The joy of laundry. Housework and especially laundry and drying day might be a strange thing to talk about in terms of keeping you in a good mood, let alone being a ‘joyful’ thing. But combining laundry day with a couple of simple principles for reducing stress and increasing personal satisfaction and you have laundry day without the hassle and with perhaps just a little bit of joy.
Start with the idea of taking care of what you have and introducing in stress-busting techniques to bring a little lightness to your day. Using activities to reduce stress and increase personal satisfaction has been a great tool for a long time. Around the home, there are lots of housework activities, such as laundry, which can help you to relax.
I’m probably a bit strange. Or rather, I know I am very strange. I love doing laundry and I really, really love doing the ironing after. I love everything from sorting clothes into their respective laundry loads; to that lovely smell and warmth when they come out of the washing machine – even more so on a chilly winter day when you can wrap yourself up in a warm towel or sheet. There is a sense of a simple task accomplished and instant gratification. I love laundry day from start to finish, even ironing and folding at the end.
Through sorting, folding, ironing and hanging up clothes I have found joy in the perhaps mundane and everyday tasks around the home. I even love being inventive and trying to find either a shortcut or a new way of doing something, like drying my clothes without a tumble dryer.
There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that we never run out of underwear, tops or exercise clothes; a satisfaction which comes from knowing we never lose a sock. They go to the laundry basket as a pair and come back as a pair.
So what strategies and tips do I have for making laundry day a little easier and more joyful?
Getting rid of stains in 4 simple steps
1. Treat the stain straight away, a Vanish Stain Bar can be great for getting rid of small stains.
2. Start with cold water before moving to warmer water.
3. Always blog a stain. Never scrub or rub as this can rub the stain deeper into the fabric and fibres, rather than removing them.
4. Not all fabrics react the same or react well to stain removers. Always pretest the stain remover in a small inconspicuous space first.
5. Don’t dry or add any heat till the stain is fully removed. You don’t want to dry any of it into your garment.
Not all stain removers are created equally and not all will have the same effect on either different garment fabrics and different stains. Experiment with several brands and types till you find those which work best for you.
The challenge of drying without a dryer
At the other end of laundry day, we have drying. Sometimes I like to give myself a challenge in doing the laundry. Living in one bed flat there isn’t too much room for hanging clothes everywhere. At the same time running the dryer can really heat things up on a warm summer’s day.
Tumble dryers can use a lot of energy and if you are using them several times a week can cost a bit to run. However, there can be times when you need to get a particular garment dried in a flash, times when hanging them up is either not practical or just takes too long and isn’t enough. If you do then need to use your tumble dryer, make sure that you fill the machine to capacity. Don’t waste a gram of weight allowance or an inch of space. Underfilling your dryer is inefficient. As there is less to tumble against it will take longer and thus more energy and cost to get your clothes dry.
There are ways you can speed up your drying. Adding things such as a set of dryer balls (around £10 from Amazon) will cut drying time. They absorb a lot of heat, distributing it around the drum as they roll about. They also help to turn things over and tumble about more. This absorbs moisture and speeds things up even more.
When you’re not using your dryer, things needn’t take forever. There are some handy tips in this guide, but here are some of my favourite tips. If you are going to hang your clothes in doorways, by a window or by using an air dryer there are some simple rules:
1. Make sure you have a window open for ventilation and air circulation. This helps garments to dry quicker. It also diffuses any allergens, which can be bad for asthma sufferers, outside.
2. Space garments out on air dryers or when hanging in a window. Clothes need air to circulate around them to dry. Overloading the dryer means things will take longer to dry.
3. Radiators are your friend, within reason. Don’t put clothes straight onto either a radiator or a storage heater. In extreme cases, this can be a fire hazard. At best it will cause a moisture buildup and create a breeding ground for mould. Instead, place your air dryer close enough to the heat source so that air can circulate from it to your clothes.
Do you secretly enjoy any household chores? Are you a secret dishwashing lover or do you have any great tips for taking the hassle out of and putting the joy back into keeping your home looking lovely?
*This is a guest post.