Laundry. It’s one of the never ending chores that seems to be a constant battle for many people. And when it comes to being organized in a way that allows you to keep up with your laundry, it really just boils down to the fact that you have to make yourself do it. However, there are some tips that can make laundry a much easier task, and therefore much more likely that you will stay on top of it instead of the other way around.
Tip #1: Presort laundry when it’s created.
What do I mean by that? Instead of sorting laundry right before doing the wash (only to find out that you have too many pieces for one load, or not enough for another), or when you are folding clothes (when it can take a lot more time to figure out what piece belongs to each person and therefore a lot longer to put away), sort it as soon as you are done with the item. Each family member gets their own laundry bin (or two – depending on how into sorting you want to get). And after the item is worn, it goes directly into the correct bin. Then you can see at a glance when the bin is full and needs to be washed, and when it comes time to fold, there’s no question as to what you are going to find in there.
For example, in my family, my son Matthew has one laundry bin (everything goes together and gets washed in hot since everything is full of dirt, spit and food at 15 months old!). I have three laundry bins for myself (you can find the laundry sorter I love through this link). One holds hot water wash, one for cold water wash, and the other for sports clothing. I’ve never been big on sorting colors, and have never really had a problem with items bleeding onto each other, so I don’t worry about colors for my laundry. In the hot water bin I’ll throw towels, sheets, bathroom rugs, underwear, and heavily soiled clothes (such as from the garden or yard work). The cold water bin gets my every day and more delicate and barely soiled clothes. And then I kept my sports clothing separate since many of the materials require specific washing directions. Whenever I do a hot water wash, I know I can just throw everything into the dryer without thought. Many of the clothes in my cold water wash need to be hung to dry (i.e. sweaters), so it’s easy to know that I have to pay close attention to what gets put in the dryer when doing that load. It’s less to think about if you know exactly what you are washing before you start the load, instead of trying to figure out what goes where when the item is wet and soggy and you are mid-task!
This also works great if you have multiple kids or family members with similar sizes. I had a friend when I was young that always complained about not having any socks – only to find out that their sibling always had way too many. If each person gets their own bin and their clothes are the only thing washed in that load, there’s no confusion over whose items they are!
Tip #2: As soon as the bin is full, start the load of laundry.
Pretty basic. Procrastination only causes dirty laundry to pile up, and then it can feel much too overwhelming to even start!
Tip #3: Fold clothes well, but not to perfection.
Many people hate the folding part of laundry. Putting it in the machine and pushing the button isn’t too hard, but taking the time to fold things nicely can take forever. So cut yourself some slack in that area. Most people are in the habit of wearing certain things pretty regularly, so it’s likely not going to stay folded for long anyways. It doesn’t have to be perfect! This is particularly true for undergarments (see my 30 Second Tip on this), socks, t-shirts, or jeans (which can easily be rolled to eliminate wrinkles).
Tip #4: Ditch the iron.
With the advent of wrinkle free clothes today, there’s really no need to have to iron routinely. We have an iron in my house, but it might get pulled out once or twice a year if something was shoved to the back of the closet and got really wrinkled. But honestly, if you just make sure you fold or hang your laundry shortly after the dryer stops, most wrinkles won’t occur. My husband uses this tactic with his button down dress shirts and has saved a ton of time that he used to spend ironing. (Yes, I have a husband that helps with laundry and can iron – I’m blessed!).
Tip #5: As you are folding, sort them into piles that make it easy to put away.
So I’ve washed, dried, and I know all the clothes coming out the dryer belong in Matthew’s room. Well, I don’t have a large laundry room with folding area, but the top of the washer and dryer is just the perfect height for me to serve as a folding and sorting area. So I pull one piece at a time out of the dryer and immediately fold it and place it into a pile. Short sleeve onesies in one pile, long sleeve in another. Pants, jackets, bibs, sleepers, socks – they all have a separate pile. Once everything is out of the dryer and folded, I just carry each pile to his room and immediately put it in the correct drawer. Since it’s already sorted by item when I folded it, putting it away in the right place is a super quick job!
Like I said in the beginning, when it comes to laundry, you just have to do it. But hopefully these tips will help you do it faster and with a lot less hassle and a lot less headache. I certainly won’t say that I enjoy laundry, but I really don’t mind it using this system.
Let me know what you think, and I’d be happy to help out with any organization questions you may have. Just send me a message and I’ll be sure to respond!
All the best,