The Geek Dad’s Guide to Doing Family Laundry

I do a lot of our household laundry, perhaps even the lion’s share of the laundry. But my approach to doing laundry hasn’t always been the most … enlightened. All of the tips on this list are fairly obvious, and yes, I’ve made each and every one of these mistakes.

1. Do your wife’s laundry first, followed by yours.

If you are doing laundry, make sure the load contains at least 50% of your wife’s laundry, 75% if you can swing it. Whatever you do, don’t do your own laundry first, followed by a load of hers … because if you don’t get to her’s, but your clothes are clean, well, you deserve to face the Wrath of Spouse.

2. Making piles of laundry are commitments to do that laundry

Sorting laundry into piles of like colors is a good idea. Leaving those piles on the floor of your bedroom/laundry room because you didn’t get to them is a very bad one. In the eyes of your spouse, those piles of laundry represent a commitment, nay, an unwritten contract, to do that laundry.

3. If you unmake the bed, you must remake the bed

Speaking of unwritten contracts, if you wash the bed sheets, you must remake the bed. Washing the sheets, and remembering to put the sheets back on the bed only when you’re about to turn in, is very bad. This goes doubly so for crib sheets.

4. Don’t forget the kids’ laundry

When you’re used to doing your laundry (meaning yours and your wife’s) it’s easy to forget to do the kids’ laundry as well. Sometimes they warrant their own load, but if you finish all of the household laundry, but haven’t washed a single baby shirt or crawler, then you’re nowhere near done yet.

5. Don’t wash more than you can dry

It’s a good idea to plan out how many loads of laundry you intend to do during the day so you don’t commit one of the greatest laundry sins: leaving washing laundry in the washer. Such “clean” laundry will quickly sour if left in the washer overnight, meaning you’ll just have to wash it again. Better not to do the load at all than to have to wash it again.

6. Don’t wash more than you can fold

A corollary to the “don’t wash more than you can dry” rule is “don’t wash more than you can fold. Washing the laundry is great. Leaving piles of clean laundry on the table in the basement is no so great. While it may seem like a good idea to wash and dry as much laundry as possible while you have the time, leaving the laundry unfolded is sure fire way to piss someone off (including yourself, when you realize at 5:30 a.m. that the dress shirt you need is in a wrinkled pile downstairs).

7. Don’t wash more than you can put away

I do the wash, my wife usually puts it away but if you are also tasked with putting laundry away, don’t get to far ahead of yourself; stacks of clean laundry will quickly become stacks of dirty laundry again when the kids/dogs/cats get their hands/paws on them.

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