How Do You Feel About Hiring Out Your Laundry?

If you found yourself with some extra money in the budget for household help, which tasks would you hire out first? Babysitting? Yard care? Housekeeping? Perhaps something specific — like getting your gutters cleaned, or having your exterior windows washed (especially the ones that are upstairs and hard to reach)?

When we first moved to Oakland, we hired a housekeeper/assistant right away. She would come for 10-15 hours per week and would help with all sorts of things, like basic housekeeping, school pick up, or a grocery store run. She might also assist on a video shoot, or tackle a particular non-everyday task like making sure all the burned out lightbulbs in the house were replaced. When the weather was good, she would blow the leaves from our balconies and try to keep the exterior spider webs at bay (a constant battle at The Treehouse).

She was a hard worker and really wonderful. So I was sort of surprised that we didn’t replace her, when she moved on to a full-time job a couple of years ago. The memory is already fuzzy, but I imagine we were feeling on top of things, and glad to redirect the money we’d budgeted for a helper toward other savings goals. Plus, it’s always nice to have the house back to just our family for a bit.

Lately, I’ve been craving household help again. We’re decent at the basic upkeep, but after years of letting those once-in-awhile house projects pile up (like little repairs, and touching up paint), my list feels overwhelming.

I was thinking about this when I came upon a conversation with my friend Hailey that I’d shared in an old post. She wrote: 

“Drop off laundry is one of my favorite “digging out” techniques, and a favorite gift to give new mothers, especially of multiples. My solution is to take it to the laundromat one day and pick it up the next. FYI, I live in a small town and my laundromat charges $.95/lb., 10 lb minimum. In LA I found a service on line for $1.25/lb and it’s only $.70 in NYC for next day.

The mother of my good high school chum in San Francisco, sent her laundry out all the time. I remember thinking that was a good use of money and time. When I lived in NYC I did it often. Now, sadly, I only do it once in a while; I wish I could drop-off more often. I love it also because I don’t really know how to fold small pants so they stay folded. And then there is the dilemma of tons of sheets, especially the fitted ones. I can’t get how to fold fitted sheets! But they come back sweet smelling, folded, smooth and tight. Mmmmm.”

I find myself agreeing with her that giving a gift of drop-off laundry would make such a nice gift for new parents. But interestingly, hiring out the laundry is nowhere near the top of the list of things I would want to hire out for myself. For whatever reason, laundry just isn’t a task that stresses me out these days. In fact, even when we’ve had housekeeping help, I’ve never really handed over the laundry.

The only time I remember hiring it out was when we lived in Greece and I was expecting my first baby. We didn’t have a washer and dryer in our apartment or a car either. Hiring out laundry was so helpful! 

What about you? What would you hire out first if you could add some extra help to your house right now? And how do you feel about hiring out your laundry in particular? Does that sound appealing? Or is it too personal?

35 thoughts on “How Do You Feel About Hiring Out Your Laundry?”

  1. ohhhh… how wonderful would that be? it’s like little, magical fairies came to visit. i’m so jealous! i don’t have a problem doing the laudry. it’s the folding part that gets me, everytime. as we speak, i probably have two loads sitting in the laudry room just waiting to be folded. but if someone else would do it for me?

    1. I’m exactly the same! Being a working mom of two, we had soooo much washed laundry waiting to be folded…. the full baskets stressed me out so much. We do have cleaning help a couple hours once a week, and one day I had the brilliant idea to ask her to fold the clothes for me. I am soooo relieved since then! I still some folding on other days, but she helps me stay on top of things. A godsend! :)

  2. Wish i had that service when I was up to neck in laundry, small children, homeschooling, soccer, swimming, tennis, drama, voice, piano……….

  3. I had this done once a couple years back when I was moving. It was awesome. Maybe one of these days, I’ll have it done again!

  4. I’m on maternity leave with my second right now (for a year – I love quebec..)

    We hire out cleaning/housekeeping – every 2 weeks, an absolutely lovely woman comes for 6 hours. She spends about 4 hours cleaning the house (bathrooms, dusting, washing floors, etc), and the other two hours on “extras” – washing the sheets and re-making the beds, say, or washing the windows, or the inside of the cupboards.

    When I’m working, that’s just enough of a boost to feel like we’re on top of things. And while on leave, it lets us spend the extra time with our kids instead of on housework, which is a luxury worth the expense.

    (Plus? My daughter will spend weekends “helping” her dad build a deck, which leads to 5-digits savings compared to what the contractor quoted. But she will not help mop floors.)

  5. I would never hire it out because I am too picky. I do my darks in cold water and special soap, I hang certain things to dry so they don’t shrink. Also, it isn’t a chore that I particularly mind. And folding is a great job for kids to do. The only tempting part of this article is that someone would fold my fitted sheets!

