Ask Unclutterer: Putting away laundry

Reader Kelly submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:

Your advice on doing the laundry is fantastic. I’ve employed several tips with great success. In particular, I’m a fan of clothing items that need little care (e.g. no ironing, dry cleaning, etc.). However, I’m unable to find usable suggestions on HOW TO PUT THE LAUNDRY AWAY. One mantra of simple living systems is to touch things only once (mail directly from the mailbox into office without setting on kitchen counter first and while throwing away junk mail before you even bring it into the house), but I’m unable to find a laundry system that doesn’t result in piles and piles of clean laundry that needs to be put away. Getting it into the washer and dryer is easy — how can I get it to put itself away? My kids are 2 and 4 years old. I do one load of laundry a day. It ends up sitting in our enormous rolling laundry cart in the laundry room, where we all gather in our underwear looking for clean clothes. Please help.

I laughed aloud when I read your description of your family gathering in the laundry room looking for clean clothes because I have done exactly that on numerous occasions. My guess is that anyone with a washer and dryer at home has done this, but maybe around a couch, dining table, or wherever clothes are folded. And, I don’t know why, but I’m usually standing on my tippy toes, quickly shifting my weight from foot to foot, on a mission to locate clean socks. You’ve just described the human clean clothes hunting ritual!

To find a solution to this problem, start by making sure you don’t have more clothes than storage space. If drawers and closets are cramped, you might be avoiding putting clothes away because you can’t easily do it. You shouldn’t have to push down on clothes to shut drawers, and you shouldn’t have to use your elbows and exert upper body strength to cram clothes into a closet. Also, check out your closet and make sure that whatever method you’re using to organize your clothes is simple to maintain. If your closet organizing system is too convoluted, you might be avoiding the chore for this reason.

Although your rolling laundry cart is really cool, it might not be the best tool for your family. You may be better served by having four labeled, stackable, laundry baskets or a rolling, 4-bag, laundry sorter. Each night after dinner, you and your husband can take five minutes to put away the clothes in your designated bin or basket and then spend another five minutes helping your kids with theirs.

Challenge everyone to a race, play upbeat music, and/or make the new routine as much fun as possible. After a few months, it will become second nature and putting away laundry will no longer be an issue. As your children get older, they’ll be able to put away their clothes without help (around age 5 or 6) and eventually even do their own laundry (usually around age 10, 11, or 12). I’m definitely looking forward to these milestones in my house!

Be sure to check out the comments for even more suggestions from our readers for ways to help get clothes out of the laundry room and into their proper storage spaces.

Thank you, Kelly, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column.

Do you have a question relating to organizing, cleaning, home and office projects, productivity, or any problems you think the Unclutterer team could help you solve? To submit your questions to Ask Unclutterer, go to our contact page and type your question in the content field. Please list the subject of your e-mail as “Ask Unclutterer.” If you feel comfortable sharing images of the spaces that trouble you, let us know about them. The more information we have about your specific issue, the better.

82 Comments for “Ask Unclutterer: Putting away laundry”

  1. posted by Megan on

    I also find that it helps me when I fold and stack laundry by person. One pile for each person, rather than one big pile of folded clothing that’s all mixed up. (You may actually do this; couldn’t tell from your description.)

  2. posted by Leah on

    I don’t know how this might work for Kelly, but my method is to deal with the clothes right away. I’ve always been in the habit of folding clothes as I pull them out of the dryer (side bonus: minimizes wrinkles). I do laundry for my boyfriend too, and I just sort into piles as I’m folding. then, I put my clothes away, and I put his away if I’ve got the time. If I don’t have the time, his goes on the bed, so he has to get them put away before we can go to sleep.

    Clearing out clothes and making sure our drawers aren’t overstuffed did really help with this process. Having space to put everything away makes it simple to just get the clothes put away.

    This way, I do have to take a bit of time, but I only have to deal with clean clothes once. I think it takes me 5 or 10 minutes a load to nicely fold and completely put away.

  3. posted by mary b on

    I also employ the one load a day method for laundry. What works for me is to fold & sort in the laundry room as soon as the clothes are dry. I have several of those fold-able mesh laundry baskets, so I sort each persons into one as I go then transport directly to their room. My oldest is 11 so he puts his away, I do the rest. At least for me it gets it out of the laundry room & that is a big plus.

  4. posted by Molly on

    Another option might be to purposefully turn the laundry room into a family closet. Then it’s that much closer/easier to put the clean clothes away.

  5. posted by Steve G on

    I do the laundry for my family which includes my wife and two daughters (1 & 3). We do between 4-5 loads/week. What helps me is doing everybody’s laundry on different days so that even if it is not put away in drawers, the clean laundry basket is in the right room. There is always some overlap as even once/week a one year old’s clothes will not fill a washer, but it is much easier than sorting 4 different piles.

  6. posted by Taylor at Household Management 101 on

    I have found you have to be rather disciplined about putting away the clothes. You have done all the hard steps, including folding, and then it seems like you are almost done, and you just sorta lose momentum.

    I liken it to putting away your toys when you are done with them. It is the least fun part of the experience, but it keeps things from getting too crazy so you can enjoy the next thing.

    I also second the idea that you need to make sure there is not a reason you are avoiding putting away the clothes. This should be a simple step, but can get very difficult if you are trying to cram too much stuff into a drawer that is overly full. You may need to take some time to “unclutter” your drawers to get to the real root of the problem.

  7. posted by Lauren Halagarda on

    Great advice, Erin! LOVE the stackable laundry baskets you linked to from Rubbermaid. Perfect for using vertical space when in use!

    Megan has a point about sorting by person, too. Depending on the number of people in your household and how you do the laundry, you can sort by type as well. Makes the process of putting away even easier when all t’s, pants, etc. are piled together. As Erin mentioned, if there’s no room for it though, you’ll avoid even trying to put it away.

    One more tip, adjust your folding to the storage you have. I’ve moved A LOT so my storage is often changing. I fold t-shirts in half again and “file” instead of pile- this will help eliminate the need to re-fold every time someone pulls out a shirt… and towels may be easier to store if rolled or folded in quarters instead of thirds, or halves (depending on how you do it now)

  8. posted by Dawn F. on

    I also do 1 load per day, as well towels and sheets in 1 day. I fold the dried clothes/towels/sheets right in the laundry room and then take the items straight to their respective homes immediately – towels straight to linen closet, sheets straight to linen closet and then clothes (both on hangers and folded) straight to their correct closet/drawer right away (kids clothes in a trip and then adult clothes in a trip).

