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Tips to Keep Up With the Laundry Learned Over 42 Years

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Feeling overwhelmed by your ever-growing laundry pile? You’re not alone. Many busy people often find themselves wondering how to keep up with laundry.

But imagine if it became a smooth, almost automatic part of your daily life? That’s not wishful thinking. Settle in, and I’ll explain how it’s done.

Sort as You Go

Sorting a mountain of dirty clothes is a boring and unpleasant task. It’s also an unnecessary one.

No, I don’t mean throwing everything in the washer willy nilly: sorting is an important step. But you’ll save a lot of time if you sort in real-time.

Hamper Strategies

Stash a divided hamper in each bedroom and another in the laundry room for kitchen stuff. Then teach everyone to sort their clothes by color and type as they change.

This way, when it’s time to wash, you can simply grab a bin and go—no more sifting through a mountain of mixed laundry.

Prompt Stain Handling

The faster you treat a stain the easier it is to remove. That’s why I attach stain sticks to the sorting hampers in each bedroom, so we can all deal with the day’s messes as we’re disrobing.

For those unexpected moments when you’re on the go, remember that hand sanitizer isn’t just for clean hands—dab it on fresh stains and watch that grease or ink disappear.

Life-Changing Laundry Tips

Now, I know you’ve probably read a bunch of laundry hacks promising to blow your mind. I don’t work that way. What I have are some tested tips that make laundry faster and easier to do.

Give them a try and let me know in the comments if they work as well for you as they do for me.

  • Set a timer: You tuned out your washer’s buzzer years years ago. Set one on your phone. It’s always within reach, anyway.
  • Shake everything: Take thing out of the washer one at a time and give each a shake. This prevents wrinkles and helps things dry faster.
  • Pull out all the things you hang. Drape them over the dryer door to stop them from wrinkling. When you’ve got them all, hang them up.
  • Sort as you fold: Separate everybody’s clothes into piles as you fold them.
  • Put away each load as it’s done. If you wait until you’re done with all the day’s laundry, your pile will get get knocked over—or forgotten.

Establishing a Laundry Schedule

Now, for the big question: how do you keep up with laundry in a busy household? One way is by washing a room’s linens the day you clean it, and washing clothes on the other days.

If you’re following my 5 Things Weekly Routine, it looks like this:

  • Monday: Kitchen towels and mats.
  • Tuesday: Bathroom towels and mat.
  • Wednesday: Bedding.
  • Thursday: Clothing.
  • Friday: Clothing.
  • Saturday: Clothing (if there’s any left to wash).

When your wash is pre-sorted and stains are pre-treated, it takes a literal minute to dump a hamper into the machine and start a load.

My Laundry Routine

\When my kids were young, I built laundry into my daily whole house tidying routine. Literally: it’s typed on that checklist.

By tying laundry to other things in my schedule, it became an automatic part of my day and has been for as long as I can remember.

  • Before bed: I load the washing machine and set the delay start for 9 hours.
  • In the morning: Switch the wash from washer to dryer while I’m tidying up.
  • Folding time: By the time I’m done tidying, the laundry’s ready to fold and put away.

Make it a Family Thing

When my kids were young, I thought part of a housewife routine meant doing everything for everyone. It was stressful on all of us.

Then I made helping with laundry part of the kids’ chores. They felt more empowered, and I felt far less overworked.

So try getting your kids involved, too. If they don’t fold the towels exactly your way, that’s okay. The goal is to work as a team to help your entire household keep up with the laundry.

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  1. Love this! Never thought to keep the stain stick with the hamper. Then I wouldn’t miss stains!
    Great tips!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Sara, that stain stick is a lifesaver!

  2. Wow! What a great post to come about on laundry day. I never thought about timing the wash cycle and have been known to forget the clothes down there for longer than I should and end up re-washing the same load the next day. I will definitely be giving that tip a try.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thanks, Jean! Hope the timer solution helps.

  3. I have that hamper, and actually keep it right in our bedroom so we sort immediately upon getting undressed (ATM there is only two of us, so it’s easier that way). Great tips! I also love the stain remover stick. Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Isn’t that hamper the greatest? I love being able to just bend over and grab a properly sorted load to throw in the machine when I have time. Glad you like the stain stick tip, too!

  4. Katie, I read this post a few months ago and since then, laundry has
    been so much easier (dare I say fun?!). I had hubby relocate some of
    his tools off of a hip high dresser and scrounged up four baskets and
    labeled them all. I have one hamper that I absolutely LOVE (it has the
    notch for the hip but it is round so it is easier to fit up and down
    the steps). I fill up the basket from the upstair hampers and sort it
    once I get down stairs. I do that until I am able to start a load
    (usually darks and socks/undies fill up first). Every time I go
    upstairs, I take another hamper load down and sort. I set the timer on
    my phone once I start the washer/dryer and it reminds me to get back
    down there and take care of everything. It sounds confusing but there
    is a method to it and so much better than what I was doing before and
    knowing that I only have 8 loads of laundry for the day (4 for me and
    hubby, 4 for the kids) it seems to go a lot faster. I usually do the
    adult clothes on one day and the kids clothes the next and can take a
    break of a day or two before starting again.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re on top of it, Keebelf, well done! Sorting it through the week really does make a big difference, doesn’t it?

  5. Unexpected Housewife says:

    I love your tip to put away each load as it’s finished. I feel a little stupid for never having done it this way. You’re absolutely right that taking the 3-5 minutes now to fold and put away a single load saves so much head-ache from the usual frustration of 3-5 loads sitting in towering piles (that ultimately fall over and must be re-folded) that take forever to put away. I also love your tip that laundry isn’t “done” until it’s put away. Both tips are a little bit life-changing. Now if only I could get my other half to follow them… Any tips for house-training men who still want to live like college-aged bachelors?

  6. Great ideas, will use!
    After I’ve tumbled our clothes I take them to the spare bedroom and spread them open, one by one, on top of each other and leave them there for a day or two so I don’t have to iron.:D

  7. Dana Whatley says:

    I just wanted to thank you for this post. I have never in my life been able to keep up with the laundry. Even as a child we always had a mountain of laundry we had to help handle. This is the first time I have ever heard to take laundry out of the dryer one piece at a time so it is manageable!! Absolutely life changing!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Isn’t it crazy how something so little can make such a big difference?

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