It’s not even funny.
The worst part is… ALL OF IT.
Most people we speak to say it’s the number one thing that really can never get a handle on.
It is relentless, mind-numbingly tedious and if you’re anything like us, makes evening and weekend nudism seem a reasonably attractive life-choice.
Or paper clothes.
Anyway – almost diametrically opposed to the deep-dive of our Life Declutter Challenge – we are not aiming to get everything streamlined this week in a fundamental way..
..but to find ways of making those inevitable things quicker, or doing away with them altogether, with what’s left of our sanity intact,
1. The Washing Basket – GAMIFIED
Let me start by saying this isn’t ground-breaking stuff.
It’s the IDEA of gamifying the mundane rather than my example I want you to take on board.
The other idea I want you to really internalise (and I’ll talk more about this next time) is that you should not be going into bedrooms and picking up worn pants belonging to people who are quite big enough to pick them up themselves..
Apart from anything else, and sorry if this puts the cat amongst the pigeons – it is disrespectful to you.
I (Tanya) have 2 washing baskets – living the dream.
1 lives halfway down the the stairs.
Who knew that getting the clothes from the bedroom floor, (which is most family members’ hanging space of choice) to the actual washing basket is an unexpected problem before you start sharing your house with other people?
Especially small people.
I put washing basket a half way down the stairs (on the part where you turn to go up even higher) – it has now become
Even if people need reminding to put their stuff in there (which they seem to much less than before) – actually don’t mind using it.
They even devised their own scoring one Christmas years ago:
10 points for jeans, trousers, and towels, 20 points for tops and dresses, 30 for pants and pairs of socks. (higher points for stuff that’s harder to aim…genius I thought).
Deductions can be made for any clothes still on the floor, or whatever daft system you can come up with whilst keeping it fun, lighthearted and not too Stalinist Russia. The real aim is to actually make this just a natural part of life – we are teaching them not to be the sort of students that spread dysentery throughout halls because of their teenage filth if they survive your wrath and make it to University.
my other washing basket (by the washing machine)
When the on-the-stairs one is full – whoever passes on the way is shouted at to come and decant the stairs one in to this and put it back. As each section fills – washing takes place.
note – if you don’t have room for a ‘half-way up one’ get a few of these. They’re brilliant
2) Tumble Dryers – I’m going to rock your World
When we were little Tumble Dryers were bankruptcy-level of heck-a-pricey things to run.
“Watch the little meter dial go round and round, darling… that’s all mummy’s money going down the drain along with her dreams and any hope of a holiday this year.”
NOT SO NOW.
A Tumble Dryer costs on average (and you can get even more efficient A-rated ones) £50-60 a year to run. But you have to take of about £15 of that apparently for the ironing energy you save because things come out as if they’ve been ironed..
(If indeed you are far less lazy than me and you actually DO ironing. Claire’s mum does her ironing. Ultimate time-saving hack)
Adding an ice cube to cotton things as they are drying means it actually works for everything! These really are the answers to the big questions of the Universe when you think about it.
Anyway – these emails aren’t really about money-saving this week, they are about ENERGY (yours) saving.
And my goodness do they.
And towels come out all hotel-fluffy.
Other lazy tips: don’t buy fancy stuff that needs ironing, if you need shirts get easy (therefore no) ironing and encourage family members to hang things up again rather than put in the wash if it’s not ACTUALLY dirty. I did devise a complicated anti-reward system for that but eventually gave up and just told them! Also – a bottle of Febreeze in the wardrobe buys time on this front.
Except underwear obvs. Teenagers may not always know this is obvious, and may require that pointing out.
3) Hanging the Washing Out like a Pro
If it’s a lovely sunny breezy day and you want to things on the line – or indeed want to save the planet (and seeing as America are making some very unusual choices at the moment – this may be a direction we should all be thinking even harder about), read on.
n.b in the UK we know there are only 3.25 lovely, sunny breezy days a year, so … ya know…
Take the hangers to the line with you.
I literally always do this and have ALL the hangers you could imagine, pants ones, bra ones, sock ones and everything – and actually most were bought in one of the 99p emporiums so I am not being wildly lavish here.
So things go from the washing basket to the line.
From the line to the wardrobe.
Missing out a ton of stages in between, mainly the ‘sitting on my dining room table for 3 days until someone breaks and puts them away’ stage of old.
The clothes magically iron themselves on the line.
Pretty much worked for me for at least a decade and no one has complained so far.
But ultimately, laundry, along with lots of the other things we are going to talk about this week is going to be a case of you getting a bit stricter on yourself and everyone else.
If your 8 year old requires Hollywood-esque costume changes 3 times a day left strewn around the house… it might have to be re-thought-through.
If your 12 year old isn’t dealing with their own clothes – you do neither of you a service.
And if your other half is not pulling their weight with this, you are building up resentments that are easily avoided.
Wi-Fi passwords are serious bargaining chips if need be.
And if you know you are the culprit – a bit of discipline will save your sanity in the long run.
And of course, there is always the other option..