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Overwhelmed by Laundry? The KonMari® Way to Keep Your Laundry Room in Check! #085

January 16, 2024 Caroline
Overwhelmed by Laundry? The KonMari® Way to Keep Your Laundry Room in Check! #085
Living Clutter Free Forever - decluttering tips, professional organizing, minimalist living
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Living Clutter Free Forever - decluttering tips, professional organizing, minimalist living
Overwhelmed by Laundry? The KonMari® Way to Keep Your Laundry Room in Check! #085
Jan 16, 2024
Caroline

Struggling with laundry chaos? Join me, Caroline Thor, as I share the transformation from an overwhelmed mum under a mountain of clothes to a KonMari consultant and professional organizer, guiding you to a clutter-free life. This episode unveils my top five strategies to tame the laundry beast, including crafting a routine that fits your lifestyle and making your appliances work overtime for you. I'll open up about my own laundry routine, offering you a window into how these actionable tips can streamline this seemingly endless chore into a manageable part of your day.

Get ready to revamp your laundry space and encourage family involvement without the nagging, as we discuss smart storage solutions and the virtues of decluttering. Let’s turn that dreaded laundry area into a functional oasis, regardless of its size or location in your home. By the end of this episode, you'll be equipped with the know-how to create an organized environment that inspires and invites participation from all household members. And if you're already feeling the weight of those laundry baskets lighten, remember to share these insights with someone who could use a little more joy in their life.

Grab your free Mastering Laundry Cheat Sheet here!

I would LOVE to hear from you. Text Message me here.

Thanks for listening! For more organizational motivation, support and free resources:
Join my online membership Clutter Free Collective
Join my podcast Facebook group Living Clutter Free Forever Podcast: KonMari® Inspired Organizing | Facebook
Visit my website www.caroline-thor.com
Come and say 'hi' on Instagram @caro.thor
Follow me on Facebook @carolineorganizer

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Struggling with laundry chaos? Join me, Caroline Thor, as I share the transformation from an overwhelmed mum under a mountain of clothes to a KonMari consultant and professional organizer, guiding you to a clutter-free life. This episode unveils my top five strategies to tame the laundry beast, including crafting a routine that fits your lifestyle and making your appliances work overtime for you. I'll open up about my own laundry routine, offering you a window into how these actionable tips can streamline this seemingly endless chore into a manageable part of your day.

Get ready to revamp your laundry space and encourage family involvement without the nagging, as we discuss smart storage solutions and the virtues of decluttering. Let’s turn that dreaded laundry area into a functional oasis, regardless of its size or location in your home. By the end of this episode, you'll be equipped with the know-how to create an organized environment that inspires and invites participation from all household members. And if you're already feeling the weight of those laundry baskets lighten, remember to share these insights with someone who could use a little more joy in their life.

Grab your free Mastering Laundry Cheat Sheet here!

I would LOVE to hear from you. Text Message me here.

Thanks for listening! For more organizational motivation, support and free resources:
Join my online membership Clutter Free Collective
Join my podcast Facebook group Living Clutter Free Forever Podcast: KonMari® Inspired Organizing | Facebook
Visit my website www.caroline-thor.com
Come and say 'hi' on Instagram @caro.thor
Follow me on Facebook @carolineorganizer

Speaker 1:

Hi there, I'm Caroline Thor, professional organizer, konmari consultant, teacher and mum of three. I started off my life as a mum feeling overwhelmed, disorganized and desperately trying to carve out some time for me amongst the nappies, chaos and clutter. One day, one small book called the Life Changing Magic of Tidying changed everything and I began to learn strategies for making everyday life easier. Today I have the systems in place that means life can throw almost anything at me, and I want to share them with you. If you're an overwhelmed mum struggling to keep it together, then this is the podcast for you. Grab a coffee and settle in for a quick chat with someone who gets your reality. Hi, welcome back to the Living Clutter Free for Ever podcast.

