I often hear people talk about how many loads of laundry they do every week, and I’m usually amazed. I’m not sure I could do 18 loads of laundry in a day if I tried, unless I put just one item of clothing in each load. I can understand it for large families, but many of the people I hear say stuff like that are either couples or single!
We typically do two or three loads of laundry once a month, plus my son does about one load a week. So that’s a maximum of 7 loads a month for a family of three. My son does a lot of laundry for two reasons: he doesn’t have that many pairs of pants (this is what happens when you can grow an inch practically overnight) and he is an active teenage boy. His clothes get dirty, so he has to wash them every time he wears them.
So how do my husband and I manage to only do two or three loads of laundry once a month? (Saving lots of time, water and energy in the process, and making our clothes last longer because they aren’t being damaged as often by the washer & dryer.)
1. We don’t have very many clothes. The total of ALL of my clothes is probably less than the number most people have for a single season, and my husband has about the same amount. But we DO have lots and lots of underwear and socks. Just over a month’s worth, as a matter of fact. So there’s no way 18 loads of laundry could possibly pile up. And a month’s worth of underwear doesn’t take up very much space.
2. We wear our (outer) clothes more than once, and are careful with them. Seriously, how dirty do clothes really get while we’re sitting in an office? They don’t. When we get home from work, we change into old, comfy clothes for lounging and hang up our old clothes after making sure they are still clean. We don’t put them into the laundry until they are actually dirty, which takes at least 3 or 4 wears, sometimes more. Same goes for towels. There is no need to wash a towel every day that’s been used to dry off clean water after showering. What are we trying to clean there?
3. We wash everything on cold, so temperature is not a factor. This saves energy AND lets us consolidate loads. Our loads are either lights and darks, or sometimes whites, darks, and coloreds. The exception is when we get something new — that item usually gets washed once by itself first before it joins the crowd, especially if it is red or very dark.
This post is probably nothing new for some people, especially if you’re European. In fact, that’s where I got the idea. While working in Germany many years ago, I noticed that my coworkers often wore the same clothes 3 or 4 days in a row. So I asked them about it (politely, I hope) and they were shocked that I would think of wasting energy by washing something that was perfectly clean. I thought they had a great point, and stopped throwing clean clothes into the laundry. Of course, I don’t wear the same clothes 3 or 4 days in a row here in America because people would probably think I was a freak, but who’s going to know that I hang them up and re-wear them if they aren’t reading this?