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7 laundry time savers

© iStockphoto / Thinkstock © iStockphoto / Thinkstock

By Sharon Liao
From Ideas That Spark 

Laundry is an inevitable part of life. And for many of us, it’s a dreaded task: A national survey revealed that laundry ranks among our top three least favorite chores. To avoid spending another afternoon sorting and folding, make these few strategic moves.

1. Have a laundry day.

Designate a specific day of the week to do laundry so your family won’t run around to grab dirty items last minute. Having an allotted amount of time will also prevent the load from sitting in the dryer and getting wrinkled, says Tonia Tomlin, a professional organizer and author of Chaos 2 Calm: The Mom-of-Multiples’ Guide to an Organized Family. “To make the task more fun, schedule phone dates with family and friends,” she says. Or use that time to knock out other chores, such as paying bills.

2. Organize your wash.

In the laundry room, assign different bins for different loads (whites, darks and delicates). Once one gets full, you can do that load without having to separate out items of clothing.

3. Pre-treat stains.

The sooner you attack a stain, the more likely it is to come out -- so you won’t have to run that shirt through the wash again. Did your kid spill on his shirt? Apply a stain remover and allow it to sit for at least five minutes. (If it was a greasy item, try using a grease-cutting dishwashing soap.) For really dirty items, soak the entire garment in soapy water for at least 30 minutes.

4. Make laundry time family time.

Give each family member a laundry basket. When you’re pulling garments out of the dryer, toss items in the appropriate container -- and then have each person fold their own clothes. (Did a shirt wrinkle because it sat unfolded for too long? Not your fault!)

5. Extend the life of your garments.

Breathe new life into items between washes with a fabric refresher air freshener in an invigorating scent. Hang up delicate pieces instead of popping them in the dryer.

6. Try little tricks.

A few savvy tweaks to your laundry routine may shave off a little time. If you don’t mind a little noise, add a tennis ball to your dryer; it’ll keep towels, sheets and comforters from bunching, resulting in fluffier fabric. And to avoid missing socks, consider safety-pinning them together before tossing them in the wash.

7. Maintain your appliances.

When is the last time you cleaned your washer and dryer? Washing these appliances can help them run more efficiently, meaning that your clothes get cleaner and drier more quickly. To rinse out your washer, run a cup of vinegar through an empty warm cycle to remove any odors or residue. As for your dryer, make sure that you clean the lint filter before each load.

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