Speaker 1:

I am now in the second week of January recording this for it to go out in the third week of January and it suddenly got really cold. In Germany it's minus five. Where I am this morning, degrees Celsius, and where my husband is at the moment for work it's minus seven, no, minus eight. He said this morning it was minus seven yesterday, so it's really really super cold. But it's that sort of cold where you've got blue skies. There's no ice on the car. In the mornings it's a very dry cold, so I'm really enjoying it, and when I finished recording this, I'm going to go for a really long walk with my dog Whiskey outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Speaker 1:

Now lots and lots of people struggle with what I'm going to talk about today, and that is laundry. It's one of the key things that clients that I work with struggle with, and it was something that someone in my membership asked last week about how she can get into a routine where the laundry isn't piling up and it's not becoming a chore. So I ran a poll in my membership to ask what the things they struggle with most for laundry are. See if you relate to any of these. So one of the statements I gave them was the dirty washing is piling up and I never have time to wash it. Nine percent of people in the membership identified with that. The second statement I gave them was once it's washed and dry, motivating myself to put it away is a problem. 45 percent of them related to that statement. And the third statement I gave them was no one else I lived with seems to think it has anything to do with them, and 27 percent of members of my membership related to that. And then I gave them another option, and some of the other things that they came up with were that they live in a flat with limited space to dry it, so in apartments, especially when it rains someone else said that they can line dry their clothes in the garden in spring and summer, but in autumn and winter they have to have them on a clothes dry in the living room. And someone else said that they live in an apartment building where they have only one common laundry room with two washing machines and one dryer for 33 apartments. So it can be difficult to get a slot to wash, and she's got approximately four hours every other week and in that time slot she has to get everything done so linens, clothes, everything. So these are some of the things that people are really struggling with with laundry.

Speaker 1:

So I thought I would start off by sharing with you five top tips for keeping on top of the laundry, and then after that I will talk about how to optimize your laundry space if you're fortunate enough to have a washer and potentially a dryer in your own home or apartment. So let's start with five top tips for keeping on top of the laundry. The first one is to have a routine or rhythm to doing the laundry, so try tackling a load or two daily instead of letting it accumulate. If you've got an awful lot to do, this is one thing that works for lots of people, or having a set laundry day or days can help get things in check. So I thought I'd share with you what my routine is.

Speaker 1:

On Monday morning, when everyone has left the house to go to school and I'm about to go out to a client, I quickly go around, grab all the towels from everywhere, put them in the washing machine and get on with the rest of my day. When I get back from seeing a client, I take the towels out and I put them in the tumble dryer and as soon as they're dry, I put them back into the bathrooms. Or if I've had spare ones, like, for example, hand towels we get through more than one, obviously then I will fold those and put them back in their storage basket in the bathrooms. This means that I don't have the potential of towels lying around anywhere, but I understand that I have the luxury of having a tumble dryer, which means I can quickly get them dried If you have to hang them somewhere to dry and it's potentially going to take a day, two days, for them to dry out properly. Then you probably have a spare set of towels that you can use in the interim.

Speaker 1:

I then have a midweek wash on a Wednesday where I just gather up everything from the three wash baskets that we have in the upstairs area of the house. I've got kids that share one. My daughter's got one up in her bedroom because she's on a different floor to the rest of us, and my husband and I have got one in our room. I go around, collect up all the washing all the colored washing and I put it in on a wash together and I then hang that out to dry. I'm fortunate that I have a room in the cellar where I can have a clothes rack standing there and I can hang the stuff up. And then the next day, thursday, I go in there, put it into the wash basket and then it's ready to put away. And then my other day is either a Saturday or a Sunday, depending on what we're doing. I try to do it on a Saturday. I collect together all the washing that's in the house and I will do a colored wash and I will do a white wash and again I hang it up to dry.

Speaker 1:

I only use the tumble dryer for towels and sheets. So that's how my sort of weekly routine is. On the days that I wash sheets, bedding, I literally take it off in the morning, wash it, put it in the tumble dryer, put it back on the bed. So this means that I don't have laundry standing around. I have to put it back on the beds, otherwise the beds wouldn't have any sheets on them for that night and that keeps me organized. But again, it's pure luxury that I have a tumble dryer that I can do that with, but that makes life a lot, lot easier for me.

Speaker 1:

So the first top tip is to get into a routine or a rhythm. I didn't used to have a routine or a rhythm. It's something I introduced probably about six or seven years ago and since I've had a laundry rhythm it's made life a lot easier, because I get up on a Monday morning and I know I've just got to pop the towels in and then they're done. Or Wednesday I'm gonna collect the clothes up and wash those, and it means that I keep on top of it and it means that I can't get out of rhythm. Okay, my top tip number two is sort as you go. Now, this isn't something I do, but I know it's something that some of my clients do and they find really useful. So sorting clothes right at the moment you take them off.