    I always have extra hangers in the laundry room to help minimize wrinkles (by hanging shirts/pants right away) or to avoid going back and forth to the closets getting empty hangers.

    I would definitely suggest getting kids involved in this process, too. Teaching responsibilty is so important – the younger, the better!

    I truly believe the trick is not to let the clothes pile up to the size of a mountain (obviously this is easier when your washer/dryer is in your home and not down in another facility or laundromat). It’s more daunting when you’re looking at Mt. Laundry than when it’s manageable with 1-2 loads per day. :)

  9. posted by JC on

    Growing up we had a shallow set of shelves in the laundry and a closet rod. Clothes were hung and/or folded as they came from the dryer. Each person had their own shelf that their clothes went on. Every evening, each person was responsible for putting their own clothes away. If a shelf stacked up and it became apparent that someone needed extra “practice” in putting away laundry, they got to put everyone’s clothes away for a week. We were pretty well trained on putting away our own laundry.

    It really makes a difference on how clothing is stored as to how diligent you will be putting laundry away. I just finished cleaning my closet a couple weeks ago, and I find it easier to put things away now.

  10. posted by Pam in Missouri on

    I have a completely different take on this. I prefer to take the basket of freshly dried clothes to the bedroom and put away as I fold. This saves me from having to transport hangers to the laundry room and back again. This really epitomizes the touch things as few times as possible theory. Even though we are a family of 4, our kids share a room so there are only 2 rooms to put stuff away in. If I’m folding in one room, I’ll stack the things for the other room according to storage location (i.e. dresser versus closet) and put them away immediately.

  11. posted by TJ on

    Most of my family’s clothing is hung – we found out a long time ago it was easier to see everything we have and clothes stay neater on hangers. Reading your question reminded me that at our old house, we would gather our empty hangers and put them in the laundry room before I did laundry, then as items came out of the dryer, I would hang them up, and we would all put away our own stuff right away.

    When we moved to our current house, I seemed to forget that routine and have been folding clothes right out of the dryer — which means that they stay in baskets pretty much until we wear them! Weird how a good routine can just evaporate, because we have been here two years now and I am still doing laundry the “wrong” way! I’m going to change that starting ASAP.

    By the way, 4 is definitely old enough to be putting clothes away, and 2 is young enough to be a helper. My kids always liked being the one to throw items in the washer or dryer, and they can even help with sorting. I had small baskets in the laundry room for them to put their clothes in each night. They didn’t always get them right, but they were learning the process. (And as a teacher, I will tell you that having chores and sorting are skills that translate to success in school!)

  12. posted by Eleanor W. Craig on

    Who says the clothes can’t be stored in the laundry room, especially for the children? It would cut back on putting a way clothes roughly by 50% if you put away your clothes, and your husband puts away his.
    For the children: if you have room for “an enormous rolling cart” do you have room for a set of shelves and possibly a hanging rod? The children can get dressed there, and even handier, when they undress there at night, they are already in the room where dirty clothes go- no extra step of periodically emptying clothes hampers!
    Socks and undies would store easily on shelves in open plastic bins.

  13. posted by Kate on

    My husband and I don’t have kids, so it’s more simpler for us, but I tend to throw all the clean clothes on top of our made-bed. That way, we cannot go to sleep without putting away our clothes. Neither one of us wants to put the clothes on the floor nor bring it back to the laundry room (how defeating!), so we just deal with it, even sleepy. This doesn’t work for everyone, but the point is: you just have to do it.

    Good luck! :)

  14. Profile photo of

    posted by Sky on

    It’s just my husband and me so I do laundry 2 times a week and fold and put everything away when the dryer is done.

    However….I raised 4 sons and when they were home, I did laundry 3 times a week and folded and sorted into 5 piles. One for DH and me and 1 for each boy. The boys put their clothes away from the time they were 4 or 5. I washed sheets and put them right back on the bed and I put the towels away.

    It was easier to keep up than to catch up. I did 12 to 15 loads a week. Wow! How did I survive all that?

  15. posted by John Trosko on

    It might be interesting to note that laundry time can be minimalized if we limit the number of towels and sheets we have in our homes. You should think about no more than 3 towels per person and 2-3 sets of sheets per bed. The idea here is that one towel is fresh sitting on the towel rack, one in the laundry basket dirty and one is sitting in the linen closet just in case. Same for sheets–one on the bed and one in the laundry basket. If you have a smaller space, follow these guidelines and may indeed “love” laundry day.

    John aka OrganizingLA

  16. posted by Katie on

    We dry a lot of our shirts on hangers, which makes it really easy to just take them upstairs and put them in the closet.

    Definitely having space to store everything makes a huge difference! Not only do clean clothes need their space, but I finally designated a drawer specifically for not-clean-but-not-dirty clothes, too–a pair of socks I put on for an hour in the morning, a pair of sweatpants I wear to walk the dog.

  17. posted by auntie on

    i used to HATE doing laundry until one day i pulled stuff out of the dryer and just folded it right there in the laundry room…and a lightbulb went off for me! i realized that i liked folding (or hanging) warm clothes much better cold ones, plus the smell of clean laundry is one of my favorite smells and it’s strongest right there in the laundry room. i used to just dump all the unfolded stuff on my bed and tell myself i’d “do it later”, but those clothes inevitably ended up on the floor, still unfolded. without even realizing it, i developed a routine that works for me and i couldn’t be happier!

    also, i love that you mentioned teaching your kids to do their own laundry when they’re old enough. i know so many people who do laundry for their teenage children, and i think it’s such a disservice to both the parents AND the kids! there’s no reason that children (teenagers especially) can’t learn to be responsible for this fairly simple task, and realize that they have to contribute to running the household, too. as soon as my sister and i were tall enough to reach into the washing machine, we were doing laundry for the whole family (both of my parents worked full-time and this was during summer break so we were just laying around watching tv anyway!). as we got older, everyone was assigned a day of the week to get their laundry done, and it worked.

    ahem. *climbing off my soapbox now*

  18. posted by Amandine on

    Kelly, I’ve also seen people use plastic dishpans for their little kids’ clothes. They are lighter and easier for the kids to carry themselves than a full-size laundry basket, plus they can be labelled easily with each child’s name.

  19. posted by Dad is in the House on

    I think this is an issue that’s hard to generalize because it’s so dependent on the spaces you’ve got to work with. I’ve found that the more space you give yourself to fold clothes, the easier it is to sort and then route them to where they need to go. I run into problems when I try and do everything in the small laundry room or in an area where there’s not enough room to work.

