A Working Mom’s Laundry Routine (and why Thursdays are so important!)

Sometimes we plan for a new habit and struggle to have the self discipline to accomplish it.  For instance, we may need to get up earlier and decide to start setting our alarm for 15 earlier than usual.  Sometimes though we stumble upon a new habit and routine and it just works.  My laundry schedule is kind of like that for me.

As a working mom, most of my housecleaning and laundry chores have to be completed on the weekend.  It stinks but that’s just the reality of it.  I’ll tackle a few easy tasks during the week along with the regular sweeping, dishes, etc but the big things have to wait until the weekend.  The thing is that I’d rather spend quality time with my family on the weekend instead of washing clothes for 2 straight days.  Obviously this is a problem.

Please know that I’m far from a neat freak.  I don’t mop my floors often enough and I have a bad habit of leaving my shoes out for days.  Laundry, (while I don’t love it) I don’t mind it so much as long as I have a plan and feel a sense of accomplishment when its done.   Over the last few months I realized I’ve fallen into a rhythm/routine of doing laundry that has helped tremendously. There are a few specific things I’ve started doing that are helping this working mama not be completely overwhelmed when I’m doing the laundry.

Plan and Prep

So Thursdays.  A few months ago I realized that if I started prepping on Thursday for my weekend cleaning/laundry I’m in a much better frame of mind to get it accomplished.  So on Thursday afternoon, I pull out all the laundry I want to wash over the weekend and separate it into laundry baskets. If I have a line of laundry baskets staring me in the face on Friday morning, I’m much more likely to get a jump start on the task at hand. I also make a weekend to do list before I leave work on Fridays for all the work and home tasks that I need to get done.

My five year old adds her favorite two blankies to the laundry basket every.single.Saturday. 🙂

Order matters

Unless there’s some gigantic stain or mess that requires my immediate attention, I will almost always wash clothes in the same particular order- towels/kitchen linens, kid clothes, my clothes, Bobby’s clothes, and sheets.  There is a very simple reason for this- I start with the easiest and save the ones I don’t like for the end.  Towels and the girls’ clothes are fast and easy to wash, fold, and put away.  I finish those baskets and I’m feeling pretty good about myself.

Note:  I despise washing sheets.  Well, actually, I despise FOLDING sheets.  So I wait until I can’t put it off anymore.  That probably means something bad about my character, but I’ll  worry about that another day.

If I’ve prepped my laundry on Thursday, I will usually start with towels/kitchen linens on Friday morning or afternoon.  I plug through the rest of it in between whatever activities our family has going on that particular weekend.

Decide When to Stop

This is the hardest one for me.  Because I don’t have time during the week, I fight this urge to do ALL the laundry before Sunday night.  I can assure you this is a bad idea.  When I pull out my weekend laundry on Thursday, that’s ALL the laundry I’m doing that weekend.  If I get some unexpected time over the weekend, then I might try to wash the clothes we wore over the weekend, but that’s a rare event.  If I try to have everything clean, I’ll get frustrated and end up with a bunch of clean laundry sitting on my couch until Wednesday.  Since the girls pick out their clothes for the entire week on Sunday, there’s usually no need to wash anything of theirs until the next weekend. (And the grownups have enough clothes to make it through a week too). 🙂

Now if someone has some fantastic weekend cleaning schedule please let me know! (Or a robot that can pick up the shoes I leave behind- my husband would be eternally grateful!)