step 3: Sort
Now you may have a tried and true method for sorting laundry that you swear by. If you do, stick with it!
Here are the 5 different piles that I sort our clothes into every week:
- darks for my husband and I
- whites and lights for everyone
- colors for my 2 girls
- pants, underwear, and socks for my 3 boys
- shirts and pajamas for the boys
However you choose to sort, be sure to move as quickly as possible!
I sort mine straight onto the laundry room floor and go through all the pockets and pull everything right side out (except for jeans, which I wash inside out).
Stopping the laundry flow to sort clothes every time you switch the loads is a BIG time waster.
Try sorting everything in one 15-20 minute chunk first thing in the morning.
Now, you may be wondering about the color sorting, or lack thereof.
Other than setting aside the whites and the super lights (like blush, cream, and powder blue), it hasn’t ever been a problem for me to wash everything together.
Step 4: Start the wash (and set the chime!)
Over the past few months, I’ve been using Tru Earth eco-friendly laundry strips. I can’t even tell you how much I loooveeee them!
They are free of added dyes, parabens, phosphates, and chlorine bleach, which makes them safe for your whole family AND the environment.
And because they come in strip form – they are super compact and take up virtually no space at all in your laundry room!
(What mom couldn’t use a little extra space in her cupboards, am I right?)
Once you get the washing machine going, be sure to set the chime or a timer for when it is done!
Step 5: Switch loads ASAP
As soon as you hear the timer or chime on your washing machine, try to get yourself to the laundry room to switch it over to the dryer ASAP.
Once you have clean clothes fresh from the dryer, put them in fun laundry baskets like these until you can fold them.
Bonus: these laundry baskets are collapsible and come in nearly every color of the rainbow! Check them out!
Keep repeating this process until you’ve got all of your clothes washed and dried.
(I’m such a nerd that I try to race myself every week to see if I can get through all 5 loads faster than I did the week before.)
And just to prove my nerdiness a bit further, I try to maintain super positive vibes flowing from me toward my washing machine.
I mean, I could have to use a washboard and the whole plunge and scrub method that Tom Cruise taught Nicole Kidman in Far and Away.
Hmmm … actually if Tom Cruise would come and teach me how to properly plunge and scrub, maybe I don’t need that washing machine so much anyway.
Step 6: Fold as you go
This is a big one!
Every time a load completes in the dryer, pull it out, put in a colorful laundry basket like this and drag it to wherever you are.
And just start folding. Don’t wait!
Here are some possible activities you can do while you fold:
- read aloud to your kids
- tell them a story
- play a board game
- listen to an audiobook
- watch a show or a movie
- FaceTime with family
- carry out the kids’ bedtime routine
And be sure to remind yourself as you’re folding that you are giving yourself 6 clothes-folding-free days.
As you fold, put the clothes back into the basket and deliver them to the room where they belong.
Better yet, you could have your kids “drive” the baskets to the proper room.
Step 7: Put it away
At the end of the day, put it all away. Don’t let yourself only do 80% of the work, okay?!
Kids over the age of 7 or 8 are capable of putting away their own laundry (yes, this includes your husband too! haha!).
Younger kids may need a little help, but you can have them start putting away their socks when they’re very young.
Once the laundry is folded and put away, don’t touch it again until you sort it the next Friday morning.
Voila! You can totally cut down to a once-a-week family laundry schedule!
Final thoughts on a simplified laundry schedule
A few more things have made this once-a-week laundry routine work like a dream for me.
-Involve your kids
At least one time on laundry day, I ask my older kids to transfer the laundry and start the next load.
If they’re capable of operating an iPad with expert precision, they sure as heck can start a washing machine.
-Set aside a day just for sheets and towels
Choose one other day to do sheets and towels laundry.
For me, it’s Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, I have my kids strip down their beds and bring me their sheets and pillowcases.
And lest you be impressed, I only do one kids’ room a week and they switch off weeks. So yes, they go a full two weeks without having their sheets cleaned.
(But that’s WAY shorter than it was before I started my bomb dot com laundry system!)
I am a huge fan of Tru Earth laundry strips for our sheets and towels too! The linen-scented ones are absolutely divine for towels and sheets.
When sheets are done, they go straight back on their beds. No need to fold sheets EVER.
The towels are one or two quick loads after sheets are done. (And remember, folding towels goes so much more quickly than folding clothes!)
-Make sure your kids own clothes for at least 8 days
This means at least 8 pairs of underwear and socks and enough pants and shirts to make it that long.
Honestly, most kids own WAYYY more than that.
Let your family know what day will be your laundry day and that they’ll need to plan accordingly.
The ONLY time you may need to do an extra load would be if someone wets the bed or gets sick during the night. (Which hopefully is never, but let’s be real!)
-Focus on gaining 6 clothes-laundry-FREE days per week
Sure, doing all of the clothes laundry in one day is a lot of work, but when you get it done, it’s done for 6 whole days!
You won’t even need to look at the hampers, and you’ll be free from that mocking voice of the full laundry basket!
Related articles about clothes and productivity:
Let me know if you want to try a once-a-week laundry system!