A few of my favorite tips to keep your 6-day-old laundry heap under some type of control.
Personally, I love doing laundry even though it’s in the basement. I love dryer sheets, when it all smells amazing, when I hang the clothes on the line and it smells like sunshine, when the stains come out, and most of all, when my sweatpants are re-shrunk just right. Somewhere along the line of drying and sorting, I lose a basket, get distracted, or misplace the patience to put it all away because I don’t feel like carrying a laundry basket up 2 flights, 5 times.
Guess what the big secret is?
You literally have to just put it away.
Were you hoping that I was going to unleash some unknown laundry secret? I’m sorry.
actual real life tips to put your clothes away
Tip 1: Do 1 load at a time on the same day
On most laundry days, there are only 2 loads – one kid, and one adult. The kids bring the basket of clothes to the washer, I toss the kid’s clothes in. As soon as they’re done, they go into the dryer. While they’re drying, I toss the adult clothes in.
TIP 2: USE A BASKET OR DESIGNATED LAUNDRY CARRYING DEVICE
When the dryer is done, I sort each piece by kid and drop it (don’t fold) into their pop-up hampers under our folding table. I don’t use the laundry basket for their stuff because I always forgot to bring it down (or back up) and it was unnecessarily frustrating and overwhelming for the little ones to sort their stuff upstairs from that basket. So I started sorting it into a pile for them, but that pile would never make it in the drawers and it’d always mix with all the dirty clothes (which just leads to excessive laundry piles). So, the pop-up hampers were a huge help in the kids’ sorting process.
TIP 3: FOLLOW THROUGH
They get their own basket and put their stuff away, then return the baskets to the basement. After our clothes are dry, I toss them in the pretty laundry basket, carry it up, hang my clothes, Andrew does his own, and I return the basket to the hallway to catch more dirties.
Shop the Laundry Room
Hot Take: Stop folding your kids’ clothes, putting them away, and expecting them to perfectly maintain it all. Get them to help with the laundry and put their clothes away without micromanaging how they do it. Who cares where the socks are if they can find them? Delegate control and responsibility when you can and lower your stress. I said what I said.
but what about…
…when it’s a laundry on the clothesline day? I sort according to whatever kids’ clothes hang outside vs. what goes in the dryer (I don’t typically hang my things out, but a few pieces just roll solo). The clothes that go on the line go in the washer first then get hung up outside while the stuff that goes in the dryer makes the rotation. I bring the dryer clothes up to sort into the basket and pop-up hampers in the kitchen where the clothes on the line come to sort. Then they continue on their journey to being put away.
…people who argue that purging clothes doesn’t eliminate laundry? It doesn’t. It lightens the laundry load. If you have 800 teeshirts, you’re going to either wear those 800 shirts before you do laundry and have 800 teeshirts in your laundry; or you’re going to have a full drawer with clothes overflowing and only rotating through your 8 faves. Purging clothes doesn’t magically make laundry disappear, it only helps keep the number of items in check so you don’t end up with 67 loads.
…my kid is too little? If your kid is able to drop things on purpose, you can have them do things to help you, especially laundry. A toddler loves nothing more than the process of dropping/putting things. Have them put the clothes in the washer, dryer, baskets, drawers. Pour soap, push all the buttons, toss in the Tide pod and softener balls. They find joy in helping grown-ups do literally anything; use it to teach them how to pitch in.
…my kids won’t help? Then you kinda need to make them want to be responsible by letting natural consequences find their way to them. The reward for helping with laundry is that you get clean clothes to wear this week, not an allowance. If they don’t help with their clothes when necessary, they live out of the laundry basket in the basement or have no clean clothes to wear; the process stops wherever someone didn’t follow through. Accountability is the process you’re really teaching, laundry help is the side benefit.
Laundry doesn’t have to be awful and overwhelming, even if you despise doing it. You’ll despise it a lot less when it’s manageable and able to be completed in a day! Give up those long weeks of never-ending laundry, and try these tips! I promise, you’ll feel so much better!