How to cut your laundry time in half

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Laundry. It's like painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge: as soon as it’s finished you need to start again. If you'd rather be doing anything else other than sorting, folding & ironing, cut your laundry time in half with these clever tips.


1. Set up a washing basket system
Save time sorting - and recruit help at the same time. In your laundry, keep three to five baskets where family members can drop different types of clothes when they’re dirty. Mark each one as: ‘whites’, ‘colours & darks’, ‘linen & towels' and 'hand-washing’. If you've a tradie or sportsperson in the family, another basket might be for their particularly smelly items!

The good thing about this is it makes laundry idiot-proof. When one of the baskets in the laundry is full, anyone in the family can put a load on, without fear of pinkifying your whole wash. Then whoever is in there when it’s finished hangs it on the line. (that's the theory, in any case)

2. Turn socks the right way out
Turning items in the right way is a huge time thief when sorting laundry! If you can behaviour-train your family to turn them the right way when they take them off, it's well worth the effort. Not to mention, items like socks that go in the wash inside out, often come out still dirty. Yuk! All clothes should be washed the right way out, except jeans (which should be hung out inside out, to prevent fade).

3. Fit laundry around your daily routine
Find a system that works for you. Some people put a load of washing on as they're going to work and hang it out when they get home. Doing daily, or almost daily loads in a family household prevents that dreaded mount Everest of Saturday washing.

4. Great hanging means no ironing
Here's the biggest time saver of all: don't iron. Properly hung clothes need little, to no ironing. When hanging your clothes, your mantra needs to be ‘I hate ironing, I hate ironing,’ and then you’ll find you hang them much flatter. Peg clothes at the strongest part of the fabric – the waistband or seam – and never, ever hang shirts or jumpers by the shoulders.

Another clever tip? Peg socks together (if you can find both!), and ball them up together when taking off the line.

5. Spray & Go
Try this crease-releasing linen spray for those items that need it - it's still quicker than ironing. Lavender oil is a fibre relaxant, which helps creases drop out. Spritz some over shirts, skirts etc. before hanging in the wardrobe.

6. Keep your machine, clean
Rewashing an entire load of laundry that's come out greasy and chalky from washing machine gunk is a big waste of precious time. Once a month - at the very least - give your machine a good cleanout
Here's how (top loader).

Set your washing machine to the hottest setting and the largest load
Add 3-4 cups white vinegar and 2-3 capfuls of eucalyptus oil or Eucalyptus Solution as the water fills

When full, add about 1/2 cup baking soda. Allow to run a little to agitate, then pause the cycle.

Allow the mixture to sit in the full machine for up to 1 hour.
Use this time to scrub all the other parts of your machine you can reach with the soaking mixture, including the fabric softener dispenser & cleaning that too (or remove & pop in the dishwasher)
Allow the washing cycle to resume until the water drains.
Wipe down any remaining grime you can see.
For a quick clean, Eucalyptus Solution in an empty hot cycle also helps prevent grime buildup.

Credits: Shannon Lush 'Speed Cleaning',

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