The laundry system that changed my life

The Laundry System that Changed My Life

A few years ago I had an a-ha moment during an organizing workshop given by Beth Randall of Joe Organizer.  During her presentation Beth discussed her laundry system and it was one of those moments where I thought, now gosh why didn’t I think of that.

In order to get the full picture though of how much time and frustration this particular system saves me, let me walk you through how I use to do laundry.  Perhaps you can relate.  Each of my kids has a hamper in their bedrooms and on laundry day they’d each bring their basket downstairs and I would start the chore of sorting the piles of laundry into whites and darks.   Then when it was all washed I’d start the sorting process all over again as I sorted each child’s clothing back into their individual baskets.  It took forever and I was constantly putting it off because I always felt like the laundry had to get done all at once so everyone would have a full basket to return to their rooms.  Finding a big chunk of time like that to devote to this task was tough.

Now with the wisdom I gleaned from my friend Beth, I can honestly say my new laundry method has changed my life.  Each child still has a laundry basket in their room but rather than do everyone’s laundry all at once, I do one child’s load at a time.  In other words I throw their whole basket of laundry into one load WITHOUT separating the whites and colors…gasp!  Can you believe it, I certainly couldn’t.  I thought for sure the colors would run but they didn’t.  In fact the laundry came out just fine….I just add about a 1/2 cup of vinegar to each load to help set the colors and keep them from running.  I’ve yet to wreck a piece of clothing doing it this way.  Although note of caution wash new red items and denim separately the first time.

I’ve eliminated the entire sorting process all together.  Gone.  As in I no longer spend any time trying to figure out whose socks are whose.  Sorting clothes is highly overrated :)

Each kid usually has one full load of laundry a week (not all done on the same day either) and the beauty of this system is that it makes it very easy to teach them how to do their own laundry.  So not only have I gotten rid of the sorting process but, with the big kids at least, the folding process as well.   Sweet!   Occasionally my daughter will have a dress to be washed or some other delicate and we do hold those out and wash them in a separate load.  Usually those are so few and far between though that it’s so not a big deal.  I don’t buy high maintenance clothing especially things that need to be ironed.  Ironing is so overrated :)

Towels and sheets each get their own loads as well as needed.

Using this system for us means laundry is no longer a huge burden and thankfully no longer an all day chore.

Try it, you just might like it!

Do you have a laundry system that works for you or is laundry an ongoing hassle in your house?

image two courtesy of FL4Y
image three courtesy of Crossroads Cottage
 

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Comments

275 Responses to The laundry system that changed my life

  1. 1
    Kara says

    When I was eight, I finally got sick of helping my mom with the laundry (oldest of four) and told her I would do my own if I didn’t have to help her.

    I’m currently doing the first step of not sorting before, but I’ll have to think about keeping the laundry separated by person.

    One thing that has made my life sooooooo much easier is only having two styles of sock per size (one for everyday, one for church). I never mate socks, just toss them into a drawer. Therefore, I never have leftover socks and loosing a sock or putting a hole in one is no big deal. Eventually, a set will be proclaimed dead, then I toss them all and buy all brand new ones. Works amazingly well.

    • 1.1
      Karen Joyce says

      Love your sock idea! This would save my sanity!!!

    • 1.2
      Jenn says

      This is a great idea on the socks, however, it drives me crazy that every time I buy my husband or son a new package of Hanes socks, they change the color or logo on the toe and then they don’t match the old ones, lol!

    • 1.3
      Vhallmimi says

      Im 61 and I have been buying all the same socks in one color plus dress socks which I roll but the athletic ones just stack for years with 3 kids and hubby all very athletic. This one thing really helped me. I learned from my father who wore all red socks or black he was a widower and he said it made it easy to stay well dressed. They look neat and tidy and I never freak if one is lost or has a hole. I still like to bleach the whites not sure about the all in one toss idea, might try for an emergency. I use the two basket labeled white and darks. Vinegar is magic for all sorts of things .Happy Organizing! V

    • 1.4
      cristie says

      I have done this for awhile. With four kids it was so difficult to sort all the time. I dont have a laundry room. We just have our washer and dryer in an inset in a hallway (not a good building idea whoever did this lol) Aside from one daughter who is 17 and complained that I shrunk her shirts, we do not own laundry baskets. We live in tx where the humidity is high and anything left wet will become mildew in a short amount of time. I tell my kids just throw your dirty clothes directly into the washing machine and when the washer is full I start it. It works wonders. For sorting I have four plastic bins on top of my washer, one for each kid. When the clothes come out of the dryer I fold them and put them in the bins. When its full or the kids are looking for clothes they take the clothes to the room. They dont hold too much so it is not too long before they have to empty them

    • 1.5
      Ann says

      Many years ago a friend of mine was ill for a long time and her girls started wearing odd socks to school. It actually caught on as a trend and my teen daughter, and most of her freinds still wear odd socks to this day. Wierd and yet wonderful.

    • 1.6
      Stacey says

      I have begun a trick i actually pinned about two years ago and wonder why i waited so long! Each person has a mesh zippered “delicates” bag where they put their dirty socks when they take them off. On laundry day, i zip the bags, toss them in the wash, and when they come out of the dryer the bag is returned to its owner. :) Lifesaver for my large family- no lost socks AND no sorting for whose are whose!!

  2. 2
    Karen says

    Love it! With 4 around here I am going to try it. No more fighting over who took socks from who…hopefully. Now to go find some laundry baskets for their rooms!!

  3. 3
    jackie says

    Oh I love this and it scares me all at the same time!!! I am so afraid that our whites will turn gray! But then again, we don’t have very many whites for obvious reasons! (Whites are overrated…right!)

    I might have to start trying this! My 6 year old already has to do a load of laundry per week, so maybe it’ll be all of her own next time. I think I might try it! :)

    Great post!

    • 3.1
      Laura says

      Yes my kids don’t have many white whites either…just makes it that much easier :)

    • 3.2
      Toni says

      I do a load of whites once a month to keep them looking bright.

  4. 4
    Kim says

    1/2 cup of vinegar to keep the colors from running? I think this is the tip of the century!!! I love this idea and will be passing it on!

    • 4.1
      Laura says

      It really works and it also eliminates static so you don’t need to use dryer sheets…further savings!

      • 4.1.1
        Claudia says

        And the vinegar acts as a odor neutralizer so they smell fresh!

        • 4.1.1.1
          Becky K says

          Sorry! This is a stupid question, but do you put the vinegar where the fabric softer goes or do you just dump it in. Thanks for the great post

          • 4.1.1.1.1
            Toni says

            I add the vinegar & soap all at once.

          • 4.1.1.1.2
            genie says

            You can add the vinegar to the Downy softener balls and it will go out with the rinse cycle. Works great!

        • 4.1.1.2
          Jo says

          and the vinegar doesn’t smell?

          • 4.1.1.2.1
            Deborah says

            what kind of vinegar? white vinegar?

            • islandmom says

              Yep, white vinegar does the trick! I put mine in the fabric softener side. I also add 1/2 cup of baking soda with the detergent for a “boost” and added freshness.

  5. 5
    Becky says

    Hi Laura!

    My “dirty little secret” is that I NEVER seperate my laundry except I do my towels seperate from everything else. Every night after my family gets ready for bed, I have each of my kids set their hamper outside their bedroom door. I then go thru and dump everything (except towels) into the washer. Usually we have 1 full load of clothes every day. I keep an extra hamper by the washer for dirty towels. I add to the towel hamper until I have enough towels to make a load then I do that too (every 2 – 3 days). If I have time at night, I dry the load of laundry and hang it up/fold it. If I don’t stay up late then I dry them in the morning – if I start them in the dryer before breakfast they usually are dry before we start our homeschool day. I use homemade laundry soap and haven’t had any trouble with colors running.

    I have used this method for a couple of years and it helps me to not have laundry piled up.

    Becky <

    • 5.1
      Teresa says

      homemade laundry soap? do tell! details please! :o)

        • 5.1.1.1
          Teresa says

          thank you so so so much!!! i will add this to my shopping list and try it! i don’t care about the scent that much – clean isn’t supposed to smell like anything! plus, i line dry as much as i can during the summer and inside line dry as much as i can in the winter so the scent from the detergent fades anyway! i’m excited! thanks girl!

        • 5.1.1.2
          Ashley says

          Becky,
          I’m very interested in this recipe for homemade detergent! Is it tough on the washing machine? I know some forms can leave a gunky residue that can be harmful? Thanks!
          Ashley

          • 5.1.1.2.1
            Becky says

            In my experience, I haven’t had any problems with my homemade laundry soap leaving a residue. I did read somewhere that if you find that you are having a problem with residue you can add 1/2 cup of vinegar to a load every once in a while and that will remove any build-up. I haven’t needed to do that though.

            I have been making my own laundry soap for the last year or so. I have really been happy to not have to lug around big bottles of detergent from the grocery store. Plus, one batch of my homemade soap lasts 2-3 months (or longer). The only thing I have to do is refill my bottle every couple of weeks.

            Becky <

          • 5.1.1.2.2
            Rachel says

            The laundry soap only has buildup if you use the powdered form, as much as I can tell. Use this for softner & it will also take care of any possible buildup:
            1 C. baking soda & 1 C. Water
            Add 6 c. white ving. (add slowly…it will bubble up) and stir
            Add another 7 c. water, mix well.

            A friend also added some linen scented oil to this, and it smelled great. The only thing is that you need to use this in a downy ball, not in an auto dispenser, if your washer has one. The baking soda can cause some clogging in the dispensers (or I’ve been told…I actually use it in my auto dispenser, but every few loads I leave the softner out just to run plain water through it to make sure the line gets rinsed.).

          • 5.1.1.2.3
            Homeschool Blessings says

            I have used the powdered version of home made laundry soap for several years and don’t have any problem with build up on my machine. I think the build up is related to how soft or hard your water is. Fels Naptha is a very thorough cleaning agent as well. Here is my recipe, much easier than that cooked version. 1 bar Fels Naptha, grated, 1 1/2 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and 1 1/2 cups Borax. I usually double this recipe and it lasts me at least 2 months, usually more. I use 1 level tablespoon per washload.

  6. 6
    Tanna @ Complete Organizing Solutions says

    This is exactly what I do and have always done, never ruined any clothes this way. Only time I ever take precaution is if the kids get a new red shirt that I think will bleed otherwise it all goes in one load. Mine and hubby’s clothes are separated into whites and darks, so I do one load a day 3 kids/ 3 days and then our whites one day and darks one day. Then just do sheets and towels as needed.

    Each child has their own basket and is in charge of bringing their clothes to the laundry room and taking the clean clothes back and putting them away! Laundry simplified! :)

    • 6.1
      Laura says

      Great minds think alike! Great note on the red, I’ve updated my post to include that because I also recommend the first time you wash a new red shirt to do it separately.

      We also do the sheets and towels as needed separately as well.

    • 6.2
      Melissa says

      I started doing this after my 2 year old was born. However I did ruin several outfits after washing a brand new pair of jeans from Gymboree. I now wash new clothing separately and have added a Shout color catcher sheet to my other loads. I was so upset that day because the other outfits ruined were also brand new!

  7. 7
    megscole64 says

    I have never separated my whites/colors. Part laziness and part cheapness. :) Now that I have a baby I definitely don’t sort anything. Aside from the icky doggy towels I throw everything in the washer as I go (taking bibs and dirty clothes out of the diaper bag each night when we get home). Sorting is DEFINITELY overrated. =)

  8. 8
    Laura says

    I read about this tip the other day. I think that I am going to try it this week. Thanks for sharing your experience with it!