  20. posted by Kelly on

    We have a hanging rod in the garage where the laundry machines are. The hanging rod needn’t be expensive, ours is a long section of PVC pipe hung from one of the support beams.

    To avoid ironing my button up work shirts I put them in the dryer for 5-10 minutes and then pull them out, shake, and hang. It’s like magical wrinkle avoidance!

    The next day when the clothes are dry about 3/4 go straight from the garage into the closet. Shazam!

    For underwear and socks I don’t bother to dry these at all, they go onto a dry rack. Due to the dry rack’s compact size I can easily sit in front of it and match and stack the underwear and socks. In stack form they are easily transported to their drawers.

    To pull the whole concept together, when clothes come out of the washer I have a laundry basket nearby. The underwear and socks are tossed there immediately. Everything else goes straight into the dryer (except for a few delicate shirts that I hang immediately). I sit in front the dry rack and hang the underwear and socks. By the time that is done the dryer has been going long enough. I start pulling damp clothes out 3 items at a time and shake and hang. For pants and towels I have hangers with clips, everything else goes on regular hangars. For sheets sometimes I let them dry fully in the dryer, sometimes I throw them over a few chairs to finish drying.

    Bonus benefit: by only using the dryer for part of the drying process, you’ll save on utility bills (and ironing!)

  21. posted by Noel on

    What a great topic; I’ve been giving it a lot of thought lately. I live in a small 2 story condo with the washer and dryer under the stairs. We get to hear the washer, and “feel” the dryer. That’s fine in the winter, but not during Sacramento, CA summers (and the water is toooooo hard for hanging the clothes on the small patio; plus there are pines that drip sap, birds, and neighbor’s windows out there).

    Getting the clothes back up stairs is a pain. Putting them away too. I’m a community college English teacher with mounds of grading, and the mother of a 3 year. My husband puts his clothes away, but rarely the linens, and never mine or the boy’s.

    I’m thinking about sort of wearing a more simplified wardrobe. I’m going to start with the socks (which keep disappearing). All the same style and brand of black socks for me. Have others tried this? Where would I move from there?

  22. posted by chacha1 on

    DH does our laundry (he has a flexible schedule so it’s easier for him to get into our shared, apartment facility). About 50% of my clothes and 25% of his – maybe more – are air-dried, so he brings them up and hangs them after starting the dryer with everything else. This is perfect in our dry SoCal climate, it actually improves the air quality in our unit as well as being kinder to the clothes.

    Of course, then I have to iron some of my work shirts, which I hate doing. But I’d have to iron them anyway if they went in the dryer!

    DH is a stacker – he’ll fold his things and my things out of the dryer, and just leave a stack of my things for me to put away.

    I really like JC’s idea of having a staging area/closet setup in the laundry room instead of a big old rolling cart. If we *had* our own laundry room, I think we’d do it that way.

  23. posted by ael on

    For me, what helped was getting the place where I fold clothes basically in the same place as where I store them. I like to fold while I watch TV, but I didn’t want to add a TV to the bedroom, or turn my living room into a closet. Instead, I bought lightweight plastic bins in a few different sizes, shallow for underclothes, deep for shirts and shorts. I also labeled them with whose clothes and what type go in which. When I get ready to fold, I drag out all the bins, and then as I fold put the clothes into the right one.

    Since I don’t like the look of the bins themselves, I made sure to pick bins that would fit in my drawers. (The same idea could work with attractive baskets on open shelving instead of bins in drawers, I just already happened to have drawers I liked.) When I’m done folding, all the clothes are in the boxes, and it’s pretty easy to grab half a dozen boxes and put them away in their proper drawers, no thought, no extra stacking, no trying to make things fit.

    While in some ways I’m still putting clothes away twice, using the bins has advantages that make it worth it. I’m seeing all our clothes each time, not just the ones washed that week. So I can rotate through t-shirts instead of always wearing the same ones on top, spot right away when bins are getting full, or notice that I haven’t worn this thing in the bottom of the bin in months and decide to get rid of it.

    This system will also be nice when I have a kid. Once they’re walking, my child can put away their bins (I’m going to do the attractive basket/open shelving thing for my child). Learning to fold they can start with easy things like underwear, and practice sorting and putting the underwear away in the little bins for that. Then as they get older, eventually learn to fold and put away all their foldable clothing, and maybe even to fold mine. :)

  24. posted by TanyaZ on

    I am in a different camp on laundry – I would rather fold a mountain of laundry once than a quarter of it four times on different days.

    We don’t have a laundry room, and our washer is on the first floor, not in the garage, so we usuallly just take the unfolded laundry upstairs where we turned a spare bedroom into a dressing area. The picture of ramaging throught the baskets in the morning is very familiar to me, sans the tipy toes. Now I am actually thinking about putting the laundry on the bed instead of letting it sit in the baskets. Or maybe I can find a good way to sort out socks, underwear, and t-shirts as they go out of the dryer (need to think of light portable baskets). Once that is done, the rest is generally easier.

  25. posted by Beverly D on

    Going back to the original question, this isn’t a task that “does itself”. You have to DO it. And it also doesn’t lend itself to the “touch once” philosophy. You have to touch clothes many times in the process. So I think the first thing here is to change your expectations of the process. You have to put the clothes in the washer, then in the dryer, then you have to fold or hang them, then you have to put them where they go. There is no way not to do all those steps unless you really do want to dress in the laundry room, as others have suggested, but I find abhorrent, even for children (especially?). All the bins and dividers and rolling carts in the world won’t change the basic process. IMHO.

  26. posted by Joan on

    Some very useful tips here – double fold and file the t-shirts!
    I usually do several loads in one day, and then have a folding session watching a favorite tv show. As I fold, each item goes into a pile corresponding to it’s drawer.
    I actually enjoy doing the laundry and folding clothes for my small family – handling and caring for their clothes is all about the love, even if it’s totally taken for granted.

  27. posted by nicole on

    “You shouldn’t have to push down on clothes to shut drawers, and you shouldn’t have to use your elbows and exert upper body strength to cram clothes into a closet.”

    *sigh* this is me to a “T” :(

  28. posted by Fred E. on

    The laundry is in the basement of my apartment building. I change the sheets while the wash is running and then if using the dryers I dump everything out on the clean bed. My biggest tip is to use the ironing board for folding everything but sheets–it’s nice to have the extra height and to have it set up right next to the large sorting area of the bed, where I also put the stacks of folded clothes and linens.

    Usually I use wooden drying racks in my living area for drying but I still use the ironing board for folding and the bed for staging the stacks of stuff ready to go in the closet. Anything that will be on a hanger is dried on a hanger.

