Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Laundry Help and Organization


My laundry is eating my life!

Some people love laundry. They love the way the detergent smells, they love folding the soft, warm clothes, they like seeing neat piles put away in proper drawers.

I am not those people.

If you want dishes done, I’m your girl. Like a mural painted? Let’s make it happen. Want your laundry done and put away? You need someone else.

We’re stuck in a vicious cycle; everyone keeps wearing clothes and then they put them near a hamper. Or not near a hamper. Anything goes in this house, apparently.

The dirty laundry pile then grows until I finally have time to do a load. Next, either the load stays in the dryer where everyone poaches individual items, or it goes into the giant to-be-folded pile. Oh, people, it doesn’t get better. Every once in a while we do all the laundry in the house, every bit, and then it all needs to be folded and it sits in a pile. Five people, including the baby, contributing to this mess.

Are we sensing a theme? Piles. Piles and piles and piles.

You thought I was kidding?


I am so over it. This is the year that I am going to get some laundry help and organization. The kids are old enough (except for the baby, of course) to fold and put their own clothes away. I have a few ideas.

The first step is to clear out that massive Everest of clean laundry. We need a place to put clean laundry besides the random baskets we have. I need to find the point where laundry is breaking down. If I can put a stop to the clothes that come through the system that are out of season, in disrepair, or in between sizes, it will cut down on redundancy.

Do you have any great laundry organization tips? A system that works for your family? Help a sister out!


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Comments (20)

  1. Jen Galan 01/24/2012 at 4:07 pm

    The only tip I have is to hang a bag from the laundry room door, and when I find clothes that are too small as I am sorting, they go right in the bag. Then when the bag is full it goes to the handmedown/storage area. I say this wearing the only set of clean clothes I own. Which I will probably wear for the next two days.

  2. Erin 01/24/2012 at 10:46 am

    The one load a day is the best thing for me (when I actually do it). I put one in in the morning, then I just have to remember sometime during the day to move it to the dryer. Then after the kids are down, I watch a movie or tv show while I fold to make it more bearable.

  3. Deanne 01/24/2012 at 8:19 am

    I am in the same boat here. In fact, not too long ago my daughter’s friend was visiting and was so appalled by the amount of laundry we had that she took me by the shoulders to show me. I believe it was accompanied by the words, “My mom has a chore. It’s called laundry.” (Bless her heart)

    Anyway, once upon a time, my laundry was totally under control. (I will never say I’m “caught up” on laundry because it will never be true unless we’re all naked.) Here’s how it worked for us then: My three oldest kids had a day of the week to be in charge of starting a load of laundry. I would give them an empty basket and tell them to choose a color (whites, lights, darks or towels) and collect a load of that color in their basket (we have dirty clothes baskets in each bedroom). They would start the load before they left for school, I would dry, fold and put it away while they were gone. The load a day worked really well for us and with the kids helping, I only had to be totally in charge of it two days a week.

    I use a kitchen bench to fold the laundry. I do not like to be banished to the laundry room to fold. I sit on the couch and put the bench in front of me. I have designated where everyone’s piles go on the bench (oldest to youngest) and then the trickiest part…putting it away! I try to time myself (set a timer or try to be back before the commercials end). I know it’s silly but it works. I realized that it doesn’t take that long to put away just one load of laundry.

    Now I’m off to tackle my mountain and get back to what works! Best of luck to you.

  4. Carina 01/24/2012 at 7:53 am

    Yesssss, ~j, yessss, I will draw out your secrets….

  5. ~j. 01/24/2012 at 6:46 am

    All right, that’s IT.

    Post being drafted.

  6. Pingback: Laundry Tips and Laundry Organization TodaysMama

  7. Rynell 01/24/2012 at 12:13 am

    I have not reached my ideal laundry status. I’m ok with my interim solution, though. I generally do most of our laundry (that’s at least 10 loads) in a two day period (Monday and Tuesday on a good week) and then on Friday or Saturday I do some additional loads, such as towels, sheets or whatever.
    I hate putting the laundry away. Each of my kids has a basket with their name on it. I fold and put their clothes in their basket and my three older kids take their baskets to their rooms and put the clothes away. It doesn’t always work out, so I just line the four baskets in our (weird) second hallway and my kids now know that their clothes are there. They eventually take them. I often have my kids sort the laundry or fold it.
    One thing that complicates matters it that my kids wear school uniforms, so it often feels like double the laundry if they also wear another set of clothes after school. I hang up the uniforms in their closets. A friend of mine said she was out of drawer space and she decided to hang up all her kids’ shirts and it worked for her. I just hang the uniforms and Sunday clothes. Another friend of mine has a huge laundry room and so she just keeps all the clothes in there similar to Sarah’s method.

