Laundry is probably my favorite household chore, but nevertheless, it's still work, and I'd rather not be doing it. If laundry is threatening to take over your life (or you just want to save some time and money), there are some simple ways to save yourself by starting at the root: what goes into the laundry hamper.
Wear your clothes more often: This seems obvious, but many of us throw perfectly clean clothing in the hamper, just to get it out of the way, and all of a sudden, there's a mountain of laundry. While the items that are closest to your body definitely need a good wash every time they're worn (undershirts, sports bras, undies, boxers), other clothes, especially jeans, sweatshirts and sweatpants to lounge in, pajamas, sweaters, some shirts and jackets can go two (or in the case of jeans, a dozen or more) wears without washing.
Some people even suggest that denim washing need only be a twice-yearly activity (and if you like your pricey jeans to keep their cut and color, this is a smart way to go). Jean insiders rarely wash theirs. Carl Chiara, director of brand concepts and special projects for Levi Strauss & Co., told the Wall Street Journal, "... the less people wash their jeans, the better their jeans become."
Make your children do their own laundry: I was one of those kids who threw clean clothes into the hamper, but you know when it stopped? Not when my grandma nagged me about it, but when I began to do my own laundry (at her insistence and following instruction). I realized pretty quickly that I didn't want to spend my whole evening washing things I knew were clean but was too lazy to put away. I began doing my own laundry at around age 9, which is plenty old enough for any child to be able to do the wash. I started putting those clothes away instead of aiming them at the hamper.
The bonus is that I went to college and had full knowledge of how to take care of myself in this department, including stain removal. Honestly, it's totally pathetic how many 25-year-olds still don't know how to do laundry these days, and it's their parent's fault. You are NOT doing your child a favor by doing their laundry for them.
Rotate your towels: If left to fully dry between showerings, your towels don't need to be washed that often (I go at least seven or eight uses per towel). After all, you're clean as can be when you step out of the shower, so the towel is just removing clean water from your just-soaped skin. The reason towels get musty is that oftentimes they take too long to dry, and you end up using one again before it's ready to go (especially if you are a hairy guy or a woman with long hair).
The secret is rotation; instead of one towel, use two at a time. Use one the first day, and the second one the next, rotating to towel one on day three. This will give each towel long enough to fully dry between each of your showers or baths. I usually go two weeks for two towels, and longer in the winter when I'm not showering every day. As I only do laundry twice a month, this means only two towels per laundry day, and especially since towels take so much energy to dry, I'm saving electricity by drying less. If you are a family, this could mean at least one load less each week, which is a huge savings.
Want to save even more? Use one small and one large towel; I only need a large towel on days when I wash my hair, to sop up the extra water. I can easily dry my whole body on days that I don't suds up my locks with a small towel.
As far as saving more money and resources, remember to wash everything in cold water (I do, and have exactly zero problems getting my clothes clean), use eco-friendly detergents, hang dry when you can, and only wash full loads. But you already knew that, right?
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