  6. I don’t think I could ever send out my laundry – I hang-dry most of our clothes, plus I like to keep only one set of sheets/duvet covers. Doing laundry is a chore of course, but not one I’d pay to hand off.

    I do “hire out” grocery shopping with click & collect. For $3-$5 a shop it means I don’t have to go physically shop in the evening (when I’m zonked) or on a busy weekend, plus I do much less impulse shopping!

    If money was no object though, a handyman would be the top of the list.

  7. I like doing laundry for the most part. This year we started talking about hiring a housekeeper, though – with homeschooling and a 7th baby on the way, things were starting to feel like too much. We ended up hiring our oldest for 2 hrs every two weeks. He gets paid $15/hr, and has a list of tasks, including vacuuming, dusting, and mopping common areas, and cleaning the bathrooms. He had most of the skills he needed, but I had him watch some youtube videos at the beginning to teach him some “best practice” techniques and hacks. It has been such a gift, and knowing that the house will be really fresh every two weeks has freed me up for deep cleaning and minor repairs I had let slide.

  8. Laundry is my favorite household chore, so I would not hire it out. Plus, I’m very choosy, especially with hang-drying and using unscented soap, and I don’t think I’d trust someone else to do it right!

    Now if someone would just come over and wash the dishes every day, that would be heaven :)

  9. I feel like laundry is really not a big deal.. just throw the load in and the machine does the work, move it over to the dryer and the machine does the work. I stay on top of it so it never gets so out of hand.
    What I would love is a chef!!! I work full-time and the last thing I want, when I get home is to throw my shoes off and then start the crazy cooking race so that we can eat healthy meals and be on time to the kids activities To walk in the door to a prepped meal, would be heaven!

  10. When I had my first child (many moons ago), I agreed to wash diapers in exchange for an every other week cleaning person. I have never minded doing laundry, but always hated cleaning. That first child is now preparing for triplets!! They have so many friends that want to help out so I set their laundry room up so that anyone who wants to lend a hand can help with that while the babies are sleeping.

  11. I don’t mind laundry and I rather enjoy yard work, but I would definitely hire a house cleaner. Having someone come in to clean is fairly common where I live in California, but practically unheard of where I grew up (small town in Utah). I’ve toyed with the idea, but it isn’t really a budget priority right now.

  12. When our first baby came along we were apartment dwellers and sans laundry room, so we hired out to a diaper service -which was SO good to have, but I still had to make trips to the laundromat YIKES I hated that! As soon as we got a w/d I was happy to do laundry!
    For me, I would love someone to be a personal chef, but I can’t see that happening any time soon!
    What we *do* hire out is our yard, between physical limitations, allergies, and a too busy to pull weeds schedule we found a young kid who does a great job of the front yard for a very good price. We also were fortunate in that a friend has a relative who needs a required amount of volunteer service as part of mental health therapy. Other situations didn’t work out for them and she asked if we could find things for them to help out with. (are you kidding? I have a list a mile long!) So, although I don’t require the same level of ‘expertise’ as I would a professional, or even the kid who does the front yard, it has been helpful to have someone who can help with the odd job that seems to arise each week.

  13. I could never feel comfortable sending my laundry out–too personal. If I had extra money for anything it would hands down be a chef. That would be heaven on earth.

  14. We are so lucky here in the Bay area that there are a tonne of start-ups making it really easy to do all of these things with the touch of a button on your phone. Its a life saver for busy working parents for: groceries (GoodEggs, GrubMarket, Instacart), pickup food and other errands (Post-mates), TaskRabbit to do anything (people have paid to have someone stand in line for them to buy tickets or the latest iPhone, reserve picnic tables at the park early in the morning ready for their childs birthday party!), laundry pickup/ drop off (Rinse) etc… Would love to know any other favorites I don’t know about.

  15. My hubby is our laundry guy but we hang up everything – in winter we have an inside line and in warmer weather it all goes outside. Then you fold as you take it down so it seems like a lesser step. We don’t even own a dryer.
    We had a housekeeper friend for a while when we both worked ft and our son was little and in daycare. So she did bathroom, vacuumed and mopped and general cleaning and it was amazing. She was a friend that is obsessed with cleaning her own house so it gave her somewhere else to clean! and some extra $ and totally made us feel more human when we had days off. Hasn’t really been In the budget since we moved away but also hubby works less hrs and in less stress job so has more energy. We’ll reassess if that changes I think. I love to cook so I wouldn’t want a chef!

