Avoiding the Laundry Pileup

Oh laundry, like dishes, it’s the job that never ends.  How can we keep the laundry from piling up so that we can have the satisfaction of clean clothes all put away instead of a big pile of dirty laundry?

In my college days I used to do laundry only once a month.  I would wear every single thing I owned before I finally made time to go to the laundromat.

Now I think having a laundry routine makes it simpler.  When I worked outside the home, I made a plan to do laundry throughout the week so I could spend my Saturdays doing something else.  Years later, I still use the same routine.

My laundry routine:

  • Monday – whites (includes white sheets & towels)
  • Tuesday – jeans and dark towels
  • Wednesday – dark clothes
  • Friday – extra load if needed

Almost all of our sheets and towels are white, so it’s easy to include them with other whites on Mondays.  Towels are washed only once a week.  Sheets are washed and then put right back on the bed.  Bedding such as duvet and mattress covers are washed once every couple of months (but if your family has allergies, do it more often).

Sorting laundry is the part I dread, and it makes me not want to start. It’s hard for me to pull out the dirty clothes to make a load.

A 3-compartment laundry sorter does it for you.  When we put away our clothes at the end of the day, it’s easy to sort the clothes into the different loads right then.

Each compartment holds enough clothes for one washer-load, so I can see if I need to do laundry just by glancing at it.

To avoid washing clothes that could be worn again, I put a clothes hook on the inside of our closet door.  Sometimes a shirt will only be worn for a short while.  It’s not dirty, but it’s not quite fresh enough to put back with the clean clothes.  We hang it on the hook to let it air out before we wear it again.

Putting clothes away? That’s another issue. Find more helpful tips at Laundry: When You’re Almost Done

How do you keep laundry manageable? Can anyone top my college record of waiting for a month? And for those of you who have bigger families with more laundry, do you have any special tips?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. I love the compartmentalized laundry sorters! I’m thinking about putting one downstairs too. Our family’s laundry is getting to be too much for just one of those laundry sorters.

    I used to do a load a day like you do. But this fall I’m trying out a simple laundry day. Every other day in the “work week” is packed. But Fridays are just laundry and dishes – so there’s more down time that day. I think it’s a good change to have a slower day.

  2. The 3 sectioned laundry sorter is a must have! I absolutely love mine because I can easily see when I have enough to run a load of whites, darks or towels.

  3. I love the compartment organizers also! I have found that if I do just one load a day, no matter how small, that really helps me keep up! I like to do no laundry Fri-Sun, so Mondays are usually a big laundry day.

  4. the organizer really helps. i try to do one or two loads a day (no particular order — just whatever pile is the biggest), and then i don’t need to do any on the weekends. i wash a load after i shower, move it to the dryer, and it may not be until my girls are doing homework that i get around to folding. and i try to fold right from the dryer, or i’m liable to have baskets of wrinkly clothes lying around.

  5. My hubby’s mantra is: One Load a day {keeps the pile-up away}! LOL. This method leaves me feeling like It. Is. Never. Ending.

    When we lived in an apartment, each unit was assigned a day to use the washer/dryer. I kind of liked the idea of getting everything knocked-out in one day. {Weekends were open for first-come-first serve.}

    Right now, after 10 years of marriage, I’m still trying to figure out a system that works. If only there was a machine that put it all away…….

  6. Pre-sorting is a good idea. My wife and I just use a standard laundry basket and toss whites in one side and darks on the other. It’s not as exact as having three distinct areas, but it works well for us and we haven’t had to buy a new basket. (For anyone who’s interested, I wrote about 5 Tricks To Simplifying Laundry here: http://snurl.com/3m8g5.)

    I’m not sure how I feel about doing laundry every day. I agree with Rebecca that it might start feeling like you’re constantly doing it and it never goes away. Although, I suppose if you have a washer/dryer in your home it might not be as big a deal as having to haul your laundry to a laundromat every day.

    Great post!

  7. Switching to the sorter bags like you show has reduced the nightmare to “manageable.” Still fine-tuning an actual system or schedule.

