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How to Quickly Fold a Load of Clothes

In my laundry routine, it works best for me to fold clothes as quickly as they come out of the dryer.  I know there are those people that wash several loads in a day and then fold them all in the evening.  But  I’ve never figured out how to make them not wrinkle in that scenario.  And I hate wrinkly clothes.  So I stick to folding them as they leave the dryer.

It takes me between 6 and 10 minutes to fold a normal load of clothes for my family (I’ve even timed it!).  This ‘normal’ load of clothes is a large load – not exceptionally large where my washer/dryer is packed, but not a medium-sized load either.  And when I’ve got my housekeeping groove on, it might only take 4 or 5 minutes.

These are the steps I take to make this go so quickly:

  1. As soon as the dryer stops, I empty the load of clothes into a basket and take them to my folding spot
    Laundry Basket Clean Clothes
  2. I pull items off of the top of the basket.  If it is a pair of underwear or a sock, they are tossed in their own pile to deal with at the end. 

  3. I try to find my husband’s shirts or the kids’ nice clothes that I need to hang up first.  I pull those out and loosely fold in half and place in a pile by themselves.
    Shirts to Hang During Folding 
  4. Then I continue through the basket, folding tshirts, pants or pajamas as I find them.

  5. As I fold them, I go ahead and separate them into each person’s own pile.  This takes absolutely no extra time and is a vital step, especially if your children put away their own clothes.
    Folded clothes sorted by personSo in the above picture, all of my son’s clothes are in the top row, the baby’s clothes are in the middle row and my daughter’s clothes are in the bottom row.  (No, I usually do not put them in rows…this was only for the picture!)

  6. The only folding left to do now is to quickly fold the socks and the underwear that are in their own piles.  No one in my family cares if those are wrinkled, so I leave them until last.
    Pile of Socks During Folding Pile of Underwear During Folding

 

As soon as I am finished folding, I hang up everything that requires it.  If I don’t go ahead and put away the hang ups, they are likely to get sat on or pulled off the bed by the baby.  That defeats the purpose of having them set aside to not wrinkle.  So I go ahead and hang them up and save myself that headache.

Usually it is the end of the day before I am able to get clothes put away.  I put away my clothes, my husband’s and the baby’s.  My 5 year old son puts his away and assists my 3 year old daughter in sorting hers in the right drawer. Since they are already sorted by child and by garment, put away is (usually) a breeze.

How does this work in your family?  I always love to hear how other mothers and families do things differently.  Let us know in the comments…

Comments

  1. Great tips!

    I do the same thing… socks and underware go into a pile as I fold and hang the other stuff.

    You make laundry look so easy!

    • mamalaundry says:

      Aw – thanks! If the rest of my home and life was as organized as my Laundry Life, I’d be set! Tee hee :)

      -Lauren

  2. I’m not nearly so organized. :) I am reading your blog for tips and hints! I’m getting lots. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. My routine is pretty similar although I do.not. fold. underwear. I fold the laundry and sort it into piles and then it’s up to my kids to put their clothes in a laundry basket and take it upstairs to their rooms. I don’t make them put it away – so long as it’s in their rooms and I don’t have to look at it, I’m OK with that. But …. they have to the empty laundry basket and their dirty laundry down to the laundry room for the next laundry day.

    Looking forward to meeting you at the Savvy Blogging Summit

  4. I have the same basic plan as you do, but I have a new thing I’ve been trying lately in an attempt to speed it up a bit (and minimize the amount of time our cat has to sneak into the closet only to scare me half to death later when I find her in there). I stack up my shirts and my husband’s shirts that need to be hung up as I find them, and I try to get them neatly lined up on the shoulders/collar- different stacks though, as we’re definitely different sizes! I take a quick count of how many hangers I need, and then I go through and slip a hanger in the top shirt, fold it down a bit, then the next one, and so on till I have a nicely grouped bunch of shirts. Then I hang them up in one quick trip, try to remember to look for the cat, and get back to folding the socks and underwear.

  5. Am I weird in that I actually like folding laundry? I find it somewhat therapeutic. I’m going to try your t-shirt method. I can do the 2-second thing myself, but you really have to do it on a hard surface. If I do it on my bed I end up ‘catching’ the comforter.
    My favorite thing to fold is towels. I fold them in 3rds, lengthwise, then fold the two ends to the middle and then fold in half. No ‘raw’ edges! They look really pretty that way.

    • mamalaundry says:

      No it’s not weird!! Or at least that makes the 2 of us weird together. ;)a

      I fold towels as you do – they look great on the shelf that way!!

      Thanks for stopping by Mama’s!

      -Lauren

  6. KellyJMF says:

    My process is similar to yours, but I take shirts/sweaters that I don’t want to wrinkle and I hang them over the dryer door, smoothing as I go. When everything else is the basket, the folded stack goes on top of the basket to take to wherever I’m going to fold. I also have a rod in my laundry room where I keep the empty hangers. So anything that needs a hanger gets hung up immediately. I almost never need to iron.

    • mamalaundry says:

      Beautiful system. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on how you quickly fold. I think it is so helpful to read how others do things!

      -Lauren

  7. I fold our clothes one by one right from the dryer I use the washer as my folding surface. I then sort by person into piles. I also try to place like with like within each persons pile from there I bring right up to the various bedrooms. I never have baskets of wrinkled or folded laundry around the house. If I get interrupted while folding the unfolded laundry is still in the dryer, which I can wrinkle guard cycle later. The folded clothes are on then dryer so if an interruption is visitor my house does not have laundry all over. I never had laundry baskets of unfolded and folded clothes. I love my method and have had it for around six years now after 15 years of clothes the house!

  8. One More thing my washer and dryer are in back hall. I also have an ikea expedit unit with baskets of shoes I use one basket for the girls white athletic socks I just fold and toss into basket right out of the dryer, it works so well. The girls easily grab socks on the way out to school or sports. It is so easy for me to toss from dryer to basket and super easy for girls to always grab a pair of socks on way-out.

    • mamalaundry says:

      Debbie, thanks so much for sharing your system, which is fabulous by the way! We have an Ikea expedit in our school room and it is BY FAR my favorite piece of furniture in the house. I never thought to incorporate the expedit into a laundry routine only because I don’t have room for any more of them in our house. But I think your idea for it is brilliant!

  9. I hang shirts and pants straight out of the dryer (some shirts are hang-dried as well). Depending on what my son may or may not be getting into at the time, sometimes I will fold straight out of the dryer, right on top of the machines. Other times I will carry the laundry to the kitchen and either use the top of my chest freezer or the island to fold my laundry (my island rarely if ever gets used for food prep, so at most there might be a little dust to wipe off before putting clean laundry on it.) I find that if I don’t fold it right out of the dryer, it will sit in the basket for days…if I notice hubby digging though the basket, or worse…the dryer, for clothes, I *know* I have let it go too long. So I have to make a point to do it right away to avoid that guilty feeling. I must be doing ok, because I haven’t noticed him having to search for his clothes in a while.

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