Updated: Mar 3
Let me share a typical scenario with you that happened in our home weekly for roughly a decade. A decade! After a week of wearing clothes, I would do the laundry like a responsible mother and human. I would diligently spend the day sorting lights and darks, starting loads in the washing machine, switching them to the dryer when it was time, and then carrying the clean laundry upstairs to our bedroom for folding. The idea was that I could sit on my comfortable bed and fold laundry while also relaxing and watching or listening to something mindless. The idea was also that if the laundry was on my bed then surely it would motivate me to get everything sorted and folded before bed. Sometimes it worked and I would watch my show little ones napped, but more often than not the laundry would sit on the bed untouched. When it was time for my husband and I to go to bed, the last thing he would ever want to do is help sort and fold laundry. So...we could push all the clean laundry onto the floor, telling ourselves that tomorrow would be the day. Tomorrow came. We picked up all the clean (kind of) and quite wrinkly laundry on the bed because if it's on the bed, then you can't get back in the bed without having taken care of it, right? Wrong. The next night we would do the same.
Sometimes this craziness would continue multiple nights and I felt like I spent an entire week moving laundry from the floor to the bed to the floor again. My room looked messy 80% of the time, and usually by the time the laundry got folded and put where it needed to go...it was time to do more laundry. Insert ugly cry right there. With each baby, the laundry seemed to increase exponentially, life got crazier, and pretty soon there were 4 kids, no naps, jobs, sports, and so much laundry. Laundry was truly the bane of my existence and I couldn't figure it out. I tried doing one load a day, I tried having a designated laundry day, I tried just doing a load for each person in the family on a different day to cut back on sorting....I tried every trick I heard about from friends or books or social media, but none of the systems worked for me.
Does anyone out there loathe laundry as much as I do? Have any of you spent days moving laundry from the floor to the couch to the floor? Or left baskets of clean laundry sitting somewhere in your house until your family is digging through the baskets to find underwear and socks for the day for days on end?
How to Make Laundry More Manageable
I searched for years on how to make my least favorite chore more manageable. This laundry system has saved my life. The laundry goes straight from the dryer onto the countertop and I watch my favorite guilty pleasure while I fold and sort laundry. I don't watch a lot of TV and putting a TV in the laundry room felt a little indulgent and completely unnecessary... but now I look forward to sneaking away and taking care of the laundry. It doesn't have to plague my sanctuary of a room and if I don't get it done the first day it's out of the dryer, no one even notices.
If there are only a few items for a certain person I keep them in a laundry basket and don't worry about delivering them to their room. If the bin is full, I take it to whoever's room it belongs to and that person knows they are expected to put their things away and return the basket to the laundry room. No more weeks of laundry piling up on my bed and then the floor...and then my bed....and then the floor before finally sorting and putting away. I love finding systems that work.
I know this laundry room is bigger than some and for others to create a like system, it would require an entire remodel...but here are some ways you could try it in whatever laundry room you find yourself in.
Laundry Tip 1
Get enough laundry baskets for each person or room in your house. You can get laundry baskets that stack so they don't take up much room.
Laundry Tip 2
Find a guilty pleasure. Is there a podcast you've been dying to listen to? A show your husband is not interested in watching with you? Or do you just want to catch up on Marco Polo away from kids and chaos? You can watch anything on an iPad, computer, or even phone if you don't have a TV.
Laundry Tip 3
Fold and sort in the laundry room. Use the top of the dryer as your folding table if you don't have one. Once my laundry was in a basket and moved to a new location, my desire was dead to me. I had already washed the clothes, dried them, and put them in a basket...wasn't that enough? Folding and sorting the clothes in the laundry room right out of the dryer and then putting them in baskets is the game-changer.
Do you already have a system that works for you? What is it? Is laundry your nemesis, like it was mine? Some systems take years of tweaking, but it is so important that you find what works for you. When you do, it feels like a weight is lifted of your shoulders and life can be lived with a little more intention instead of floundering. Let me know if you try this system and if it works for you!
Jen Martin is the owner of Reset Your Nest, Salt Lake City home organization company. She brings the world of interior design and professional organizing together to create luxurious spaces that are also functional and custom tailored to each client.