Originally Posted by Adamsmama
I can't keep up, our laundry room is a mess all the time. What do I do? Any tips on keeping things sorted and done?
Not more bins! Over-sorting leads to lots of piles or bins waiting to collect enough more items to justify being run through the washer.
Getting clothing in and out of the washer is the primary objective.
Most clothing can be washed together ... it doesn't hurt towels to share with the sheets, or the underwear to share with shirts. Make every load count by running a full load as often as possible, or at least a medium load.
Most clothing can be washed in cold water: The stuff that says "Warm Wash, Warm Rinse" will do just fine in a cold/cold load. Set the washer on Cold Wash, Cold rinse, large load and forget about it. I've washed clothes for years with no hot water at all, except for the rare "ewwww, gotta hot water and bleach this
Laundry soap will kill any germs you may be worried about.
Don't buy clothing that can't tolerate this laundry style - any exceptions that have to be washed on delicate, hung to dry, bleed dye even after the second washing, or are otherwise a pain in the patootie to launder have to have something really special going for them - like being outerwear, or fancy dress clothing.Kids clothing and bedding:
Pretreat the stains and toss it in a bin. As soon as you have one load accumulated, throw it in the washer. If you have energy restrictions on when you can run the dryer, it can wait in a laundry basket for the dryer. But it's washed!
Speed sort the dried clothing ... one bin per child, toss the items in there or hang it up and drape it on the side of the kid's bin. Stack the bins, take the bins to their rooms, hang up the hangers and fold and stash the clean clothing. An alternate 1-basket method is to go to first bedroom, hang and stash the clothing for that child, repeat in each room. Fewer bins, same amount of sorting work.
Even with occasional bed-wetting and a messy toddler, this method and one load a day should keep up with the kid's clothes and bedding.
Adults: one load of sheets, one load of towels, and three loads for clothing (split however makes sense ... levis, shirts, underwear?) should keep you for a week. I take the sheets straight to the washer on a set day of the week, towels go from rods to washer, so there are no piles or bins for them. Clothing accumulates in the hamper and gets sorted onto the bedroom floor and then goes into the washer. Depending on the mix, I may wash shirts and undies together, levis and towels, or whatever makes the fewest sensibly sorted loads.
ADDING: I don't even sort lights and darks after their first wash ... I've never noticed a problem with color transfer.