Speaker 1:

So having designated bins or hampers for different types of laundry to make it easier when it's time to wash that everyone knows. They put their white stuff in the white laundry bin. They put colors in a different laundry bin. Maybe you do sports clothes on a different wash. They have a different bin for those, and so that saves time when it comes to you having to put the washing on. You just grab the bin and take it and you know that everything in there is gonna go on a certain type of wash. Top tip number three fold and put away immediately Once the laundry is done. If you fold it and put it away right away, it prevents the clean pile from becoming a new mountain.

Speaker 1:

The struggle is real with this one. Lots of us do not enjoy folding the laundry. Lots of us find it difficult to find the time to put it away. So one trick is to pair it with something enjoyable. So, for example, put on your favorite songs or a podcast you love, or even a show you've been wanting to watch. If you've got a small screen or a laptop that you can take with you to where you fold the laundry, make it a treat, make it a little me time when you fold and for people with ADHD especially, this is a really good trick to motivate you to actually do the job, so having something that you enjoy while you're doing the job you don't enjoy. Another way is to break it into smaller tasks. So instead of thinking I have to fold all these clothes, break it into sections. Maybe First of all pull out all the socks and organize those and then go and do something else and then set yourself another 10 minute block where you're gonna do tops, and this way it will feel less overwhelming.

Speaker 1:

What I do with my laundry is I bring it up from the drying rack, I dump it out onto the bed in my bedroom and I tell the kids that the laundry's there and they need to come and find their clothes and take them back to their bedroom, fold them and put them away. It works well in that they do come and get their clothes and take them. I wouldn't say they always fold them and put them away. They used to, but I don't know what's happened with my girls. They've got a bit of a teenager-y in the last month or so and both of them have got a small sofa in their bedrooms and there seems to be a new closet effect going on on the sofa. It's piling up there and that's something we need to work on. But at least it's not my responsibility to take their clothes and take them to their bedrooms. That's what my kids all do for themselves and it saves me a job.

Speaker 1:

And another thing to do is to reward yourself afterwards. So if you promise yourself a small treat or some guilt-free relaxation once you've managed to fold the laundry and put it away, sometimes a little incentive goes a long way. So that would be my top tip. I don't ever, during the day, sit down and just have a coffee without doing something. I'm always having my coffee while I'm working, or perhaps I'm doing something in the kitchen and I've got my coffee there and I'll keep drinking it while I'm doing the other thing. But what I have done occasionally is if I've got a job in the house. I really don't want to do that. I reward myself with. I get to sit down with my coffee and drink it afterwards because I've earned it. So try that.

Speaker 1:

If you find folding laundry and putting it away a real pain, okay, top tip number four cut the excess. Have you considered if everyone in your home really needs all the mass of clothes that they have? The less you have, the less there is to wash. Quality over quantity. Now, what tends to happen and this is for people that find it hard to get into a rhythm of actually getting the dirty clothes washed is you end up thinking oh, they've still got clothes to wear, so I don't need to do a wash yet. Oh no, they've still got two pairs of jeans. I don't need to do a wash yet because they've got so many pairs of jeans. Or they've got so many t-shirts. If, like my kids, you've got five or six t-shirts, the wash is gonna have to happen, or we're gonna get to Friday and no one's gonna have anything clean to put on. So it for me is a real incentive that I have to do the washing, otherwise we really don't have any clean clothes. I think we've all got seven pairs of underwear, so seven pairs of socks. I do have to wash at least once a week, or we're gonna be out of underwear. So that's one way to do it, cut the excess, and then there is a big motivation to actually need to do the washing.

