How I Finally Conquered My Pile of Laundry

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From out of control to ‘hey this is easy’.

A month ago I got fed up! I had tripped over the pile of laundry sitting on our bedroom floor waiting to be folder for the last time so I went on a mission to figure out a way to stay on top of the laundry that didn’t involve telling my family that they could no longer change their clothes. I watched YouTube videos, I read blog posts, I read every article on Good Housekeeping. After some trial and error and my husband declaring that his clothes ABSOLUTELY needed to be folded here is what I came up with:

Top Left: Overflowing laundry basket. Bottom Left: Clean laundry on the floor waiting to be folded. Right: Laundry bursting out of hamper waiting to be washed on laundry day.

1. I Do a Load of Laundry a Day – I know what you’re thinking, “Grace what the heck I thought this was going to create less work for me, not more?!” I also thought this was ludicrous when I heard it suggested but I was desperate so I decided to give it a try for a week. What I found was that because I was doing laundry so often the amount of laundry that I had to fold each day was small so I could get it done in less than 15 mins (sometimes as little as 5 mins). And if you’re worried about wasting water, most washing machines are high efficiency machines these days with lots of load size options that you can choose so as long as you use those knobs your water usage should be negligible.

2. I Made the Laundry Room a Functional Space – My laundry room is very small compared to the laundry rooms you see on Instagram and Pinterest but I am still very lucky to have a laundry room on the second floor near our bedrooms. I knew I didn’t want to do anything too drastic or permanent since we’re on a budget and will be moving soon but I also knew I wanted to be able to fold clothes in there if possible to avoid bringing the unfolded pile into our bedroom. So I installed a fold down table, added an over the door hanger rack, placed a laundry sorting hamper, and added a wall tablet holder for a little entertainment while I fold. I can now spend a happy 15 mins in there folding the day’s laundry while watching a YouTube video.

Me Using my fold down table to fold the laundry in my tiny laundry room.

3. I Keep the Socks Together – I used to make finding and pairing socks a game. Somehow my husband socks would always go missing, leading him to constantly complain that he didn’t have socks. I didn’t want to have to pin the pairs of socks individually because I figured inevitable the pins would disappear too. And that’s when I learned about the Sock Dock. The Sock Dock is basically a rope with tension spacers that you can place your socks into. I bought that thing and have been using it and have not lost a sock since! I’m going to have to take down my little Lost Sock hanger.

The socks in the Sock Dock ready to be folded and not a single sock was lost.

4. I Set a Timer When I Start a Wash Cycle or a Drying Cycle – I used to just put the clothes in the washer and hope that I would hear the washer’s signal when it finished. I never heard it. Not once. That’s what caring for a toddler while you work is like, my auditory pathway is hardwired at this point to only hear Rigel. Since I didn’t know when the wash was finished it would sit there too long or I’d forget it entirely until it was too late to get it dry before I went to bed. So now I set a timer for the length of the wash and then another one for the drying cycle (so I can check the load and make sure it fully dried). So now I’ve been really consistent with getting my one load a day dry with plenty of time left in the day to fold it.

5. I Start the Load First Thing in the Morning – In line with the prior tip, to make sure I have enough time to finish the load of laundry before I go to bed, I put the load in the wash first thing in the morning, before I even go downstairs for my morning cup of coffee. This gives me at least 12 hours to finish it and put it away. I have found that this is enough time even with a toddler who works really hard to derail my schedule.

Literally first thing in the morning – I am still in my pajamas heading to the laundry room.

6. I Fold and Put Away the Laundry Before Bed – I really like a blog called But First, Coffee (also a YouTube channel) and that blogger talks a lot about going to bed with a clean sink. I decided to apply that same principle to the laundry. So I put in my few minutes of folding in the evening and then tuck my freshly cleaned clothes to bed in their respective drawers. And then I rest easy knowing that I am not going to trip over a pile of laundry in the morning.

Laundry folded and ready to be put away before bed.

7. I Use a No Fold System for Kids Clothes – While I couldn’t convince my husband to go with a no-fold system, this was probably one of the most mentioned tips when I was doing my research to find more efficient ways to get through the laundry. But Rigel actually benefits a lot from me not folding his clothes. He has some things that get hung but all the things that don’t I just drape into his drawers. Here’s a video that explains how the system would work. So while I do miss a little folding his tiny shirts, I do like saving time by putting his clothes away this way.

8. I Got Family On Board with the System – That’s right I laid out the new system to the husband and even to the toddler and told them that they needed to stick with it. I won’t lie to you there were definitely threats of violence (against the husband) but I had had enough of dealing with the mountains of laundry. I got the husband using the sock dock and I have the toddler helping put the laundry in the dryer (I hand it to him). And everyone has had clean socks ever since!

My husband dutifully puts his dirty socks in the sock dock that we keep hanging in the bathroom (thankfully guests never see this bathroom).

So that’s how I got the laundry under control. I haven’t had any clothes stacked up in the bedroom or the laundry room in three weeks. It has been glorious! All by just spreading out the pain over the whole week instead of trying to tackle it all in one day. And by the way, some days you might not even have enough clothes for a small load of laundry so don’t expect to always have to wash but be prepared to wash every day.

I’m sure as our family grows and Rigel can help more this may change but for now this is working. I am happy and not hating every member of my family for wearing clothes. So don’t knock it until you try it. Let me know in the comments if you do any of these things or if you have other tips that have helped you get the laundry under control.

Keep Folding,

Author: Grace G.

New Mom and Retired Lawyer trying to share the ride.

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