Laundry is one of those chores that you want to keep simple because you have to repeat it so often. But if you own lots of clothes that have special washing and drying instructions, what should take a couple of hours can turn into several trips to the dry cleaners or several hours with clothing drying everywhere in your home. Sometimes those special laundry instructions aren't so crucial. They may be the best-practice instructions, but you can simplify your laundry by taking a few shortcuts.
Lay Flat to Dry
Lay flat to dry is supposed to apply mostly to heavy or stretchy knits like sweaters. Hang-drying these would normally cause them to stretch out of shape due to the weight of the water stuck in the material. However, you can make drying these clothes easier by removing that extra water first.
After washing the clothing, roll it up tightly in a chamois towel or other material that absorbs lots of water quickly. Squeeze the roll to get more water out. Switch to a dry towel and repeat if needed. Then, for lighter items, you can hang those to dry.
For heavier items, though, pin them to hangers lengthwise (including the sleeves). Let them dry like that for a couple of hours with a fan pointed at them. Then, hang them normally after squeezing them with the chamois towels one more time. Keep the fan trained on them to help evaporate leftover water.
Dry Clean Only
Dry clean only does apply to some specialty materials like taffeta, leather, and pure wool. Washing these in a machine can ruin the fabric easily; for example, wool can go through a process called felting, which makes the knit look more solid and feel stiffer. That's great if you've been knitting a fedora, but it's not great if you want to keep your sweater looking like a sweater.
For other fabrics, though, you can hand wash and line dry those instead. Cotton, nylon, polyester, and more (think normal everyday fabrics) will do just fine with hand washing. Also, if you really need to simplify your laundry routine, fabrics like cotton and polyester that don't have additional ornamentation like rhinestones or sequins can also be placed in a mesh washer bag, washed in a delicate cycle, and then hung to dry.
If you're dealing with material that requires ironing to look halfway decent, look into travel steam irons. These are compact and easy to store, and you can use the iron while your clothes are hanging up (so there's no need for an ironing board). There's no special procedure needed other than ensuring the inside of the iron is dry before putting it away.
If you are still unsure whether you can take these shortcuts with your laundry, talk to a tailor, particularly one who makes custom clothing, such as Mario Rojas custom clothiers. He or she will be able to help you evaluate the fabrics you have and see which ones can deal with more "regular" laundry treatment.