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Useful Laundry Tips and Tricks for the Home

Updated on February 6, 2016
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Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.

Useful Laundry Tips

Save time and money with these helpful laundry tips.
Save time and money with these helpful laundry tips. | Source

How to Do Laundry

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, my laundry is never done in a day—or any day, that is. It seems like I wash a load, and then seconds later I turn around and the piles have mysteriously grown to taller heights. Where does this laundry come from? And it’s not just simple piles of clothes. Oh no. It’s twisted and mixed, unsorted and everywhere.

There are four of us in the household: two adults, two children. There shouldn’t be that much laundry! The sad fact is that the laundry piles will never shrink. The baby goes through two to three outfits a day, plus her bibs and burp cloths. My son has his own laundry basket he can fill in two days tops. My husband has his work clothes and his home clothes. I have my workout clothes and home clothes. Not to mention the towels, washcloths, sheets, pillow cases…

Here are some tips and ideas to make doing the laundry easier!

Pop-Up Mesh Laundry Hamper

Organizing Laundry

In efforts to reduce the amount of time I have to spend sorting the laundry, I instituted a system of organization. In each of the bedrooms, there are two laundry hampers: one for whites and one for darks. Before this, all clothing items would be in one hamper for me to sort later. Now, as the clothing is placed into a hamper, it is already sorted and ready for me to transport it downstairs.

I also have a hamper outside of our bathroom. This has been designated for towels, sheets and pillowcases only. Again, all of these items are pre-sorted for me. Most, if not all, of the towels etc. are darker colors, so no need to separate further. Point for me! Beat that, laundry demons!

Once the laundry is brought downstairs to our small laundry room area just outside of our kitchen, it is ready to be washed. No further sorting steps are needed. I have replacement hampers to go back into the bedrooms and outside of the bathroom.

Make or Buy Laundry Detergent?

Do you buy or make your own laundry detergent?

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Save Money on Laundry Detergent

Once upon a time, my husband and I were buying two different laundry detergents. When my son was born, we bought the special baby detergents for sensitive skin. As he grew older, we realized my son had super sensitive skin and would need the gentler, fragrance and dye free kinds of detergent on a regular basis for his clothes. We continued to buy two different kinds of detergent.

Do you know how expensive it can be to buy two different kinds of detergent? Well let me tell you—it’s expensive, like an easy $20-$40 dollars or more, depending on what brand/kind you purchase. In other words, it was pure craziness. We switched to store brands which saved us a bit, but we were still buying two different kinds.

My solution? We stopped buying the baby detergent and chose just one fragrance free/dye free hypoallergenic laundry detergent. We also compare the big brand names to the store brands to see which has the better deal (we can sometimes get a better price for a big brand name at a warehouse type store, like Sam’s Club).

And the clothes? Good and clean. Ah, yes, laundry demons, I win again!

There are homemade laundry detergent recipes out there that can save you even more money. For ideas, see the links to the right.

Laundry Trick!

Ever leave your clothes in the washer just a bit too long after the cycle has finished running? You open the lid to the washer and yuck: it smells like a pack of wild dogs has run through your clothes. This seems to happen most often when it is warm out (and when my husband does laundry, but I digress...). Why? Warm and wet conditions are great for bacteria and mold. Ew. You'll have to wash the clothes again, wasting water and detergent.

Don't let this happen to you! Get those clothes, towels, blankets, etc. out of the washer within an hour after the cycle is done.

If it does happen, rewash the clothes in a short cycle with a little baking soda or white vinegar. It removes the odor and is safe to use with all clothing.

Folding and Returning Clean Laundry

Once the clothes have been washed and dried, I fold (which I despise doing, but I digress…) and put the clothes according to owner and type of clothing. For instance, for my son I make piles of pajamas, pants, short sleeved shirts, long shirts, etc. When I bring them to his room, they are easily placed back into his dressers which are also organized according to item. Muuhahahaaa, laundry demons! You cannot defeat me!

Washing (and Losing) Socks

Don’t go there. I hate them with a passion unless they are warming my feet. (So I guess that’s one point for the laundry demons…sigh…).

Does anyone have their own solutions for socks? If yes then please share!

Long Story Short

1. Pre-sort clothes and other items according to color

2. Use a family friendly detergent that doesn’t break the bank

3. Fold and place in respective piles for easy return to owners

4. Rant about hating socks…

5. (In my case) breathe deeply and begin again (or just wait for tomorrow!)



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      three+1 3 years ago

      Oh to go back to the days of laundry for four... lol. I have three kids and one on the way. I get my younger two (ages 1 & 2) to help fold the wash clothes and help move the clothes from the washer to dryer. They love it and really like being "big helpers" now if I could just get to the point of being caught up.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 5 years ago from United States

      HoneyBB, too many socks, too little time, right? Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Helen Laxner 5 years ago from Illinois

      Helpful advice. I used to buy my son and I the same socks. I only bought two to three packages (about 18 pairs) and it cut down my sock anxiety by a kazillion! LOL! However, his feet have long since outgrown mine and I went back to having a sock box which is not something I would recommend to anyone. It sucks when you have to search through a whole laundry basket full of socks to match a pair. I am in the process of doing away with my sock box and my plan is to buy him 12 pairs of socks and me 12 pairs and to throw the rest out or use some as dust rags. Thanks for sharing this info. I plan to try the multiply basket plan for separating laundry.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      Ruchira, no matter how you do laundry, it's always an endless task, isn't it? ;) Sam's club is great for buying laundry detergent in bulk. I get my OxyClean there as well.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 6 years ago from United States

      now I know why your profile name is practical mommy :)

