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Laundry. You sort, you wash, you fold, you blink – and the pile of dirty clothes has grown all over again. Laundry is a fact of life, but approaching the task in an organized way can make it more manageable.

Preparation is Half the Battle
If you have a large family (or lots of clothes!), sorting the laundry can be a daunting task all on its own. Sorting as you go not only ends the need for this part of the project, but also may encourage you to do laundry more often because it's all sorted and ready to go! Use a multi-compartmented hamper or several laundry baskets and as you throw in your dirty clothes just drop them in the appropriate section (even kids as young as pre-schoolers can learn to do this -- make it fun for them, give them a small reward (an extra 15 minutes of TV? staying up 10 minutes later?) each time they get everything in the right spot!)

Toss items that need dry cleaning into a special basket or bag as soon as you take it off. This way, when you are ready to go to the cleaners you can just grab them, rather than having to hunt for them in all the dirty laundry (ugh!)

Make a habit of always keeping a spare of laundry detergent, dryer sheets and whatever else you use regularly. That way you never have to drop everything and run to the store to complete your laundry (or use that as a reason to not complete the laundry...).

Put Away the Clean Clothes in a Flash!
Keep hangers and a folding hanging rack near the dryer. Save steps by putting hanging items directly on hangers rather than folding and toting them first. As you fold clean laundry, place items in baskets by person to simplify the process of putting it all away. Get everyone in on the act. Even small children can help put away some of their own clothes -- socks, underwear, etc. Older kids can put it all away. If you share the burden, it's not so overwhelming.

We know it's hard, but go through your drawers and closets and purge things that are never worn. Putting laundry away is much faster and more pleasant if you don't have to struggle to cram the clothes into an overstuffed space.

Set a side a small drawer or basket for socks that have lost their mate in the wash. Sooner or later the other sock will turn up and the pair can be put away with all the others.

Other Laundry Tips
Consider sprucing up and organizing the laundry area. A clean and well-organized space makes any task more enjoyable. Schedule set laundry days and stick to them. It's amazing how much more you can get done when you have a schedule.

Short of inventing disposable clothes, laundry is here to stay, but these tips should make it quicker and a little more manageable and you will never have a morning with nothing to wear.

Copyright 2004
Bridget Messino

About the author: Bridget Messino is a Professional Organizer and co-owner of Clutter Free Living, Inc. Her work frequently appears on many Internet sites and on her own organizing site http://www.clutterfreeliving.com as well as in her monthly Home Organizing Newsletter How to Be Clutter Free. Subscribe to the FREE monthly e-newsletter by sending a blank e-mail to mailto:[email protected]
 

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Thanks Sara!!!! I'm going to have my kids all read this. they are in charge of laundry here at home!!!;)
 

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Good little article.

I especially like and can vouch for the tip about dejunking closets and drawers so that putting away is easy.

Doing a lot of pre sorting (I don't fold much of anything) as I pull it out from the dryer helps me drop it off in the appropriate rooms.

I like to have hangers by the washer and dryer for shirts, pull out hot and fresh, no wrinkles.

Laundry days (for me it's working out to be about every other day now-- but with everyone home it was a daily) scoop the naked hangers and toss down to the laundry with the contents of the dirty clothes so you have those hangers there ready to use.

I've invested in several packs of sturdy plastic hangers so no rust or bending or tangling (the old wire ones tangle so badly)

Once upstairs with clean dry stuff for our bedroom and the linen closet, I empty it onto the bed and open drawers and just toss into the appropriate drawers.

No folding, just toss.

Shoe boxes help contain the tossed in panties, hankies, bras or in the linen closet, the facecloths and cleaning cloths.

I keep a drawer just for sox, all white, all same size that dh and I share, no sorting, no pairing, just toss in the drawer.

He has a big drawer just for his weeks worth of undershirts, just toss.

By having those drawers cleaned out from junk, I can do the sort, toss thing and close the drawers back up in a flash.
 

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Thanks Sara! I can use all the helpful hints I can get about organizing the laundry.
 

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Great tips Sara and Margery, thanks! :)
 

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I have hangers in the laundry room as well, and outside by the clothes lines, However, the kids know round here they are all old enough to do their part, so when I do laundry, if there is some of theirs in it, whatever belongs to them gets folded and put in their spot at the dining table, and until they pick it up and put it away they do not sit down to eat!
So, each day there is alway something for them to put away and they grab theirs when they walk through the door, put it away and there ya go!!
 
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