By Monica Ricci, Manilla.com
Another weekend, another haul of laundry to the laundromat! I know just how you feel. During my single (and divorced) years, I rented in both apartment complexes and old homes, and they all had one thing in common: no dedicated laundry machines. Even my first condo was lacking an in-house laundry room. Like many apartment dwellers, I did laundry in either a shared laundry room at the bottom of the building or schlepped it to a public laundromat. Here are some of the ways I made it easier.
Before You Go
1.) Pre-sort your laundry. Even in my smallest apartment, I managed to have two laundry hampers in my closet and I do to this day. In truth, they’re just small plastic trash cans — a white one for white clothes and a green one for colors. When something is ready to be washed, I just drop it into the appropriate bin and POOF! You’ll never sort a big pile of dirty clothes again.
2.) Pre-treat stains. Store a stain stick, gel or pre-treatment spray near your clothing hamper. When you notice a stain, pre-treat it before you drop it into the hamper, attacking the stains as soon as possible. Remember, if the stain doesn’t come out the first time, don’t dry the garment or you’ll set the stain permanently. Take the wet item home and try another stain removal tactic.
3.) Whether you have to walk three blocks to the train, directly to the laundromat or a few flights of stairs to the laundry room, make it easy on yourself. Haul your clothes, detergents, dryer balls and hangers in a rolling cart, wheeled tote or a Green Garmento KangerHanger or Gargantote.
4.) To lighten your load to and from the laundry, pre-portion detergent into screw-top plastic jars and take only as many as you need. If you’re a fabric softener user, switch from liquid to sheets or try a set of dryer balls, which help soften clothing without chemicals and some even reduce static electricity. If you’re really adventurous and eco-conscious try a detergent-free Orb Laundry Ball (for front-loading machines only) and eliminate detergent all together!
While You’re There
5.) Wash small items such as socks and underwear in mesh laundry bags. You’re less likely to end up with mateless socks that way, plus it’s so much easier to move small clothing as a group rather than fishing each one out individually, potentially missing one.
6.) Tumble dry your underwear in a mesh bag on the lowest (or fluff only) setting for just a few minutes. A short time on the lowest (or no heat) setting removes most of the water from the underwear, making it convenient to finish air-drying when you get home. The mesh bag also keeps panties from coming out of the dryer knotted into a giant ball.
7.) At the laundromat, sort a single load of wet clothes into multiple dryers according to their drying time. For example, dry jeans and heaviest items in one dryer and put lighter weight items into a separate dryer. The lighter items will be done quicker and you can fold them while the jeans and heavy items continue to spin.
Monica Ricci is the organization expert at Manilla.com, the leading, free and secure service that lets consumers manage all of their bills and accounts in one place online or using top-rated mobile apps. Ricci also founded Catalyst Organizing Solutions in 1998 and has been helping people change their lives ever since. She is the author of Organize Your Office In No Time and was named one of the nation’s “Organizing Elite” by Forbes Magazine. Monica is a Certified Professional Organizer and she sits on the committee that created her industry’s only professional certification program. She is also a winner of her industry’s highest honor, the National Association of Professional Organizers Founders Award.