  8. Sarah Giles 01/23/2012 at 9:58 pm

    I HAVE found a solution that works for me! I have enough shelving in my laundry room that I have turned it into the kids’ closet/dresser/changing room. I fold directly out of the dryer and put the clothes in a box on the shelves… The boxes are labeled “Henry’s tops” , “Henry’s socks” , etc. Each kid has 4 biggish boxes (tops, bottoms, pjs, others) and two smaller boxes (socks and underwear). I have 5 kids, so there are a lot of boxes, but it works! My oldest does her own laundry, but the for youngest go in the laundry room whenever they change their clothes. So they take of their dirty clothes and they at already in the laundry room. Sometimes they even Make it into the dirty clothes basket! I don’t use this system for mine or my husband’s clothes. The only thing you have to be truly diligent about is folding the clothes as they come out of the dryer. But not having that extra step of taking them to bedrooms to put them away has made all the difference for me. I realize this might not work for all or even most families. But you seem desperate, and it has been an amazing solution for me!

  9. Kall 01/23/2012 at 9:47 pm

    Each person in our family has their own basket except for Paul and I who share two (one for whites and one for darks). I wash the kids clothes on the same day generally, or as needed when their baskets get full or they run out of clothes, same for the adults. I do laundry basically every day, but it helps to break it down and fold immediately when they come out of the dryer (which almost never happens, fluff!). Oh and when they are small I pretty much wash all of their laundry together meaning I don’t sort whites and darks unless I have to. My mother is duly horrified by this.

  10. Steffb 01/23/2012 at 9:19 pm

    You have way too much – get rid of 80% of it and you have no choice but to keep up!

    • Carina Wytiaz 01/23/2012 at 9:29 pm

      Steffb – I COMPLETELY AGREE! I’ve been trying to winnow down our total volume to just essentials. We do not need this much. I know other moms who did the same thing. Two things have hampered my effort:
      1. The time to sort out the stuff that can go (I’m the only one with the editorial eye for the clothes and I’ve been so buried with work and new baby that DH has been just ramming laundry through, getting us into that cycle of cleaning clothes I don’t intend to keep.)

      2. MY MOTHER BOUGHT A ZILLION NEW CLOTHES FOR THE KIDS. I could have killed her. She meant well, but she nearly tripled their shirts when I was winnowing and put me back to square one. I could have screamed. I think I did.

      (To sum up: working on it.)

  11. Lori D 01/23/2012 at 6:34 pm

    YAY!! I am not the only one!!! You can’t believe how completely happy your pictures made me! Seriously. Y.A.Y. …Whoops, what I meant was “dang, that is some laundry pile!” LoL ( I hate laundry! Clean OR Dirty!)

  12. Zina 01/23/2012 at 1:57 pm

    One more thing: my system evolved after I got the same good advice others have shared, to do a load each day–but that also meant I had to let go of the idea of ever having everything clean at once. I do like to get ahead if I can, but I’ve adjusted to the idea of laundry being a continual process.

  13. Zina 01/23/2012 at 1:54 pm

    I have a simple solution to keeping up on laundry: Do laundry all day, every day.

    Ha ha ha. That’s my favorite completely-true joke.

    Laundry is my one talent; I didn’t even get very far behind when I broke my wrist, if you can believe it. And my system is very complicated, but I will try to share what I do in case you find something useful in it. (Then I will have to copy it all into a blog post, since it’s one I’ve sort-of meant to write for a while now.)

    I have four baskets for collecting dirty laundry, plus a “stain basket.” The baskets are all on shelves in my master bathroom because that’s where they fit. (Yes, it makes the bathroom something other than a luxurious, relaxing space. Oh, well.) One basket is for dirty linens (towels and sheets, which are the only things I bleach), another for underwear and socks, another for darks, and the last for everything else. And the stain basket is for anything that has obvious stains that will need pre-treating. The kids are supposed to put anything dirty and fitting these descriptions straight into the correct basket (we don’t have hampers). The nice thing about this system is that all the pre-sorted baskets except for the “everything else” can go straight into the washer any time they start to fill. I try to do at least one load of laundry a day, although when I’m ambitious I’ll do several loads for a couple of days so I can take a break for the rest of the week.

