There are so many times in my life where I have been completely overwhelmed with laundry…and I just didn’t know where to start. Having a mountain of dirty laundry staring you in the face can be daunting. Not to mention depressing.
So how do you get started on such a task?
Here are 10 steps that will move you well on your way to conquering that huge laundry pile:
- Plan to stay home for the day.
This might be the most important piece to the process of getting your laundry out of crisis mode. You simply can’t roll the laundry along if you aren’t there to do it! If you are a stay at home mom, cancel all trips to the library or grocery store. That can wait for another day when people have clean underwear again. Instead, clear your calendar of everything but the essentials. Make sure breakfasts and lunches are super easy with minimal prep and clean up. This is not the day for elaborate meals!
- Plan to stay home for the evening.
If you work outside of the home, come straight home after work and clear your evening calendar to make room for your laundry plans. Order take out or pull something from the freezer for dinner. Whatever dinner plans are, make them simple with minimal prep work and clean up.
- Next, designate a sorting spot for your mountain of laundry.
For me, I sort everything in our upstairs hallway. My laundry room is super little and can hardly fit the machines and myself in there at the same time. So throwing all of our dirty clothes in there would be pointless. Of course this spot will vary for each family. Yours may be in the laundry room, on your bedroom floor, or in a corner of the kitchen. Make sure to make your sorting spot near your washing machine. You don’t want to create extra work for yourself.
- Go into each room of your house and look for stray clothes.
I cannot tell you the days that I find random socks and tshirts in the school room or by the back door. I have no idea how or why they are there, but they are nonetheless. After you’ve examined every room, take all of the clothes and put them in your already designated sorting spot.
- Gather all dirty clothes from your laundry baskets.
Take them to your sorting spot. Just dump them in a big pile. Don’t worry about sorting anything until every dirty piece of clothing in your house is in this sorting spot.
- Start sorting!
Just start at the top and start sorting clothes into piles: whites, darks, delicates, towels, etc. I would encourage you to sort through the entire pile of clothes at one time. Don’t stop halfway through when you think you have a full load of whites. I can guarantee you there will be that stray shirt at the bottom of the stack that you wish you would have thrown in there.
- Start your first load and set your timer.
Put your first load in the machine and set your timer so you know when it is completed. Today is not the day to leave a load in the washer for several hours. As soon as your timer dings, move it on to the dryer or clothesline and put your next load in the washer. Don’t forget to set your timer again! If you are like me, there are a million things going on in your household and you need the timer as a reminder. I call this “rolling laundry.” By having everything already sorted, you can easily put loads in the machine when it is time.
- As soon as the loads are finished in the dryer, take them out, fold them and put them away.
A load of clothes is not fully completed until the load of laundry is folded and put away. This is the hard part for many people. That last step can be a toughie! I can’t even tell you how pleased you will be with your results if you’ll go ahead and take the 5-7 minutes to put the entire load away. So just save yourself the headache later and do it as soon as they are folded!
- When you are finished with your final load, rest.
You deserve it! You’ve accomplished a ton of work by getting your laundry out of crisis mode. Be proud of yourself!
- Finally, when you’ve recovered from your day or evening of laundry work brainstorm about your laundry routine.
I’ve outlined a few ideas to move your laundry routine out of crisis mode, whether you are a mom that stays at home or a mom that works outside of the home. You don’t want your laundry routine to be crisis mode – you want it to be on auto-pilot. It gets old when your laundry is always piled up high, so when you’ve recuperated from your laundry day, work on developing and implementing a laundry routine.
If you have children that are old enough to help, then by all means assign them some laundry tasks! My 3 year old is definitely old enough to carry the random-room clothes to the laundry pile. And both my 3 and 5 year olds can put away their own clothes in their drawers (with minimal assistance). So if your children can help, give them a job and let them get to it!
Clean clothes can be such a blessing to your family. So get motivated and cross this big laundry pile off of your to-do list!
Do you have questions about how to work out a laundry routine? Or how to conquer your own Laundry Mountain? Ask in the comments or send me an email: [email protected].
Crystal & Co
I have finally started involving all of my boys more in the laundry process… I just can not do it all myself. The ways I involve them is so simple and they think it is fun…. like asking them to put the clothes that are in the washer in the dryer. Or, place this stack of clothes in the washer. Pour this detergent is this compartment.
I am there the whole time, but I am not doing the bending over and what not… makes it less dreadful for me!
Besides, they will grow up to be men that need to be able to do their laundry and help their wives!
Crystal, you are exactly right!! They DO need to grow up knowing how to do laundry correctly.
Good for you, Mama for getting them started early!
That is great advice, and advice I sorely need to take today.