  9. 9
    the chatty housewife says

    I agree about the new red shirt comment, but I would also like to add dark denim to the “watch out” list. The first few times you wash dark denim, wash it with darks only!

    Another tip to avoid color bleeding, is to promptly put your clothes in the dryer. Don’t let them sit in the washing machine. If you have to leave them for a while (for example, if there is a heavy load in the dryer taking a long time) dig through and pull out those dark jeans and new red shirts and lay them aside until you can transfer the load.

  10. 10
    Samantha says

    AHA! This will be wonderful with 6 kids!!! Thanks!!

    • 10.1
      Laura says

      Yes that’s what I said….well except for the six kids part :)

  11. 11
    MommyNeedsCake says

    I started doing this same thing a few months ago after I was constantly buried in piles of sorted clothes. I too thought it would ruin everything, but decided to give it a shot. Haven’t looked back since. I also pull each family member’s bedding to wash on the same day. I do those in their own load, but it keeps all the clean wash going to the same spot in the house.

    I like the vinegar idea – will have to give that a try. My little guy (3) still has some things that MUST go into warm or hot water, so I just pull out the reds and do them in their own load when I need to.

    I return everything in their laundry baskets and everyone is responsible for putting their own laundry away. They all grumbled at first, but now it’s a well oiled machine!

    • 11.1
      Laura says

      Gotta love it when it becomes a well oiled machine….awesome!!

  12. 12
    Larissa says

    Laundry is one thing I’m pretty simple with. Due to living in a foreign country, I can only use cold water and line dry, so the clothes take it pretty well. I wash based on how I want to put away. So when it’s the day for parents’ laundry, I sort folded clothes (pants, socks, undies) separately from hanging clothes (shirts, mostly). Then, when a load is done, I know I need to fold or hang all of it, and it goes pretty quickly. My trick for hanging shirts is to lay them all in a stack on the bed. Then I put a hanger in the top one and fold the hanger down and continue putting a hanger in the next. When they all have hangers, I pick up the entire stack of shirts and hang them up. Super easy. I do my daughters’ clothes another day and it all ends up back in the same dresser (they share a room). Sheets and towels and misc. (tablecloth, kitchen rags, etc.) are another day for getting into “folding large items” mode. Only 3 days a week are spent on laundry at all and putting away is streamlined. I don’t like doing laundry, so I keep it as simple as possible. : )

    • 12.1
      katy says

      Great tips, especially the one about putting all the hangers on while flat!

  13. 14
    canuck_grad says

    I don’t worry about separating darks/colors per se. But I do like to wash towels separately from other clothes for the lintiness factor. And I’ve always put socks/underwear in with the towels…. partly because socks can be linty too, and partly because I always used to wash those in hot water and our regular clothes in cold water. But now we live in a house that doesn’t have a hot water line to the washer so it’s all in cold anyway.

    But as for our “system” – we have one hamper in the upstairs hallway that has 3 separate compartments. We only have one child and he isn’t even 2 yet so doesn’t do his own laundry lol – so everything goes together. In the 3 compartments go:
    1. towels/socks/underwear
    2. regular clothes (all my son’s clothes, jeans, workout clothes, etc.)
    3. my shirts and my husband’s good shirts (these get washed separately for 2 reasons…. if my shirts get washed with our regular clothes they ALWAYS come out with some kind of greasy looking stain on them – I think they pick up food from my son’s clothes, but it always stains my shirts for some unknown bad-laundry-karma reason…. and also because most of these get dried on low or hung to dry, so it saves me sorting through the regular load to pull out these clothes before drying them

    We also have a mesh bag hung on the side of the washer downstairs. In this goes my son’s bibs, washclothes/cloth wipes that get used downstairs, and the occasional son’s clothes/husband’s socks that get taken off downstairs. When I do a towels/socks load I just dump this mesh bag in with them.

    Anyway, I find this to be the easiest/least sorting method for us at this time. Now the folding/putting away is something I could simplify if I could think of some miraculous system lol.

  14. 15
    Amy says

    My husband and I have a laundry sorter in our room. And there are a few things that I do like to wash separately, and there are certain things I like to use a liquid fabric softener on and others I don’t. But I don’t separate my kids clothes by color at all. I just wash EVERYTHING in cold water–then the colors don’t run. I also like to do a load of laundry every day so that I don’t get overwhelmed. I got this idea from http://www.flylady.net and it changed my life. I thought it was crazy at first, but now I LOVE it. It’s just built into my daily routine. And “doing laundry” consists of wash, dry, fold, and put away. If I don’t do all the steps right away, CLEAN laundry will start piling up.

  15. 16
    Yuko says

    I try to do one load a day (I have a 1 yr old and a 3 yr old). Plus Mondays are for our bed linen and Thursdays are for kids bed linen. We have 3 baskets for dark, white, and towel and one basket for each kid. If I am good, doing one load a day, it is not that bad. If I get off track, then I have to do several a day and I hate that. We hang all our shirts, including kids’ and my husband wants all pants and jeans to be hang as well. So that is a lot of work, too.

  16. 17
    Marci@OvercomingBusy says

    What great tips in this post and the comments! I am helping a friend get her home organized and her main source of stress is the laundry! I was just sitting down tonight to find some great laundry resources for her and look what I found in my reader! Thanks!!

    My system? I’m a sorter. I know…but it works for me. One load goes in the wash on my way downstairs in the morning. Put it in the dryer after breakfast. Fold it during a morning break in homeschool. Then, twice a week, I wash everything else in the hampers. The kids are in charge of folding and putting away their clothes and the towels, so there is less for me to do.

  17. 18
    Dad is in the House says

    Hey, if it works, then it’s great! My daughter’s clothes are only blue jeans and pink stuff, so she pretty much gets her own pink loads anyway. I think you’re right to not worry about bleeding. I’ve noticed that cheap bright colored stuff–esp. rugs, bleed, and they bleed a lot–for eternity. Most other stuff is pretty good at being colorfast.

  18. 19
    LovetooOrganize says

    I’ve been doing this for years as well as suggesting to others to use this method. I can see there would be circumstances that it would not work ie: nice dress clothes, very dirty work clothes…..but for most children’s clothing this works well.

  19. 21
    Christy says

    I’ve done that for a long time. It’s so much easier. I don’t even use vinagar. I have never had a problem with colors running. I guess I’ve been lucky! I have 3 little girls so I wash thier clothes together and then my husbands and mine together. It’s easy!

  20. 22
    Elisia says

    I have refined my laundry system so many times to no avail so I am really excited to try this! I have an HE Washer and just want to clarify where to put the vinegar – in the softener dispenser?

    • 22.1
      Teresa says

      we have a front loading he washer and dryer as well and i was wondering where the vinegar is supposed to go! hope someone has some insight.

      • 22.1.1
        Laura says

        I just throw my vinegar right in with the detergent…but I have an old fashion washing machine :)

        • 22.1.1.1
          Teresa says

          you must get a he front loading washer and dryer set! you must! you think your laundry is revolutionized now! just wait!!! although we will have to determine where that darn vinegar goes!

          • 22.1.1.1.1
            Laura says

            Oh I would so love that!

            Hopefully someone will chime in with where to put the vinegar in those beautiful machines :)

          • 22.1.1.1.2
            Caroline says

            Yes, just put the vinegar in the fabric softner compartment since it’s a natural softner (no need for dryer sheets as stated in the post). I have had good results with that.

  21. 23
    Amanda says

    I love this idea! I am going to try it out….except for the underwear. With 3 children who go to the washroom on there own,I personally feel that there are germs on them that I don’t want mixed with other laundry. I usually was them with a little vinegar or bleach…

  22. 24
    becca banana says

    AMEN!!!
    FlyLady’s morning routine is to start a load of laundry every single morning and it really becomes less of a dreaded chore and just a daily habit, bit by bit.

  23. 25
    Teresa says

    not having to sort saves on water as well as there are fewer smaller loads going in! great idea – i will definitely try this! vinegar! i have only ever used vinegar in a wash load if a load of towels was forgotten about and had that ‘sour’ smell from sitting damp in the washer for an extended period of time – the vinegar takes the smell away. plus i use vinegar as my everyday household cleaner so this makes me very happy! can you tell i love laundry and cleaning?!

    i also line dry as much as i can in the summer and ‘inside’ line dry as much as i can in the winter. this saves energy too! you’ll be surprised how much our energy bill has gone down since putting up a 30 foot clothes line in our backyard. plus there is nothing like the smell of line dried laundry!

    i’m so excited to try this but if my whites go gray you’ll be hearing from me! lol

    BUT WITH A HE FRONT LOADING WASHING MACHINE, WHERE DOES THE VINEGAR GO?

    • 25.1
      Laura says

      Yikes, now you’ve got me nervous LOL.

      We’re hoping someone can answer the vinegar question for those fancy machines :)

      • 25.1.1
        Stahli says

        It goes in the same spot as the fabric softener.

        • 25.1.1.1
          Christine says

          I think in the fabric softener department it would work well as a fabric softener, but not so much to prevent color bleed. I use powdered detergent right now because I don’t like to deal with all the gooey drip of liquid, so I don’t know how it would work putting both the vinegar and the detergent in the detergent dispenser. I am also curious if you wash in warm or cold water. Here cold water isn’t warm enough to break up the soil so we get re-soiling stains, but it seems like warm water would contribute to color bleed more than cold.

  24. 26
    Melissa says

    Seriously – that is way too easy. Why didn’t I think of that? I can’t wait to try it. I’d never imagined I’d look forward to doing the laundry…thank you!

  25. 27
    Fiddlesticks says

    I have a front loading washer and I put the vinegar in the bleach spot. I just fill it up to the same line and start it up! I put vinegar in every load! If I do need to use bleach, I just don’t use vinegar for that load.

    • 27.1
      Laura says

      Yay thank you so much for letting us know!! This will be very helpful to many as you can see from the above comments :)

      • 27.1.1
        Fiddlesticks says

        No problem! I am glad that I can actually help. :) I did try one load putting the vinegar in the softener place (just to see what would happen). What happens is that you get to rewash load of clothes that smell like vinegar!

        • 27.1.1.1
          Stahli says

          Whenever I have used vinegar I have never had it smell like “vinegar”. I either put it in where the fabric softener goes or where the soap goes. You could also get one of those bounce ball and put it in there. I haven’t done that since getting my HE but I never had a problem with it smelling vinegary.

        • 27.1.1.2
          Monica says

          The vinegar smell goes away quickly! I am very sensitive to odors and don’t notice any vinegar odor after the clothes have dried. I’ve been using vinegar in my front loader for 7 years. I put it in the softener dispenser. It works to rinse the soap residue from the clothes and also helps reduce static electricity.

    • 27.2
      Christine says

      Great idea! Thanks!

  26. 28
    Marianne says

    I hate folding clothes, and all the wrinkles that come with it. I hang as much as I can. T-shirts and pajamas included. Jeans, underwear and socks are about the only things I fold to go into drawers. It also frees up a lot of drawer space for the kids to use for other things. I also use a mesh bag for each person’s socks so I don’t have to try to separate them. The kids are responsible for putting their own clothes away. If the socks get mated or not is up to them.

    • 28.1
      Kelly says

      Marianne-
      I want to kiss you! An individual mesh bag for each person’s socks? YOU , my dear, are a genius!!! Maybe that will even keep the sock monsters from eating so many of our socks!