    Each of my kids also has a “worn clothes” drawer for not-obviously-dirty clothes that can be worn more than once: pajamas, jeans, shirts that they haven’t wiped their noses on, and so forth. (We used to call it their “dirty clothes” drawer but that gave them the wrong idea, since actually-dirty clothes are supposed to go in a basket.) Once a week (usually Monday) I empty all the stuff from those drawers into a basket and sort it. (Oh, I also reserve a section of my closet for worn clothes that I check for wrinkles and stains when I sort laundry.) Sometimes I just wash all the stuff from the worn-clothes drawers, but if a lot of it is still quite pristine, I might put it back in the drawers.

    I also soak things in OxiClean in plastic basins on my bathroom counter–generally I’ll only bother if it’s something light-colored that’s been splashed with grape juice, etc. (But that happens a lot.) Sometimes I soak things in the washer instead (big, yucky things) but I prefer the basins for smaller things because soaking in the washer ties the washer up for longer.

    Once everything’s sorted and pre-treated, throughout the week I just try to throw a load in every day. As I go along, my “everything else” basket gets sorted into light delicates, reds, or medium colors. I also try to fold things right after I take them out of the dryer (except for underwear or linens) since that helps things not to wrinkle. Often they will stay folded in the basket on my bedroom floor for a couple days until I get the kids to put them away, but a basket of folded clothes bothers me less than a jumbled mess.

    I don’t have my kids do their own laundry because that seems inefficient to me, but I make them help me. When my wrist was broken they had to do all the sorting and pre-treating, and they put loads in and take them out and fold, depending on what’s needed.

    Anyway, obviously a lot of these ideas are very specific to my space and circumstances, but maybe some of them can be adapted to be useful to you.

  14. Tera 01/23/2012 at 1:49 pm

    Yes. Clothes are taking over my life too. I used to get a way with a “laundry day.” HA! Those days are over. With the new little guy (making a total of 7 in our family now) I pretty much have to put a load in every day. I have two baskets in the laundry room to use for clean clothes. It works best when I fold the clothes as I take them out of the dryer. I put them in either the “girls” basket or “my” basket. At some point in the week I have the girls get their basket and put them away. I take care of the other basket. And I stay on top of things much better if I take care of that basket as soon as I fold it (although that doesn’t always happen). Yikes – the CLOTHES!!

  15. Erin 01/23/2012 at 12:27 pm

    Laundry is a tough one at our house, too… But, someone gave me some advice recently that I’ve held onto and it really does help me! Once you’ve got it all done, STAY ON TOP OF IT. Do at least one load a day, even if it’s a tiny load (just clothes for that day). And then, it’s not insurmountable. Something that works for me, too, is to fold the laundry when I lay the baby down for a nap. (Our laundry room and bedrooms are upstairs). So, when he goes down for a nap, I immediately go into the laundry room and get whatever load is in the washer and fold it. If I have a lot of laundry for that day, I’ll throw another load in at this time and then fold it when I put the baby to bed for the night.
    I’m still often overwhelmed by laundry… but I find that when I follow these two rules: Small loads and fold when the baby is napping (and the older kids can entertain themselves for 10-15 minutes) I am able to stay on top of it a little bit longer.
    Good luck. Laundry sucks.

  16. Rachael 01/23/2012 at 10:13 am

    Dude. I’ve got even better pictures for you. Someone could die in an avalanche of laundry at my house! It has seriously required a complete overhaul of our basement!

  17. Shannon 01/23/2012 at 9:06 am

    I don’t have any organizational advice for you, but I can’t tell you how good this post made me feel. I AM NOT ALONE!!!! I hate laundry. With a passion.

  18. Erica Fehrman 01/23/2012 at 7:45 am

    I am so there with you. Besides what you outlined, my husband and I are also guilty of stacking clothes in our respective corners of the bedroom. Not the straight-up dirty clothes, but the jeans or sweater that can be worn again but isn’t immediately put away. Ugh.

  19. Bebe McGooch 01/23/2012 at 6:45 am

    I have no words of wisdom. Especially since I don’t have that many people to do laundry for yet. For now, I must do it six days a week in order to avoid massive folding piles. My goal though is to get rid of half of our clothes, because we seriously wear less than half of them (so this is more of a closet issue instead of a laundry one).

    Except I AM one of those people who love love loves to fold baby clothes. I don’t know why, but that has yet to get old for me. Maybe it will by the time I have my last baby. C’s clothes are perfectly organized and folded and put away, whereas our closet is a jumbled, “is this clean or dirty?” type of mess. Time to attack the closet!