  8. I do laundry Wednesday – Friday. All of it. We have a laundry chute in our master bath closet which hubby and I use. Our girls have a laundry basket in their closet which they put their dirty clothes in and then on Wednesday morning before school they either put it all down the laundry chute or take it to the laundry room. They’re old enough now that if they miss getting their dirty clothes to the laundry room for me to do, they’re on their own and they have to wash them. I try to not do laundry on Saturday or Sunday so I can enjoy the weekend with my family. Occasionally I will have to do sheets or something extra on the weekend but it’s not the norm. When it comes to putting it away, I sort it and then place a stack of clean, folded laundry on everyone’s bed and they put it away themselves.

  9. Avlor, I think it’s a nice idea to change things up and have a laundry day. Then you get the benefit of looking at an empty laundry basket and knowing that it’s all done.

    I’m glad you all like the sorter too. I usually don’t think I need to buy something to be organized, but this one is something I find really helpful.

    Marci (Make Art…) – I like how you’ve worked doing laundry into your daily routine. That makes it so simple.

    Rebecca – nice mantra! I can see how that assigned day would make you have to keep up on your laundry. I wouldn’t want to miss my day. I’ll hope for that machine too.

    Dave (LivSimple) – that’s a great article from your link. I especially love the picture of the woman. I like the tip of throwing the detergent cup in the washer, I do that one too.

    Lisa, manageable is definitely the key word here. I don’t think it’s ever going to be ideal until we can get someone else to do it for us.

    Nancy, I really think having a schedule like that helps your family know what to expect, so it can save a bunch of stress.

  10. Great tips! In the last year I’ve switched over to the “a load a day” camp and I have to say I love it. We use to do it all in one lump but I went crazy folding it and putting it away. Doing laundry doesn’t bother me… its the folding that I absolutely can’t stand. So by folding one smaller batch a day, I don’t feel as overwhelmed. We also sort as we go and both things have helped a ton.

    And I think I can beat your record… no joke, in college I use to go anywhere from five to SEVEN weeks without doing laundry. Oh, how I miss having that many clothes to choose from!

  11. I’m freaking out a little bit because just last night as I was putting laundry away I was thinking:
    1. I wonder how Rachel handles laundry.
    and
    2. Would it be just too dorky of me to ask her?
    and
    3. I wonder if her husband piles all of his “only worn briefly, could potentially be worn again before washing” clothes in an armchair, even though I specifically bought hooks for him to hang up this category of items?

  12. I’m definitely going to have to switch to a laundry sorter, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but just haven’t done yet.

    We do laundry through the week as well, but don’t have a set schedule, just do what needs done as we go. (notice I say “we”, my husband is pretty good at laundry, what a blessing!)

    The putting away part is my LEAST favorite, I would love some tips for making that less painful!

  13. oh — another thing. I’m loving this trend I’m seeing in newer homes where the laundry room is located near the master bedroom or bathroom. what genius! Lugging those hampers and baskets from one end of the house to another is half the battle. I’d love to even HAVE a laundry room. Our W & D are in the garage.

  14. Claire! Oh my goodness, seven weeks is a long time.

    Jill that is too funny!

    Steph – there will be a Part 2 for laundry tips coming up soon, with a few ideas for putting clothes away.

  15. We also have a 3 sectioned hamper that we keep in the laundry room. However since I cannot seem to get my husband to empty out his pockets, it’s just easier for me to keep a basket in our closet and sorting it a few times a week. I’ve made a habit of going through the pockets before it goes into the sorter. We often wear clothes more than once before washing, with the exception of undergarments or stains. Those items get hung up in the closet in a seperate section.

    I do wash towels seperately from clothes because fabric softener reduces the absorbtion ability of towels. I do that also because I wash and dry towels and sheets on the hottest setting because of dust allergies, and the rest of the clothes in cold water and low dryer temperature. I wouldn’t bother with fabric softener except that there’s a lot static generated with the dry air here.

    With just the two of us, every load tends to be pretty small (except the sheets) so it doesn’t take very long to wash and dry them. I’m sure that will change when we have kids.

