12 Life-Changing Tips for When You Are Overwhelmed by Laundry
It can be difficult to keep up with all of the laundry, especially when you have a family. There is a never-ending amount of laundry to be done, am I right?! Just when you finish washing, drying, folding, and putting away all of the laundry, you instantly see 10 more things that are dirty. But, when you are overwhelmed by laundry, there are some key things you can do that will seriously simplify your life.
Do you feel like you are swimming in laundry? You might have mountains of dirty and clean laundry around your home at all times. It could be to the point where you aren’t even sure what is clean and what is dirty anymore! Or maybe your clothes are getting wrinkled before you ever get around to folding them.
If this is you, this post is a must read. I’m going to help you determine why you are overwhelmed by laundry so that you know EXACTLY what needs to change. You can get your laundry under control for good with these life-changing laundry tips!
Why You Are Overwhelmed by Laundry
It’s important for you to understand why you are overwhelmed by laundry. The reason is different for each of us, so I am going to cover some of the main reasons you may be overwhelmed.
It may be one of these, or a combination of any of them. Learning the actual problem in your home will help you choose which laundry tips below you most need to implement.
You have too much.
When you have more than you actually need, it will always be difficult to keep up with laundry. It causes us to go longer between laundry days, making the amount to be done overwhelming.
You don’t have a good routine or key habits in place.
You have to find a laundry routine that works with your schedule. If what you are doing isn’t working, be willing to make a change! Also, if you have bad laundry habits, such as leaving dirty clothes on the floor, you need to focus on improving your habits as well.
You’re making it harder than it needs to be.
Sometimes we unintentionally make things more complicated than they are in reality. It could be that we have habits that are good but unnecessary.
And it could be that we are simply doing it the way we have always done it without thinking too much about what might make it easier. (Besides just avoiding it all together!)
You are taking on too much of the responsibility.
Moms especially tend to take too much on their plates, feeling it is their duty to do everything for everyone. Remember, you likely have so much more on your plate than your mom had when she was raising you. It is okay to not be able to do it all.
Besides, we are really doing our children a disservice when we fail to teach them these essential life skills.
12 Tips to Help When You Are Overwhelmed by Laundry
When you are overwhelmed by laundry, use these life-changing tips to make your life easier so that you can gain control of your laundry situation once and for all!
1. Declutter your wardrobe
The #1 reason why people are overwhelmed by laundry is that they simply have too much. So, decluttering your closets and drawers is a great place to start. Get honest about what you and your family members actually need and wear, and get rid of the excess.
Don’t forget towels and sheets as well! For bath towels, I recommend keeping two per person max. The same goes for washcloths (if they use them!). For hand towels, keep two per bathroom. For kitchen towels, you should keep at least two dish-drying rags and two washcloths for wiping the table and counters.
But, keep in mind how often you plan on washing towels (and clothes) when you decide how many you need.
Bonus tip: Create a capsule wardrobe for you and each of your family members. A capsule wardrobe is a carefully curated smaller amount of clothes that mix-and-match easily so that you always look put together (while owning less)!
2. Buy Low-Maintenance Clothing
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by laundry when you have a ton of high-maintenance items.
When you’re shopping for new clothing and other household items, check the tags for laundry instructions. Stay away from dry clean only if you have a hard time getting errands done. And, avoid items that are hand-wash only as these will dramatically increase the time you spend doing laundry.
You should also consider avoiding items that can’t go in the dryer. Obviously, doing laundry will be a lot easier if you don’t have to hang anything or lay anything flat to dry. When you just need to move everything from the washer to the dryer, it’s a task that can easily be done even at the busiest of times.
Bonus tip: Make sure you have a good spot for hanging clothing or laying items flat to dry like this drying rack. Keep extra hangers for this in the laundry area so clothing can easily be hung in closets once they are dry.
3. Use a basket in each room
Each bedroom needs a laundry basket for dirty clothes. And, each person should be expected to use it instead of leaving items on the floor or around the room.
