The Pinterest Laundry Tip That Made My Life Easier

laundry-tip-585When I had my first child, my laundry tripled. When the second was born, it somehow quadrupled from there. And then the third was born, and between spit-up on both of us at all times and bigger kids who love the multiple outfit changes a day, I figured there was no hope for me at all and I would forever be drowning in laundry. I was so sick of never being “done” that I tried to keep laundry to one day a week. That way I knew that day would involve a lot of up and down the stairs but the majority would get done. But that would lead to all of the clean laundry sitting in my bedroom, waiting to be folded. And if I got busy (which, always), it would sit there until I was forced to do it because the next laundry day had arrived or someone ran out of underwear. Then I tried the method of just always doing laundry all the time, but it always inevitably piled up in my bedroom.

So I was on Pinterest the other day when a post caught my eye. It said something like, “Laundry: You’re Doing It Totally Wrong (You Moron).” My curiosity got the best of me, and despite an aversion to most Pinteresty things (I do not excel at the cuteness typically), I clicked. The article said that to make your life easier, you should sort laundry by people, not by color. Don’t worry about whites and darks, it said, just throw everything in there, fold the clothes on the person’s bed and you will magically be a laundry genius.

I used to employ this laundry method when it was just three of us. I kept my oldest daughter’s laundry separate because I used special detergent until I determined that she didn’t have sensitive skin, but after that I just started dumping everything in by colors. It was nice to not wait an eternity to wash a single red shirt of mine because I always had a pink load going for my daughter. But this post made me wonder if I was doing it all wrong, so I decided to give it a shot.

Now, if you want to employ this method, don’t expect miracles. But after a few weeks of trying it, I will say that it has made things run more smoothly than before. There is a significant amount of time spent pre-sorting. Rather than easily grabbing colors, it does take a little big longer to sort clothes by person. Is that an itty-bitty baby sock or a just a small 3-year-old’s sock? Is that girly pink shirt an infant one or the older girl’s? But the payoff to the pre-sorting is that once you have a dry basket of clean clothes, you know they belong to one person. And here is where it pays off big time. Once that load is folded, you take it to the right dresser and unload it all in one fell swoop. No more baskets that require trips to each bedroom to empty. The days when laundry just sits in my bedroom waiting to be put away are now quite rare, thankfully.

The only other drawback I’ve found to this method is that you might run low on socks or underwear for a particular person before you have a load ready to go for them. But that’s probably more a quirk of my family because the 3-year-old prefers not to wear a pair of underwear for more than 10 minutes so they’re always missing in action and end up in the laundry room. We also had a problem with my husband’s jeans — they turned from a dark wash to a gray — but I found out later that they were supposed to be turned inside out (not to mention that they were also washed in warm water — glad I didn’t do it!) I would probably wash new items separately the first time, but other than that, I’m a convert to the system. It might not make less laundry, but if it’s not hanging out in my room for a week, I consider it a victory.

Do you employ the By-the-Person laundry system? Do something else genius entirely? I can’t wait to be like, “Okay, you’re tall enough to reach the controls; it’s all yours, suckers!” —Erin

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  1. Jenn says:

    What works for me? Doing laundry once a week, and having one basket per person to sort the clean clothing into. When all laundry is dry, I fold each person’s clothing all at once if I’m feeling generous (husbands work shirts get hung immediately) , otherwise the clean basket gets deposited on their beds.. Since my boys wear only athletic clothing and I work from home mostly in yoga pants, a few wrinkles won’t kill us, and this method totally saves my sanity.

  2. Vanessa says:

    F.y.i you don’t have to wait for them to be able to reach the controls my mom made me start doing my own laundry at seven and got me a step stool.

  3. Deanna Perkins says:

    Honestly, we still sort by color. We have whites/lights, darks and towels. My husband is a HUGE helper, so we normally do our laundry once a week. We fold clothes and place them in piles: daughter, daddy and mommy and hang all clothes as we go. We always sort socks into a laundry basket and once everything else is folded we tackle the socks…so much easier then trying to pair as you go!! Then, during a commercial break, we take all the folded laundry upstairs and put it away. It might sound complicated, but this really is the quickest way. We also normally always wash all the clothes and once everything is done put on a show or movie and do all the folding in one go. It really helps so laundry doesn’t feel like an entire day thing, it feels like a couple hour thing at most. 😀