House Therapy

My Beautiful Laundry

Caring for beautiful clothes should be an absolute pleasure and it really can be when you invest the necessary time to make your laundry area a well equipped, beautiful, flowing space.

I never mind doing laundry and don’t understand why it is such a loathed task. What could be more pleasant than transforming bundles of dirty clothes to spanking clean, fresh garments? Even at my most jet lagged, I am delighted to get the clothes out of my case and into the washing machine! People invest too much time in life’s one-offs – hours are willingly spent studying kitchen floor catalogues, deciding on wedding outfits and researching holiday plans. However, all too often virtually no time nor money is spent on the small things we do daily. We spend much more of our time laundering than attending weddings or admiring the kitchen floor, so it’s time to give this room the attention it deserves. By doing this, you make doing laundry an energising experience (converting dirty to clean should always energise) and not a draining one.

Is Your Laundry a Mess?

Common Mistakes

Not processing laundry quickly enough – these pictures show what that looks like. Fold the previous wash before putting on the next!

The folding area needs to be a CLEAR space – ready for the next load and not a dumping ground. These laundry rooms have been rendered depressing, overwhelming and completely unworkable. See the action plan on the opposite page for how to tackle this problem.

Detergents

‘Obesegens’ lurk in the laundry room. The term was coined by Felix Grun and Bruce Blumberg at the University of California who studied the effects of foreign chemical compounds which were found to affect fat storage, change metabolic set points, alter appetite regulation and promote fat accumulation.

Laundry dryer sheets, fabric softeners and detergents can all disperse petrochemicals straight onto the skin. Bring awareness to what you are forcing your skin to absorb.

Action Plan

Messy laundry? Here is how to regain control.

First clear the folding area to create a workable space. Do this by dealing with all items that need to be ironed. Take two bags or baskets and put all clothes and small household items (such as placemats) in one bag and all bed linen in another. Set the bags aside and do not deal with ironing backlog at this point, this comes later.

2 You should now be left with items that do not need ironing. Get a bag or basket for each family member and one for the household. Process the pile by putting the (unfolded) clothes in the appropriate basket until the folding area is clear. Invest in several baskets of the same size which stack inside each other. Stackable baskets take up far less shelf space. When your laundry is clear, consider installing open shelving made to specifically accommodate the baskets. That way they don’t end up cluttering the floor or folding space.

3 Process. Process. Process. Take the first basket or bag and start to fold the items on the cleared folding area.

Put the folded garments into a basket for each family member and continue until all the clothes are folded. Put the clothes away.

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4 Sort dirty laundry into five piles. Whites, lights, brights, darks and delicates. Put your first wash on. Keep on going until it is all done. Be grateful that the machine is doing most of the hard work. No one is asking anyone to go to the river any more with a washboard.

5 Meanwhile declutter. Remove all grungy items from cupboards and drawers – you don’t want any grunge where you are trying to get things clean and fresh. It does not sit well. If you have multiple open detergents put them in order of content. Put the fullest at the back of the cupboard and the emptiest at the front and use those first. The aim is to be left with only what you need – not multiple products cluttering up your space and your head.

Show the room some love. Clean the folding area – don’t use bleach cleaners near clothes. Slimey, grungy, mouldy detergent drawers in washing machines do not do the machine or your psyche any good. Many are removable – it’s a good tip to look out for that when buying a machine as it makes it easier to look after. Remove, wash, dry and replace. Clean all fluff from vents in dryer and see the next article on pegging out for not wasting money and injecting more soul into your life. Empty the bin, sweep and mop the floor.

detergents

Tackle the ironing backlog. My advice is to have the sheets professionally ironed – many dry cleaners and laundrettes offer this service. Sheets are unwieldy to iron and take up a lot of space. Everyone deserves to sleep on lovely linen. Tumble dried linen loses its sharp crispness but ironed linen always feels better.

For the rest of the items a steam powered iron (see the Summer ’16 Issue of Amanda Magazine) will reduce ironing time by about a third. Many people who don’t like ironing are converted after using one of these powerful irons. A Hangaway (see the Summer ’16 Issue of Amanda Magazine) makes hanging clothes during ironing so much easier. Where backlogs mount, it’s often (though not always) because people lack the proper kit. No one likes ironing on a terrible, tinny ironing board with a leaky iron. Elevate this whole experience with excellent kit and a beautiful linen spray.

8 Spend an hour a day going through the backlog until it’s cleared. It’s important not to engage in a moany inner dialogue about this as that will just drain you and won’t move anything on. Many people spend at least two hours a day on social media and more time watching TV, but no amount of tweeting is worth living in a mess. Use the time to listen to language lessons or songs if you want to learn a language or to a great podcast like Serial (serialpodcast.org).

Read more!

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This is an excerpt from Issue 2 of Amanda Magazine. Read the full article by ordering your copy now.

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