    Now if only I could get the hubby to put away his clothes w/o twisting his arm. Any tips on that? LOL!

  16. I’m with Jill. I was contemplating my laundry “plan” yesterday as well. My kids all have their own basket. I have added one thing to it this fall – a mesh zippered compartment (like for your delicates) that they need to put their socks into when they are dirty. That way, all their socks will stay together and I won’t spend so long on my white load matching socks! I think I will post that on my site now.

    I have been doing the one load a day. I’m not sure if it is the best method just trying to avoid having to do it all on the weekend.

  17. I owned 6 weeks worth of underwear when I was in college. I always did laundry on the day I was wearing that last pair.

  18. I do at least one load a day, sometimes two or three at the weekends. It seems to be never ending. There is one consolation, my husband does all the ironing! I chose well..lol

    i love your new sidebar graphic rachel :)

  19. I do laundry when it needs to get done ;) We have hampers in each of our closets in the bedrooms and bring them down and sort them into the 3 sectioned bin in the laundry room every couple days. When one section gets full we throw that load in the washer. The part I HATE is folding and putting away.

    For those who do cloth diapers- how to you organize your washing days? Do you wash every other day?

  20. RT – I couldn’t agree more about fabric softener making towels less absorbent. Sorry, no tips for your hubby. :)

    Denise, love your idea and blog post about keeping socks together.

    Jennifer – you’re right, that is the deciding factor!

    Laura, I would love to trade ironing for laundry any day. That’s great.

    Andrea, good question. Anyone have laundry tips for cloth diapering?

    • I have 7 children, ages 3 to 21. The last one just quit wearing diapers (except at night). For 21 years I used cloth diapers, and I never minded. I would put them in a diaper pail (later, a food service pail with a good lid, as diaper pails became obsolete) with some Odoban and water. (If the diaper was dirty, I would first rinse it out in the toilet, using rubber gloves.) When the pail was full, my husband or older son would carry it to the laundry room for me, and we would empty it into the washer and spin out the water. Next I would wash them in hot water and detergent (bleach not necessary). My kids would hang them out in the sun, which kept them nice and white. After they were dry we would pile them up and put them in a drawer. Simple.
      I bet we saved $4000 or so! Not to mention reducing waste in the landfill!

  21. I don’t like laundry… not one bit. So the thought of doing it multiple times, or every day, each week is seriously depressing to me.

    I have six children, and I do ALL TEN LOADS on Mondays. I don’t make appts for Mondays, I don’t run errands on Mondays, I stay home and do laundry, bills, and lesson plans (for my preschool), on Mondays.

    I keep the timer set so I can get it switched as soon as it is ready, and then I immediately fold/hang. I put mine and hubby’s away as I go, and I leave piles on my bed for the children to put away when they get home. I do my whites last and we have a “sock sort party”, so everyone gets to help with that batch.

    Oh, in the morning, or the night before, the kids sort their own laundry (love the laundry sorter for this). I bring my own hamper down after I have done a few loads. #1 – there isn’t room in the sorter for ALL of our stuff, #2 – it looks less overwhelming when I add more as I have space.

    I LOVE going to bed Monday nights, when everything is clean and put away, knowing I don’t have to THINK about it for another week!

  22. Hmm… laundry. The bane of my existence! This fall I’m trying to divide it as: 2 daughters’ laundry on Monday; son’s on Tues; nothing on Wed; us on Thursday; sheets and towels on Friday.

    I’m trying to keep up with that! :) I don’t mind doing the laundry – I’m just lazy about toting it up and down steps and through the narrow doorway to the laundry room…

  23. I definitely something like laundry is completely subjective with a) how many family member’s you are responsible to keep fresh & clean and b) how old your washing machine & dryer are.

    I used to loathe laundry – just for me, myself & I – until after we’d been married about a year & decided to purchase brand new washer/dryer units.

    I can’t believe the efficiency of these machines. I could do laundry for 10 people & probably not even care because things are so much quicker with the much-improved machines they are selling these days!