  16. When I lived in NYC I sent out the laundry. I also had groceries delivered…the 5th floor walk-up was a killer. But now as a family of 4, I (secretly) love doing the laundry…the machines practically do the job themselves. I love hanging sheets/towels out on the line…the sunshine smell is intoxicating. Folding and putting away is easy. I did have a cleaning person (1x/month) to scrub all the floors, windows, and baseboards. It was great but I never liked the cleaner smells she used and the budget got tight and that was that. I suppose yard work would be my choice…weed pulling is definitely not my thing.

  17. Dani Fletcher

    Running laundry through the machines was never a problem for me. Folding was the problem. For 28 years my husband has folded laundry while he watches sports. It’s been the perfect solution for us!

    Also, when I had my fourth child, my mom bought me 6 months of a weekly cleaning service. It was heaven! Once a week I would take the kids to a park for a few hours and come home to a clean house. It was truly the gift of time. The best thing was having it all clean at once. I usually only have one thing done at a time — bathrooms one day, floors another… If it had been in our budget I would have kept it.

  18. We hire out housekeeping and gardening/landscaping (both weekly) and it gives us back the time we need to feel human (think a leisurely glass of wine on the deck) with a house full of very busy kids. Best decision EVER!

  19. We have someone we pay to do the yard work. Good marriage decision. :) We’ve hired people to clean house here or there, and it was always such a relief–definitely money well spent.
    But laundry? I like the idea of sending it out, but it seems too personal. Plus, folding is what I do to rationalize time spent watching TV.

  20. I wouldn’t want to send out my laundry- assuming I have a machine, I actually really enjoy doing it myself, including folding. That said, I’m currently living with a host family in the Peace Corps- my host mom does my laundry, and while I appreciate not having to hand-wash everything, it is a little more personal than I’d prefer. I wish I had someone to make my bed every morning, though! I like my bed when it’s made but it doesn’t happen very often.

  21. I had a housekeeper when my boys were very young. She cleaned all day Friday and I had it in my work schedule to be home by 3 pm with a carload of groceries and fresh flowers. I can’t tell you how much better the weekends felt with two working parents and young children. We still had plenty to do on the daily with laundry, meals, regular tidying. We moved house when the boys were 8 and 10 and were undone with remodeling projects for a couple of years. It didn’t make sense to pay someone to clean around the ongoing messes. But by then the boys were old enough to learn how to clean so we made it fun with Friday night pizza followed by cranked up music and the whole family cleaning for two hours. I think I liked that phase even better than the hired-out one. We’ve also had gardening help but I tired of the *no leaf left behind* look. Now we do it ourselves and have actually learned a lot about plants in the process. Weeding is like family laundry…one load a day and you’re on top of it.

  22. I love the idea of hiring out the laundry but as Mormons… would you give your garments too? That’s one of those grey areas that I never know what to do with. I hate doing laundry though and it is always that one task that just never seems to get done all the way. It all gets washed, but then piles up in the laundry room for weeks. I’d love to have someone else take it over for me.


  23. Grisel Pastore

    While growing up in El Salvador, we had someone come in and wash the laundry by hand (I still remember the punishment we received once after having a mud fight while EVERYTHING was being line dried!) When money was tight, everyone (children included) contributed to washing laundry…by hand. Every time I do laundry now with my fancy machine, I’m in awe at how easy it is. I sort everyone’s bundle of clothes & If anyone in my family wants their stuff folded, they are welcomed to do it themselves. What I would love is getting home cooked meals delivered for dinner & washing dishes afterward!

  24. I have a helper for 8 hours a week. Picks up house (no cleaning, just picking up toys and what not) she will do laundry and pick up kids from school. It is a life saver with 2 working parents.

  25. I’m a few days late on reading Design Mom posts. But here I am doing several loads of laundry and waiting for the dryer to finish its cycle so I could leave the house. Yea! In a NY minute I would hire out my laundry! I would have to quickly get over that old saying “airing out your dirty laundry “

  26. I like doing laundry just not putting it away! I have two lovely ladies that come every two weeks and Sometimes they will fold the laundry if it is in their way of things. I love how clean the house is after they are done.

  27. Anna Donnelly

    I absolutely love doing laundry, so I wouldn’t send it out. I would get a housekeeper who would clean the floors, refrigerator, bathrooms, and dust.

    When my husband lived in Jerusalem, before we got married and I joined him there and I did his laundry, he would walk down the street to a local laundry service and have it done once a month or so for about $12 for up to about 15 pounds, I think. It was a big help to an eat-out, never-clean-the-apartment live-alone master’s student.

  28. I don’t know how to fold fitted sheets either! Help! ;)

    P.S. Would you mind writing up a post about how you store and organize your sheets. By size? By color? Where do you keep them? Etc.

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