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9 Tips to Make Laundry SO Much Easier!
Like so many other people, my grandmother’s washer and dryer sat in the basement. She lived in a two story house and would carry the laundry up and down three flights of stairs multiple days a week.
Sheets hanging on clotheslines. Photo by Pexels.
The woman would even hang up her clothes on a wire clothesline outside on sunny days. It just makes me physically tired thinking about the amount of work she would do!
The best laundry tool that I remember was Granny’s laundry stick. I have no clue what kind of wood it was or how Granny initially got it, but she wielded that thing every single time she did laundry. The laundry stick was about two inches wide and two feet long. She would shove clothes down in the water of the top loader washer at the beginning of the cycle and retrieve clothing stuck at the bottom while standing on a repurposed wooden crate with shag carpeting (the woman was well under five feet tall). The laundry stick broke up clumps of laundry detergent, pushed buttons on the back panel, and picked up dropped items from the floor.
In a comical way, the laundry stick was even used for disciplining grandchildren. It makes me giggle nowadays thinking about Granny threatening us grandchildren by waving the laundry stick if we were acting naughty.
Unfortunately, Granny’s laundry set up was no bueno for aging in place. There was no way her poor arthritic hands, shoulders, and knees could sustain carrying loads of laundry up and down all of those damned stairs! Her two story home with three sets of stairs did not support her goal to live at home for a lifetime.
Your home may have a similar set up, and the good news is it’s not the end of the world if you have multiple levels. Here are nine tips on how to make laundry day easier for you and your family!
1) First things first, put your washer and dryer on the main level of the house. No stairs makes it less likely to drop laundry baskets and clothing while keeping yourself upright! Hopefully, your bedroom is on the main level also, which makes it effortless to carry laundry to and from your closet or chest of drawers! Magnifique!
2) Widen the doorway to the laundry room! In a perfect world, all doorways in the house would be 36 inches. Since we all don’t have the cash on hand to do that, I have another solution for you: offset hinges.
Offset hinges or swing away hinges. Photo by Accessible Construction.
Offset hinges move the door out of the door frame and place the door flush against the wall when open. This gives you 1 and 1/2 inches more doorway width to easily go in and out of the room.
Or you could totally remove the door off the door frame. Hey, whatever saves you from busting up your knuckles while carrying the laundry basket!
3) Use front loader washers and dryers. This helps people of all heights in that you don’t have to bend over the machine to get clothes from the very bottom. As a petite lady, Granny always appreciated getting clothes from her front loader dryer compared to the top loader washer!
Washer and dryer controls on a front panel make life so much easier! Photo by Pexels.
4) Place the washer and dryer on a pedestal for less bending! Pedestal, platform, whatever you want to call it, just raise your washer and dryer off the floor to avoid squatting while getting your clothes in and out.
You can make your own platform at home and customize the height to your preference! This is a true back saver for people blessed with the gift of height.
Some people like pedestals with underneath storage. Heck yes, extra storage! We love multifunctional items!
Front loading washer and dryer set on pedestals with underneath storage. Photo by Appliance Connection.
5) Install a pull out shelf under the washer and dryer door. Put your basket on the shelf or fold laundry while pulling clothes out of the dryer to reduce wrinkles! A pull out shelf gives your arms and back a rest while you efficiently get the job done!
6) Place laundry supplies in easy to reach spots. Don’t exert yourself while standing on your tip toes to get that gallon of bleach!! Surely there’s an open shelf or a cabinet with pull down or pull out shelves you could place it in! Rearrange your laundry supplies and get creative!
I wrote an article about using pull down and pull out shelves for kitchen storage, but the same principles apply for laundry storage too! To learn more about why you should use pull down and pull out shelves, click here!
7) Do one load of laundry a day! Conserve your energy throughout the week and do one load a day. That way, you’re avoiding the marathon folding session. Ugh, for some of us, it’s the worst!
8) Hard time opening the washer and dryer doors? Check out this article on options like switching sides of the door for front loading machines and more!
Reacher, grabber. To-may-toe, to-mah-toe. Photo by Amazon.
9) Use a reacher/grabber (or home made laundry stick) to retrieve clothes from the bottom or back of the machine. This will help you keep your balance better and not use so much energy!
If Granny had this type of set up, I guarantee she would have done laundry up until the day she died. That’s a little macabre, but entirely the truth! The woman loved clean, smelling clothes. She had a decades long relationship with Downy and enjoyed the feeling of warm clothes straight from the dryer.
I consider myself lucky to have my washer and dryer located on the main floor 15 feet away from my bedroom closet. I have bi-fold doors and open shelving to store my laundry supplies. My three year goal is to replace my top loading washer with a front loader and place the machines on pedestals to make it easier to reach clothing.
What’s your laundry set up like? Also, think about helping your Granny keep her ability to do laundry by following through on these tips! Have you already done anything listed above? What tips can you add to help others do laundry at home for a lifetime? Share your experience in the comments below!