Laundry Intervention: A Day of Reckoning

There it was. The mile high pile of clothes that had taken on a life of it's own. I swore mildy under under my breath at the thought of tackling this beast. What was I going to do? How was I going to tame the wild monster that had so easily taken over the master closet?

I sat there, scratching my head with the tip of my index finger...wondering how it was going to happen. There were a few road blocks to success in my path:
  1. Our bedroom is upstairs. Anyone who lives in a 2 story home knows what the pain of lugging large quantities of clothes up and down the stairs does to a person's soul. It makes you. Never. Ever. Want to do a load of laundry again.
  2. We had one of those canvas and aluminum "laundry sorters": a.k.a. "The Pit of Despair". Sure it might work downstairs, in an actual laundry room- but I thought somehow it would work upstairs in the closet, since we didn't have room near the washer and dryer. Big Mistake. Big.
  3. 4 people in our family + a week's worth of clothes = 9 loads of laundry. Do I need to say more?
  4. The Sock Monster: He lives in our dryer. And eats socks for lunch. I can never get the same amount of socks that go in, to come out.
  5. Getting them in the wash is enough of a chore. But, get them out, fold them and then put them away? You have got to be kidding me.
I stood there for a moment and wished that Beverly D'Angelo from Maid To Order would swoop down, snap her fingers and it would just magically appear clean, folded and in the drawers....

That moment came and went.

I needed  a laundry intervention. I needed to intervene on my own behalf. I was just going to have to figure this out on my own. And needed a lot of strength from God. Because I sure didn't have it in me.

Here's how the intervention went down. There was lots of self talk, some internal grumbling and eventually, by the end of the day, I heard the voice of Giselle from Enchanted singing "Happy Little Working Song".
  1. I decided the cornerstone of my my epic laundry failure was that hideous excuse for a solution called the laundry sorter. It had to go. Now. I picked up a simple vertical hamper from Target. The less laundry it held the better. I would be less inclined to let the clothes pile on top, creating a veritable Mount Olympus.
  2. And instead of lugging heaping piles of clothes down the stairs, I just threw it all over the side of the stairs. Problem Solved.
  3. Along with the new, smaller (albeit taller) laundry basket, I purchased a 12x12 inch mesh laundry bag. Every sock we own goes in there. When I want to do a load, I throw the bag in with the other clothes. Magically, the same socks that go in, come out.
  4. I then purged excess clothing that I no longer need, want or wear. Repeat with husband's clothes. Donate.
  5. Next up, I try and do a load every few days or every day. Usually, we don't have enough of the same kind of load (i.e. darks, etc.) to do an entire load. And I hate doing little kid clothes with grown up clothes. And really, who wants to do laundry every day? Call me weird. So, it's about a two day turnover for us.
  6. When I must do multiple loads of laundry, I try and alternate the types of loads. I do a load of darks, then a load of towls, then a load of lights, then a load of jeans. Thereby, alternating the amount of items needing to be folded and allowing me to catch up.
  7. My husband's stinky running/coaching clothes get their own separate, small basket, away from everyday clothes. Underneath that I stack extra sorting baskets, for days when there are multiple loads.
  8. I also keep a small  basket on top of the washer for dish rags, hand towels, and the odd piece of child clothing that mysteriously makes it's way downstairs.
So far, I am on week 2 and it's working out. Less clothes + smaller hamper size = less overall laundry. And the laundry I am doing, has a working system.

It feels good.

*photo by antwerpenR


  1. What a great system! With a toddler I do laundry lot. I really like your sock idea.

  2. canuck_grad4:37 AM

    This is so funny, because I couldn't live without our laundry sorter! Well, we did for years when we had a huge closet in a 2 bedroom apartment with no baby... then we had 3 laundry baskets on our closet floor instead. Now we have a smaller closet and the floor space is taken up by plastic drawer units because there is no room for a dresser in our room.

    Anyway, we have a 3-bin canvas laundry sorter in our hallway, and I can't imagine not having it. If I had to sort through a basket of laundry looking for the right type of clothes I would *never* do laundry. As it is, I can easily see when there is a full load of each type. Similar to your system, I try to do a load every day or two, and alternate the type. Our washer and dryer are in our kitchen, and there is a space between the dryer and the wall from where the dryer vent thingy attaches - so I hung a mesh bag on the side of the dryer with a 3M hook, and that is where we put dirty dishcloths, etc.