Good and practical post! I do almost all of this except set a timer. That is definitely a good idea, because it’s the wasted time in between loads that causes me to not get all the laundry done in one day. I am so much more likely to put my clean laundry away as soon as I pull it out of the dryer if I have succeeded in keeping the laundry “rolling.” I love the accomplished feeling of having all the laundry in the house clean and in its place! 🙂
Some great ideas. In our house, we have one spot where all the dirty clothes for the day go. It has become ingrained in the boys head that at the end of the day when getting ready for bed, all the clothes go in the dirty basket. Every night before bed we put one load in the washer, move the previous one from the washer to the dryer, then if it’s not too late that night i take 10 minutes and fold the load that came out of the dryer or take 10 minutes in the morning before I get evey one up to fold the basket of clean.We are a family of 6 and try to keep to this daily routine of one-one-one. 95% of the time it works and I get to spend my free time doing other things — like scrub toilets LOL 😉
Tessa, Great method! Thanks for sharing it! It’s so nice to read what other families do!
RLR at Mom's Magic
I’m settling into a new routine around here – and Wednesday has become laundry day. If I’m really good, I toss a load in on Tuesday evening and set the timer for it to start early Wednesday morning. Once I’m home from dropping the kids off at school I switch the loads and get to work checking other things off of my list, including going for a run. The hardest part for me right now is that we are in that “in between” season of warm one day and cool the next – we have twice as many clothes to choose from, which means twice as much laundry! Or rather, twice as long until it’s critical, and then it’s *really* critical 🙂
Oh my YES! I’m literally in the middle of writing a blog post on this – my disdain for the changing of seasons because *double* the amount of clothes are available. And for some reason, my children think they need to change clothes twice a day as we move into fall…
Lauren – I absolutely love your key photo because it is so real life. What great encouragement you offer here. I especially like how you give permission to rest!
Oh thank you, Tricia. That means so much! 🙂 Oh yes, that picture is real life all right! My hallway in front of the laundry room still hasn’t recovered!
My laundry routine consists of a hallway closet with stacking bins in it that are labelled, white, dark, colors, etc. I try to do a load whenever I see that any bin is full, thus avoiding the crisis.
This was a great motivational tool for me. I am going to do all of it except I am going to the laundry mat. My piles are so out of control and we have a tiny washer. I am going to fold I and put it all away as soon as I get home. I am going to buy 4 small laundry baskets, and put a small hamper in each room. I am a teacher and can’t keep letting this go, or keep doing it all by myself. My kids can bring me their wash and they already help put it away. I think going to the laundry mat will help me get a handle on it in 3-3.5 hours. Thanks
I go to the laundry mat with all my blankets and clothes. I grab a giant 80 pound washer and throw it all in there except the whits and let it have at it! I love doing laundry at home but both my washer and dryer are broken. Im saving up to buy new ones. But ive made my own laundry soap at home and i add 1 50 oz bottle of gain and a bottle of freshner beads to the 5 gallon bucket. This lasts me a year or more. And tje clothes are really pretty and smell soooo good! And if you put some vinegar in the washer while rinsing tje clothes it makes the clothes soft. And no need for fabric softener!!!!!😍☺
There is something so gloriously wonderful about washing them all at one time in that huge washer!! I agree!
Best wishes in getting a new set to your own home soon! 🙂
Hello! I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how often this happens. (Except if it was our house, the laundry pile pictured in your upstairs hallway would be about 15 times that amount) Still, I feel like this list is universal no matter the size of the pile. Thank you for helping me get motivated!
Great advice on getting the madness under control! That long line of laundry looks painfully familiar! After years of struggling with the ‘laundry crisis’, I finally figured out a system that works well in our home. My routine is similar to Esther’s above. I have a hallway laundry closet with shelves above the washer/dryer that hold 6 square plastic laundry baskets as well as detergent, etc. I keep 2 large baskets on top of the washer and dryer also. Each basket is labeled white, dark, etc., and a couple of them just say “dirty” for overflow. The labels are tied to the baskets loosly with twine so I can flip them over. On the reverse side of the label it says “clean”. If I’m unable to put away the clean laundry immediately from the dryer, it goes in a basket labeled clean. I had to train my family to remember to read labels before tossing in dirty laundry, and I had to guard this space so that everyone knew not to put anything in this closet other than laundry, but now this method runs smooth like clockwork! This small closet also has a bar on one side where I can hang up things that need to air dry. I store hangers on that bar to make it easy to hang up things that come out of the dryer. Following this method has made it so that dealing with laundry isn’t the overwhelming, dreaded chore it used to be!
When my boys were home and old enough they hag a laundry basket in their closet and were to put their dirty clothes in it and wash them themselves.
Now I’m pretty much disabled and can do things for maybe 5-10 minutes at a time but I’ve been under the weather and laundry has piled up , my husband does a lot and will do his work clothes and sometimes his casual clothes but he has a full time job . I hate it but laundry is not my favorite thing to do when I do feel like doing anything. Any suggestions on how to get this done?