      • 28.1.1
        Rita @ Creatively Domestic says

        I started using a mesh bag for socks when my son was little for those itty bitty socks, but I never thought to do one for me and my husband. Great tip!

        • 28.1.1.1
          Deenie says

          They have great cheap mesh bags at Target – and we use one for each child’s socks and one for each child’s underwear. I too wash underwear separately because at their age they need tobe more sanitized. But throwing this bag in the laundry room and then start the washer is easy

  27. 29
    Joyce @ Keeping Up With The Moys says

    The neverending chore… I actually love doing the laundry. I have never separated my whites and darks, and they have always been fine. Unless there’s something super dirty to wash, I never adjust the settings.

  28. 30
    Laura says

    Ha! Great minds (and women named Laura) think alike! I posted on this same thing a couple of weeks ago! This is EXACTLY how I do my laundry. No separating required. Makes matching and sorting boy undies a snap since, technically, there is no sorting!

    One other thing I do is to throw all hangers in the basket as the clothes are taken off of them. This way I get the exact amount of hangers I need to the laundry room and don’t have to run around the house trying to find extra hangers.

    I also hang up nearly everything. Keeps the drawers neat and requires less drawers since my 2 boys share a room.

  29. 31
    Krista says

    U just made my WHOLE DAY!!!! Ive been doing this for so long and have felt so guilty like I wasn’ cleaning our clothes right. THANK u for reassuring me!! Now…can we just find a machine that folds the clothes?? That would rock my world!

  30. 32
    Rose says

    Another tip – stick all the socks in a laundry net bag/mesh bag. I have mine hanging on the inside of my laundry bin. I lost 3 socks in the first week of Uni – since realising that I can stick them all in a bag together I haven’t lost any! I also tend to stick other underwear in there (bras get their own bag though as they don’t go in the tumble dryer).

    Also shaking things out so they’re not one big ball before sticking them in the dryer helps them to dry quicker. Can’t tell you how many other students I’ve seen not do this then pay to run the dryer 3 times. Crazyness :)

  31. 33
    kallinike says

    I guess this works for children as they outgrow their clothes fast enough. But I do the laundry for up to four grown-ups at times and white t-shirts, towels etc. don’t stay white for too long if you don’t wash them separately at the hottest setting. They get a grey cast and look unsightly.

    In my family, we share the laundry duties – my mom does all the white laundry for two households (and the coloured laundry of her household), as one household would never accumulate enough white clothes to wash separately. And I do the handwashing laundry for two households (and the coloured laundry of mine), as it’s too tedious for my mom and easier to do using my washing machine.

  32. 34
    AmyBean says

    I do 4 different loads: gentle cycle stuff, towels, blankets (only because they’re ginormous), and everything else. I have a central hamper where everyone puts their dirty clothes (I tried the hamper in the kids’ room but they’re still young enough to pull everything out), and when it gets full (every day or two) I take it down to the laundry room and sort, and wash whatever I have a full load of. The gentle cycle stuff gets done once a week, since that’s the load when I do the stuff that needs to be ironed, and I iron it all in the living room in front of the tv during the kids’ nap before I take it up to the bedrooms.

    Now that I look at it, it sounds kind of complicated. It’s not.

  33. 35
    Leslie says

    I realized very quickly that sorting laundry was a waste of time and haven’t done it in years. I do wash our daughters clothes separately from mine and my husbands, and will sometimes separate mine from my husbands because his seem to get smellier and need more soap etc.

    One thing about the vinegar in the wash is that it will also kill odors. My husband taught me that when we had some towels that had sat wet too long. It works!

    We live in the tropics so we can line dry every day. I HATE folding laundry so to eliminate steps, I sort the laundry as it goes on the line. It takes a few minutes, but when I’m taking it off I can just fold it right into the basket and everything is already sorted – tshirts together, pant’s/bottoms together, etc. I also pair socks as I’m hanging them and fold them together as I’m taking them off. Works like a charm. All I have to do is walk in the house and put stuff away.

    • 35.1
      Sara says

      I’ve tried folding as I bring it off the line, but then find while sorting, that things would become unfolded. I had never thought to sort it from the start…
      Like a previous poster, I find that my issue is not with washing the laundry, but with sorting it! I tend to have big piles of clean laundry just waiting to go “home”

  34. 36
    Bren says

    I’ve been trying this system for awhile. It really does work. I don’t do the 1/2 cup of vinegar. I may need to try this. It really does break laundry down into “bite-size” loads. It also helps when you are really crunched on time and you need someone to fold their own — it’s all there in one basket.

  35. 37
    Carol says

    I have 4 laundry baskets for Laundry day (Friday). Two in my master bedroom closet, one darks, one lights. 1 basket in my daughter’s closet (mostly pinks and lights). 1 basket in my son’s (mostly darks) I take the couple of dark things from my daughters basket and wash it with my son’s. I take the couple of lights from my son’s and add it to my daughters. When I fold I take those few “odds” and sit sit them on the sofa beside me until I’m ready to fold them with the correct basket.

    PS Fabric softner makes fabrics less fire retardent. Have a look at : http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Toxic-Danger-of-Fabric-Softener-and-Dryer-Sheets&id=16953

    • 37.1
      Sara says

      It also makes towels less absorbant!

  36. 38
    Jess says

    I sort by person too. I friend suggested it to me a couple years ago and I love it. I fold but then lay them on the correct person’s bed exactly how they go in drawers.

  37. 39
    Cindy says

    I have a laundry closet by my washer and dryer with 7 laundry hampers in it to sort laundry in. When the basket is full I do a load of laundry. It works for me and we always seem to have clean clothes. I have four kids and I’ve never minded or struggled doing laundry. I started this when I was first married and going to a laundromat bz I hated it when people would watch me sort my laundry. Having separate baskets eased all of that for me!

  38. 40
    kathleen says

    my son has been doing his only laundry since he was about 7. and once my little ones are about that age they will be taught to do there own. i have done clothes like that since i had my 3 little ones. o have a 10,4,3,2 yo’s. there was no way i could keep sorting, way to much time. shocked as i was it is true no running colors! my laundry got so much easier and i am thankfully for that.

  39. 41
    Nina says

    This is pretty much how I do laundry….the only difference is that I have two hampers in my room….one for whites and one for the rest…..It just has to be done that way with us as hubby’s whites need help ;)
    So do you wash your clothes in warm water? is that why you add the vinegar? I was using vinegar as a fabric softener, but heard that vinegar ruins the seal on a front loader. Do you know if this is true?
    And….you are so right….ironing is totally overrated! :P

  40. 42
    ter@waaoms says

    I wash my whites and colors together, but I wash it in cold water which keeps the colors from running together, and also is good for your heating bill and apparently using cold water helps keep the clothes in good condition longer. I started this process because when I was in college, I hardly had any clothes to wash each week and was trying to save my quarters!

  41. 43
    Melinda says

    I didn’t know the vinegar would keep the colors from running! I used to use those expensive washer sheets to keep my whites from becoming pinks, but quite buying them because I figured it’d be much cheaper just to sort. ;)

    I have added vinegar to brighten and as a fabric softener, now I have to try it with mixing whites & colors!! Thank you!!!

    BTW, just something to think about with this whole non-sorting issue: I will continue to sort undies from the rest of laundry and washing them separately – after reading a story about how much umm….fecal matter (microscopic, but still – ewww!) … ends up on your laundry when you wash them with other clothes/towels/etc and don’t use HOT water. I still have to use hot water on the unmentionables & wash them separately for my own piece of mind! LOL

  42. 44
    L2L says

    gasp…. wow….. ohhhh… I just might try this!!!!! I am always looking for ways to make chores more efficient and this just might be the answer!!! I’m loving the fact of not so much separating into different colors but keeping the same persons clothes together the whole way through… laundry seems to be the one thing I never quiet get under my belt but this, it just might work!!!!

  43. 45
    Rachel says

    Wow, I can see myself doing this… Thanks so much!

    -Rachel

  44. 46
    Vicki says

    I second what Melinda said!! It grosses me out to wash underwear and socks with the rest of the laundry. Those get washed in HOT! I read the same thing about fecal matter – and EWW is right!!!!
    I can’t imagine washing everything together! We have a sorter in our laundry room and that’s where the kids get undressed. Their clothes get put in the right section. Socks/Underwear – Lights – Darks. I wash in cold other than socks/underwear. Towels and sheets in hot are separate. I wish I could do a load a day – but I work full time outside of the home and I would start a load in the morning but hate the thought of it sitting there all day!! :( So unfortunately, it gets backed up for the weekend. :( Now, if I could train my kids to turn their clothes right side out – that would make my job easier!! Sigh…baby steps…

  45. 47
    Melinda says

    Vicki, my daughter leaves her clothes inside 0ut, too! I also read that this is actually the best way to wash them, though – as it preserves the color better and keeps them from getting that “worn out” look. So now I just wash them as they come to me (she’s 17 and really SHOULD be doing her own, huh?? LOL) and let HER reverse them, fold, and put away.

    • 47.1
      Laura says

      Yes I always wash my jeans inside out…it definitely helps preserve color!

  46. 48
    Melinda says

    Sorry for multi-comments, but I just noticed a typo in my first one:

    QUIT — not quite.

    Sorry, OCD. LOL!

  47. 49
    Anna says

    While in the States, I always sorted my laundry into 6 (I know, crazy, but I can’t help it.) I had 2 sorters- 3 spaces each- in the basement. I would do towels, white, light, medium, dark, and heavy pants. I would also use vinegar as a rinsing agent.
    The sorting at the end never bothered me, b/c I would just put things into separate stacks while I folded it, and then everyone (who was old enough) would have to put their own clothes away.

    Now in the Congo we have no washing machine- not enough electricity to power one. We have a lady hand washes our clothes 3 times a week. Of course, nothing is sorted that way. I have to sort it when I take it down off of the clothes line in the evening into dry clothes to be folded and wet clothes to be hung up inside. Then the kids help me fold and put away. They are 4, 6, & 10. Everyone folds their own clothes, and then helps me with my husbands, and the napkins, towels, etc. It works pretty well.

  48. 50
    Clare Kumar says

    I’d love to hear more about the struggle with folding clothes – for adults and kids. Laura – you wrote: “So not only have I gotten rid of the sorting process but, with the big kids at least, the folding process as well.” Love to hear more about how old the kids are that are folding and if other mum’s wish they could off-load folding, and if so, at what age.

    I’m bringing a product to market that can make it easy for 4 year olds to fold. Anyone think that sounds like a good idea?

    • 50.1
      Laura says

      My big kids are 13 and 10 and don’t have any trouble folding their clothes but I might be interested in something that could assist my four year old with folding although I’m really not that picky about how neat he does it.

  49. 51
    Brenda says

    I have never sorted laundry by colors. When my first son was born 5 years ago I made sure that I washed his close in one load so I didn’t have to sort through all of those little things. I love this and makes it so easy. I do a load for me and one for my son each week. My daughter since she’s littlier has enough clothes to last 2 weeks so I do her load every other week. And yes my Hubby does his own laundry. And no he is not allowed to do any of the other laundry in the house. My son is old enough to help transfer clothes from washer to dryer and put away his clothes.

    I also stopped folding my son’s clothes. When he was old enough to pick out his own clothes he would riffel through the drawers looking for somthing and mess up the neat folded piles that I had spent time folding. Now we just make piles and put in the drawers. Kids clothes are very forgiving and don’t come out wrinkly.

