Laundry is one of the most mundane, tedious household chores. I’d prefer to clean the toilets, “one and done!” But laundry takes time and steps. I know I shouldn’t be complaining since back in the 1800s, laundry was a week-long event.
Laundry Back Then
Back then, this process recommended soaking the clothes overnight first. The next day, clothes would be soaped, boiled or scalded, rinsed, wrung out, mangled, dried, starched, and ironed, often with steps repeating throughout the process. Some recommended scalding and rinsing up to three times!
There were all kinds of cleaning solutions back then, which we’d call organic today, that were commonly used. Instead of bleach, women used many methods to keep clothes white. They used sour milk to remove iron rust from white clothing. Fruit or wine stains disappeared with chloride of lime, salt ammonia, or spirits of wine. And ink went away with just a few drops of oxalic acid or salts of sorrel.
Today, I just throw my whites in a machine, toss in a tide pod, and push the start button. I personally like the convenience of using a tide pod, but if you’re looking for an organic alternative, check out Lisa’s DIY Homemade Laundry Soap.
Compared to laundry done over one hundred years ago, I’d say we have it easy. Before I became a young adult, my dad was the one who did all the laundry for our family. He’d gather the clothes, throw them in, and fold them all. I remember sitting on the couch with him as he folded, watching whatever sports game was on TV. He asked me which top was mine or my sister’s.
Now I do my own laundry, of course, but laundry and I have continuously fought over the years. I’m proud to report that I recently overcame the struggle.
What Doing Laundry Means To Me
I’ve shared a room with my now 18-year-old sister, Anna, for fourteen years. It wasn’t until she started high school four years ago that we both had to do our own laundry. We quickly realized what a chore it was and built up a mountain of clothes in, on, and around our hamper. What were we wearing? I don’t know. But we had a massive amount of dirty laundry, and it became a part of our room.
Soon, we didn’t even recognize it anymore, as the piles increased and consumed our floors. It’s embarrassing to admit. We were just two very busy girls, both very involved at school, taking high-level classes, and I was working. Laundry was at the bottom of the to-do list.
Eventually, when we absolutely needed to do laundry, Anna was stuck with the task since I worked weekends. Getting the clothes cleaned and dried was only one half of the struggle. When we did wash our clothes, afterward, they tended to sit in a basket in our room.
It was a dreaded cycle. Sometimes we’d do a big spring cleaning of our room and laundry saying ‘we will keep it clean!’ But no, we’d return to our lazy ways.
About a year ago, I felt the motivation to improve. Since our room was where we work and spend 90% of our time, I wanted it to be clean. I bought Anna and I separate hampers after we’ve been sharing this whole time. So now we each had a responsibility to our own clothes, making us more accountable for ourselves.
It was because of my love for new clothes, and my boyfriend telling me I’m not allowed to buy more until I get my laundry issue under control, that motivated me to fix this bad habit. So, I developed new and better habits and figured out some tips to make my laundry days easier.
Make Laundry Day Easier
Here are some things I’ve learned to make doing this usually mundane chore easier.
- Get a double hamper, with bags
I cannot stress enough how this step has saved me. On Amazon, I found the most helpful hamper. It has two pockets to separate your colors when tossing dirty clothes. When it’s time to wash, the pockets have removable bags to easily take your load to the machine, without having to take the whole hamper. I know it’s time for a wash when the clothes are full to the brim. One full bag equals one load. It’s perfect.
- Turn clothes inside out
It is said that clothing that is prone to fading or odor retention will benefit from being washed inside out. This makes life easier for me since I just take off my clothes and toss them in my hamper inside out anyway.
- Treat stains before washing
If I see a stain on my clothes, I give them a little love before throwing it in the wash. I’ll usually wet the spot, pour some detergent on it, and scrub for a bit. Then I’ll regularly wash it, and we’re all set!
- Immediately put away clothes
The biggest mistake I can make is letting my clothes sit in a hamper for more than a week. Because after that, they aren’t getting put away. It’s best for the clothes, and myself, if I put them away ASAP. I’ll be blessed with fewer wrinkles and more space on my floors.
Laundry Day Focus
Next time it’s your dreaded laundry day, here are a few of my thoughts and what I try to focus on as motivation:
A Clean Feeling
After these loads are all done, I will have fresh clothes. Do you know that fresh linen candle smell you love? That’ll be my clothes once they’re clean. Are you washing bedding? Think about the good smells and warm covers you get to snuggle under afterward.
It. Will. Be. Done. After this, I don’t have to deal with laundry for another couple of weeks! I’ll conquer this lazy feeling, do my laundry, and be victorious.
While you fold, play your favorite movie or TV show. Play that podcast you’ve been meaning to get to. Try listening to our good friends over at Red Bird Ministries or Dr. Sherri Speaks. Or just pray and listen to what Jesus might be trying to tell you.
And Thank you.
I hope this gives you some motivation to get your laundry done. During quarantine, I’ve neglected my laundry and reverted to some old habits. Not having to change outfits to go out reduced how often I was used to washing my clothes.
Now, I’m sitting in a room with piles of clothes covering my face with embarrassment. But, after writing this for you, I’m motivated to try again. Thank you for holding me accountable, reader. All of us at Little With Great Love are not perfect, but together with you, we can all be restored.