How to Get Out From Under the Laundry Pile!

How to Get Laundry Done Easily
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Before I had kids, keeping up with the laundry was no big deal. When our first child came along, I still managed pretty well. But when our youngest child entered the household? Somehow, my ability to make sure everyone had clean clothes went amuck.

My husband began giving me withering looks when he discovered, in the wee hours of the morning, that he didn't have any clean shirts appropriate for work. My closet consisted of the laundry hamper, where I dug for the jeans I wore the day before - even if they were splattered with baby food. I even began making my oldest wear chocolate-milk stained jammies two nights in a row because I couldn't seem to keep up with the demand for clean laundry.

I won't say I have the laundry thing totally mastered. However, I have learned a few tricks that make the laundry pile easier to get through. Maybe some of my ideas will work for you, too:

* My best laundry tip is this: Instead of reserving one or two days a week for doing laundry, do laundry every day except the Sabbath. This keeps the laundry pile under control and makes the chore of cleaning clothes a lot easier. Through trial and error, figure out how many loads you must do each day; when my kids were younger, I did one load of laundry 6 days a week. Nowadays, I only need to do a load 4 to 6 days a week. Make your laundry schedule a habit, and it will soon become no big deal.

* Keep one laundry basket for every bedroom, if possible. As you pull things from the dryer or clothesline, sort them room by room into the laundry baskets. If you have time, fold as you sort. Then place the basket in the appropriate bedroom. Put the clothes away later, if necessary, or have the kids put away their own clothes.

* Easier yet, keep laundry loads segregated. By that I mean do one load that is only clothes for one child (or maybe all the kids), and a separate load that's just your clothes. This means you don't have to sort the laundry before folding it.

* Get the kids involved. Even toddlers can help with the laundry by bringing you dirty clothes and, once the laundry is clean, pulling out all the clean socks, or all of daddy's shirts, or all their own undies, for folding by you. Preschoolers can begin to help with folding and putting clothes away so that by the time they are in grade school they can do this chore easily. (No, they won't fold everything - or perhaps anything - perfectly, but a few wrinkles never hurt anyone.) By the time your child is 7 or 8, be sure he or she knows how to do a load of laundry without help.

* Treat stains before the clothes go into the hamper. If I put Spray N Wash Stain Stick on clothes as they go into the hamper, by the time I do laundry, those stains usually wash out. This saves me a lot of time because I don't have to soak or otherwise pre-treat stains. So, whenever clothes might come off, I keep a stick - including the bathroom and the kids' bedrooms.

* Wear clothes more than once. Truly, many clothes can be worn more than once without washing in between. Unless it's smelly or shows dirt, hang it up to wear another day.

* Buy fewer clothes. I know some women who literally buy their kids several wardrobes of clothes because they are always behind on laundry. If you follow the tips here, nobody will need as many clothes - and that will save you both time and money.

* Hang any items that store on hangers as you take them off the clothesline or out of the dryer. It's a real time saver!

* Mark children's socks with their initials, using puffy fabric paint on the soles. This makes sorting so much easier.

* Don't separate darks from lights. This may seem revolutionary to some people, but I stopped doing separating darks from lights several years ago, and my family's clothes look just fine. If I'm washing new, dark clothes that I think might bleed, I wash them separately, once, with a cup of white vinegar in the wash water to help set the dye.

This post was originally published in October of 2009.


  1. Great tips! :) I find I'm always struggling to keep up with the laundry since our laundry area's in our basement. Out of sight, out of mind anyone? If I can get a couple loads done a day, it's a successful day!

    Question: on the new, bleeding clothes, does it matter what kind of vinegar or salt you use, or can you use anything you've got on hand? I've never separated my daughter's clothes and haven't noticed a difference, and have been tempted to do the same for our clothes, but we usually have enough TO do separate loads (and besides--the whites always look better when washed in hot water with a bit of bleach.)

  2. Liberty, ordinary table salt, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar is what I use. Remember, too, that washing clothes even with a tiny bit of bleach shortens their life. Bleach is really hard on fabrics.

  3. Great tips! The laundry definitely multiplies after kid #2. It's crazy.

    My biggest problem now is my fashionista daughter. :) She has dress code clothes for school and play clothes, which means 2 outfits plus pajamas every weekday. This wouldn't be a problem if she would put them away where they belong. Not all school clothes need to be washed before their next wear. Not only that, but she changes clothes faster than I blink! And all her wardrobe changes end up in the pantry. By the end of the day, I don't know which are clean and which aren't.

  4. Tanya, I think my girl will soon be like yours :) If I were you, I'd hang up anything that didn't smell and wasn't obviously dirty. (And work on trying to get your daughter to do it, of course...or maybe put everything in drawers to make the job easier for her.) If this bothers her, I'll bet she'll soon change her habits!