  29. posted by Mrs. H-B on

    @Noel–I’ve done that with socks and several other clothing items. I actually have a few different types of socks–black and white anklets to wear with lace-up shoes (they came in a big pack at Costco) and longer black socks to wear with boots. I absolutely refuse to fold socks. It stretches out the tops and it is an incredible pain in the butt to me. This way, I just pile the socks up and they go in the sock drawer. I never have to worry if one is missing, I don’t have to throw out a whole pair if one gets a hole. I love it! It’s not very exciting, but I only have one type of underwear. It just makes it easier to toss it in the drawer–again, no folding. Finally, I wear plus sizes and have a VERY short waist, so it’s really difficult to find flattering clothing for me. When I do, I buy several of the same thing. This has the effect of making my laundry easy to fold and pile up as I have several of the same article of clothing, just in different colors.

    I think the key to avoiding laundry avoidance for me as been to make sure that the drawers and closet aren’t too full–I’m ruthless when it comes to getting rid of things that are stained, torn, or (usually) too small. My husband is gradually getting used to me saying, “Ok, time to clean out your t-shirt drawer”. But seriously, who needs 42 John Deere t-shirts?

    I think I have a fairly workable system for laundry–of course, there are only two of us…and a very messy dog. I have my laundry divided into several days (Monday for white clothes and towels, Tuesday for sheets, Thursday for dark clothes and towels). I throw a load in when I first get up on Monday and Thursday morning, and then just kind of fold as I go. If I know I don’t have time to fold t-shirts right away, I at least shake them out so they’re not a big pile of wrinkles. Or I wait to put them in the dryer. Like other commenters, I air dry somethings–usually my shirts, and our jeans. I give them a quick air fluff in the dryer just to get some of the wrinkles out.

    But yeah, I still wish laundry did itself…

  30. posted by DM on

    I have three kids and have owned 7 different homes in the last 17 years…this is not a big deal. You take the load of dry clothes (in a laundry basket) and you go into a bedroom, fold the clothes on the (made) bed, divide them into piles based on what bedroom they go in, and YOU PUT THE CLOTHES AWAY RIGHT THEN! You can have your kids help you! You do not leave clean clothes out anywhere but the dresser or closet they go into! Done!

  31. posted by Sarah on

    I have 5 kids. I do a lot of laundry. We have given up on the “putting laundry away” battle and instead have opted for a family closet – the laundry room. In my laundry room, everyone has his/her own basket (twins share one) and there is also a sock basket, an underwear basket and a night clothes basket. I take clothes out of the dryer and fold or hang them with the appropriate person. The only thing that then needs to be taken up to stairs is towels. Kids know where all of their clothes are and go pick stuff out for the next day at bedtime. This also helps me keep the amount of clothing under control. If their laundry basket is over flowing, they have too many clothes. I know this may sound strange, but it works for us.

  32. posted by Kathryn Fenner on

    Using many of the strategies and encouragement from this site, I have really really edited my wardrobe. Aside from the style books recommended here, and Erin’s excellent book, I also found a great book by Joe Lupo and Jesse Garza (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....tterer-20/ about finding your most flattering colors that also outlines a “capsule” wardrobe based on your most flattering colors and styles. I found that I have been hanging on to clothes that are no longer the most flattering colors (as I have aged, my original “Snow White” look has changed–hair is a bit lighter and cheeks are ruddier) and also no longer fit my *actual* lifestyle–not the one I wish I had or I used to have. I then bought 100 of those very slim velvet hangers from Amazon, cheaply. I have hung up most of my wardrobe, which I find a whole lot faster than folding, and the rest fits easily into my dresser. Suddenly I can put laundry away without exerting undue force. I also no longer have a pile of rejected outfits to be hung up. I can grab and go.

  33. posted by Rosa on

    Sarah, it sounds like a great plan to me. I used to babysit for a family whose kids all wore school uniforms. so they came home into the mud room/laundry room, put dirty clothes into the washer, checked to see there was a uniform for the next day (if not, the biggest kid ran the washer) and put on playclothes from the basket.

    We have a nasty unfinished basement laundry room, so I bring the dry clothes upstairs & we fold them on our bed. My four year old puts his own clothes away as I fold, and at the end I go through his room & make sure things are in the right place.

  34. posted by Leigh on

    We fold our laundry (which is in the kitchen) into tote bags for each room and put them in their room as soon as laundry is done. My husband usually gets them in the drawer within 24 hours.

    The other idea I have seen is the family closet. Basically you store all the clothing in the laundry room. Everyone picks up clothes for the next day as needed.

  35. posted by Beth on

    Kate –

    I use your method – the clothes get dumped on the bed. They have to be put away before I go to sleep.

    Personally, I don’t mind laundry – at least there is a result at the end.

    Now cleaning bathrooms – another story!

  36. posted by Beth on

    I had the revelation a couple years ago that I’m a very visual person, I’m absolutely in the “out of sight, out of mind” camp… So I ditched my dresser and 100% of my clothing goes in the closet. There is no folding when everything gets hung up. I have a hanging shelf for socks, underware and a few things that shouldn’t be hung and everything else goes on a hanger. I find it much easier to get clothes put away when everything is going to the same place and everything gets the same treatment.

    I also agree on the comments about having enough space for everything, make sure you have enough hangers and drawer space for the rare days when absolutely everything in the house is clean at the same time.

  37. posted by Brian on

    Just hire a maid to wash, dry and fold clothes while your working then you dont need to worry about the mess. Plus it helps put people to work.

  38. posted by WilliamB on

    I’ve got a few shortcuts but it’s still laundry.

    1. Sort as you strip: we put warm water clothes into one basket (the dark blue one) and hot water clothes into the other (the white one). If you have kids, consider having one load per child to eliminate the sorting step.

    2. Make it easy to get clothes into the basket, especially if you have kids. As a kid someone gave me a drawstring bag for laundry; guess whose clothes ended up piled on top of the bag? My baskets are the low rectangular plastic ones, which fit nicely on my closet floor beneath the Elfa shelving.

    3. Not everything needs to be folded. I know people who fold their underwear (hi mom, hi dad) but I can’t imagine why. I minimized even further by having only black work socks and white athletic socks. As Mrs H-B pointed out, this saves money as well as time.

    4. As you fold, sort clothes by storage location. Note: this may or may not be by owner. This eliminates one “touch.”

    I find folding to be my sticking point. Putting clothes into hampers, machines or drawers is all quick and easy. It’s the folding that is my downfall.

