I used to be the mom with a huge pile of laundry on the church or bed. I used to feel overwhelmed and like I was never caught up on laundry. Can you relate?? But a couple years ago, I finally got a handle on the laundry! This laundry system has made it so that I’m almost always caught up on laundry, and I rarely ever have a giant laundry pile, waiting to be folded.
The laundry system is pretty simple, which is what makes it easy to follow and keep up with. It also makes it perfect for families with kids, because they can use the system too! And spoiler alert: most of the clothes don’t even have to be folded.
The laundry mountains seems inevitable, especially with a large family, but it’s easier to avoid than you might think!
The key to this laundry system is the baskets. For me, it works best to have one basket per bedroom, plus one for towels and linens. In the picture above, the baskets on the shelf are for bedrooms, the linen and towel basket is below, and the grey hamper is for dirty clothes.
Now before you get after me or click away because you don’t have a fancy laundry room, I started this system when I didn’t either! I had basement laundry with zero shelves. So I set up a table with baskets above and below, but the system worked exactly the same. The dirty laundry hamper just sat in the main floor bathroom instead of in the laundry room.
The steps are simple:
- Sort laundry directly from the dryer into baskets
- Don’t fold the laundry
- If you have nice clothes and you’re worried about wrinkles, put those away immediately
- Leave the clean laundry until you have the time/energy to put it away or until the basket is full
- If someone is looking for a particular piece of clothing, it’s easy to find in the corresponding basket, instead of a giant laundry pile
- Hang nice clothes to dry directly from the wash, then put them away when dry (to avoid wrinkles and garment wear from repeated drying)
Here’s a speedy video to see the sorting in action:
So easy, right?! It’s usually the job of one of my kids to sort, because it’s simple enough for them to do. Plus, they don’t get tripped up by folding. Yes, sometimes they sort the clothes into the wrong basket, but that’s an easy fix. And better than the laundry mountain!
- Don’t clothes get wrinkly? Most of our clothes (especially kid clothes clothes, towels, and linens) aren’t clothes we worry about being wrinkled. I dry most of my own clothes and my husband’s (shirts, pants, etc) on a drying rack or hanging to dry. This saves them from shrinkage and just preserves the fabric longer. If I’m really worried about wrinkles, I just put that one clothing piece away immediately.
- When do the clothes get put away? Whenever we have the time or energy or the basket is full! Seriously. I don’t care if the full baskets sit there for weeks on end – if someone needs a particular shirt, they know where to find it. Not micro-managing laundry is a game changer. If the kids don’t put the laundry away on their own (which they usually do when they run out of clothes or the basket gets full), I remind them.
- Do you fold the clothes when you put them away? Sometimes. Bath towels get folded into the cabinets. My husband and I fold our T-shirts and pants onto the closet shelves. My kids’ clothes are kept in bins/baskets instead of dressers, so they choose whether or not to fold. They rarely stay folded in the baskets, so why waste time on it? If they prefer folded clothes, they will do it themselves.
- Can you do this in a small laundry room? Yes! You may have to tweak the system to work for your laundry room. I have friends who have gotten a shelf for baskets (use the vertical space!) or who use rolling hampers. And like I said, you don’t need a real laundry “room” to do this – I did it in my basement laundry. Obviously, if you have shared laundry and don’t have it in your own home, this might not work as well.
So ditch the laundry pile (and while you’re at it, the dryer sheets… grab some wool dryer balls instead!) Tweak the system to make it work for you and your family. Take back your life and stop being a slave to a long evening of folding piles of clothes!