I find if I keep the laundry chores in small tasks, it's so much more managable for us. I just went through a little laundry tutorial, coutesy of a couple of good friends, because we now have a laundry room lareg enough for me to sort in one area (acutally just a corner in the unfinished part of the basement). Anyway, I do at least one load a day and try to make sure all clean laundry is put away before bedtime. I do all the washing and drying and folding, but the kids (7, 5, & 3) do all the gathering, sorting and putting away. I use small dishwashing buckets---they are good size for the kids to walk up and down the steps with. Putting away any clean laundry is now part of our evening routine---usually done right before brushing teeth and storytime. Bringing down dirty clothes and sorting them into the hampers in the laundry room (lights, darks, towels, jeans) is done pretty much each morning. Only my daughters have an actual small hamper in their room---but even they generally just bring their clothes down in their hands. If we've missed a day or two, I'll just bring a large laundry basket into the hallway and announce, in my Monty Python voice, "Bring out your dirties!" (it's only funny to me but who cares?)
I had to really let go of some perfectionism for this to work. The kids, my youngest especially, aren't great about getting nicely folded clothes into their drawers without crumbling them up. But, like anything else, that's a skill. And, I still do all the things that need to go on hangers---they simply can't reach. I've also really pared down the sheer amount of clothes we have. We have been very fortunate to receive lots of really wonderful hand-me-downs from family and friends, but we just can't house everything in our home. I pass forward anything that my kids don't love to wear.
So, for me, the key is to do just a little each day. I can't face an entire day spent on laundry, but 10-20 min each morning and evening is ok.
As for stains, I've got no info. We just live a life of stained clothes around here. This is something I wish I were better about, but it's just not a huge priority for me right now. My youngest has taken to changing into pjs when the sun sets, so she's usually in them for dinner. That makes spaghetti night much less of an issue. Pretty much every nightgown she has is now stained.
And, FTR, this is definitely an imperfect system. Stuff falls through the cracks (literally---I find socks and underwear in the oddest places) and pile of laundry--clean and dirty---do seem to appear out of nowhere some days. But, for the most part, it's working.