  39. posted by Cat on

    I bring the clean clothes to my bedroom to fold. It eliminates a step or two as they get put away right then & there. Also, I really hate a messy bedroom, so if the clean clothes are there I know I’ll probably fold them that day – or at least soon.

    And if I don’t, the bonus is that I don’t have to toddle off to the laundry room in my undies to find clean clothes …

  40. posted by deanna on

    I’m not the most organized uncluttered person in the world (but I’m working on it) but laundry is the thing I have under control. Call me weird, but I kind of like doing laundry. I have two baskets (that fit nicely into the linen closet when not in use). I usually put a load to be done in each and carry it out to the laundry (both in one trip if I can manage). I REFUSE to iron so when the load goes into the dryer I have it set on the after-cycle that tumbles every couple minutes until I fetch them. I take the basket of clean clothes to our bedroom and immediately fold them up and put them away. One load of laundry to fold and put away only takes a couple minutes. The two baskets make it easy to rotate them in and out.

    That’s my method.

  41. posted by Beth on

    A lot of great ideas here! One quick tip for helping the little ones to help. Use pictures to show them where their clothes belong. For example, I took a picture of toddler #1 and a picture of panties, and attached them to the drawer where her panties go. I did that for each drawer, and now the twins can put away their own clothes.

    And for my older kids, I stopped folding their clothes when they were 8 and 12. They’re responsible for bringing their dirty clothes to the laundry room. I will wash and dry, but I sort clothes as they come out of the dryer. Each kid has their own basket, and the older ones are responsible for folding and putting away their own clothes.

    – Still have to find a way to motivate them to actually do these tasks, but that’s another issue :)

  42. posted by Jann Schott on

    I’ve lived in a variety of places thanks to Uncle Sam. For awhile there our laundry ‘closet’ was at the end of a galley kitchen, with the washer and dryer facing each other.

    We’d usually do laundry on Sunday afternoon, but I was TIRED of stepping over loads of clothes trying to get to the kitchen.

    My daughters, one time, (and yes, only ONE time!) made the mistake of complaining how I was doing laundry. That’s when I taught both of them HOW to do their own laundry. No, they weren’t too happy, but no more complaints from them.

    When we moved to a place that I only had a washing machine (this was for just one year, thankfully!), I had a clothes line. I ended up doing one load of wash each day except Sunday. Monday was whites, Tuesday was lights, Wednesday was brights, Thursday was darks, Fridays was sheets, & Saturday was towels. I didn’t mind hanging them outside (and then inside whenever it rained)…but the girls helped me fold and they put away their own clothes each day.

    Now, living in a larger house with my hubby, daughter, stepson & mom, my mom does her own laundry & sheets & towels. I do our laundry usually on the weekend.

    What’s GREAT is that the washer and dryer I have (Whirlpool Cabrio) are really energy efficient. At the house I rented the last 2 years before moving into this house w/ my mom, the dryer was vented up the wall and from the roof, so it would take forever for the dryer to work. There was no way we could get the vent clean enough for it to work efficiently.

    In our new place, the dryer vents to the outside, less than 1 ft. away from the dryer! I LOVE it! I had a load of jeans dry in THIRTY-EIGHT minutes!!

    What we have are the mesh collapsible baskets. Those are stored in the laundry room on the clothes rod, hanging on a sturdy hanger by the handles. We have about 5 of them. When it’s time to do laundry, we sort our personal laundry baskets into those mesh baskets. Whites, Lights, Brights, darks, & jeans. After the loads are washed and dried, they are folded and put into each person’s basket, and then each person puts away their own clothes.

    That system works for us right now. Hubby is working full time now and my daughter goes to college full time, & since I’m staying at home for the moment, I get to do the laundry. I’d rather get laundry done than go grocery shopping, so I don’t really mind!

  43. posted by Adventure-Some Matthew on

    Like many of the other commentors, I strive to touch my laundry as little as possible. My laundry basket is stored on top of the washer, so that dirty clothes are automatically placed in the proper area as soon as they are removed (made easier in the one-bedroom apartment that my wife and I share). Laundry is washed, shifted to the dryer, and upon removal it is placed on the bed (the bedroom is just across the hallway from the washroom). There it is folded and immediately put away.

    In order to make putting away and organization as easy as possible, I fold very little. My undershirts, underwear, and socks are folded and placed in their respective drawers. Sweaters and shorts rotate on the shelves according to the season. Everything else is hung up. By hanging everything, it is easy to look through my clothes as I choose what to wear, and don’t have to worry about having to restack anything.

    My hanger system is simple, and saves me a few moments of time. As I remove an item from a hanger, I place the empty hanger on the far left of the rack. When laundry is ready to be rehung, I simply have to count how many articles there are and grab that many hangers from my stash. No more hunting through all of my clothes for elusive empty hangers!

  44. posted by queen stuss on

    I only have one washing basket, so before I can hang clothes out, I have to empty the basket. It means I don’t have baskets of clean clothes lying around the house. I also don’t do any folding other than on my bed, so I have to keep on top of the laundry so that I can sleep at night.

  45. posted by catherine on

    the laundry mountain is the stuff of legend / reality around here.

    i do best when i can dump it on the bed and immediately sort it into mom/dad/kid/kid. then i get the kids to stuff their things in their drawers, i put mine away, and fling dad’s on his dresser for him to handle.

    what is this folding of which you speak? f folding.

  46. posted by Jinkies on

    All clothes are hung up unless they are socks, underwear or shorts.

    Everyone has a color. I have one son born in January (birthstone garnet) so he his color is red. Red hangers and red basket. He puts his hung up clothes away and he puts the folded clothes in a red basket away.

    I have another son born in September. His color is blue.

    This color coding is even used for sheets, towels, wash clothes, toothbrushes.

    The hardest part about this system when they were young was trying to find a basket small enough that they could carry up the stairs safely. I found some small ones that fit the bill.

  47. posted by Jarrah on

    I hate putting away laundry away with the passion of 1,000 dying suns.

    I do all the laundry at once to create great Mount Laundry.

    Then and then call a neighbor girl, give her $10 and continue on with my life. I’ll clean my own home, I’ll mow my own lawn and clean my own gutters, but putting away laundry every week is just a waste of time. I would rather pay someone to do it while I go for a hike, read a book or nap.

  48. posted by MellieTX on

    I can’t leave laundry out in baskets or the dog will sleep in it, defeating the purpose of washing it. Not much room in our laundry room, so I love collapsable “baskets”- fold in half and slide between washer and dryer. They can also be popped open to temporarily house things I’ve treated for stains that are waiting for a full load. Plus they have handles, because my biggest hurdle is getting it all upstairs and I can carry two at once. I would love a house with a laundry chute and an oldfashioned dumbwaiter to haul it back up. Pitching it all into the stairwell subs for the chute, but only immediately before doing the laundry.