  50. 52
    Resa S says

    To go back to laundering jeans, if I may, I have found that to turn
    them wrong-side out as well as adding the vinegar to the load helps
    with the possible bleeding that they do. The dirt seems to come
    away from the fabric better also. I have to say that I do divide
    our laundry into lights and darks and that works well. Sorting any
    further is over-rated.

  51. 53
    LadySnow says

    My solution…my oldest two do their own laundry! We have only implemented this for a couple of weeks but it works wonders! My oldest son is 6. He washes his little brothers clothes along with his. My daughter washes her own clothes…she is five. This helps me out a ton!

    • 53.1
      Sharisse says

      My laundry system works well (for the most part). My 15yo washes his and his 8yo sisters laundry together. Whites one load and darks one load. When the washer is done my 8yo outs them in the dryer. When that’s done I usually take them out and fold them myself but I need to get them on board w/folding their own clothes. They just fold really messy LOL

  52. 54
    cbuffy says

    I’ve done it like this for YEARS! I thought I was just being lazy. LOL

    However, the boys each do their own and they always just dump everything into one load. I do our laundry (unless I get lucky and my dh does it for me while I’m out of town on the weekends – I work out of town most weekends..)

    I have a hamper and a little white garbage can sitting in my bathroom. ALL clothes go in the hamper, all the undies go in the little can. Then once a week I add all the boys white sunday shirts and do one HOT load of whites.

    I’ll be trying the vinegar thing this week! Sounds terrific!

  53. 55
    Hope says

    Wow! I have never thought of washing all the clothes together. I have always been afraid of color bleeding. But I am so happy to find out the “trick”. I can use all the help I can get with laundry because we have 5 kids and my husband is military so we have tons of laundry! Thanks!

  54. 56
    Julia says

    I did this for many years – but now I do wash linens/towels/undergarments in a separate load with bleach to sanitize those products. I had read that today’s energy efficient washers don’t rinse as thoroughly – therefore unpleasant bacteria can be distributed to all of your clothes without this step.

  55. 57
    Liz says

    I think I’m going to start washing everything together now. My mom might have a heart attack because, you know, you just don’t change the way you’ve always done things. {gasp}

    • 57.1
      Laura says

      LOL, I hear ya on that one. Sometimes it’s about stepping out of the box and trying something new in order to simplify and streamline. Might not always work but you don’t know if you don’t try right?

  56. 58
    denise says

    what is the big deal to have 2 laundry baskets in each room one for lights one for darks. i have seen people who wash all the clothes together and the whites start looking dinghy and gray.

    • 58.1
      Laura says

      Denise for sure this method won’t work for everyone. In my house if I had two laundry baskets in each room that would be 10 laundry baskets! Two each would take up more space than I can afford to give not only in each room but in my tiny laundry room.

      I’ve been doing laundry this way for a couple of years now and have yet to have a white go dinghy or gray on me.

  57. 59
    Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists says

    I love this idea. Would be a total timesaver. I’m using the 2 basket system now, and, you’re right, Laura, it takes up a ton of room.

    This will take a leap of faith, but I’m going to try it.

  58. 60
    Allison says

    The whole reason I sort my laundry is because some types of fabric dry way faster than others. If I left Tshirts and jeans in the dryer for the same amount of time, the T-Shirts would be 3 times smaller by the time the jeans are done.

  59. 61
    Lisa says

    I’ve tried the all together thing but, at least with our country water, it doesn’t work very well. It was fine with “city water.” Both of my kids have a mesh sorter bag with 3 sections. We do LIGHT, DARK and JEANS/Sweatshirts. The towels are a load, the sheets are 2 loads since all three of us have double beds. I sort my clothes into one of the bags [usually my daughters since her clothes are smaller and there’s room] Each sorter bag section more-or-less holds a load. We all fold, we all put away on good days. On other days I fold and dump in their rooms!

  60. 62
    Sharon says

    This is so funny! I just got my boys (7 & 4 1/2) trained in separating their whites and darks into their two hampers in their room! Their doing great so I probably won’t mess with it now. I agree that sorting is a big hassle and it would save time not reading the faded sizes on their underpants! I usually unload in two bins sorting the boys’ clothes as I go. Then they put them away.

  61. 63
    Kristin says

    It’s been a lotta years now that I discovered you CAN wash different colors together just fine (as long as you don’t throw in a dye “bleeder” – perhaps resulting in some of those infamously and accidentally pink undershirts and socks). If you’ve ever had to use pay machines, that will start you on the right track. Or, if you hate to wash anything less than a full load.

  62. 64
    Courtney says

    I use a laundry basket that’s split into four sections…one for whites, one for colors, one for towels and one for my husbands work-out clothes. I got rid of all of our individual hampers and now everyone has to put their laundry into the sorter. All I have to do is wait for a section to get full and then I throw it in the washer. No more collecting and no more sorting…

  63. 65
    Shanita says

    I’ve done my laundry this way for years! My friends think I’m insane but I’ve never ruined a load (except when I accidently leave lip gloss or a pen in my pocket) I did have to learn the hard way about the reds :-)

    • 65.1
      Laura says

      LOL, I’ve had a few friends think I’m absolutely nuts too :)

  64. 66
    Cindy says

    I used to wash all my kids stuff together when they were younger. Now, I have three teenagers all in sports. Two of them have to wear white shirts every day to their practices. The white shirts really need some bleach.

    About two months ago, we went to each kid doing their own laundry because I got tired of watching their clean laundry pile up on their floor, then watching the dog sleep on it, then washing it again. I was convinced I was doing clean laundry over and over. The kids do their own laundry and probably don’t sort much. About once a week, I pull out their whites and wash them with bleach so they look like somebody is washing their clothes. I also pull out their blacks and wash them in woolite dark or they fade too quickly.

    Overall, I have greatly reduced the amount of wash done in the household and my kids are learning how to do their own laundry.

  65. 67
    Stacy says

    i do sort mine. whites, lights, darks, towels jeans, because with the kind of dirt we get here in the country to do all in 1 load would be to ruin stuff. luv the idea tho.

    on a side note…… i was able to take my inspiration from the site few months ago and reorganized my entire kitchen with 36 hours this week. as i did it i purged, cleaned inside and outside of cupboards, and created a much more open user friendly kitchen. THANK YOU!!!!

  66. 68
    Lynda @ SportsMadGirl says

    We currently sort in our house. We have 3 hampers in the closet (whites/colors/towels) but after reading this, I may have to remove one. Towels always get washed separate since I don’t use fabric softener/dryer sheets in those (makes them less absorbent – little tidbit I learned from Martha Stewart). Thanks for the tip with the vinegar, I’ll definitely have to try that.

  67. 69
    Linda :) says

    I currently sort — but think I might start putting lights & darks together, and would also like to try the vinegar.
    The tip I’d like to share is that I finally got tired folding the kids (2 teens) clothes, carrying them upstairs, putting them in their rooms and then at some later date, finding folded clothes in the dirty laundry. I bought them each a laundry basket and when I’m taking clothes out of the dryer – I put each ones clothes in their basket. Their responsible for the clothes after that. Alot of the time they head to the basement to get dressed in the morning but at least I didn’t have to lug it upstairs.

  68. 70
    Meegan says

    This has been my method since we brought three kids home in one year! It was getting very crazy at first, and so I bought a laundry sorter that had three separate bags hanging from plastic rods. It worked out to one bag per child, and then I bought a second set for my hubby and me – one bag for each of us, and the center bag for whites. It has really made laundry time much easier, and I haven’t had problems with colors and lights being washed together, either.

  69. 71
    Rachel says

    This is always how I have done my laundry as well. And everyone thinks I am nuts, but it works well for me!

    For those kinda scared of trying this, there are color catching sheets that you can put in your wash that are supposed to prevent bleeding. Here I just looked them up… http://www.shoutitout.com/preserve-colors.aspx

  70. 72
    SheilaG says

    I’m with you, Laura! When I was in university I was cheap. Really cheap. And I refused to pay at the laundromat for a load that wasn’t full, and since I never seemed to have enough whites, I threw them al together. And lo and behold. Nothing ran.

    So I think it’s great to do kids’ laundry individually! Our kids have been using the washer since they were 9, and they’re great with it. Laundry really is easy. It’s the folding that’s a pain!

    Sheila from To Love, Honor and Vacuum

    • 72.1
      Christine says

      I am little concerned about the undies’ germs too BUT here are a couple of thoughts on that. I read that the hot water from your water heater is not hot enough to kills those germs anyway so you really would have to bleach to take care of that. But bleaching really wears down your clothes — a LOT. makes the fabric weak and prone to developing holes. I’m not gonna put anyone’s laundry in my mouth or eat off of it and I assume you aren’t either. The only potential problem then would be kitchen towels. (I think bath towels should be done separately anyway because they take so much longer to dry, also sheets because they “capture” stuff and make it take forever to dry also) So if you are worried about germs, bleach your kitchen linens because they will be touching your plates and eating surfaces (linen napkins too if you use them) and everything else can go in the cold water together. I have 6 kids and laundry has become a terrible beast around here. I am going to try this because not sorting 2-3 loads every day both going into and coming out of the wash is going to save me 45-60 minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY. THANKS for a great post.

  71. 73
    Kara says

    That’s what I’ve always done and never knew I was onto a EUREKA! Yes, it’s a great way to do laundry and doesn’t make it hard to figure out what belongs to who. I’ve never had any problem with colors running either and I don’t even use the vinegar.

  72. 74
    Suzanne says

    Never would I have even considered not sorting colors from whites but sounds like an interesting concept to consider. I did away with the separate hampers for each person last year and moved them all to the hallway. Each person is responsible for sorting their clothes into the correct baskets and then I wash a load as the basket get full. Then they are each responsible for putting away the folded clothes.

  73. 75
    nik-nee says

    I hated the washing so much, I used to wash hubby’s stinky farm clothes separately, then mine with the childrens, white separately and also towels and sheets. Then lots of sorting. I hate sorting!

    So I put a tall shelving unit in the useless gap between the shower recess and the wall and each person has their own basket, there’s a separate one for whites and one for towels/sheets. None of us regularly remove our clothing in our bedrooms anyway so this makes sense for us. Now when I wash a load, it’s all going to the same place – the 2 youngest share a cupboard and many clothes being a similar size, so theirs get washed together for now. My whites are still separate but I don’t have to double and triple handle them, and it’s only one load a week to distribute through the house.

    I can see at a glance how the washing is going – whose needs doing the most and it’s super-quick to pull out a basket and go and shove it in the machine. I also wash cloth nappies so I’m doing 12-14 loads a week – this system means that it’s neat and contained so even if I’m behind, the only washing that clutters up the house is the clean baskets waiting to be put away (have to wait until the baby is not around as she loves to ‘help’ by removing clothes faster than I can put them away!)

  74. 76
    Kim says

    oh. my. goodness.

    All I can think of is …DUH!!!

    WHY did I never think of this before??? I am SO going to do this…and there are only three of us in the house! ;)

  75. 77
    Rick says

    I’m forwarding my wife this blog right now. Thanks for the tips.

  76. 78
    Tiffany Johnson says

    I didn’t realize this wasn’t normal. I have been doing my laundry this way since our oldest was born 10 1/2 years ago. LOL I detest the chore of laundry, and found that when a little person comes into your life, the laundry doubles. I, too, wash all my reds first, and then never look back. I don’t even throw the vinegar in. I do keep the delicates aside, however, and use borax and ammonia when washing my towels and bedding. :)

  77. 79
    Lisa says

    We’ve been married for 4 years and have a 23 month old and one on the way next month…. and this is how I’ve always done laundry. :) I grew up in a home where my mom would sort every.single.color. Purples washed with purples…blues with blues…reds with reds… oranges with oranges… and so forth. When I married I was going through this “rebelling against mom’s way of doing laundry” stage and figured that no clothing was worth that much trouble!! I separate clothes into 4 baskets – my husbands work clothes (he works outside and gets filthy), our regular clothes (basic day wear), red items, and then towels / sheets. That’s it. Red is the only color I’ve ever found to still bleed heavily at various times. And I just can’t stomach washing non-clothing with clothing.

