What to Do When You Don’t Have Time to Fold a Load of Clothes

See if you can relate to this laundry scenario:

You have 5+ loads of clothes that must be washed today.  You have a 5 minute break in your schedule, so now is the perfect time to roll the laundry (take the clean, dry load out of the dryer, put the wet clothes on to tumble and put a new, dirty load in the washer).

You take the clothes from the dryer and toss them onto the bed.  You’ve got time to put the wet clothes in the dryer and start a fresh load in the washer.

But what about the clean clothes you’ve put on the bed?  You don’t possibly have time to fold them right now.

You can certainly choose not to fold them right now, but that’s going to create one cold, wrinkly pile of clothes you’ll have to deal with later.

So just deal with them now.  Here is a quick way when you don’t have much time.

Lay Clothes Out So They Don't Wrinkle

(Click on the picture to see exactly what is in each pile.)


Underwear and Socks

Put all of the underwear in a pile and all of the socks into a separate pile.  These two items don’t need to be folded immediately, as they can be wrinkly and it really won’t matter.

Shirts and T-shirts

Hold the t-shirt by the shoulder seams and give it a good flap to get out the initial wrinkles.  Then lay it flat on the bed.  Repeat this same process with every t-shirt in the basket.  Simply lay them on top of one another.  They’ll appear slightly wrinkled but they’ll be fine once you fold them.

If it’s a shirt that needs to be hung on a hanger, lay them flat on your folding surface or bed in a single layer only.  Don’t put another shirt on top of it.

Jeans and Pants

If your load consists of jeans, take one pair out at the time.  Hold it by the waistband and give it a good, hard flap.  Then lay it out flat on your folding surface.  You can lay several pairs on top of one another without causing them to become wrinkly.  Follow the same method for most any pair of long pants or shorts.

Sheets and Towels

I personally cannot stand to fold wrinkly sheets, so I pull them out quickly and just lay them flat.  Interestingly enough, I can deal pretty easily with wrinkly towels, so I just leave them until I can work them in later in the day or evening.

If you could care less about wrinkly towels or sheets, simply leave them until later.


Now What?

So you now have these piles of clothes lying all over your folding surface or bed.  So now what?

Well, you’ll have to fold them.

Laying them out this way only buys you time if you have to get the next load of laundry going.  Unfortunately, it does not save you the trouble of folding them or the even more dreaded task of getting them put away.


How Often Should You Use This Method?

Choice #1:

I do this maybe once or twice a week, at the most.  I don’t want to get in the habit of doing clothes with this method because it’s one of the few habits I have going for me these days!

When I do use this method, I have all of them waiting for me when I come upstairs for the evening and then I have to spend the time folding them and putting them away because they are on my bed.  And that makes me want to cry, because my bed is just calling for me to come get in it.

So I try really hard to get them all folded and put away prior to 4pm every day.

Choice #2:

Maybe you are a wash-once-a-week type of laundress.  If that’s the case, you may choose to save all of the folding until all of the loads are completed.  Turn on your favorite show from the DVR and fold away.


So what do you do when you have to move the laundry along but don’t have time to fold?


  1. We’ve done this more than we should have this week! There’s a lot of laundry on top of the dryer and the guest bed. I guess it all worked out though, since we were out and about on the sunny days. Rainy today, so I’ll be inside, catching up on the laundry!

  2. I try to do them as they come out, but there is something always pressing at farm so this will work for me!!!

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  4. I was just doing the stack and smooth today. In an attempt to become a one day a week “laundress” (I Love It! Fancy!) I discovered a recovery method for my wrinklies.

    So I am opposed to dressers because of their tempting horizontal surfaces and stuffing potential and hang everything- every paint splattered yoga pant, every set of jammies and all the kids clothing too. You cannot clutter up a closet rod! I don’t know if my trick works for folding.

    1) Although I was raised anti-fabric softener I now realize it’s purpose-less wrinkles!-and certain brands don’t leave that yucky waxy feeling-so I overserve my washer with the fab soft to prevent super wrinkles.
    2) A high quality trigger spray bottle filled with water and fab soft 10:1.
    3) Old way- loosely pile dry clothes, when there’s time put back in dryer with a generous misting from the bottle and turn on low heat for 5 minutes or so. Free “steaming” of wrinkles but you then have to fold right away or repeat this cycle until you lose your mind.
    4) New way-loosely pile, when time permits just hang up and mist all over with spray, snap it or smooth it out. I have become so fond of misting the hanging clothes that I sometimes go down the line and give em all spray anyway! The wrinkles just fall out!
    5) Bonus: The spray works well to fluff little clothing details if you tend towards fussiness. When the little ruffles and fabric flowers or ribbons on my girls clothes get smooshy in the dryer I really spray them and hand pull them into shape or fluff them up. (I know, I will never get those minutes back)

    Thanks Mama, it’s nice to have somewhere to nit pick over laundry details in peace! And kudos for not just sweeping that laundry onto the floor sometimes-you’re a better woman than I.

  5. I use a similar technique I call “pancaking”… I remove all the socks, undies, small towels and things that will not wrinkle and toss them into a basket. Then, I pull all the t-shirts and other soft items and layer them on top of each other–give them a soft fold in half as a stack, and lay that on top of the socks. Finally, the jeans or pants I pull, fold in half side to side and pull the “crotch point” forward, and then fold that in half, laying on top of the previous pancake pile. And any shirts that need hanging, I just hang really quickly.

    I collect a few baskets filled like this, and can fold a bunch at once while I watch tv. It works for us. 🙂


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