You will save yourself some serious time if you aren’t going around the house picking up dirty socks and sweatshirts that your kids threw off throughout the week.
(When each person has their own basket, it will make it easier to implement tip #8!)
4. Put stained clothing on the washer
If you spill coffee on your shirt, put the shirt on top of the washer instead of in your laundry basket. That way, you know that everything in your basket can go directly in the washing machine without any extra spraying/scrubbing. Now you don’t have to inspect every item for stains before loading the washer!
Teach your family to do the same and you will be golden.
5. Establish a laundry routine
When you are overwhelmed by laundry, finding a laundry routine that works with your schedule is a must. Try a new laundry routine each week for a month to find what works best for you and your family!
Wash a load every day if you can. You could do one person’s laundry each day, with towels and sheets being all that’s left for the weekend!
Put a load in the washer right away in the morning, and move it to the dryer before you leave for work. Then, fold and put away the laundry whenever it works for your schedule.
Many dryers have a setting that turns the dryer on every once in a while to prevent wrinkles until you are able to deal with what’s inside. Even if your dryer doesn’t do this, simply run it for 10-15 minutes one last time before folding if it has been sitting in your dryer for a while.
If doing a load every day isn’t working for you, stick with a bulk laundry day. Do your best to stay on top of moving loads throughout the day by setting a timer so you can focus on other tasks without completely forgetting about the laundry.
Don’t you hate when you realize you’ve had a load sitting in the washing machine all day?!
6. Keep a clear folding space
If you’re hoping to promptly fold and put away laundry, it helps if you keep your designated folding area clear. So if you fold laundry in your laundry room, keep the counter clear at all times. If you fold clothing on the dining room table, aim to keep it clear and clean every day.
I like to fold clothing on my bed, which has also become the extra motivation for me to make my bed each day!
Bonus tip: Put folded clothing back in the basket to easily carry it to the appropriate room. Place the basket on the person’s bed so they see they have clothing to be put away before going to sleep!
7. Stop sorting
I know, I know. You’re supposed to sort whites from colors, then dark colors from light colors. If you don’t do this, your clothes will bleed onto each other and ruin everything. Right? Wrong.
The only time you should really need to wash things sorted in this way is when they are brand new. That’s when dark colors like red or denim tend to bleed. After that, go ahead and throw all of your clothing in together!
Bonus tip: Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to each load you wash to keep colors from running AND remove odors from workout clothes and the like.
8. Separate loads by person
Now that you’re not sorting your clothes, you don’t have to mix your family members’ clothing together to make large enough loads. Simply wash each person’s clothing separately.
Separating loads by a person makes doing laundry so much faster because you’re not trying to figure out what belongs to who as you fold and put away.
I used to wash my two daughters’ clothing together, but then folding and putting their clothes away was a nightmare. Even though they were completely different sizes, so much of what they owned looked almost the same. I would inevitably end up giving them some of the wrong socks or underwear every time.
Bonus tip: Try buying one color or style of socks/underwear for each kid so you always know who things belong to, especially if you aren’t going to wash their clothes separately.
9. Wash only as needed
Another way we end up unnecessarily overwhelmed by laundry is by washing items before its actually needed. Maybe you have a child who likes to completely change several times a day. Or maybe you don’t like to re-wear clothing.
But is it dirty? If it’s not really dirty, don’t put it in the laundry basket. If you can re-wear it, then you probably should. You are saving yourself time and some serious money by not washing items more than needed. Not only that, but you are increasing the longevity of these items!
Try limiting each family member to one bath towel per week. (Having fewer bath towels around in the first place will help with this.) Re-wear pajamas since you only sleep in them! Train your kids to put their pajamas on their bed for the next night instead of in the laundry basket.
(Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to do this!) 😉
10. Stop folding underwear and socks
There are certain things that don’t really need to be folded. You will save yourself some time by not folding underwear. They don’t really get wrinkled, but if they did, who would see?
Consider not folding socks either, especially if you only buy one type/color of socks for each person.
