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How to Save Time and Money by Not Doing Laundry (But Still Keep Your Clothes Clean)

Categories: Culture

Laundry: the never-ending chore. You wash and fold and iron because you know that looking good is key to success. And if you just arrived in the Netherlands, looking professional can make or break an interview with potential employers and landlords. Doing laundry is just another source of stress that we don’t need in the 21st century. There has to be a better way!

Laundry Costs Time and Money

According to a recent survey, the average person spends 10 minutes per day doing laundry. That may not sound like much time, but think about it this way: if you earn an annual salary of 60,000€ working 36 hours per week, that’s almost 38€ of your time every week. You spend 1,944€ worth of time doing laundry every year.

And as you advance your career, the chore of laundry doesn’t go away. Your time becomes more and more valuable, costing you more and more money. A highly skilled migrant may end up spending over 40,000€ worth of time doing laundry over the span of 20 years.

But that doesn’t necessarily account for the time spent dropping off and picking up clothes from the dry cleaner or laundromat. And if you have a family, you may have more than double the loads of laundry that the average person does when living alone!

Furthermore, you still have to iron your clothes after they dry. In these small Dutch apartments, it can be difficult to find space for an ironing board by an electrical outlet. Whether you iron everything at once, or just before you leave for work, ironing costs you even more time (remember that 38€ per week?).

On top of the regular costs of laundry, you have the expat cost of cultural adjustment. If you do have a wasmachine, it doesn’t hold much clothing per load, which means you have more loads to do. But many Dutch apartments don’t have laundry machines anyway, and so you have to take your clothes to a laundromat (or do you?).

Ways to Spend Less Time Doing Laundry

The chore of doing laundry adds unnecessary stress and robs you of your precious time. You could use that extra hour in your week to enjoy a leisurely dinner, finish reading your book, or simply relax with your family and friends. Laundry shouldn’t need to be a top priority.

If you’re looking for ways to save time and reduce stress, consider these options for spending less time doing laundry:

  • Wear your clothes for longer. The things that may become the most pungent (socks, underwear, undershirts) should be worn just once, but jeans, shirts, business slacks, and blouses may get a few wears in them before needing to be washed. But they all need to be washed at some point.
  • Rotate who does laundry. If you live with other people, consider setting up a laundry schedule when one person does everyone’s laundry each week. It may save you an hour from week to week, but at some point you’ll be stuck doing everyone else’s laundry as well as your own.
  • Develop a sorting system. Whether you buy separate bins for lights, darks, and hand-wash only, or keep separate baskets for clothes, towels, and linens, it will save time when you need to sort your laundry. But the laundry still needs to be done.
  • Use a service. Ultimately, to save you time and increase your happiness, a laundry service like Miele is the best option. Miele will pick up, sort, wash, fold, iron, hang, and deliver your clothes at whatever time suits you. The minimum order for all-inclusive services in 30€ – less than the 38€ it will cost you every week in time! So what will you do with your extra hour after doing your laundry with Miele?


Written by Sterling Schuyler