    But for now, it’s just 2 adults & 1 toddler that I’m washing for. Typically I’ll do my son’s laundry, including his towels & bedding, in 1 day. Then I’ll spend another day doing hubbs & my laundry (just presorting it on the bed) & then another load of bath towels & cleaning rags in another load on another day. Plus, my son is still in his cloth diapers, so I’ll do those a few times a week, but again, it just doesn’t seem all that bad to me anymore!

    To avoid the “I hate folding” syndrome, I try to take whatever basket it is straight into the room that it all goes in. Dump it on the bed & fold at that point so I can just immediately hang what’s needed & the folded stuff goes straight in the door. No need to carry it all from another spot in the house.

    As for cloth diapering, my tips are TIDE laundry detergent – it’s the best I’ve found for keeping smells at bay, soaking in cold for about 6 minutes before washing in hot, & if you have an efficient dryer, then use that. Otherwise, line dry. The problem that can come with line drying is a rough-to-the-touch diaper, but the sun does a great job at bleaching out stains.

    Great post!

  24. Mom of two and wife to one and I have to do laundry every single day. If I don’t then it piles up and I can spend two days doing it all. That’s too annoying so I just do a load or two a day. I’m not disciplined to have a schedule but yours looks great! I have a sorter too but we just moved and our laundry room here isn’t big enough for one.

    A month! In college I did laundry every week. LOL

  25. I have found a different system that works GREAT for our family of 6. The hardest part of laundry for me is the putting-away. Now I have a laundry schedule that is arranged by room. On Mondays I wash, fold, and put away the boys’ room, on Wednesday the girls’ room, and on Friday my husband’s and mine. On the days that I am doing laundry I will throw in an extra load at the end, like towels or sheets, or rags. I enjoy having 4 days per week where there are no piles of laundry sitting around and the laundry machines are quiet. This schedule has really helped laundry feel more manageable.

  26. Umm…don’t laugh–I throw mine on the bathroom floor. Dh washes and dries, brings them up, the kids sort them and put them in the right rooms and then put theirs away. I let my clean clothes pile up by the side of my bed til I can’t get into bed. Lol.

  27. Deb (aswewalk) — seriously, I think you have the best laundry system of anyone.

  28. The only other suggestion I would like to make to your great post is children’s laundry, especially boys.

    My 7 year old always puts stuff in his pockets. I always check pockets, but sometimes I miss something too small that can ruin a whole load of clothes.

    My solution – I always wash his clothes separately or with sheets.

    Problem solved.

  29. This post is from Rachel’s mom. As a empty nester with a husband who works partly from home in his robe and wears his workclothes several times in a row, laundry is not a big thing for me. But this post brings two funny stories to mind

    Rachel took on her own laundry early on, but little brother Adam was still depending on Mom to do his. My system was to fold the clothes and leave them on the drier for the kids to retrieve on their own and put away. In the morning Adam would stroll all the way across the house in a towel get one set of underwear for the day, and leaving all the rest go back to his room to get dressed. Next morning, same routine.

    My husband has always been helpful around the house. As a matter of fact when I was teaching, he did almost all the cooking. But when he would offer to help with the laundry (always after I had sorted and carried it) I would say “Go find your own job, the machines can do this.” Right now I can hear the drone of my washer and drier while I’m checking my email and hoping to get a glimpse of my grand daughter on Rachel’s post

  30. If you have a large family — and you don’t have to go to work — this is a great strategy! It would work to keep you from getting overwhelmed and maybe even free up a bit of your weekend! If you have a job, though, you’d be doing laundry early in the morning or late at night, neither option a pleasant prospect when you hate laundry as much as I do.

    Thank goodness it’s only me and the dog! :-) I also have one of those three-compartment sorters: what a godsend! What I really love about it is its wheels. Since my house is only one floor, the compartment gadget lets me roll the laundry out to the garage, where the washer & dryer reside. Big improvement over hauling a basket!