    Its a great system for us too. :) (My mom still separates though. Old habits die hard, I suppose).

  78. 80
    Melissa says

    Welcome to my world! I don’t think I EVER separated our lights and darks! I guess I learned to do laundry from my mom and since she never cared…neither did I!:) Yes, wash reds in cold in a different load! Yes, this method is much easier but it still seems to take me days to get the folded clothes back into the correct drawers…can you say LAZY?

  79. 81
    The Estrogen Files says

    Oh yes. Welcome to my world of FIVE kids. It’s so much easier. And I don’t fold their stuff, either. Just put it in their own basket and tell them to put it away. Ya.Hoo.

  80. 82
    Heather says

    Too funny! Since my baby had spit up a lot on his clothes I didn’t want to mix his with ours (and I used Dreft). So I always did my babies clothes separate, but his tiny preemie clothes couldn’t be a whole load if I sorted. So I always did all his clothes, blankets, sheets and burp cloths together in a single load. Now I do 2 kids’ stuff all together in one load. I do still sort the grown up clothes, but they go in the same room so it’s not so bad.

  81. 84
    Hilary says

    I would put the vinegar in the place for fabric softner in any machine that you are using. Vinegar I have been told will reduce the effectiveness of the detergent if it is put in with it, plus it is rinsed away and will loose the softening effect to replace the fabric softner (either with the liquid softner, or dryer sheets). Soaking your reds, and others that are new and prone to bleed with a cup of vinegar and a cup of salt I have been told will set the colors from bleeding. Good luck.
    I am still scared to not sort, we’ll see I might give it a try. Thanks.

    • 84.1
      Christine says

      “Vinegar I have been told will reduce the effectiveness of the detergent if it is put in with it,”

      Rats!

  82. 85
    Jewelybelle says

    I lived with my Boy’s parents for a year and his mother would cringe when I would put an un-separated load in the washer. As a single person, sorting is silly because if I waited to have enough to separate, I wouldn’t have any clothes left to wear.

  83. 86
    Nina says

    I’m just loving all these tips! I can’t remember who said it but, my daughter is going to be three and she’s already learning how to fold clothes…..cuz she wants to, go figure!…..One thing I dislike is socks…so I’ve made it a “matching” game for the kids, which seems to work!
    To the ladies that make their own liquid soap….do you have front loaders? Does it work well w/ a front loader? I’ve been too chicken to try the liquid cuz I’m afraid it would get “stinky” !! LOL The powder soap I’ve been making (the recipe is on my blog) is added directly to the clothes, but sometimes my washer is packed and it’s hard to add. And honestly, I’m tired of grating soap! LOL

  84. 87
    Katie @ goodLife {eats} says

    What about the really dark denim colors? I find that those have to be washed by themselves so the don’t dull the lighter pastel colors.

    I have a 3 hamper rolling basket so I don’t have to sort the clothes. Everyone just puts lights, whites, darks in the correct section of the basket as they put the dirty clothes away. I keep the basket in the laundry room.

    • 87.1
      Laura says

      I wash my blue jeans inside out and with the vinegar have never had a problem with dulling the other colors.

      • 87.1.1
        Katie @ goodLife {eats} says

        Thanks, Laura. I will have to give that a try! I have been adding baking soda to my whites because it helps keep them bright.

  85. 88
    Tammy says

    I’m fanatical about separating my laundry, so I don’t think I could do this to myself! LOL

  86. 89
    FishMama @ LifeasMOM says

    I think you just saved my life. I recently dec’d to go back to 2 days/wk instead of everyday and I think this will simplify my life even more! Thank you!

  87. 90
    Alyssa says

    Ohh good golly I need to do this…question can you come and sort all the laundry I have now so I can start using this system pronto?

  88. 91
    Nichole Jordan says

    Love it!
    I do all my sons clothes all by themself… don’t sort… and it has made things easier for SURE!

    Now I do sort hubs and mine only becuase we have enough to sort anyways so yah… but I think I will stick with doing kidos seperate! Makes sorting littles clothes AWESOMELY not hard at ALL! hehe

  89. 92
    Donna says

    Love that you posted this! I have been doing it this way for about 5 years. My kids (5 of them) all do their own laundry (except the 3 year old, who combines with the 14 year old), and are proud to take it from start to finish. I have had friends gasp when I told them I do it this way.

    I must say, we never have colors bleed, but from time to time a stain doesn’t come out. I used to go crazy with mismatched socks and just getting crabby when I spent the time to fold their clothes and they would just jam them in drawers. Now they take the ownership and I am pleased to be relieved of this burden!

  90. 93
    Rebekah says

    Ok…I have to separate. But I like the idea of only doing one person’s laundry at a time.

    The question for me is, What If you have more than one kids per room? There are 7 people in my household in all. Laundry is my evil nemesis.

    • 93.1
      Christine says

      out of our 6 kids, 2 sets of 2 share a room. I’m putting just one hamper in each of those room and bringing the clothes back clean in the hamper. Then the clean clothes get dumped on the bed and the kids grab out what is theirs and put it away. They were already putting their clothes away – I was only folding for the 3 yr old

    • 93.2
      Laura says

      I would still try to arrange it so each kid had their own hamper to alleviate fighting.

  91. 94
    April says

    I LOVE this idea! I do laundry for 6 people, this will make it so much easier. I’m definitely giving this a try.

  92. 95
    Ali says

    I’ve been ‘not sorting’ my laundry for years! I wash it all on cold anyway, so what’s the difference? Vinegar also acts as a natural fabric softener and helps to get the extra soap out of clothes in the final rinse cycle. Way to go!

  93. 96
    adrienne says

    It’s okay if you want to use vinegar to soften the water, get a better rinse, or remove stains, but it doesn’t have any effect on the modern dyes used in cotton clothes. It only affects acid dyes which are more common in silks, wool, and nylon. Synthetic fibers like polyester are manufactured to be a certain color and aren’t dyed.

    WARNING:
    Never use bleach and vinegar in the same wash load. Like bleach and ammonia, the combination can create a toxic gas:
    http://chemistry.about.com/b/2009/02/02/why-people-mix-bleach-and-vinegar.htm

  94. 97
    Debbie says

    IT WORKS!

    I am so excited!! I had leftover bits of laundry, all different colors. My socks are still white! (Although I actually am going to slightly miss sorting the laundy on the front end as I really like sorting things by color, I’m weird that way.) But It is so worth it not to have to sort it out to put away! and when the laundry baskets full I can just do the wash. It will be so much easier to keep up. Thank you, God Bless You!!!

    • 97.1
      Laura says

      Yay!! So excited for you, woohoo!

  95. 98
    Connie says

    The easiest way to make laundry not be a drudgery is to remember, when their laundry is gone, so are they. Cherish each piece of clothing for the wonderment it is – how they’ve finally grown into it or marvel at how they’re about to grow out of it. How the sheets change from Sesame Street to Xmen and then to college dorm room sheets.

    I can honestly say from experience, that I miss doing the kids’ laundry and I never regretted a moment we spent doing it together. Folding and talking and laughing. It can be more than just laundry.

    Enjoy those babies, they’ll be gone much too soon.

    • 98.1
      Laura says

      Ahh such a great reminder!

  96. 99
    Kristin says

    I do two loads of laundry per day and have four kids. I am SO trying this from here on out! Thanks for the idea!

  97. 100
    Katie says

    I love this!!! Right now it’s just me and my husband, and the only way I sort clothes is whether or not they are going to be put in the dryer or hung on the line. I don’t seperate light or dark.

    Granted, its just 2 peoples laundry, which is about 2 or 3 loads a week, but why waste the time sorting.

    Like someone said, I don’t have a lot of whites (I guess we’re messy, since there always seems to be a stain on them) so I don’t worry about them graying. I plan to continue to do this when we have kids in the (maybe near) future.

    I also wash almost everything in cold water (except sheets/blankets and towels I do in hot, because of dust allergies).

  98. 101
    Amy @ Tiny Blessings says

    I have done this a couple of times when the piles were getting to me as a quick catch-up method– it’s definitely a time saver!

    However, I’m with the minority here who have mentioned the ICK factor of washing undies in cold water– with two young kids in the house, I have to at least use warm water on those… and my husband’s work uniforms…. and a few other things. I guess I’m just not ready to give up my sorting just yet! ;)

    • 101.1
      Laura says

      I don’t wash in cold myself, I always wash in warm.

      • 101.1.1
        Amy @ Tiny Blessings says

        OH— hmmmmm….. I just assumed we were talking all cold water washes to keep the colors from bleeding/fading. Well now, I’ll have to give this some more thought… if it works in warm water, I might just have to convert after all. :) Thanks!!!

  99. 102
    Angelene says

    Just found this blog: it’s great!

    My washing tip that I figured out, when planning for our first baby was to buy TWO laundry baskets and mark them specially for her (I drew a little flower on the handle). The flower is to designate that my Hubby should not try to steal it for his own laundry. My daughter has TWO baskets nested in her room, so that when the full basket goes downstairs to the laundry room there is still a empty basket to collect all of the things that pile up while the laundry in the first basket is being washed, dried, and folded. Genius! The clean laundry gets put away and that empty basket then gets replaced under the other basket that by now has at least five or six new items in in (instead of in a pile on the floor, where the basket should be). This is a great system, and I also NEVER separate my colours (except the new RED shirt rule).

  100. 103
    Jenny says

    Hehe I worked with a woman who did the sort each color and do special loads, including special loads for only towels and sheets (by color as well). She was shocked the day I said I just threw whatever was in the basket in and turned it on, no sorting, so special temperature based on color or article. Everything goes in, cold water only, and everything comes out the same way.
    Course the fact that laundry takes me so much less time to do does not mean that laundry gets put away any faster!

  101. 104
    Deenie says

    I loved reading this thread – how fun. Hard to believe but I love doing laundry – unlike cleaning or cooking – when I wash, fold and put away (usually set on kids beds) it seems completely done. when I clean or cook it is only a few minutes before someone is in the fridge and glasses or food is out or some room is not straight anymore. Maybe my 5 kids make it that way

  102. 105
    Camille says

    I actually did do this one, it was from a mother of 6 I think. I had a HUGE pile of clothes that I struggled to get done for at least a good couple months. But after reading the post I went in took a good 25 minutes and sorted everyone’s clothes. I got everything done within 2-3 days. HALLELUJAH! But I slipped last week so have to re-sort again but I know this is much easier. Especially after I make room in my drawers.

  103. 106
    Melissa says

    I don’t separate the clothes for washing but we only have one hamper in the bathroom. I usually just wash what’s in there each day with whatever sheets I’m changing. We wouldn’t have enough clothes to do one person’s clothes per day especially b/c the kids wear school uniform. They only have two uniforms so have to make sure they are washed and dried everyday.

