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Ask UfYH: Too Much Laundry, Not Enough Patience

Q: Do you have any advice on how to tackle way too much laundry? I’ve got no problem getting my room cleaned when it needs to be, but it seems like no matter how much laundry I do, it’s still going to be an overflowing mess.

I have two hampers full of dirty clothes (one of them hasn’t been touched in probably a year). Most of my clothes can’t be put in the dryer and after the first few loads, I get discouraged with how long it’s taking and stop and then once again I have too much laundry. Help?

A: So normally in this situation, I’d suggest getting all your shit together and going to the laundromat, doing it all at once, folding/hanging it all right out of the dryers, and putting it away ASAP. However, since you’ve mentioned that most of your stuff can’t be put in the dryer, that changes up the plan a little.

The first step I’m going to suggest seems a little counterintuitive from a time management standpoint, but hear me out. Do the stuff that can go in the dryer first. Wash it, dry it, and put it away, goddammit. This will get a chunk of the laundry done without taking up any hang-dry real estate, and will get it dealt with and out of your sight.

After that, aim for 1-2 loads a day: as many as you have space to hang dry at once. Start with that hamper that’s been untouched for a year. Maybe throw a cup of white vinegar in those loads in case they’re a little funky from sitting there so long. As soon as those loads are dry, put them away and start another 1-2 loads. Commit yourself to at least one load a day until you’re caught up. You can tell you’re caught up when you have to wait more than a day to make enough laundry for a full load.

Air drying laundry adds time to the process, absolutely, and you have to make sure you don’t get caught in the trap of hanging it up and then forgetting about it forever. If you keep committing to at least a load a day, you’ll be caught up much sooner than you think, though. Good luck!

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5 replies on “Ask UfYH: Too Much Laundry, Not Enough Patience”

Also, take a bunch of hangers to wherever your laundry machines are located. That way you increase your “hang to dry” real estate (though if hanging shirts, be sure not to hang them LIKE a shirt, or they’ll stretch funny; just hang them like pants) and when they’re dry, you just gather them and take them back to the closet without having to hang it all up all over again. Then next time you do laundry? Take all the empty hangers with you again.

Could you maybe get rid of the clothes in the hamper that hasn’t been touched in a year? Just, you know, make it disappear, Mafia-style? Unless there’s a much-loved item in there, the clothes inside clearly aren’t absolutely vital to your ability to leave the house fully attired.

I know this is easier for me to say than for you to do-I have non-special items I haven’t worn in years that I haven’t got rid of because I might need them (in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse? I dunno, but when I’m eaten by a zombie, I WILL be wearing clean underwear, goshdarnit!).

Absolutely agree with all of this. And as someone who previously struggled with a Mount Velaundryus of my own (and OH MY GOD I’m not even kidding about that), I have found that trying for one load a day works a lot better than leaving it for one day a week (I also have 5 people’s laundry to wash, so I may have more laundry than you to begin with). I can even take a day “off” now and then without creating a second Mount Velaundryus if I do it that way.

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