    I have two other strategies to demiserify the laundry process:

    1) Put a clothes rack (available cheap at Tarzhay and at Linens Plus) in the laundry area. Toss every free hanger into the rolling laundry hamper, and hang up everything as it comes out. Put the no-iron stuff away and leave the iron-it stuff on the clothes rack (where the things often sit until I’m doomed to iron).

    2) Avoid the clothes dryer as much as possible. Use plastic hangers that don’t rust. Retrieve the clothes as soon as the washer stops, to avoid setting in wrinkles. Give each piece a shake, hang it neatly on a hanger, and let it dry on the clothes rack or outside on a clothesline strung out of the neighbors’ view. If you hang shirts so their shoulder seams run along the hanger, they dry with no wrinkles or lumps. Some knit shirts need to be laid out flat to dry: put them on the floor of the shower, on an out-of-the-way tiled floor, or on a clean towel on an out-of-the-way part of a carpeted floor.

    The dryer annoys me even more than the washer. You have to hang your clothes up anyway: might as well hang them straight out of the washer and avoid being buzzed at by the dratted dryer. Hanging your sheets out on a clothesline relieves you from having to UNTANGLE ALL THE DRATTED CLOTHES AND SHEETS from a big wad inside the dryer, and they smell wonderful. Air-drying your clothes consumes exactly 0 electric or gas power. And best of all, it’s quiet! No aggravating buzzer nagging at you — you bring the clothes in at your convenience, not at a machine’s.

    If air-dried clothes are a little stiff or slightly wrinkled after they’ve hung dry, toss them in the dryer for 5 or 10 minutes and they’ll come out just the same as if you’d run them through the machine for half an hour or forty minutes.

  31. My solution to ‘I hate folding’, is not folding. Well, make that folding as little as possible. Towels and sheets are easy enough to fold up while watching tv so not much thought at all is needed. For the rest, everything goes on hangers. When I take the basket to sort in the laundry room, the second trip is for hangers. Everything except for socks, underwear, and sleeping clothes goes on a hanger.

    It’s a breeze to just take out an item from the dryer, throw it on a hanger, and hang it up, rinse and repeat. I sort them as I hang them up, so one hand grabs my clothes, the other grabs the hubby’s clothes and off to the closet. It takes about 3 minutes a load. I loathed folding. I’m much happier now that I have the room to hang everything up. The hubby is happier too because folded clothes always had creases and he hated it.

    I am also interested in hearing more about cloth diaper laundry solutions. When we plan to start having children, I’d like to use cloth diapers. Even though they have a higher upfront cost, in the long run they are more frugal and have less of an environmental impact.

  32. My hubby loves to do all the laundry for some reason. I will come in the laundry room with all 15 loads clean and in a giant heap on the counter. Bless his heart! I separate the laundry before I do it into colors and then start with the largest pile first. We live on a farm and I have to do chore clothes first (they get dirty from kids feeding sheep, gathering (hundreds of eggs) eggs and watering animals. One thing I am religious about!!!! i hang things up as soon as the dryer stops so that clothes aren’t wrinkled. All socks go in a big basket, everyone finds their own, except hubby.

  33. Your system looks great! We have incredibly hard water so we don’t bother to separate colors from whites too much. It just wouldn’t make a difference.

    We have 4 kids and my husband owns his own commercial cleaning business, so we have lots of laundry. The easiest system I’ve come up with is to just use our washing machine as our laundry basket. When dirty clothes come off, they get tossed in the wash. Any clothes that need to get washed separately or need to be treated for stains go in a pile in front of the machine. Once the washing machine is full, I add the soap and turn it out. When that load is done I take care of any clothes that are on the floor, if there are any. It’s super easy for us this way.

  34. Cool, we have almost the exact same routine! I used to do laundry every Saturday but then I started feeling like I was stuck at home all day. If I had a laundry room (my “room” right now is just a closet) I would want separate baskets for everything and I would have everyone sort their clothes into them, but right now I just check hampers in the morning and just do whatever will make a full load.

    And on a “preventative” note, I occasionally remind my family that if it isn’t dirty and doesn’t stink you can really wear it more than once. :o)

    I made some laundry detergent the other day so I’m going to post about that soon. Fun stuff.