  49. posted by Angelina on

    I don’t mind doing the laundry and prefer to keep on top of it by doing a load every second day (once a 5 person household, now just 3). I only have one washing basket, so clean washing can’t sit in it for too long otherwise I have no where to put the wet washing. I haven’t owned or used a dryer for the last eight years, preferring to hang the washing outside to dry (folding & sorting into person, type of clothing as I take it off the line and then putting the clothes on made beds for them to be put away before going to sleep). In winter, I use a vertical rack on wheels that can take 2 loads of washing and the clothes dry in one day.

  50. posted by Jay on

    Do less laundry. Then, your problem with laundry (whatever it might be) will be reduced.

  51. posted by lola meyer on

    Each child (2) gets assigned two days per week they can do their own laundry. (They started at age 9)

    All shirts and pants are hung up on a closet rod mounted above the washer/dryer. Then are transferred to their own closet.

    Clean socks and underwear are tossed into individual small wicker baskets.(Life’s too short to fold underwear!)

  52. posted by irsihbell on

    Great ideas from everyone!
    I never really had a plan, but being a stay at home Mom of 5 girls, I’ve done alot of laundry in my day. I learned that if I didn’t fold either straight out of the dryer and into a basket, or bring the clothes up from the basement laundry in a basket and fold right then, it piled up for a few days. Then whenever I went upstairs to the bedrooms I would bring the basket with me and put the laundry away then.
    As the girls got to be pre-teens or so, I had a basket for each kid, as it sounds like a system alot of us have used. I did the laundry, folded their clothes and sorted into their baskets which sat on the laundry table( my parents old formica kitchen table). They were then responsible for coming to the basement and getting their clothes/putting it away. I rarely bought any clothing that was not wash/dry and wear. Mind you, it would sometimes be a week or longer before anything got put away, but that was their responsibility and it didn’t bother me if it sat there.
    When we realized the cat liked to sit in the clean clothes baskets was when they decided they better come get their baskets sooner rather than later.
    The only thing I ever really hated about doing laundry was that it was in the farthest corner of the unfinished basement for over 20 years. Now that we only have 2 girls living with us and we have a main floor laundry, it’s much simpler. I never had a plan, but just made sure it gone done. I’ve always tried not to do laundry on the weekends, when the kids/hubby are home more.
    I love the idea of paying a neighbor kid to fold and put away, super! If I would have thought to pay a kid to do all the trips up and down the stairs, (especially when I was pregnant) that would have been genius!

  53. posted by Dana on

    When you say “double fold” and “file” your shirts, what does that look like?

    I was inspired to cut down my wardrobe dramatically from this site and now have fewer clothes and less laundry-excellent! I’ve decided that for each upcoming season, I’m going to invest in fewer, “nicer”, basic pieces that are actually planned before purchasing. So for example, for spring, instead of going to the store and buying whatever’s on sale or cute, I’m going to specifically purchase x, y, and z staples.

  54. posted by Kari on

    I sort the dried but not folded laundry into basic categories–shirts or pants to be ironed; shirts to be folded; underwear/socks/pants/gym clothes; kitchen towels. (Bathroom towels/rugs and bedding are in their own loads and are processed at that time.) Then I fold each group and put it in the pile for the appropriate person. Then putting away becomes much easier and faster. The initial sorting takes about 3 minutes (just different piles where I fold, which is either a couch or the bed) but it makes the actual folding and putting away so much easier and faster.

  55. posted by Julia on

    I don’t use a dryer except for towels and sheets and I only wash 1 (2 loads on occasion) of coloreds each week with 1 load of whites every other week. These loads are hung to dry on a clothes wrack (aka clothes horse) There’s only 2 in my family now but I managed this well when there were four of us under the one roof. Stop washing so often and you will have less laundry to do. Just because we wear something doesn’t mean we have to wash it. Most of us don’t dry-clean clothes each time we wear an item. In America (I am not from the US) there seems an obsession with cleanliness beyond what is really required for health and safety purposes. If something is sweaty, smelly or grubby, go ahead and wash it. Consider spot cleaning more often. Otherwise, return the item to the closet or the chest of drawers. We wear clothes many times before they are laundered. It’s much better for the clothes, is more productive and efficient.

  56. posted by Heather on

    I find that the space limit is the only thing that really helps me. I used to have a table on which I would place clothing as I folded it on top of the washer and when it was full I’d stack it in the small space available on top of a dresser… and it stayed there. I got rid of the table, and now nothing stays on top of the dresser for more than a single day because it won’t fit! (I hang-dry so the new stuff coming out the washer forces me to fold what is dry immediately.)

  57. Profile photo of

    posted by Lori Paximadis on

    We are lucky to have a laundry room that is right off our bedroom, which makes the whole process a heck of a lot easier than having to haul laundry all over the house.

    We have three laundry baskets: one for lights, one for darks, and one for towels. When a basket gets full, one of us starts a load and goes about his or her business. At some point later, someone (not necessarily the same person) will transfer stuff to the dryer. When it’s dry, maybe right away or maybe later, one or both of us will fold. We use the bed as a folding surface. We probably do a load every three or four days.

    The key for Kelly? Don’t treat the emptying of the dryer and the folding as two separate steps. If you have room in the laundry room, pull one item at a time from the dryer and fold or hang it right there. Then move on to the next item. Sort as you go. If you don’t have room right there, roll the cart to your folding surface and just deal with it. It’s a habit that has to be started and maintained. The older child can at least fold washcloths and match socks. The littler one can probably at least pull all the socks out of the pile and put them in a pile together.

    My mom got me started early on helping sort and fold laundry. As soon as I was old enough to reach the buttons and dials on the machines, I was put in charge of the laundry for our family. I was probably 8 or so. My sister, who is three years younger, took over folding towels and matching socks. Laundry has never been a big deal to me, even when it was a daily thing — just part of the routine. At 43 years old, I have (single) guy friends who still take their laundry to their mothers. Seriously. I say, if you don’t want to be that mom, get them started early.

  58. posted by Cat on

    I just always made up loads/half loads per family member, including their towels, so there was no problem with delivering the dry clothes at the end because they all belonged in the same place. Had a rota of whose washing got done on what day.