  104. 107
    Leah says

    My husband’s work shirts are maroon but I was able to set the color on them by soaking them in a vinegar/water solution (1 cup to 1 gallon) prior to the first wash and have never had a problem with them bleeding. I still sort out the darks from the lights, socks and towels. His work clothes and socks get really nasty (he’s a butcher) and I don’t like to wash them with my clothes or my son’s clothes. I wash towels separately as well but am going to try that vinegar trick on them since I dry them on the line, and no body really cares for scratchy towels. Thanks for all the tips :)

  105. 108
    Chris says

    Thanks for changing my life with this!!! I am so excited to try this system. It has to be better than my current one. :)

  106. 109
    Hope says

    We are a family of five that lives on a farm. We are definitly sorting here. Yuck, you can only imagine what gets on the guy’s clothes. Anyway, has anyone used a Flip and Fold laundry folder. I have been trying to find one at a garage sale (I am to cheap to pay full price without knowing how real people like it) I want to give my closet a huge spring cleaning and was thinking this would help fold everything perfectly and make more room. Any suggestions would help.

  107. 110
    Tamie says

    I have laundry issues, I swear. I cannot for the life of me combine whites with colors…the thought of having underwear in with shirts (unless they are all white and being washed hot with bleach) gives me the willies. This is probably why I will still be under a mountain of laundry 10 years from now!

  108. 111
    Tiffany says

    Wow, I didn’t know you could wash whites and colors together either. I think I would be scared to do that. There are no kiddies yet, but I will keep this tip handy.

  109. 112
    Rana says

    This is wonderful. I like the sound of this system. I’m going to try the vinegar today.

  110. 113
    Marie-Claire says

    Thanks for the great post…I’ve been meaning to write something about laundry and it reminded me to put that on my “laundry list”! Laundry was a real burden here as well. With homeschooling, home businesses, lots of children, pets, and with living in the deep woods, it was overwhelming to say the least. I tried many systems and always felt like I was pushing a large boulder up a steep hill. Like the mail, it just kept coming and coming!! I tried laundry sorters, hampers in each room, no hampers at all, having set laundry days, having no preset days at all, and many other things. What I ended up with – that works for us, maybe not everyone else is – I totally eliminated folding. The only things I fold are MY things, and only the things that are going to “show”…I don’t fold pajamas or underthings, for instance. That isn’t to say that I don’t flatten it out (but sometimes I don’t even do that) but this has been a tremendous time-saver for me. When you think about it, at least for the kids, they are just going to throw/crunch/squish everything into a drawer anyhow. (I require my kids to put their own clothes away.) The hours I used to spend folding would only be wasted as I watched my children shove large piles of clothes onto the floors of their closets and smash them into drawers! That’s when it dawned on me to stop folding. I do have the children help with laundry. They begin at the earlier ages with bringing clothes to the laundry room and they also wash, dry, and sort, depending on how old they are. I established a bin system so each child has a different color fabric cube-bin to toss their laundry into, and then they bring the empty bin back when it is empty. We sometimes turn this into a game, where a child is allowed to empty the dryer and toss items into the correct color bin! Or, one child can hold a bin and try to catch flying pants or t-shirts! Sounds silly, but it does make it all a little bit more fun. Oh, and whether you agree or not, I see nothing wrong with using towels twice and children wearing pajamas or jeans more than once. If I see something in the hamper that was only worn a short time, I will sometimes toss it into that child’s bin and have them wear it again LOL. By the way, I stopped sorting years ago when my sorter broke and I never looked back. Other than towels or white socks becoming a little dingy, nothing has suffered, and I can always bleach or brighten towels by themselves once in a while…easy, easy. I do have a system for wet clothes (my personal pet-peeve, wet clothes on bathroom floors) and do have a “bucket” for wet clothes that I personally handle myself, lest they would grow legs and begin walking away on their own if not handled promptly. Thank you for the great post and all of the wonderful ideas shared her. Love it!

  111. 114
    Jaclyn says

    Thanks for the great tip! I’m definitely going to give it a try!!

  112. 115
    Lora Jenkins says

    I haven’t sorted clothing for the laundry for YEARS! I have a rule- certain days of the week are laundry days (M, W & F) and if the children do not bring out their dirty laundry on those days, they have to wash them themselves. Now, my children are 24, 21, 17 and 15 so.. it works.

    I usually just have 3 loads a week. The Hubbeast’s & my clothing, daycare items, & sheets & towels.

    Not only does this system take some of the work off of me but, it also teaches my children how to do their own laundry! A win-win in my book!

  113. 116
    Laura says

    So, I think I’m going to give this a try (gulp). I have been doing laundry the very same way my mother did/does it…which isn’t fun. You’ll be horrified to know that I separate my laundry into not one, not two, not three, but FOUR piles! I have my whites (because we have to add bleach and they have to be washed in hot), lights (we don’t want the light colors to be discolored by darks), darks (I want to say that she might do a jean load seperately) and towels/sheets (these are washed on the sanitary setting).

    Laundry has become such a battle for me. I currently have two loads that need to be put away (they’re separated, folded and ready to go into daughters’ drawers), one clean basket sitting by the dryer ready to be folded, and one load in the washer AND dryer.

    My goal for today is getting the clean stuff put away and starting over with the one load system (towels will still get their own load). Don’t tell my mom!

  114. 117
    Prairie Chick says

    This is EXACTLY how I do laundry! It’s so great. I also love the rule of keeping one load moving and not starting a second load until the first load is PUT AWAY. I love laundry!!! =)

  115. 118
    Rachel says

    I do that with my husband’s laundry! With mine I usually have too much for just one load. Plus I have a hamper with two separate compartments ( from IKEA) that I separate my lights and darks, so when I go to do laundry it’s already separated and ready to go! :)

  116. 119
    Susan says

    Isn’t this a load off your shoulders? I don’t know where I first heard of this idea but we have been doing this for years now. My children 17, 10 and 9 do their own laundry. Each person has their own laundry day and then we do the towels and sheets, etc. I don’t have to feel overwhelmed by huge laundry piles anymore.

  117. 120
    Sandy says

    Well Laura, I have to say that is exactly how we do laundry! It works!

    My kids actually do their own now. YAY.

  118. 121
    Jen says

    Oh my goodness! You might have just changed my life! Laundry has been such an issue for me. I never get caught up and constantly have piles that need to be sorted and put away! Thank you, thank you!!!

    Jen

  119. 122
    Tim-Myfotoguy says

    What an awesome idea. Thanks! Running upstairs right now to tell my family!

  120. 123
    Trina says

    I’m so glad to learn I’m not the only one doing this! My mother just about had a heart attack when she was over last week and saw me putting all of the munchkin’s clothes in the washing machine at one time! This really has made my life so much easier, and my Saturdays so much more enjoyable!

  121. 124
    Mary says

    One of the things that I found was important to me was not only keeping clean clothes for us to wear but I wanted to do it more economically and without as much wasted electricity. So I did the obvious first I now wash every thing in cold water. Next I took a drastic step I got rid of my dryer. I now dry all my clothes on a few clothes drying racks outside when the weather is agreeable. Around the house while we sleep the rest of the time. I have been thrilled with the energy savings. My clothes also have the natural line dried smell.

  122. 125
    Rene'@bargainhoot says

    What a fantastic idea!!! If you ever want to freshen up your whites and get them their whitest soak them in Electrasol. I just posted about this…I use it on my white slipcovers, works great!!!

  123. 126
    hittingtheslopes says

    I do this!!! I am so shocked- being disorganizingly’ed challenged, I am shocked I have done something on my own w/out learning it from somewhere! (my home growing up was NOT organized; my sibling and I joke how we don’t really ‘get it’ naturally! ;-)

    I have a basked in the laundry room (downstairs) and one up. Only one child has one in their room (don’t ask why!).

    What I will do is search thru the hampers and pick out one child’s stuff and do a load. Then when I’m done, I plop the clean stuff on their dresser and it’s easy to put away!

    SO proud of myself-!
    Maybe there’s hope for me yet???!!

  124. 127
    kittyluvr says

    I have not sorted clothes in 10 years! I do,however, put in a half of a Shout Color Catcher sheet to prevent the dreaded red/black/denim fade on other objects~wash only in cold water and use whatever detergent is on sale. The Shout Color Catchers are fairly inexpensive when bought with a coupon. My daughters have also been taught not to sort and my oldest was almost “cussed out” in the laundry room in college because she told her new friends that she didn’t sort..they all swore she was going to ruin her clothes as proudly taught by their moms…and now?…no one in her dorm sorts! One other tip is to keep a bottle of spray stain remover in each bedroom and even in the bathroom….a quick squirt when clothes are removed prevents stains from being set in when I get around to doing laundry….Towels and bed clothes are washed separately from clothes. We fold everything during American Idol, Biggest Loser, Grey’s Anatomy, of whatever was tivo’d….

  125. 128
    Lori says

    My two children, now 24 and 18, started doing their own laundry at age 10. Works beautifully…no more “Moooooonm you forgot to wash the shirt I need for school tomorrow…”. It’s a very good thing to learn…I’ve seen way too many college student get to the laundromat and have no idea on how to wash clothes. Far too many children are not given responsibilities these days…

  126. 129
    Stahli says

    This may have been addressed already but I missed it….if you do the underwear by itself do you separate colored and white? It just doesn’t seem like we have enough for a full load even when I do the whole family’s together.

  127. 130
    Kristy says

    Part of the ‘making laundry easier’ for me was a gradual laundry reno. Initially a small zero dollar one, followed by another zero dollar one and then much later, a minimal dollar one. Details are here
    http://seemyfootprints.blogspot.com/search/label/Laundry
    essentially – a dressing room/laundry… as inspired by the Duggars laundry (Google will find them easily for you!).

    Put a load on when you wake up after changing the smallest bottom, then a load on before bed – that’s two without even thinking (and sometimes while your eyes are half closed!). Fold off the line when you bring the clothes in and lay the ‘ironable’ ones flat. I don’t iron except for weddings and the like.

    We have a sorter for colours/darks and whites. Nappies are easy (easier than the soaking we did with the first two in flats) – it’s the pile of stuff that boys dump in the laundry from their room cleanout that bugs me! On that note – if it’s not in the laundry it doesn’t get washed. I do not collect laundry from rooms, floors, bathroom, backyard, school bags or anywhere else. If you want it washed, bring it to the laundry and check your own pockets. Not much to ask, I thought. It only takes a few times running out of socks and jocks for this one to become very clear in the minds of kiddies and husbands alike. Older children put their own clothes away.

    Also, accept that the laundry basket need never be totally empty. Afterall, laundry is a continual task and even if you bust yourself and get the basket or sorter empty… it will not be empty for long and that’s ok. Work on that basis and you’ll never disappoint yourself.

  128. 131
    Penny says

    I know it has only been a couple of weeks since you posted this, but . . . it has totally changed my life too! I have 5 kids at home. We had laundry everywhere and it was so overwhelming. I was always behind. As soon as I saw this post I was so excited. I gave everyone their own laundry basket for their room and assigned them a laundry day. I toss everything in without sorting, throw it in the dryer later in the day, and when the kids get home from school they take their clothes out of the dryer, put it into a basket, and take it to their room to put away their clean clothes.

    And it even gets better! Last week the kids brought up their own laundry without being asked because they were so excited to get all of their clothes washed at once.

    Thank you for sharing this idea! It has truly made ones of those overwhelming tasks in my life become easy.

  129. 132
    trinka jeffery says

    This also works great for single people. :) I always need to do laundry before I have enough clothes for a whole load of whites or colors. I just throw it all in there together. I buy used clothing, so I suppose the colors have already bled all they’re going to bleed. :)

  130. 133
    Sarah says

    I cannot even tell you how excited I am about this idea! I have grown so weary of laundry lately, I kind of gave up mentally. :-) It was overwhelming me!
    Thank you for sharing and for giving tips on keeping the colors from running. I am ready to start the day tomorrow with a new plan!

