I hate housework, and I never have much in the way of cash to spare, so I've come up with various ways to save money and the time I spend doing those irksome chores. I'll node them as I remember them, but as today is washday, I'll start in the laundry.

  • Don't wash dark and light clothes together. Just don't. If you don't have enough of either kind to make up a load, use the half load cycle on the machine, wait until you have, or (if you are running out of clothes) wash by hand. Never, never, never wash red with whites. In fact, as much as possible, wash red alone.
  • If you have colour run in your white clothes, check the label. Unless bleaching is forbidden, soak overnight in a bucket of luke-warm water with one part bleach to nine parts water. Don't use bleach direct on clothes, dilute in water first. After soaking, wash as normal.
  • If you can't bleach, dye is your friend. Hot water dye is a little more expensive, but more effective as otherwise a) you will be handwashing the garment forever, and b) it'll still fade.
  • In general, follow washing instructions, but if a garment is marked dry-clean only, cut a little material from inside the hem or a seam where it won't be seen and run it through a wash cycle with another load. If the material doesn't shrink, lose its colour or otherwise suffer it's probably safe to cool wash. (This doesn't apply to suits. Dry cleaning is the only way.)
  • Fasten pairs of socks together with a safety-pin at the toes. Don't remove the pin until you are putting the socks away after drying.
  • Buy giant size laundry powder. Not only is it cheaper in large sizes, but because you can't lift and tip, you'll use less and it'll last proportionally longer.
  • Put clothes on hangers before you hang them on the line. You are going to have to hang them later anyway, and if you do it now you'll fit more on the line, save time pegging out (only one peg per item) and most things that are dried on hangers won't need ironing.
  • Hang clean clothes that have become creased on a hanger in the bathroom. In 24 hours the steam from showers and so on should mean creases should drop out, except from cotton.
  • Where you really have to iron, spray starch or water from a mister sprayed over the item makes life much easier.
  • As baffo points out, clotheslines are cheaper, quieter and take up less space than a dryer. Dryers are last resort for when it's been raining for a week and your kids must have a dry uniform tomorrow, and you don't have a radiator to hang the clothes over.

    and finally

  • If you have a large enough garden, plant jasmine next to the washing line. It'll make the clothes smell wonderful and fresh through the flowering season, which is a long one.

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