  59. posted by Christine Simiriglia on

    Oh, the laundry. Always with us. Never finished. A circular task that shrinks and grows, but will never be crossed totally off or your to-do list. There are some other tips here that some might find helpful: http://www.organize-more-stres.....-hill.html

  60. posted by Aleisha on

    Regarding getting your little ones involved: when my daughter was about 2, I started having her put away her clean socks and undies. Now, she’s 5 and does that plus shirts and pants. I fold and sort (although she helps with that sometimes now too). I just have to put away the things that hang in the closet b/c she can’t reach the bar. Start small and it makes it easier and makes it seem more doable to them.

  61. posted by Anne on

    Wow, lots of great comments!

    I’m in agreement with the bunch that take the laundry straight from the dryer to the master bed. I do a quick sort from the basket into one pile for each kid and put away grown up clothes right from the basket. I open our underwear and sock drawers so I can just toss right in (yes, ok, so I’m not one of those fold-your-underwear types…)

    I also agree with the people that hang most of their clothing. ALL of our family shirts are hung. In addition, one of the best things I ever invested in was hanging racks that are supposed to be for shoes or folded things. The shoe ones I use for my youger son’s small sweatpants (roll them into a tube then insert into one slot) and both sons shorts. The older son’s sweatpants and jeans are now large enough that they need to be in the folding clothing hanging rack. This means that when they quickly grab one item, they aren’t pulling something out of stack and dumping the unwanted items on the floor!

    They’re certainly old enough to put their own stuff away, but I guess I enjoy getting everything back in its place enough to continue doing it for them for now. They do help sometimes and it’s easy for them too.

    Now to go check out the simple wardrobe site…. :)

  62. posted by Anne on

    P.S. If I ever build my own house, the washer and dryer will be combined somehow with the master bath and closet – no more carrying dirty laundry to the basement and clean laundry to the top!

  63. posted by Rodger on

    I love the idea of an organized life. However there seem to be two types of people who love this topic…

    1) Work-aholic perfectionists

    2) Minimalists.

    I tend to fall into the second batch. I believe having success in life often has to do with focus. Landry is one of these areas which I have many opinions. Simply because it is not the focus of my life. I see it as a necessary time sync.

    There are two people I deeply admire in this area, Steve Jobs and Jamie Lee Curtis. Both seem to be people who have reduced their wardrobe in order to simply their lifestyle.

    I believe success in the laundry area must first be based on changing your ideas of what is right and wrong… questioning American assumptions on clothing edicate .

    Avoid work that needs to be redone and re undone. This is a huge waist of time. A perfectionist form of keeping up with the Jones. For example socks. I buy two types of socks, black and white. Most brands look the same. I never try and match. For that matter I never fold them. I have two baskets one for black socks and one for whites. this make my life much simpler thus giving me time for the things that make life matter, like time with family. (same for underwear)

    After living in China I realized that America idea of dirty are wrong. Assuming you wear underwear and avoid rolling around the ground many clothes don’t get dirty are a single wearing. The Chinese work to avoid getting clothes dirty and them wear them many time between washing. By avoiding unnecessary washing you not only save time, energy and resources, but you also keep for wearing out your clothing fast.

    I like to have a few hooks in the closet for common cloths that I like to grab on the run. Jeans, sweaters and PJ’s.

    Buy polyester cotton blend clothing whenever possible. They feel like cotton, but never wear out, dry fast and don’t wrinkle.

    – Buy simply clothing that easily matches and it interchangeable.
    – Avoid folding if not necessary.
    – use hooks instead of hangers for things like jeans.

    Now if I could find polyester blend jeans! :-(

    rw

  64. posted by Kristen on

    I found that when I used to pile the laundry on my sofa, it would just stay there. But when I piled the laundry on my bed, I was forced to fold it and put it away before I could go to bed. :-)

  65. posted by Kelly on

    Unclutterer – you are awesome. I’ll start applying many of these strategies today. Will report back in a month to let you know how it’s going. THANK YOU!

  66. posted by Kiri on

    I always dump the clean laundry on our bed, fold it, and then I have to put it away, or my husband and I would have no place to sleep!

  67. posted by MaryE on

    The idea of storing clothes in the laundry room instead of carrying to each closet definitely has merit! My family of four each has their only full size laundry basket on a shelf in the laundry room and my kids have asked why they just can’t keep the clothes in there and get dressed! Our laundry room isn’t quite THAT big so not truly an option but I can see where a “family” closet off a laundry room could be an interesting concept from an efficiancy standpoint….

    I did take an idea from a friend who used a hanging sweater stacker with the days of the week labeled for each of her boys and put it in the laundry room. When she was folding clothes out of the dryer she would put each days clothes in one of the slots. That way each morning they would go in the laundry room and get dressed with no fuss.

    I have two girls with hanging clothes and school uniforms so that did not work for me for all clothes but I did get a smaller hanging stacker and used it for school p.e. uniforms, dance clothes, gymnastics attire, etc. That way they could grab the “extra” stuff they needed for the day before heading off to school and saved a trip back upstairs for all the odds-n-ends.

  68. posted by Sarah P on

    OK. Completely hilarious. I’ve just reached the point in my life where looking at a bin of clean clothes gives me heart palpitations, so I just put them away when I see them – even if I’m late for something else or my children are bleeding from the ears. I simply cannot take the stress of seeing clean clothes in a laundry basket anymore.

    It took a very, very long time to get here. The stress comes from the years I spent ignoring laundry in a basket and creating huge tasks out of the very menial.

    This is getting to be a really long comment, BUT – a couple years ago, when my twins were babies and I’d had it up to *here* with my husband waking me at 5:30 a.m. to ask if I’d seen his socks, I threw away all of his socks.

    I bought all one kind of white, all one kind of brown and all one kind of black. I got him a three-section drawer organizer and told him never to ask me about his socks again. (It was necessary to keep the love alive, trust me.)

    It worked so well, I’ve done it for my kids, and soon I’ll be doing it for myself! (You never have to search for a match!)

    A few months ago, I wrote a blog post of “tips” for sock organization, from my husband’s point of view: http://tinyurl.com/yhmzpfh. (It’s a humor blog and contains some curse words, just fyi.)

  69. posted by Tay on

    The responses…HILLARIOUS! I love it.

    I’ve been at the significant other to put the washer and dryer in the closet for a very long time. He’s not biting though! lol

    I think once I have my organization situation settled then putting away clothes will be a lot easier. I think I feel like I have so much draw space that I need to find something to put in them; even though I like hung clothes! Crazy. Well from reading this post I’m just going to stop fighting the urge and if I have an empty draw I have an empty draw; i can figure out a use for it later

  70. posted by gypsy packer on

    I hang everything except socks and men’s underwear, the minute it comes out of the dryer. Each person=1 load. All underwear is colored, except men’s t-shirts.
    If I had children, they would have a bin for street clothes and a basket for underwear, and their loads would be scheduled. I was one of those rare young’uns who enjoyed folding and ironing, and would do it for everyone. Try to encourage one of those in your own household. Do as I say, not as I do, and mend any rips or missing buttons before the item is returned to its hangar.