  35. joyfulmom2boys says:

    I’ve started throwing in a load before I go to bed. And since I’m sometimes up during the night with my youngest, I might go toss it in the dryer. Then I grab them in the AM and toss them on the bed, folding right away if I can.

    My 4 year old son loves helping put clothes in the washer and is very good at folding towels. In fact, he was disappointed that daddy had folded all the towels last night, so he wanted to help put them up! I’m game for whatever help I’m offered!

  36. JoyfulMom – that is so sweet how your little boy helps. Lane likes laundry too, I’m not really sure why, but I hope it sticks!

    Jessica – yes do post about it, I’ve got the ingredients for it too and I’m planning to make some too when my current bottle runs out.

    Copyeditor – I love using my clothes line too.

    Kate- I think that is so simple, I love it!

  37. I am a load a day kind of person. It makes it easy to complete the job: wash/dry/fold/put away without any baskets of clean clothes hanging around waiting to get put away.
    My routine is doing each person’s laundry separately, so there is no sorting, all that is clean heads off to one place! So some days I do both a dark & light load.
    The boys know if the dirty clothes do not make it into their baskets they don’t get washed & also they have to put away their own stuff when it’s clean!

    Oh a good tip I read for those who have the children’s sock sorting problem is to give each person a mesh lingerie bag to put their socks in. You just zip it up & wash…there is no figuring out which sock goes to which person.

  38. Laundry does not bother me. I just keep this in mind.

    http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/housework.cfm

    On Sunday evenings, a housewife soaked clothing in tubs of warm water. When she woke up the next morning, she had to scrub the laundry on a rough washboard and rub it with soap made from lye, which severely irritated her hands. Next, she placed the laundry in big vats of boiling water and stirred the clothes about with a long pole to prevent the clothes from developing yellow spots. Then she lifted the clothes out of the vats with a washstick, rinsed the clothes twice, once in plain water and once with bluing, wrung the clothes out and hung them out to dry. At this point, clothes would be pressed with heavy flatirons and collars would be stiffened with starch.

  39. I do the one to two load a day system. Mondays, kids, Tuesdays, sheets and towels, Wednesdays, kitchen laundry,(I have a drying rack next to my sink in the kitchen so dirty kitchen stuff dries there before going into the basket) Thursdays, kids again, Fridays, cleaning rags (the kids and I do a big weekly houseclean) Saturdays, my husband’s clothes, Sundays, my clothes, extra loads, wherever they are needed. I LOVE not having to sort very much. I mostly hang dry on a umbrella dryer in the yard. So on the kids’ laundry day, I try to hang each of their clothes together in one area on the dryer. Line-dried clothes are easier to fold, I think. I fold right off of the line until we get into freezing temps outside. My motivation has gone way up since the putting away part of doing the laundry is much, much simpler, and I am finally this past year or so out from under the laundry pile.

  40. I do laundry Tuesday – Friday for my husband and 6 year old. My teenager does his own, from beginning to end. He has Saturday, or he can do his after I am done with mine. I do mine in batches. Monday, kitchen and bathroom towels and rags. Tuesday, sheets (taking turn with ours/and 6 year olds). Wednesday, lights and darks (mine, husbands non work clothes, and 6 year olds). Thursday: All my husbands work clothes (dress shirts and dockers) Fridays: Whites. Since I only have a clotheline I may have to switch a day, or double up if the weather does not cooperate. Luckyly I live in Colorado, and even if it is only 35degrees, but the sun is out, my clothes will dry. For real bad weather I have a small folding rack that I put inside my tub. I also have a coverd porch that I hang all the clothes that goes on hangers up. I will fold, and my little one will put his clothes away and put the kitchen towels/rags, and some of the bath towels and rags away as well. If my teenager does not wash his clothes – to bad. If it gets to stinky, he will not have a ride with me. So he makes sure it does not get this bad.

  41. We totally do our laundry PER PERSON.

    Each kiddo has a laundry bin in their room, as does their bathroom and our bedroom.

