Do Less Laundry

Today's edition of Lazy and Cheap Ways to Be Green is about laundry. With today's labor saving appliances, laundry is a whole lot less work than it used to be. But I still find folding and putting away laundry to be a chore, so I like to minimize the amount of wash I do. By doing less laundry, you save time, energy, water,  money, and prolong the life of your washables. All it takes is a willingness to lower your standards of cleanliness.

How to Do Less Laundry
  • Do not wash clothing until it stinks or gets stained. It's true I'm a SAHM, so I can easily get away with this, but my husband works and often wears the same shirt or pants several times before it hits the wash (he does change his underclothes daily). Ask yourself, if I had to wash this item by hand, would I put it in the laundry now? 
  • In my kids' room, we have two baskets for used clothing: "wear again" and "laundry" (see photo above). In the master bedroom, we have hooks where we can hang used clothing that can be worn again before its washed. If you're not into you or your kids wearing the exact same outfit two days in a row, just wait until Thursday before pulling Monday's shirt and pants out of the "wear again" basket.
  • Designate certain clothes as "outdoor clothing" for your kids. Reuse these items several times before bothering to wash them. If my kids get pretty muddy outside, I want them to change out of those clothes before returning inside anyway, so we often just leave those clothes by the door to be changed into before the next outdoor adventure. Otherwise, my kids would go through 6 outfits per day on some days.
  • If you know you'll be sweating or getting stinky (working in the garage, going for a vigorous walk on a hot day), pull a shirt out of the hamper to wear instead of putting on a clean shirt.
  • Unless you suffer from allergies or bed bugs, you probably don't need to wash your sheets and towels every single week. We have survived for years washing these things far less often.
  • If you cloth diaper, infant potty training could save you lots of laundry.
Now I'll admit that changing your kids into dirty clothing before they go outside, or separating used clothing into two separate categories (wear again or wash) involves a bit of effort.  But most likely less effort than sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away several extra loads of laundry per week.  That's why doing less laundry makes it into the select category of "Lazy and Cheap Ways to Be Green."

For more ideas about Lazy and Cheap Ways to Be Green, click HERE.

How many loads of laundry do you wash per week?

This post is part of
Works for Me Wednesday


  1. I read your first point on another blog and realized I'd been mindlessly putting my son's clothes through the wash after each wear (partly a holdover from the baby days when he peed or spit up on clothes several times a day). Now, if the clothes aren't actually dirty, I just put them back in his dresser; I've cut his weekly laundry in half.

    For myself, I've found that switching to natural deodorants made a huge difference to how my clothes smell after wearing them all day. If I use baking soda and don't do anything terribly strenuous (I have an office job), I can get 2 or 3 wears out of the same shirt. I just drape it over a chair after taking it off so it airs out overnight then put it back in the dresser for future use.

    1. And natural deodorants also don't leave those ugly yellow stains in your underarms like antiperspirants do!

  2. I'm a lazy and cheap greenie. :) My lifestyle is pretty calm, and I don't really sweat, so there's no reason not to rewear my clothes several times. Shirts get worn an average of three times, jeans quite a bit more than that. I only do laundry when I run out of clean underwear! It's also better for the longevity of my clothes to be washed less often. I like line drying my clothes, but it does bleach the heck out of them.

  3. Good tips! I've been working to re-wear clothes as well, especially denim (because it keeps it in better condition and I'm sick of faded pairs!). Those bins are a genius idea, as I like to re-wear things but not necessarily put them back in with my FRESHLY cleaned clothes.

  4. I love your idea about outdoor clothing! We re-wear clothes but outdoor fun puts a damper on my kids ability to do this. Thanks!

  5. I hate doing laundry so do as little as possible! If it's not stinky, stained or dirty, it definitely gets put away to be worn again. In addition to keeping laundry in check (We do 5 loads per week, one each for my me, my husband, and our daughter, plus one combined load of work clothes on permenant press and one load of towels) it keeps our clothes from wearing out!

  6. I love the wear again hamper! I have been getting my kids to hang clothes that they can wear again on hooks on their wall but I find they skip over those. Often they just leave them on their floor for the next day, which irritates me. The wear again hamper is a great visual way to do this. Thanks for the idea!

    I'm lucky that my kids are very happy to rewear favourite clothes - in fact I have to tell the, to stop, haha.

    And I'm (ashamed) eco-proud to admit that our beds get changed quite infrequently. Once a week? I maybe make my bed once a week, let alone change it, lol!


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