11. Pass Off Some of the Responsibility
Put some of the responsibility back on your family members to make sure their clothes get washed when needed. Obviously, requiring them to put dirty items in their laundry basket is the first step.
Beyond that, you can have family members bring their basket to the laundry room when they’re running low on clothing. As long as you have a regular laundry routine, you will see that their items need cleaning. At a minimum, you will be saving yourself the time and energy of gathering everyone’s clothes.
If you do your child’s laundry on the same day each week, simply tell them it’s their responsibility to bring their basket to the washing machine on that day.
12. Delegate age-appropriate tasks
The larger your family, the more likely you are to feel overwhelmed by laundry. But the good news is the larger your family, the more people you have who are old enough to help in some way.
I promise…there is something that almost everyone in your household can do.
A toddler can already start to put clothes away in drawers. A young school-age child can begin learning to fold. An older child can do their own laundry from start to finish. You may only need to help with stains when they are first getting started out.
I did this with my family, gradually increasing responsibility as they’ve gotten older. Let me tell you, it has worked wonders! My 6-year-old is at the stage when she can fold and put away her own clothing, and my 11- and 12-year-olds now do their laundry completely on their own.
Bonus tip: Do laundry with your young kids so they get used to the concept. Let them try to help, even if they can’t do it perfectly!
When you are overwhelmed by laundry, there are so many things you can do to alleviate some of the burden. You don’t have to be in over your head.
I hope you found some new ideas from my truly life-changing laundry tips for you to implement to simplify your life in this area. There is hope if you make some small but necessary changes. You got this, girl!
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.
Great tips! I have definitely reduced the amount of clothes in my closet since I realized I don’t wear a lot of them. This has made space easier and laundry less intimidating.
Thanks! Most of us only wear 20% of our clothes. Isn’t that crazy?! I’m glad that you’ve seen the benefits of a smaller wardrobe. 😊
I saved this post for later, a great reminder to read every now and then!
Awesome! Thanks for checking it out.
I’m good on this one, systems all in place and working well. Two people in household, wear our outer clothing more than once. House is compact, dry clothing goes from dryer to master bedroom to be folded and put away. Bonus is that clothing must be put away before bedtime.
I’m happy to hear that you have found a system that works well for you, Karen!
This is a great post! I can definitely use these tips dealing with chronic illness. Laundry is one of my hardest tasks of the week! I do well especially with low-maintenance clothes and keeping my wardrobe small. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much! I’m glad you found some helpful tips in this post. 😊
We wear clothes longer, wash sheets every two weeks, towels can be used by one person longer by using different colors for each person for bath towels.
Thanks for sharing your tips, Laura!
How I’d love to delegate & teach my Other Half that clothing dropped at the bottom of the overflowing clothes stand does not reach the laundry basket by itsekf! (sometimes, silently, I use my finger to move my nosetip, just like in Bewitched, sigh and suddenly say “No, no, they won’t go”, he laughs, but that doesn’t change anything!)
One extra mini-tip to add to your list of very useful ones: as we don’t have socks & underwear in only one color, at least, I try to choose similar colors on 2 days in a row.
This helps quite a lot as I’m afraid some of your tips cannot be used here in France: washing machines are different, so it’s either vinegar of softener, not both (and you cannot add anything during the cycle); no way you can find more than 50% of our clothes that go in the dryer (and I made some painful experiments out of optimism after one of my trips to the States!), a number of our clothes still bleed after months or years so I still need to sort…
Fortunately, there are only two of us, or I’d be more than overwhelmed!
LOL! Thank you for sharing your tip. Yeah, I don’t have as many readers outside of the U.S., so thank you for pointing out what may not work in Europe. I hope you are still able to find ways to simplify laundry for you!
“Stop folding socks and underwear” is such a mindshift, that afterward you wonder why you ever did it at all. Establishing a routine has also been an important part of me being productive with the laundry, but the routine doesn’t have to be that finely detailed. Thanks for the advice!