  71. posted by stcf on

    I do all the laundry in our household, minus putting the laundry away. My mate has agreed to do that, provided I keep the clean socks coming. The way that I ensure our little arrangement stays on track is that I put all the clean laundry on our bed. (It’s handy that our laundry machine is close to the bedroom). About 85% of the time, the laundry gets put away before bed, actually, in the minutes before bed. It’s actually a nice way to wind down for the evening anyway. But in the few instances when it gets shoved aside, I simply put everything back on the bed again in the morning.

  72. posted by Michelle on

    My older kids get all their clean clothes dumped in a basket, they have to sort through, fold and put them away themselves-usually every other day as part of regular chores before video games or tv. They get it done quick.

    For my younger children- baby through 4: I keep their clothes in the laundry room. Its close to the kitchen and that’s usually when they need to get changed- after breakfast, and after dinner. I keep about 4 basic outfits and pijamas for each in there on those square mesh divider shelves. I put them in there right out of the dryer. Saves tons of time. PS. I also keep diaper changing stuff in there too.

  73. posted by Tracey on

    I was going to give you my tips for getting the clothes put away, but after glancing through the 70 comments, I’m thinking that there is a HUGE culture difference here!
    I am from Australia, and I hang my washing outside. I am amazed that so many people use a dryer (but am thinking that maybe you don’t have backyards?). Every night I get home, and I grab my eldest boys clothes off the line (in order, eg all pants, then tops, then underwear, etc). I take them off the line, fold, put into a basket, go inside and put them away. Then I move onto the next person’s clothes. Because they are hanging up there, it is very easy to sort as you go.
    This goes along the line of minimising double handling.
    Even in winter I will hang the clothes on a clothes horse inside in front of the heater. Only very rarely will we use the dryer.
    Anyway, maybe this will help somebody? Maybe it will just be an eye opener on culture differences! lol

  74. posted by Melissa on

    I actually referred to this article in my mind when I was putting clothes away yesterday in my dresser. I stacked my clothes in the laundry basket by drawer order and it goes really fast.

  75. posted by Rosa on

    Tracey- most Americans use clothes dryers. The Dept. of Energy says 78 million households in 2001.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/re.....01_us.html

    I dry all of my clothes on a line about 8 months of the year, because I have a protected area for my laundry line – the other 3-4 months it’s too cold for things to dry quickly or at all, with winter temperatures in the -10 and below range for at least 6 weeks every year. But most people don’t line-dry clothes even when it’s warm out. It’s hard to give advice about line-drying because it changes so much with the weather – there are times in summer when I can dry 2-3 loads a day, and times in the fall when it takes 3-4 days for one load to dry.

  76. posted by beth on

    To keep laundry from getting wrinkled while it waits for me to put it away is to have a long dowel handing from the basement ceiling. I hang everything there as soon as I pull it from the dryer. Then, I can find what I need in the morning rush, or carry the hangers up to the closets when I have time. the main thing is: NO WRINKLES. I hated it when nicely cleaned, dried, folded clothes were horribly wrinked by the time i got to them.

  77. posted by Angelina on

    Tracy and Rosa – I’m also from Australia and posted a comment a couple of days ago. I’m surprised by the cultural difference too and how almost all of the comments talk about using a dryer. I gave up using a dryer years ago even though I live in an area that has cold winters. I don’t hang wsshing outside in winter as it doesn’t dry so I hang it inside and let it dry on a clothes rack. I prefer to reduce my power consumption by doing it this way.

  78. posted by Nat on

    We have a very small and uncomfortable laundry room. Since we do laundry so often because the little one is still in diapers, we’re pretty much can’t pile things up in the laundry room. Seriously, when a load is finished in the dryer, we take the whole pile and put it somewhere that has to be cleared.
    If it’s my laundry, I may take it directly to the bedroom and dump it on the bed. Hubby does his own laundry and either folds it in the laundry room or takes it to the bedroom to deal with. I don’t know exactly. I just know that he never has piles of clean clothes in the laundry room. If it’s the babe’s stuff (btw, she’s almost 2), we dump it in the middle of the living room floor and have her help us sort stuff if she feels like it. Sometimes she just “quality checks” all the wipes on her nose.
    Unless I’ve put off doing the laundry to the point of it being an emergency, we’re really not digging in the dryer for clean clothes. And if we are, then we must have time to take the whole pile and put it where we can get around to folding it.
    Also, I have to say that it’s interesting to read that many of you do communal laundry. We’ve been doing the each person is responsible for his/her own laundry (except the baby of course) routine and have been pretty happy with it. I do laundry about once or twice a week. The babe gets laundry done every other day. And hubby does whatever it is he does.

  79. posted by Nat on

    Re: line drying. Hubby does it all the time (even inside when the weather’s bad), but the babe and I hate crunchy clothes, so the clothes usually end up in the dryer for a few minutes of fluffing.

  80. posted by jan on

    My daughter has shelves in her room instead of a dresser and small baskets act as drawers. you could have another basket or two in the folding area, and then put the full basket in its place and then put the empty basket in the laundry ready to be filled up with clean clothes. even a small child could put a basket or two in the right place. I mainly fold in the living room or sewing room and things go to the various area over an hour or two. I also take things immediately to the sewing room for mending, and ironing.

  81. posted by Karen on

    KUDOS to those whose children do their own laundry. Our sons are 12 and 14 and have been doing theirs since age 11. Occasionally we’ll combine items for one large load, but they are responsible for even washing their bedding.

    To the ladies from Australia… While I can’t speak for all Americans, I will tell you that I would love to hang laundry. Many of us, though, particularly in suburban areas, live in housing developments that have regulations about it. For instance, we have “covenants” in our neighborhood that do not allow us to have clotheslines, “out” buildings (like a shed), or grass higher than 6″ on our property. It sounds restrictive; sometimes it’s annoying, but it’s intended to keep property values up. (So people won’t keep a rickety old car in their driveway for months on end, for instance.)

  82. posted by Katie on

    In our household, we have two small boys (2 and 4), so there is a ton of laundry. The best system we’ve found is to sort the dirties by person. Then I wash each person’s laundry separately once a week. When I pull each load out of the dryer, I can fold it right then and put it away without having to do any additional sorting. It has saved us a lot of frustration!

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