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Woman & Home
Woman & Home
Millie Hurst

5 laundry mistakes making your home unnecessarily untidy

Four images of laundry rooms with washing machines, dryers and sink units to support a guide on laundry mistakes making your home untidy.

In all of life's uncertainty, one thing can be counted on: somewhere there's a pile of laundry requiring attention. There are differing opinions about things like the best time of day to do laundry and how often you should wash your bed sheets, but we can all agree that it's hard to keep on top of, no matter the size of our household. 

Plus, the whole laundry process can make our homes look messy. From piles of folded clothes waiting to be put away making a mockery of beautifully decluttered bedrooms, to half-dried bed sheets hanging over doorframes, laundry has a sneaky habit of taking over.

We asked professional home organisers what common mistakes people make that end up making our homes unnecessarily untidy. Below, they share simple but effective ways to streamline our laundry routines once and for all.

Laundry mistakes making your home untidy

Whether you have a small laundry room for completing laundry tasks in away from the rest of the house, or have the washing machine in the kitchen, avoid these missteps for a tidier home.

1. Not having a heated rack

(Image credit: Getty Images | Onur Dongel)

"One of the most common laundry mistakes is not having a heated drying rack, even if you have a tumble dryer," says professional home organiser Laura Price. "Heated drying racks are a game changer when it comes to streamlining your drying. The quicker your clothes dry, the quicker they can be put away and your home is tidy and clear of washing again."

The best-heated clothes airers are inexpensive to run and stop a drying rack of damp clothes from becoming a permanent fixture in the living room, a worthwhile investment.

2. Too many laundry products

(Image credit: Future | Mark Scott)

Laura Price also says we have a habit of overcomplicating things with too many stain removers and laundry detergents cluttering up the space under the kitchen sink.

"There are so many laundry products out there and we can end up with an unnecessarily large collection of seemingly 'different' products that all end up doing the same thing," she says. "Try to reduce the amount of products you have to keep your laundry space tidy. If you have more than one of the same product, it’s time to run it down and throw it away."

The fewer products we have, the easier it is to keep a laundry room organised and under the kitchen sink organised too.

3. Not having a schedule

(Image credit: Original BTC)

According to the professional home organiser and founder of Pretty Damned Organised, Ema Di Monte, we can't possibly have a tidy home without a dedicated 'laundry day'. So if you're currently winging it, consider making it more of a scheduled routine. Adopting small daily habits can help to keep the house clean.

"I always recommend having designated days for laundry and folding or ironing – personally, I iron on Sunday evenings while listening to a podcast, and I do washing on Wednesday and Saturday," she says. "Do the laundry in small batches to make it easier to manage and assign specific days for each family member's laundry, making it easier to keep track of."

Another tip Ema shares is to involve other family members, perhaps pairing socks while watching TV together.

4. Washing too frequently

(Image credit: Future)

While we always want our clothes to feel fresh and clean when we put them on in the morning, we can probably afford not to wash them quite as frequently as we do. APDO member and founder of Tidy Happy Calm, Kate Yiannacou points out that if we can get into the habit of wearing an item one more time, this can help prevent the laundry from piles from snowballing.

"Controversial one – consider how much you really need to wash items, as washing clothes after every single wear is going to create a lot of laundry," says Kate. "A good tip for the winter is to wear a thin layer under a thick jumper so that you only really need to wash the thin item that has been next to your skin, not the heavy jumper that is going to take ages to dry and clog up your laundry process."

This method doesn't apply when it comes to considering how often to wash your sheets or how often to wash your towels for obvious hygiene reasons.

Kate also suggests using spot-cleaning techniques to avoid having to fully wash items that aren’t very dirty so you can get them back into your wardrobe more quickly. You can also refresh clothing with byMatters Another Day fabric spray, which removes odours and cleans fabrics between washes.

5. Leaving the job unfinished

(Image credit: Armac Martin)

"One of the biggest laundry mistakes is believing you have to live with laundry taking over your house, leaving you spending days looking at hanging clothes and piles all over the place," begins clutter expert Helen Sanderson. 

"This is down to what I would define as a failure to complete the full "laundry cycle". This usually means that items end up dried, but not folded; or folded, but not put away. 

"Commit to my mantra: complete, complete, complete and you will reap the benefits of not having piles of laundry everywhere," says Helen. She says it's common to skip the putting away task and wear things from the hanging rail, leaving our stuffed wardrobes redundant. Similar to finding the motivation to declutter it's often the thought of spending time doing laundry that feels worse than the task itself.

But Helen encourages us to commit to focusing our energy on getting things washed, dried, and folded (and ironed if we choose) and back in their rightful home in dedicated drawers and cupboards in a set period of time. 

'Not everyone is a completer-finisher, but if you change your mindset and manage your laundry routine better, you can use it as a mindfulness practice where the ultimate reward is a clearer, more organised space,' she explains.

What are the best products for streamlining laundry?

"If you’re tight for floor space, a ceiling airer, at Lakeland. can be a good option to get things out of the way as they dry, since heat rises they stand more chance of being warmer and so dry quicker up high," says home organiser Kate Yiannacou.

Cleaning expert Lindsay from Dazlin Cleaning recommends investing in one of the best dehumidifiers. "Not everyone has the luxury of space for a tumble dryer, so using a dehumidifier on a timer or heated airer will speed up drying time so you won’t have laundry hanging around for days on end. It's also energy efficient and cheap to run" she says.

Remember to clean your washing machine regularly to keep it running smoothly, too. Products like this Dettol washing machine cleaner, at Amazon, can do a lot of the hard work for you.

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