  3. Laundry just never ends around here! I have to do at least 2 loads a day to keep from falling behind.

  4. I love to do laundry and think that your system is great!

  5. I just added your blog to my reader yesterday! I love this post about laundry. I suffer from many of the same problems! I got those exact same laundry baskets from target and they really do make a difference. I aslo throw my dirty linens/clothes over the banister. And I don't like mixing up big clothes and little clothes either! I really like your idea from #6 to ease the burden of folding. Folding is the worst part! Thanks for a great post!

  6. That's great that you found a system that works for you. Our laundry kept piling up, too, and finally I figured out a good system that worked for me and it really does feel good to not have a piling of laundry mocking you every day! :)

  7. A suggestion... when we lived in a two story house, I bought giant mesh laundry bags at Target and used them to line the upstairs hampers. Then when it was time to do the laundry I just cinched the bag shut and threw it down the stairs, then I could haul it to the washer in one easy trip.

    Which begs the question--why don't more two story houses have the laundry room on the second floor? I'm starting to see that more and more in the new constructions here they're moving towards that.

  8. Anonymous11:50 AM

    I admire the system since I am only ONE and I can't deal with laundry! I wait until the last minute...so according to that I'm OK until next Monday!

  9. I hate laundry. I used to have the same Mount Olympus problem. I have now designated Monday, Wednesday and Friday laundry days. I now I have a little sorter so the to be folded piles are more manageable.
    Great job and keep up the good work.

  10. Ugh...the laundry! Literally makes me a crazy person...5 people (with one under age one) = a lot of clothes. And I was always so judgmental of people who had unfolded, clean laundry sitting around (back when I had one kid and knew everything). It is the folding & putting away that gets me every time too. But I have started an every 2-3 day cycle too and that has really helped a lot. Love your sock tip! (sorry for the completely random comment) :-)

  11. I HATE laundry!!!!!

  12. We've been doing something similar lately...and enjoying the newfound freedom so far!! ;-D

  13. You can not have the sock monster living in your dryer because he is in mine.
    Actually I think the manufacturers of socks make one in a material that dissolves in water and that is why I can never find the match.

  14. Anonymous11:49 AM

    I just wash 2 kinds of laundry HOT or COLD. All kids items and our whites go in the HOT and everything else goes in COLD.

    My monster resides in the dryer, where it is virtually emptied only when the dryer is needed for the next load. But at least this ensures that it is emptied at some point in the week. ;)

  15. I love dumping my hampers over the stair rail! I don't know why, but it gives me joy, lol. I'm glad you've discovered it, too!

    But your sock solution? That's genius. Thanks for sharing it!

  16. I love your sock idea! Thank for the tip! I have three boys, and they never have socks that match! If I send my kids out the door in the morning in matching socks, I'm patting myself on the back and nominating myself for mother of the year. lol
    I am facing a laundry marathon this very minute and am enjoying your blog in hopes that it will wash itself!

  17. After many bouts of laundry angst, hubs agreed to the great laundry room makeover. We ripped out the cabinets, installed a closet system, and filled it with the kid's clothes. Now I grab from the dryer, fold and put away all in one motion!

    Leaves the closets for toy storage too!

  18. This sounds fairly similar to the system I use - except I kept the yucky laundry sorter - only I made it work for me, not the other way around. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the sock bag idea though! My biggest sock monster is for the smallest socks - you know the toddler and under socks that never ever seem to have the same pairs going into the basket as they did going onto the feet and forget about it when sorting after it's all said and done. I'm going to have to figure out the sock bag for my little girls socks, it sounds too perfect to pass up!

  19. I really enjoyed this post! Love your system, thanks for the inspiration. I normally try and wash every third day. I use cotton nappies and need to wash them at least every third day - then I do a proper laundry day and do at least 3 loads of clothing as well. Luckily here in SA we can basically use the clothes line outside 99% of the time and I hardly use my dryer. I am good at washing and hangin, but terrible when it comes to the folding and the ironing! Hate it!