  131. 134
    Sarah@BlueCastle says

    I am delighted to find that I am not the slacker I thought I was. :) I never sort clothes (except for the white sheets and towels). We really don’t have many “whites” and everything – including colored towels – goes straight in the same load. My oldest son has been doing laundry for a few years now and by not sorting it’s eliminated one more step that I’ve found was unnecessary. :)
    PS: LOVE your new blog look.

  132. 135
    Melissa Waldschmidt says

    Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that. I have been doing minimum sort for a couple of years since I got my new front loaders that wash so well in cold water. I still separated whites, towels and sheets and some reds, but just wash everything together for the most part. I use those color grabber sheets that work really well. Vinegar has to be much cheaper, right? I’ll see how this works with only separating the towels and linens. Yay! I’m excited!

    What really strikes me, is just washing each kid’s stuff alone on a different day. Duh – I have triplet boys, and sometimes can’t remember what belongs to who – they all wear about the same size in most things. They each have a favorite color, and wear a lot of that color, but there are lots of black and navy and gray things – colors they all tend to wear and don’t get me started on socks and underwear. I have baskets in each of their rooms and only one small catch-all downstairs by the shoe closet for stray stuff likes socks and sports gear they tend to shed as they walk in the house. That’s simple enough to sort through… This may change my life! You’ve just gotten a new, loyal reader! Thank you a thousand times!

  133. 136
    Jana says

    I sort by how the clothes work in the dryer. If I’m doing two loads, I do the shirts first, since they need to be pulled and hung up before they wrinkle, then I do socks, undies, towels, etc. in the second load, since they can sit in the dryer if I forget by then.

    For those who can’t give up sorting by color, try this: give each bedroom a white basket and a colored basket, and let the user pre-sort them as they toss them in.

    My tip for lightening the load? Stop washing your kids’ clothes when they turn 12. Sooner or later, they’ll pick up the job themselves!

  134. 137
    Private jet charter UK says

    thanks for ahring your laundry tips, just begginning renting my own appartement, shall need your experience

  135. 138
    Karen Joyce says

    I have a four drawer plastic organizer for my son and myself~ four drawer= whites, yellow/red, darks, jeans. Each drawer full is a large load of laundry. When a drawer is full, it needs to be washed~ by the person who wears those clothes! I wash sheets, blankets and towels/wash cloths separately.
    The stacker has helped to get most laundry off the floor/ gives a good point of reference if it is on the floor.

  136. 140
    Jen@MamaZen says

    I’m so happy to hear that I am not just a lazy, poor launderer. I have slowly been switching over to this method because I find myself constantly having to remember to switch loads from washer to dryer and folding and separating, etc… I have been trying to throw loads in as I see stuff piling up and it has just been easier to throw it all in together rather than worry about bleeding. If it is new or very bright I will add a stain catcher. I didn’t know about the vinegar… I will be trying that :)

  137. 141
    Olga Hermans says

    My kids are grown uo now, but this a great way of doing laundry. The tip of half cup of vinegar is a getter for sure. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  138. 142
    Marlynn says

    Thats how I roll! Although I do NOT wash my husbands clothes with mine or with any of his nice stuff. Greasy, Dirty, Yucky, smelly stuff….can be washed on its own. I’m sure my mom just dies when she sees how I do my clothes haha!

  139. 143
    cuteshoes says

    I’m all about time saving but sorry, couldn’t take this tip.

    All I can think about is the dingy white clothes in your house and that makes me sad :(

    • 143.1
      Laura says

      Don’t knock it until you try it, I can assure you none of my clothes are dingy white :)

  140. 144
    Rachel says

    Wow! I will be trying this! I hate laundry! Not becuase I don’t like doing it, but I find that I end up doing it all at once and though washing and drying is no big deal, all the sorting and folding and putting away drives me nuts!!! Especially with a two year old coming along behind me “helping” to put everything I have just sorted and folded back into the basket! Having a way to do one load a day and it being done and over with in a couple hours is a very exciting prospect for me! I never imagined not sorting! It was a stone rule – and I am bad about it. I sort whites, brights, light colours, darks, I even sort clothing into like colors! Could be a challenge for myself to just not sort, but if it will give me a little more time to do the things I enjoy, it will be well worth it.

    • 144.1
      Laura says

      Let me know how it works out for you!!

  141. 145
    Rhonda Burkhalter says

    I have not been a white/color/darks separator. I read the care tag on the article of clothing. I also wash towels, socks, and underware in hot water. So I don’t sort by color, I sort by temperature of wash. I also do not use fabric softener, but have never heard about the vinegar. Well worth a try.

  142. 146
    Tammy says

    Wow – what a fantastic idea!

    I’ve only sorted into darks/lights/towels before, but having each kid do their own is a fantastic idea!

    I don’t have many whites, but I do have a couple white blouses. Do you wash all white blouses in with darks too? And they’re ok?

    • 146.1
      Laura says

      Anything that is blousey or dressy I do wash separately on the delicate cycle and hang to dry usually.

      • 146.1.1
        Tammy says

        OK, thanks!

        My 10 yr old daughter is very skeptical about this non-sorting idea, but we’re going to try it out!

        • 146.1.1.1
          Laura says

          Don’t forget the vinegar!! :)

  143. 147
    Amanda Robbins says

    One thing I haven’t read on here is how to know what clothes belong to whom. My family puts a small dot of paint on the tags of the clothes. Everyone gets a different color!

    vinegar gets out nasty smells (even cat pee) and has anti-Bacteriol benefits too

    dish soap gets out spaghetti stains (and other grease stains)

    and i don’t sort either but my whites look fine with just color safe bleach and detergent!

    • 147.1
      Laura says

      Hi Amanda, thanks for visiting my site! The beauty of doing each child’s laundry separately is that I never have to figure out whose is whose. Works wonderfully!

  144. 148
    Danielle L says

    I have been washing whites and colors together for ages. On the occasion that my whites need a little tlc I wash them separately with a little bleach. But really, that’s maybe once a year. It really is easier.

  145. 149
    Cherrie Whittemore says

    Each of my children have their own laundry baskets in their room and each has a day that their clothes have to be brought to the laundry room. I do their clothes that day and only that day. I do my husbands and mine on Mondays my oldest on Tuesday and my younger two on Wednesday. Laundry is caught up and done by Wednesday night and I am done for the week. If it didn’t get brought down it doesn’t get washed and you have to wait until it is your day again. It has worked out great for me. I have kept up on my laundry ever since I started this deal.

  146. 150
    Chris B. says

    I joke that I do laundry ‘Survival of the Fittest’ style. If it doesn’t survive, it wasn’t meant to be. My late husband complained once (he got pink underwear from a rogue red shirt). My suggestion that he do his own laundry led to no more complaints.

    Now it’s me and 2 school age boys, I tell them to gather up their laundry & bring it to the washer on Wednesdays. I wish I could do your method but they end up putting most of their dirty clothes in the bathroom hamper before their showers. I generally have 3 loads per week.

    I don’t sort, everything gets washed on cold. I will start to use vinegar. When I pull clothes out of the dryer, I fold my clothes, the boys go into a basket and they sort together and put them away. I also match socks & put into a basket next to the shoes in the entryway. The boys know it’s all hands on deck to sort their clothes & put away before video games. (I make myself put mine away before bed that night also.)

    One day, no fuss, no muss.

  147. 151
    jay-may-ray says

    Hello my name is Julie and I LOVE to WASH and IRON -my style – because of my ‘system’ along with my refusal to fold anything dry, that is to be ironed. This was not always the case I used to hate washing and ironing but I got myself a routine and now I refuse to put another load of clothes out to dry before I have the last load is ironed. How did I do it? well that’s easy.

    I have basically eliminated white clothes from our lives so everything does go in the wash together and the few white clothes we own I leave until I am washing linen or towels (I just can’t bring myself to bung them in with the darks just yet, but I am happy for them to go with the lights).

    I wash and iron 1 load each day. For us that is just 1 shirt, underwear and 1 pants for each family member – I don’t own a dryer (I use a clothes airer) – I SIMPLY REFUSE to fold anything that is to be ironed – I IRON IT STRAIGHT AWAY – it only takes a minute to iron out the peg marks and a wrinkle or two – It takes too bloody long to iron out fold marks and wrinkles from crushed clothes in a basket. Every single morning my first job is to put the load of clothes on to wash, it then takes me 10-15 minutes to iron the clothes from the day before – I hang as much as I can on hangers as it is quicker than folding, I only quickly flatten the clothes with the iron, because as many of you have discovered – after 10 minutes of wearing many wrinkles drop out anyhow.
    I have breakfast and then my 1 load is ready to hang on the clothes airer and shirts and dresses are always hung on coat hangers to dry. Not quite dry? – tough – it still gets ironed and hung back up to finish drying otherwise my system fails.

    Another little trick I have is that my bathroom and laundry are side by side (although the door to the laundry is around the other side of the house) – I had a carpenter build me a little V shaped cupboard/chute (that pivots from the bottom) closed up (from the bathroom side) it just looks like a regular cupboard – the clothes get put in the chute and hey presto they are then right beside the washing machine.

    There are many posts here but I thought I waould also add my Sisters system, his and hers wash (each does their own) and his and hers ironing (each does their own) it works for them.

  148. 152
    ruth james says

    Years and years ago I quit doing family laundry after my hubs and I blended our families! After a few months of extra tonage of laundry I gave each kids their own towels—2 of each in their color–bath hand, and cloths and I hid all the rest. Everyone including us, kept their towels in their room so their was never a mound of wet ones waiting for the laundry and no one dried their hands on someone’s towel. Then I taught everyone how to wash and dry (or not) and carry upstairs, all their stuff. I never again did anyone’s wash except mine or DH and its been 18 years. My kids still often talk about this radical approach but their all have passed the tips onto their own families! Score…………..!!

  149. 153
    Kimberly Clark from Harmony twp says

    This is what I do already and have been for 3 years now and I don’t even add the vinagar and they still don’t run. It does save alot of time. Not that the 2 oldest is 10 and 11 they do thier own laundry too. that’s even a bigger time saver. I now do mainly mine, my husbands and the 4 yr olds. :-)

  150. 154
    kristin says

    I separate my colors when i throw them into the laundry bin. I take a plastic bin and put a piece of cardboard to divide them. They are already all sorted for me on laundry day.

  151. 155
    Trisha says

    I do laundry about the same way…I have a laundry hamper in the upstairs hall for all the kids..8, 5, and 2 to put there clothes in. When it is a full load I wash them. Then I have a separate bins downstairs in the master closet for my husband’s and mine. The bin has three separate bags for lights, colors and dry clean. A full bin is a full load, again once full it gets washed. New reds and new blue jeans are what I watch for…they have gotten me a couple of times. Some day as the kids get older and my son complains of the sparkles on his clothes from his sisters dresses…I will have three bins for each kid..plus their clothes will be larger and make a full load faster.

  152. 156
    Basia says

    Thank you! I think your laundry system will change my life. I’m 3 loads in so far, but I’m very hopeful! Just the idea that each kid gets her own DAY gave me such a shock! The unexpected bonus: the girls are fascinated and want to help with THEIR laundry. Wow! Thank you so very much!

    • 156.1
      Laura says

      You are so welcome, love to hear this!!