    When the bin is full, a load gets done. That way, when it comes out of the dryer, it can be folded and the bin goes right back up to the appropriate room.

    NOW – tell me how to get the motivation to get that bin EMPTIED and put into drawers???

    Naomi in Ohio’s last blog post..Borrowing, twice over

  42. Small notebook, I swear I just found your website tonight so it is eerie how similar we are in thinking, especially about the three bag laundry sorter. I have one that I use for my entire family’s laundry and love it.

    I have posted my weekly schedule for my family of five, with three children 6 and under on my website. Come check it out!

    Taylor at Household-Management-101´s last blog post..Put Away Clothes To Complete The Laundry Cycle

  43. Thong underwear take up much less space than granny panties. ;)

    Wendy´s last blog post..Museum Wax

  44. I have a confession. I don’t buy my daughter different colored socks, or even different styles. I buy her several packs of all the same style, all white. I save a lot of time by not sorting her socks.
    Plus I convinced her that sorting laundry into the sorter was a little game… and she totally fell for it.

    • I do the same thing! I buy both of my daughters the same white socks in the same size and style. I wait until Christmas when it’s usually cheaper and purchase six to ten bags of sock packs. This saves time and if you loose a sock then it doesn’t matter.
      I buy myself black socks in the same style and also purchase six packs of them. It makes things super easy.

  45. Is it too late to post? I love reading all of these ideas. I have learned a lot from my friend who has six children. She keeps the kids’ clothes in dressers in the basement (laundry room) until they are old enough to manage on their own. That way she folds and puts away, but doesn’t have to haul it to all of the bedrooms upstairs. She assigns a bin to each kid, puts clean, folded clothes in it. When kids get home from school, one of their chores is to put away their clothes and return the bin.

    One thing I love that my husband suggested is to put odd socks in the appropriate persons drawer. What? No odd sock box?? It seemed unnatural, but indeed it works sooo well. I’ve asked that our kids put their socks together as they take them off, that way, no odd socks–This often fails. When we do find odd socks, they get dumped into the drawer with all of the matches, where there may be a match. Or maybe, they will match it up with a non-match on a desperate day. Either way, no mess of odd socks.

    I also have some rules to keep me from going crazy. I don’t check pockets. (Unless it is obvious, just between you and me.) And I don’t turn things right side out. The way they send it down is the way it gets returned. If one leg is stuck wrong side out, that’s the way I fold it up. I have four kids and two are teenagers. They know better.

  46. Wenche Sterling says:

    My first time visiting. I do laundry twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays. The three compartments laundry organizer is great – I used it all the time. I do however many loads it takes ont hose two days, dump it all on my bed and have one of the kids help me sort into piles, one for my daughter, one for the boys (they wear the same size), one for my husdand and i, and one for towels and such. The child helps fold ( a little), and puts away most all of it. It works great for us. I’d hate to have to do laundry every day, so this works well. (it probably amounts to 3-5 loads on each of those two days)

  47. We have 8 children — LOTS of laundry! We make our laundry more managable by having fewer clothes for each person. We also cut down on expense by having four sorters: Dark Hots, White Hots, Dark Colds, and White Colds. Then we aren’t using extra hot water to wash T-shirts and dresses and things in hot water. Only “germy” things get washed in hot water (i.e. NOT the bath towel just used to dry a clean body!)

  48. Just found your blog via a tweet from Pear Budget and added it to my reader immediately! I recently did a blog post about how I handle our laundry, similar to yours with everything being sorted in designated bins. It saved my sanity! http://francineclouden.typepad.com/callaloo_soup/2010/02/how-i-climbed-mount-washmore.html

    Francine´s last post…Here’s a new place to waste time online

  49. I rarely use the dryer and loves for clothes to dry out in the sun. We have a small balcony with a couple of clothes drying racks so we could only do so much load at a time.

    What works for us is doing the laundry on:

    Mondays (whites, light-coloured towels),
    Wednesdays (coloured, blacks, dark towels),
    Saturdays (few sports clothes, occasional sheets, delicates)

    The days in between gives ample time for clothes to hang dry.

