How to Make Folding Laundry Way Less Annoying


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Oh, laundry. Dreaded fucking laundry. While looking at a basket full of freshly folded threads for the whole family is an enormously satisfying—if mundane—accomplishment, getting there is often a slog through procrastination, days of using the basket as a closet, and lots of heavy sighing.

Perhaps you love washing, but will walk past an overflowing basket of freshly laundered clothes for a week or more. Maybe you have no problem promptly folding, but getting them up the stairs and into the proper drawers is like Waiting for Godot. (Or maybe you’re perfect domestic royalty who doesn’t get why some people hate laundry so much. In which case, move along. No laundry folding hacks for you.)

For everyone else, if you aren’t doing these things below, you might want to start. It will make the task less onerous and more likely to occur before the next season of Succession.

Pair it with something you like doing

Make folding less of a burden by giving yourself some kind of diverting “treat” to go along with it. Not like, a donut (though that’s fine, too), but working your favorite entertainment into the chore can make it seem, well, less chore-y. Put on a favorite show, podcast, playlist, or call a friend to take your mind off the monotony. (And we wouldn’t judge you for making the time more interesting with your favorite adult beverage or edible either.)

Fold your laundry the right away

This one is annoying, we know, but it must be said: Taking clothes out of the dryer and folding them while they’re still warm will save valuable mental real estate that would otherwise be occupied with resentment for the task and quiet self-flagellation for putting it off so many times. (Not to mention the longer you do, the more loads will accumulate in your basket.) Doing it promptly takes all the hemming and hawing energy out of it—not to mention, makes your clothes less wrinkly.

Ditch the laundry basket altogether

Picture this: Instead of dumping mounds of clothes from the dryer into another vessel where it can sit, contained and out of the way, for days or weeks, consider dumping those clothes on a table, couch, or bed near you. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, as they say, and visible laundry crowding your living space presents a level of urgency a basket in your basement does not.

Wash socks in mesh bags, fold them last (or get all new socks)

Finding, pairing, and agonizing over what to do with a lone socks is one of the most annoying parts of folding laundry, and no one can convince me otherwise. Put them in mesh bags for easy retrieval and sorting before washing—you can even train family members to put all their socks in a dedicated bag instead of their hamper.

If you forget or the system fails, always pluck socks out of the larger pile and save them for last. If space allows, toss socks (unfolded) into a box for each family member near the shoe closet for them to pair up when needed.

To rid yourself of both these problems? Replace colorful, patterned socks with monochromatic white, gray, or black ones so they all match, and you’ll never be annoyed by a missing sock again.

Stop folding so much

Imagine a world of drastically reduced laundry folding responsibilities—it’s possible! Sure, towels, jeans, cotton tees and professional work clothes still need to be folded. But fitted sheets? Socks? Underwear? Pajamas? Athletic gear and swim trunks? The entirety of your child’s Old Navy wardrobe? Negative. You can stop folding these things right now.

With a shelf and some inexpensive baskets or canvas storage boxes from Walmart, you can transform your (or your kid’s) closet into a safe space of lightly rolled, gently tossed garments. Everything will still have its proper place, but will be more loosely assorted within those places. And everyone will survive.

Use individual laundry baskets

From where I sit with three children under age nine, this sounds like a pipe dream, but it may work for your household. In this laundry utopia, each family member has their own hamper, and more importantly, laundry basket. Each person’s laundry is done separately and placed in their dedicated basket to eliminate the need for extensive sorting. (Bonus if your kids are old enough to do their own laundry, they should.)

Create a schedule and follow a “no excuses” rule

Based on your family’s rhythms, figure out which day or days the laundry must be done and consistently do it on those days. This habit will reduce the amount of oh shit moments when your daughter has soccer but her uniform is buried under five pounds of wet towels. After clothes are washed, institute a “no excuses rule” that all clean clothes must be put away that day. There may be some groans at first as you realize you can’t get into bed because of all the damn pants strewn across it, but that consequence, over time, will train you to do the task even sooner. And this is the goal.

 



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