Speaker 1:

And then, top tip number five I've already mentioned involve everyone. Encourage everyone in the household to pitch in. Even the little ones can help by putting away their own clothes or sorting items. And I'm sure someone in my membership won't mind me sharing with you she had taken her clothes from the washing. She dumped them all out on her bed and she'd asked her three kids to come and help her find their stuff and put them away. And they did. They came. The youngest one literally took his clothes through and dumped them in a bin in his bedroom, and this isn't exactly what she would have wanted but, as she says, at least he did help put it away. And it's not perfect, but it's a start and it's something you can then work on. And, as I said with my kids, you can have phases where it works really well and phases where it doesn't, and I think it's important not to be a nag about it, because then they're really not gonna want to do it. Be encouraging, thank them for their help and support and then, if they're in a good mood and open to you, having a word with them about it. You could say do you want me to show you how to fold these? Would you like me to show you how it might be a good idea to put them away in your drawer? And if they seem open to that, then you can help them.

Speaker 1:

Laundry doesn't have to rule our lives. So I hope those five tips help. And now let's have a think about if you are fortunate enough to have a laundry room, or maybe you have your washing machine in the bathroom, so you have a space there which you think of as your laundry area. How can we organize this to make our lives easier? The first thing I think it's important to know is that a streamlined laundry area is gonna save your time and your sanity. So if you know where everything is and you have a system, it makes the chore seem less daunting and it means that having clean clothes is going to be more possible. A well-organized space is not only gonna save you time, but it also reduces stress. So it's the difference between hunting for a missing sock and having a seamless laundry routine. And if you can improve your daily routines, it means you're gonna breeze through the laundry duties because the space you've got is set up for efficiency, it frees up your mental clutter and it makes room for more enjoyable activities in your life. So you're gonna turn what feels like a mundane task into something that allows you to reclaim time for things that you love, because your laundry should not be taking huge amounts of time out of your week.

Speaker 1:

So clutter buildup, a lack of storage solutions and juggling multiple functions within the space are key challenges that people have for keeping their laundry rooms organised. Solutions would be having smart storage solutions. Declutter regularly to maintain order. Try not to have baskets that are overflowing, especially when you've got limited space and sometimes, like I said before, the space might have a multiple function. It might be your bathroom and your laundry room and that can make it really tough, and that's when you need to get really smart about storage solutions. And I think one thing we're all really bad at is that we will declutter and organise a space. It looks amazing. We think great, we've done it, but we forget that we're always bringing new things into the space and we do need to, once a week or once a month, just check out the space, especially for something like laundry, where we're wanting it to function for us and for things to be quick and simple and get rid of things that we find we're not using. Get rid of things that are perhaps out of date or that we realise that we're storing there but we don't ever use there and need there, and it will just make it all stay organised and function for you a lot better.

Speaker 1:

Now, very often laundry spaces are small, so you need to maximise your storage and your workspace. So think vertical. Lots of people miss a trick here. If you have got wall-mounted shelves or collapsible drying racks or compact multi-purpose furniture, these are lifesavers. Try to use every nook and cranny with baskets and hooks, look up and look down, use the ceiling and the floor for storage, and you can invest perhaps into collapsible furniture, which means you can exploit every inch of wall space with shelves and hooks, and it means you're going to be able to store an awful lot more stuff there. Now, if you are using a space for more than one function, so it's not just your laundry, it's perhaps your bathroom, or I had a client recently where her laundry room is in a big cellar room which also serves as like a sauna and relaxation area then use dividers or curtains to separate visually separate the laundry from other activities, define zones, so think about how you place the furniture, how you place room dividers, and maybe mobile storage and furniture that serves multiple purposes can become a game changer for you.

Speaker 1:

Now, when it comes to strategies for decluttering your laundry space, ask the Konmari question does it spark joy? Now, that might seem a bit of a weird question when it comes to laundry, detergent or cleaning products, but if you love using that particular product, then it can spark joy for you. If it doesn't donate it or discard it, keep essentials visible and accessible, and by letting go of items that no longer serve their purpose, it's going to make it easier to do that. And besides joy, ask if it's useful or if it fits your lifestyle. You could start embracing the one in, one out rule to maintain equilibrium, and it does help to keep a donation bin handy, because that encourages regular decluttering. If you have got a space or a box where you can put things that you know you're decluttering, it's then a bit more of an incentive to actually do that.

Speaker 1:

Now, when it comes to space saving hacks for limited spaces, get creative. There are so many products out there. Now You've got over door organisers which you could hang on the back of the door and you can store lots of things in there. You have got stackable washer and dryer units so you don't have to have them standing next to each other. You can have a fold down ironing board that's attached to the wall and that can make a compact space feel really expansive. There are foldable drying racks that you can then fold together and put down the side of the washing machine and tumble dryer, or maybe you even have a drying rack that folds down from the wall. You could have sliding shelves between appliances. There's so many possibilities these days, and if you go on somewhere like Pinterest and put in space saving hacks for laundry, you will find loads and loads of examples.