      I usually don't wait for A Laundry day but, put the dirty clothes in the washer ASAP the hamper is full of one load. Folding clothes and sorting them into various rooms is a challenge

      I agree with the detergent part...I used to buy 2 kinds as well when my kid was born and Sam's club is THE place to buy in bulk and save :)

      voted up as useful

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      sunbun143, that's a great idea, to use a delicates bag. If I too only had a (correction: could afford a) laundry service to do the rest! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • sunbun143 profile image

      sunbun143 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      My only tip is for baby and toddler socks (and mittens) - places those little suckers in a "delicates" mesh laundry bag and wash/dry altogether. They never get lost when they're zipped up. Otherwise...I wish I had a laundry service for all the rest!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      Amanda, thanks for the tip and for stopping by again! :)

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      Amanda 6 years ago

      Another tip to try to save some money is white vinegar. It acts as a natural fabric softner, saves money, is eco-friendly and helps keep your HE washing machine clean at the same time.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      EyesStraightAhead, I love your sock solutions (muhahaha sock! Thanks for sharing and commenting! :)

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image

      Shell Vera 6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      To solve the sock problem at our house, I buy several of the same socks at one time for each member of the family. The three year old has her sock, sixteen year old has hers, and I have mine. Since they are all the same, it doesn't end up being an issue as I am folding them.

      Before going to this system, we tried pinning the socks together with a large safety pin so each pair would travel together. If the sock monster got hungry during these loads, he would have to eat the entire pair instead of just one. It also helped us stay a bit more sane because we didn't notice the missing socks anymore.

      (By the way, if you have a front loader, remember to check the area in the front where the sock monster often stashes single socks he rejects. I have found many of the missing "pair" here in this convenient hideaway!

      Lastly, a friend of mine washes all her family's socks in one load and then has a sock folding party. If you really want to torture your loved ones, this could be the way to go. The little ones have a blast, which really riles the older ones who have already mastered colors and matching!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      Amanda, thanks for stopping by! If only we could train our husbands to do anything correctly, let alone laundry! It seems like you have your hands busy with all of that laundry. Good luck with your business!

    • profile image

      Amanda 6 years ago

      This was a good article. I also have a family of 4 and it does seem the laundry is NEVER done. I like your idea on the different baskets, however if someone could let me know how to train my husband to use them correctly that'd be great!

      My friend and I actually started a wash and fold laundry service from our homes so we have increased our laundry demons 10-fold. It takes the sting off a little when you know that you're actually getting paid and unlike our families who just expect clean & folded clothes our client appreciate it!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      MarieAlice, I'm glad you think these are great laundry tips. Thanks for reading! :)

    • MarieAlice profile image

      MarieAlice 6 years ago from Peru

      great tips!!!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      WhataGirlWants, I love the sock suggestion! Now if we were all the same shoe husband is a 13, I'm a woman's 9, my son is a toddler 12 and the baby is a 3.5...Maybe we can get the same kind but definitely not the same size! ;)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • profile image

      WhataGirlWants 6 years ago

      My sock suggestion...each person should have ALL the same socks (the boys especially), then ALL their socks are the same!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a laundry fairy, ErinElise? Ok, and a bathroom cleaning fairy? ;) Thanks for reading!

    • ErinElise profile image

      Erin 6 years ago from Near Sacramento, California

      Oh my gosh, laundry never stops at my house. I wish there was a laundry fairy too.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      frugalfamily, I will really have to check out the Tupperware sock holders...or just force my family to go barefoot for a while. ;) Thanks for commenting and sharing!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      Phil Plasma, thanks for sharing your system--great minds think alike. ;) I'm jealous that your children are old enough to help. I have my three-year old 'help', but you know how that goes! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      Sinea Pies, I know what you mean about the ever-growing laundry piles... I wish there was a laundry fairy that could take it all away! ;)Thanks for commenting!

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      EXTREMELY Useful! I have spent entire weeks of vacation playing catch-up! The sock your local Tupperware rep. They have these little plastic holders. When you take your socks off, you put them through the holder and the socks stay together for the entire wash.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      I'm the one doing the laundry in my house. For the pre-sort, in my bedroom I have a three-canvas-bag hamper that is sorted in white, colour and dark. Each of the kids are to take their laundry basket, bring their laundry to my bedroom, sort their clothes into the three hampers and then return the empty basked to their rooms. They do this two or three times a week.

      Our detergent is a large jug from Costco, nothing special.

      I do all of the folding and actually enjoy this part of it - I do as you suggest, there is a section for each family member that has in it piles for shirts, shorts, underwear and so on. The socks, as they are pulled from the basket, all get tossed into a nearby pile and then are sorted at the end.

      Then I put the kids clothes into baskets for them to bring to their rooms and for them to put away.

      Our systems aren't too dissimilar. Great hub, voting up and useful.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      I am forever fighting the laundry-pile. Some days it feels like someone put "Rapid Gro" on them. Thanks for the great tips.

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      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you very much, bayoulady! :)

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Amusing,interesting, and sage advice for the new homemaker!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 6 years ago from United States

      I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading, and you're welcome for the following.

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      A.CreativeThinker 6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this hub, ThePracticalMommy.

      I can definitely relate to the "sock problem", lol!!

      I used to have the problem of having a missing sock or two, after I washed them. It seemed to be a mystery, how they suddenly would turn up later! The trick for me, is to put them into the laundry hamper right away after you take them off.

      Also, thanks for being a follower! :)