    Folding them while watching tv is too distracting hence a change of strategy to:

    While current load is happening in the wash, I get the drying racks ready by collecting and folding clothes while in the balcony. That way, everything is neatly folded in my basket while having 10min. doze of sunshine/happy hormones!

    They also get tucked straight away in our respective closets since I need the same basket for the newly washed clothes.

    I guess this system has worked for me since each task is needed to be done as scheduled for the next one to get moving. And it doesn’t feel as if I am doing the laundry/folding every single day.

    The 3-compartment hamper you have featured here has also worked wonders for me! Love going through your site, very calming..

  50. I’m working on somekind of no folding laundry system. It’s the laundry folding and putting away i hate. Seems like so much double handling.

  51. Early in our marriage I decided to stop mating my husband’s SOCKS next to a sunny window where I could distinguish subtle differences in color and texture. He really doesn’t care about socks…..so I asked him to identify his favorite socks, which happened to be Gold Toe Fluffies, in black. This happened to be right before the annual Gold Toe sale, so I donated all those other socks and purchased 30 pairs of identical socks and dedicated one of his drawers to “socks”. Purchasing in bulk is efficient and tends to keep the socks in the same “dye lot”, thus minimizing subtle differences in “black”.

    I can’t tell you how many hours this has saved me over the years. All socks just get thrown into the drawer when they come out of the dryer. It saves hubby time, too, because he just sticks his hand in the drawer and pulls out two! In addition, he doesn’t have to turn the bedroom light on to see his socks if it happens to be a day that I am “sleeping in”. Every few years, when he notices that the heels are starting to wear thin, I start keeping an eye out for the next Gold Toe sale as the thinned socks are discarded after wearing. No throwing out clean socks in this household, only dirty socks!

    This sock plan also helps me know when I need to be sure to do a sock load. If it has been three weeks, I know he is getting low on socks. For hubby’s part, he follows the 24-hour Rule: if he forgets to say, “I’m on my last pair of socks”, then he has to figure out what to do the next morning when he is out of socks! I don’t do “emergency loads”! LOL.

  52. I’m not sure I have a great system, and I’m not sure it is working for me… but it’s what I’m going with for now.
    I usually try to focus on getting the clothes washed and dried. I hate folding so sometimes we have 3 loads of unfolded clean clothes sitting in baskets beside the dryer. This stresses me out, so every few days I spend 30 minutes folding and putting away. I don’t mind sorting and I’ll pick up our hamper from the master bedroom a couple times a week and sort it into the 2-bin sorter in the laundry room. I empty my daughter’s hamper every few days as well. I do a load of laundry every night or so, the washing and drying at least.
    I find that when I try to do it all in one evening (I work full time), I’m ready for bed after 2 loads are done because I spend so much time waiting. The way I do it now, I spend 5 minutes a day on laundry, and then 30 minutes a couple of days a week.
    I wish I could get myself organized to fold warm laundry, but I hate folding! And I know I wouldn’t put away one load at a time, I wait until each person has a pile, then I put it all away at once. Hubby puts his own away, or piles it on top of his dresser!

  53. I don’t mind washing or folding anymore – it has become my quiet/down time as no one wants to be around me when I do it for fear of me putting them to work – which suits me just fine – with four young boys it gives me a break from their potty jokes and bodily noises :) The thing I hate doing is putting away. I have gotten in to the routine of running a load in the wash at night just as the boys finish getting ready for bed. So one goes in the washer, one goes in the dryer and one to be folded – which usually only takes about 10 minutes. I used to separate colors and hang to dry alot of items, but the bigger the pile got I just stopped. I haven’t ruined anything yet!! I usually have a good idea of items the colors will run, and very few items really do need to be hung. Doing it this way really allowed me to get through the laundry quicker as I never had to wait for a certain pile to fill up. Just looking at all the laundry sitting there waiting used to drive me nuts.

  54. I have a 4 compartment sorter, one is for each boy and hubby and I share one. Tkae bag off, dump in washer and done!