Alright, let’s talk about doing the laundry. This is another one of those foundational adult things that is super important to do regularly. I actually had some trouble figuring out exactly how to put this post together, so here is my best try.
- Before you begin.
I actually start my laundry process (in a sense) while I am buying clothes. I am not particularly interested in clothes that need a lot of pampering or require dry cleaning or even need to be ironed. So when I purchase clothing I make a point to get items that I can wash in the general laundry. Personally, I highly recommend this method, but it does limit my options in the “fashion” realm. That is not a thing that impacts my life, but it may be a factor for you. You’ll have to decide for yourself how much effort you are willing (or need) to put into your laundry.
Ok, so now you have clothes and they need to be washed. Next up is sorting. Many people sort their laundry before washing it, in order to have certain “types” of loads. However, different people sort in different ways depending on their needs. Here are a few different options.
- color. If you have lots of differently-colored clothes, this can be an important one. The general categories are lights, darks, colors, and reds (red is often kept separate because it is often more prone to bleeding). This minimizes color bleed and can allow for special color-specific loads, such as bleach for the whites or color-fast detergent for bright colors.
- delicacy. If you have some clothes that need special handling, you may need to have a separate load for delicates. You may need to wash them in a laundry bag, or do a special wash on the delicate cycle (this will be a setting on your machine).
- dirtiness. This is for if you have a job or pastime that leads to getting *very* dirty. Then you might have clothes that you will want to sort into their own load – maybe because you want to put them through a heavy-duty cycle, or run them through twice, or just don’t want them up close and personal with your cleaner clothes.
- temperature. sometimes certain items will have temperature specifications for how they are to be washed.
Depending on your personal laundry needs, you will need to come up with your own sorting system that may include any combination of the above options – or maybe even others that you come up with on your own! Basically, figure out what works for you and then stick with it. Also, I tend to think that simpler is better. Sort however you need to, but if you are choosing between a simple option and a complicated option, go with the simple one if you can.
- The cleaning.
Honestly, this part is not one that I can elaborate on very much. Different washers and dryers have different ways they are used, and I can’t cover all of the options out there. Luckily, that’s why user manuals exist! They will cover how to use your specific machine.
I’m not going to just leave you hanging, though. While the details may vary from one machine to another, here are the basics.
- Put in the laundry detergent. I usually pour about an inch of detergent into the cap of the bottle, and then pour that into the detergent tray in the washing machine.
- Put the clothes in the machine. Mostly just dump them in, but it’s worth trying to distribute them evenly if you have a top-loading machine.
- DON’T OVERFILL THE MACHINE.
- Close the lid (or door), turn it on, choose your cycle type, and tell it go to.
You may have some clothes that need to be hung or laid flat to dry. Once they are washed, take them out to hang or lay. Or you may hang all of your clothes to dry on a line. Just take them out, grab some clothespins, and hang them up. On a side note, I gather there is a sort of line-drying etiquette out there if you are drying your clothes outside. Apparently you are supposed to put shirts, pants, and possibly sheets on the outside of your line – anywhere that neighbors might be able to see. Socks and underwear are to be hung behind them, so that they are less visible.
If you are transferring clothes to the dryer, first empty out your dryer’s lint trap. This is usually just inside the dryer door – you pull it out, clean off the lint, and put it back. After that go ahead and pile in the clothes. Close the dryer door, turn it on, select your options, and press go!
- Other options.
There are always options. Sometimes people just don’t have time to do laundry. Or are physically unable to go through this whole process. Or maybe just don’t want to. In that case, there are full-service laundromats that will do all of it for you. All you need to do is pile your laundry in a bag, haul it there, and drop it off along with any instructions. I have never personally used one so I don’t know if payment is due ahead of time or after you pick up your laundry. I also don’t know any details of how they work. If any of my readers do, I’d love you to leave a comment on how they work for you!
- Final points.
Just a few little things that I don’t think would make good points on their own.
First of all, I strongly recommend folding and putting your laundry away very soon after it is done. Don’t just let it sit in the dryer or laundry basket for days on end.
Secondly, I find that my executive functioning depends very heavily on routines. I function fairly well within my routines, but not at all without them. So I have two days a week that are laundry days, and I always do my laundry on those days. This isn’t long enough for very much laundry to pile up, but Nee and I both only wear dark clothes that can be washed on regular cycle, so tossing them (and some towels and robes) all together into one load works fine. If you have executive functioning difficulties, routines are an excellent tool.
Do you have any laundry tips for people who are leaning to adult? Do you have any suggestions for future How Do I Adult posts? Let me know in the comments!