Organize & Clean

Are You a Laundry Rule Breaker?

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Vesna Cvorovic)

How does laundry day work at your place? Are you a “darks only with darks, lights only with lights” person, or do you throw it all in together and hope for the best? Do you absolutely only ever dry clean your dry clean onlys? Or do you sometimes, just sometimes, cheat a little? Break the rules? Ignore the warnings? Go your own laundry making way?

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For me, I am a laundry rule keeper. But as my little ones played in their room this morning, and I was scanning the all-important care tag of a 5 x 7 rug that someone had spilt coffee over, I began to feel overwhelmed by a sense of impending doom — a feeling that I was going to spend my entire morning bent over a teeny tiny bathtub in agony.

Yup, it was “hand wash only”. Wait, I thought to myself, what if I didn’t hand wash this thing? It was $5 at a thrift store. What if I just tried it on the gentlest cycle in our giant washers downstairs? Would the world really come to an end?

There are times when it’s worth, in my mind, sticking to the rules. Definitely, for the favorites. Those favorite pieces of clothing, the kids’ special “Sunday best”. That incredible vintage cushion cover you inherited from your Great Aunt. Messing with one of those is only going to cause you grief. And then there are the rules that are easy to follow. Washing darks, or patterns that could bleed, with cold water is one of them. Separating darks from lights only takes a few moments in front of the machines, and those moments pay off in all the clothes you save from unwanted ink.

On the other hand, laundry that is not going to get done because doing it “the right way” is too difficult, too time-consuming, too-tiring — for me, I feel like it’s okay in those moments to give myself a little space. What’s worse? A dirty rug, sweater or pillow cover that sits for ages in a laundry hamper because the thought of cleaning it is overwhelming, or a clean rug, a completed task, done with the possibility of a little damage, but at least it’s done. I would take the completed laundry any day over stagnant dirty laundry in the corner of a room.

What about you? How do you decide which laundry rules are there to follow and which ones are meant to be broken? Confess your laundry law-breaking patterns below!