When Laundry Can’t Sort Itself

laundry basket

I’m sure this isn’t a household hack worthy of some kind of productivity award, but it quickly came to me last week when I was folding laundry.

It’s just hub and myself so there’s three different types of laundry in the hamper:

  • My clothes
  • His clothes
  • Linens/towels

I used to pull everything out of the dryer, fold and stack in a big, white laundry basket that stays on top of the dryer.  Then, when it’s finally stacked so high with folded clothes that rolled up socks are toppling off and into the trash pail on the side of the dryer, I put everything away.  I hoist the basket and carry it length-wise so I can fit through the narrow entry way from the mudroom to the kitchen, down the hall and plop it on the bed.  Then, since our stuff is mixed together, that’s where the real fun begins. /sarcasm/

I have all the drawers open on both my dresser and his bureau.  Oh, then I have to go back down the hall and put the towels in the linen closet, the wash clothes in the basket in the main bath then back to the kitchen (where I just passed through) to put the dish towels.  Not that we live in a palatial mansion to where I need a golf cart to get from one end of the house to the other, but I’m all about productive planning (or at least, that’s what I kid myself into thinking I’m somewhat good at!)

I decided on a new laundry route.  It all depends upon the path from your washer/dryer to the final destination and how often you put away after folding.  But here’s what I do and you can tweak (or completely disregard this entirely if you do laundry 3-times a day for a family of 7 and this would be equivalent to running a marathon) as you see fit.

  1. Fold/put away linens immediately.  When I open the dryer, I pull out towels, wash cloths, dish towels, sheets, etc, and fold to bring what’s left inside down practically nothing (I see all of you with large households burning holes into your screens as you read this).  This works best for my setup because I have to walk back through the kitchen afterwards (where I can deposit the dish towels in the drawer) then back down the hall (where the linen closet and main bath are) so they’re ‘en route’.
  2. Pull out anything that needs to be hung up.  That’s next.  To extend the life (and shape) of my most of my tops, they don’t go in the dryer. I either lay them flat on the washing machine or hang them up (carefully as not to create hanger shoulder pads!) to air dry.  Out of the dryer, I then pull my hubs’ collared golf shirts and lay them flat to hang in the closet once I get in the room.  Folding them distorts the collars.
  3. Process the rest.  What’s left is usually socks, undies, mountains of black t-shirts (hubs), pj pants, workout clothes, jeans – basically anything that doesn’t fall into the two categories above.  I start with large items first – jeans, pj pants, workout pants – and layer them on the bottom of the laundry basket.  Here’s the trick – I don’t stack them all together, but rather put his stuff on one side and mine on the other, as evidenced by the photo above. Then I move onto his t-shirts (this can take quite some time and you can see whose stack is higher!).  By then, I’m down to the smaller items (sports bras, tank tops, undies, etc) still sorting his side/my side, until I’m done.

Folding and sorting this way makes putting laundry away a snap.  I carry (translation: squeeze through openings) the basket to the room, plop it on the bed and lift out his stack first.  Everything is stacked according to the order of the bureau drawers. The top section (socks, skivvies) are in one drawer, then t-shirts (which takes up the entire next drawer – really, how many t-shirts does a man who works from home need?), jeans in the next drawer then the bottom for pj pants, sweat pants and active wear.  One, two, three, four – done!  Then onto mine (which, of course, is much, much easier :))

Laundry folded.  Laundry put away.  Basket empty. Repeat.

I know, you’re mind is boggled by this Martha Stewart Magazine worthy tip.  Really, no stop…….I’m blushing 🙂



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