Speaker 1:

It's really good idea to have good lighting in your laundry space, especially if you're doing your sorting and folding in there. Natural light is, of course, an absolute bonus, and it's really important and I think a lot of people don't think about this to ensure proper ventilation to prevent dampness and mildew. If you are needing to dry your clothes within your space by hanging them on a rack, then it's very, very important that you have the possibility of airing that room, because otherwise you're going to have a moisture buildup. So you consider having windows open for a bit or an exhaust fan for air flow so that you are keeping the air moving. One thing that I think these days we all need to be aware of is eco-friendly practices. So when you're thinking about laundry, you cannot for energy efficient appliances and eco-friendly detergents. Air drying your clothes is much more environmentally friendly, which is why I use my tumble dryer for towels and sheets, because I wash them and put them back on the same day. But all clothes are air dried. They're hung out to dry. In the summer I hang them on a dryer in the garden, but from autumn-winter I hang them, as I said, in a cellar room on a big drying rack. Try to use eco-friendly detergents. As I said, you could explore using reusable dryer balls. Some people use rainwater harvesting for laundry use.

Speaker 1:

There's all sorts of things you can be doing. Again, that's something you can Google and find out eco-friendly practices for laundry. And then, if you have a room that is specifically for laundry, why not revamp it and make it a space you want to go into? You can do things like magnetic chalkboard walls for notes and schedules. You can do cheerful wallpaper or have pops of color that can transform the space. Try, make it cosy and functional. You could consider having a fold-out table for folding clothes or installing a custom-built cabinet to hide laundry essentials. Put your personal touch on it, your personality, and it will make it a space that you're more likely to want to go into.

Speaker 1:

Now, this has been a bombardment of information about laundry, but if I go back up to the questions that the people from my membership had at the start, or the struggles that they were having, if you are living somewhere where you don't have a dryer you are having to dry your clothes on a clothes airer then it makes sense to be washing regularly small amounts. The reason for this is that the more you hang onto a drying rack, the longer it's going to take to dry, because it's not getting as much air circulating between it. So if you can wash regularly smaller amounts, it means it's going to dry more quickly and then you'll be able to put it away more quickly. So maybe if you live on your own, washing every other day will mean that you don't have to have the laundry rack standing in the living room every day and it means that you can put stuff away once it's dry the only one where I really don't have a good solution is for the person in my membership who only gets a 4 hour slot every other week to use the laundry. If they've got a dryer, then hopefully they can get a lot of things dried during that time as well. It's a case of having to be super organized, but again they're going to have to have enough clothes to last them for two weeks because they can only wash every two weeks. So that is a really tricky situation. And then it's a case of being organized and intentional that on that day you're going to get everything done. On the other hand, once the washing is dry and you put it away immediately, you've got two weeks of having no laundry standing around in the house waiting to be put away, which is fantastic. So I guess there's pros and cons, but I can totally see how only having four hours every other week makes doing the washing really tricky.

Speaker 1:

But I hope there are some things that I have mentioned today that will help you If you're struggling with laundry. I have created an amazing cheat sheet full of information from this episode, so if you go to caroline-thorcom forward, slash laundry. I have put together all my top tips and tricks so that, hopefully, you can get into a better system with your laundry and not have it as something that takes up your whole life. Now keep an eye on my Instagram. This week I'm going to be doing reels about laundry.

Speaker 1:

I hope you find them useful. Please comment, please share, and if you aren't already following this podcast, then please do, because the more people that follow, the more people are shown it when they're searching for podcasts, and it means I get to help more people, which is the whole aim of this podcast. So I hope you found this useful and, yeah, until next time. If you've enjoyed this episode, please send the link to a friend you know would appreciate it, subscribe and leave a review. I look forward to bringing you more organizing tips next time, but if you can't wait until then, you can go to my website or find me on Instagram, at carothor, or on Facebook at carolineorganiser. Thanks for listening and I look forward to guiding you on your journey to find your clutter free ever after.

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