  153. 157
    Sunie says

    I’m not sure whether to cry tears of fear or joy. You must be kidding, could the bane of my existance really be defeated so easily? Could the laundry really be this simple. It’s mind boggling. I have been struggling with it for so many years. THANK YOU!!

    • 157.1
      Laura says

      Yep it’s really that easy :)

  154. 158
    Mary says

    Excellent tip that I’ll be sharing. :O)

  155. 159
    Jackie says

    I’ve been doing this for years. It’s the way my mom did it too. I always thought I was being crazy or lazy for doing it this way but it always worked just fine. About the socks – I toss the lot of them once a year and get the kids all new ones. Except for Sunday ones (they last longer). I just buy 2-3 packs at once for the year.

  156. 160
    jessica says

    I’ve been doing this for years, we wash each persons clothes by themselves and each person has their own hamper, it’s fantastic. Also, if my daughter is looking for a missing sock or something, i don’t have to look through all the laundry to find it :)

  157. 161
    Wanda says

    OK!!! so I have the 1 kid at a time thing going good…LOVE that idea…but i’m having such a hard time throwing all the laundry in without sorting…MY mother would be doing 360 in her grave if she knew I was even thinking about it!! lol I’m trying to muster up enough courage!!

    • 161.1
      Laura says

      You can do it Wanda!!! Don’t forget the vinegar :)

  158. 162
    Cacie says

    I have doing this since college before I every had a family. When I got married my husband was like you can’t do that it will ruin the clothes. I said watch it will be fine now that’s all he does too.

  159. 163
    danielle carlton says

    I have ALWAYS done my laundry this way!!! My kids have been doing their own laundry since they were 2! they loved helping and could even fold their clothes and put away, even if it didn’t look perfect, they were still learning the value of doing things for yourself!

    • 163.1
      Kim says

      Need help, what do I do about drying an unsorted load? I have an HE washer and dryer so it figures out the time for me but I am lost when it comes to heat level. Med heat ? Med-lo? Low? Extra low?

      Any tips?

  160. 164
    Peggy says

    We do the same thing at my house. My daughter has been doing her own laundry for a year. She’s 12. She actually took over the laundry because she hated emptying the dishwasher. But still one less thing for me to do.

  161. 165
    Leanne says

    I’ve been doing my kids laundry this way for 10 years… it does make life more sane! Especially since I have four of them!

  162. 166
    annie johnson says

    Oh my gosh!!! I love you, I love you, I love you THANK YOU for sharing this. I have mountains of clean clothes in every room in my house. It drives all of us CRAZY. Laundry has been my Achilles heel. Now I’m excited, yes i said excited to start this new laundry process.

    • 166.1
      Ruth James says

      q

  163. 167
    emily says

    Glad more people are seeing you dont need to sort. Ive done my laundry like that for years. Though I just toss mi e and my fiances I all at once. Other cool thing I saw somewhere was have the kids put all their socks when dirty into a small laundry bag and then toss it right in…. no more lost socks.

  164. 168
    Melissa A. says

    I do my laundry this way too, for the most part. I wash pants separately. I still separate lights and darks, but only end up doing separate loads if there are too many clothes. Just a habit I guess. However, when I was a kid my mom made us bring the laundry down to the laundry room and we sorted it ourselves. We also helped fold and bring the piles into the bedrooms of each family member. ;)

  165. 169
    Ruth James says

    Single with 2 teens was hard, but a remarriage that brought another teen into the home was huge. Three kids using 2 bath towels each day that always landed on the bathroom floor—argh! Their own laundry landed around their hampers—plus a new hubs that wore jeans and a T with sweats to his greasy driving job. (I was a nurse who wore wash and wear scrubs)
    After 2 months of new marriage, I emptied my whole linen closet and gave each kid 2 bath, 2 hand and 4 facecloths of the same color. Each kid was educated in the W&D and from then on in they kept the towels in their room, washed as they pleased, and I never heard or said another word about “all” the laundry. For the record, the hubs and I each picked 2 each of the biggest, fluffiest towels we had…and we all hang them in our rooms……………..so no sour linens in the bathroom in 19 years!!!!!
    I could go on about other strategies, but this is more on task for now!

  166. 170
    Student Mom (Jenn) says

    A laundry basket in each room! Now there’s a novel idea!
    Since Skip and OMO have been flouting the fact that their detergents are awesome in a cold wash I’ve been less inclined to separate colours and darks, however whites I have a small panic about.
    The vinegar is a mind-blow. How does that actually work? AND… what type of vinegar, or is that not important?

    • 170.1
      Laura says

      Just plain old vinegar is what I use :)

  167. 171
    Amy says

    WOW!!!!!! I already know this is the best idea I’ve learned…. We need to post this on Pinterest and nationwide news for moms…. Amazing

  168. 172
    corrine says

    i have been doing this for years it would drive me nuts to sort out the colors from darks and whites so started just throwing it all in but my mom still has a fit everytime i do it LOL

  169. 173
    Anna says

    I have five kids (ages 7-22) and I’ve been using this system for years. I’ve tried so many things but this seems to be just perfect!

  170. 174
    Andrea says

    I really don’t know if I can bring myself to NOT sort the laundry, but I like the idea of doing one person’s laundry per day.

  171. 175
    ruthanne says

    I started doing this in college to save on laundry soap, and i have not stopped since. i just watch my clothes in cold water instead of hot to keep the colors from running – though throwing in vinegar would probably be a good idea.

  172. 176
    Tom Johnson says

    I was really excited about this method. I tried it for a week — adding half cup of white vinegar to laundry, putting temp. on cold, and mixing all colors together. I’m sorry to report that the method didn’t seem to work for me. Some blues stained white shirts; the whites looked dim and not-so-white. It might work if all the clothes are kinda old and the same color, but my wife was basically throwing ruined clothes away.

    Also problematic: we have 2 kids per room, so would you have 2 laundry hampers? not enough space for that.

    and what do you do with sweaty basketball clothes? leave them in a hamper until it’s your time during the week for laundry?

    any ideas on workarounds for these 3 challenges?

    • 176.1
      Laura says

      Sorry it didn’t work for you Tom. Yes I always wash new jeans and reds separately first. I usually my clothes in warm water.

      If I had two kids per room yes I would have two hampers. Just makes life easier, I would figure out a way to make it work. However if your kids are younger, then their clothes are smaller and one hamper could probably work.

      As for sweaty clothes I would probably throw those in right away so they don’t stink the place up. Or keep a small laundry basket on top of the wash machine for the sweaty things if you know you are going to have a new set of sweaty clothes each day.

  173. 177
    Anna says

    I’ve only tried sorting laundry a few times. It was just the two of us for a long time, so if I sorted, there wasn’t enough for a full load in each sorting unless I didn’t do laundry for over a week, and now that we have a kid, the only thing that gets sorted separately are her diapers. Those go in on hot; everything else goes through on cold.

  174. 178
    Lori says

    Sorry if I missed this in the comments…Does the 1/2 cup vinegar trick work with HE washers? Is it safe to just add to your regular HE detergent?

  175. 179
    Lesha says

    As a single adult I never sort my laundry. It just goes in my washing machine which happens to be in my bathroom. It is an apartment size stackable washer/dryer. When it is full I turn it on. I wash about 2 loads a week. I also use homemade laundry soap and have found that it doesn’t leave a reside but actually got rid of residue in both my clothes and dish washer. I don’t even separate my delicate items. I just put them in a laundry bag or in the tide bra laundry bags. Everything comes out just fine.

  176. 180
    D Martin says

    My kids would complain that I give the wrong clothes to the wrong kid… So, I wash, dry and hang shirts, socks are matched and put into a pile, shorts/pants are all in one pile and same for underwear… I say get your clothes and put them away. No more dreadful arguments over someone wearing something that’s not theirs.

  177. 181
    Jeanetta says

    I have tried laundry systems many ways, and this is the one that currently works for our family of 12: I have a tall metal shelf in our garage, next to the washer and dryer. On it, I have one large laundry basket for each type of laundry, except on the top shelf there are two crates. The bottom shelf holds towels, sheets, rags, and kitchen laundry. The other shelves are separated by child: two daughters for each crate, two oldest sons for one basket, and the other basket for the four littlest children. Then I have a large mesh bag hanging on the side of the shelf for whites, because they always seem to have stains or ring arond the collar to treat, so I just wash them separately, with bleach, if necessary. My oldest son also has all white shirts for his work uniforms, so they need special attention. For the other baskets, I just pull from the shelf when full, or combine when I need to fill a load. Usually my older kids (13, 15, 17, 19, & 21) will do their own laundry when they need clean clothes. I do the towels/sheets separately, to avoid lint balls on dark clothing. I only have ONE laundry basket in the house, and that stays in the master bathroom, and is for my and hubby’s clothes, which I usually do separately from everyone else’s laundry. When I give the two youngest their baths in my bathroom, I just throw their clothes into my basket, and don’t worry if it’s not just my laundry-it’s easy to pick out their clothes when putting clean laundry away. Everyone else just brings their dirty clothes to the garage, which is off of our kitchen, and puts them into the right basket. If they are lazy and leave them on the bathroom floor, then the one who cleans the bathroom puts the dirty laundry where it belongs. After washing and drying, two of my older daughters or me sorts the laundry into piles on the couch, by person, and each person folds/hangs their own things and puts them away, unless they are too young, but even my 3&4 year-olds can fold pretty decently. They love having folding “contests”, and the one who folds the most gets a few more chocolate chips/m&m’s/raisons or whatever than the ones who folded the least. Most everyone’s clothes are hung on hangers, due to lack of drawer space. Plus it is neater, keeps the clothes from getting wrinkled, and is easier to see what you have to wear. However, the four youngest children have a closet on the hallway where I keep all the clothes for the 3 year old, and the 4 year old, a shelf for each one, their clothes folded neatly and separated by type, with a basket for each child to hold their underwear, socks, and pull-ups, hairbrushes, & hairbands. The 6 & 8-year olds have a shelf each with those folding fabric baskets to hold underwear, socks, culottes, bloomers, and I also keep their “hair baskets” on the shelves, too, to contain their hairbrushes, their own special hair band, headbands ribbons,etc. I keep this closet locked, because the two youngest were always making a mess of their shelves, or changing clothes constantly, or occaisionally putting a stinky pair of underwear in there when they “didn’t mean” to forget to go to the potty! The 6&8-year olds other clothes get hung in their bedroom closet, and the two youngest children’s church and go-out clothes, plus the 10-year old’s church and go-out clothes get hung in the front entrance closet, otherwise they were constantly getting into their nice clothes when they shouldn’t, and the ten-year old was always having a hard time finding his church clothes, so it makes it easy and simple to have them there. It is so nice to be able to find their nice clothes all ready to go, not wrinkled in a drawer or stuffed under a bed-just grab and go! My 6 & 8- year old girls never seems to have a problem keeping their church clothes hung up and accessible, but my ten-year old son does- maybe it’s a boy thing! Anyway, it works for us, and we are so blessed to finally (after 19 years) have plenty of room and closet space to organize this way. The house we lived in before this one (we lived there temp. For 9 months until we moved here) had one bathroom, three bedrooms, two tiny closets, and one linen closet. It was so cramped!

  178. 182
    Ellen Quinones says

    We have a problem of missing socks for my 4 year old we solved the problem by putting all her mismatched socks in a shoe box and whenever we have to do her laundry we put her dirty socks in a mesh laundry bag (the one for washing bras and the stuff) zip it closed and throw it in the wash. This keeps them together and not floating around to get stuck. When they come out we take them to the shoe box to mate em (if needed) and put them away :)

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