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While a few people actually find folding laundry and ironing therapeutic, most of us can’t stand the chore and will try anything to get out of it. In the past, I hated folding so much that I put everything on hangers as soon as it came out of the dryer – even towels. Because I like to hang many items to dry, or take them out while still damp to avoid over-drying, it seems to make sense and clothes don’t just sit there wrinkling while waiting to be folded.
While hanging everything may help to keep the wrinkles down to a minimum, unless you have enormous closet space you won’t get very far. It really does not have to be that bad. If you stick to hanging the items you wear most often, you will find that you fold a lot less. For example, towels that you use most often are usually hung on a rack or hook in the bathroom, so just hang them right back up there after washing.
Pants in our house are always hung in the closet. How many do you need anyway? It is a good idea to go through your closet and remove anything that you have not worn in a year. Store those items elsewhere, or better yet, donate them to a local charity.
If you elect to store some, fold by holding by the cuffs while making sure the crease (if any) is in the front. Smooth the legs and fold in half at the knees so that the cuff bottoms and waistline touches. Bring the knees to the top and smooth again. Space bags are wonderful for storing seasonal clothing in unused spaces like under the bed!
My hatred of folding evolved from years of working in retail, where I folded countless shirts by holding the shirt by the shoulders, flipping the sleeves back and folding the shirt in half and stacking, stacking, stacking. This was before the handy shirt folding boards were being used in stores.
Actually, there is a gadget called FlipFold which is fun to use and ensures that you have a stack of identically sized shirts when done – if that kind of thing floats your boat. It’s a great way to make the chore fun for kids and I think it’s much easier than the Japanese method.
As for underwear, keep it quick and simple. If you stick with the same brand and stick with one or two basic colors, you will have less mismatched items and easier choices at dressing time. I just lay socks flat on top of each other and fold in half once. It is quick and there is no chance of stretching out the elastic. Boxers get folded in thirds and then in half, panties in half. Bras get folded in half, one cup into the other. Individual drawers or bins for each category of underwear help speed and organization, if you have the space.
Fitted sheets are in my opinion, the worst (folding) nightmare! To show you the best way to fold a fitted sheet so that it looks nice in your linen closet and has less wrinkles – watching Martha Stewart's "How to Fold a Fitted Sheet" is easier than trying to read instructions.
The best way to make folding laundry less of a chore is to not let it build up. If you only do the wash one-day a week, then of course it will quickly become something to dread! Try spreading the loads through out the week, like doing sheets one day, towels another, whites one day, darks another, and so on, to lighten the workload.
Fold while you are watching TV, listening to music, or talking on the phone - enlist help from others at home. Avoid excess ironing by looking for fabrics marked "wrinkle-free" next time you are shopping. Store the ironing board and iron in or near your closet and just iron clothes as you need them.