I haven't read all of the posts, so this may be old news, but here is my system:
Right now it is DH, me, and ds (6 months).
We have 3 hampers in our bathroom - whites, colors, and clothes that we hang to dry (dh's work clothes that are nylon shorts, track suits, etc.). I have a laundry basket in my closet that I toss random things into.
DS has a laundry basket in his closet. The diaper pail is also in his room.
There is another hamper in the laundry room (which is on the 1st floor off of the kitchen) for anything that never makes it upstairs.
Mostly I try to throw a load in in the morning before I leave for work. I just wash whatever hamper/basket/pail is the fullest (ds's clothes, our whites, etc.). Diapers have priority over everything else if we are running out of pf's cloth wipes, or covers! I check the basket in my closet and the laundry room hamper for whatever is in there that can be added to the load. I transfer it to the dryer (or hang it up in the basement) when I get home in the afternoon. I TRY to fold it and put it away as soon as the dryer stops. That last step I have slacked off on a bit since ds has been around. I just fold the laundry on top of the washer and dryer, put the folded laundry back in the laundry basket, and carry it upstairs.
On weekends I sometimes do several back-to-back loads of clothes, diapers, bedsheets, or towels. Sometimes I challenge myself to keep the washer running continuously (have another load "on deck" ready to go in as soon as the previous load is finished). When I get that done, then I can relax a bit about doing laundry on weekday mornings.
I think part of the trick is having the "right" amount of clothes. You can't have so many that you have mounds of laundry (and nowhere to put it all when it is clean). You also have to have enough that you can go several days and not run out of underwear or some other wardrobe "essential." Also, doing laundry based on the room where it needs to be put away helps the putting away process. I like being able to carry a basket straight up to ds's room and empty it all there without having to stop in our room, at the linen closet, etc.
For my college years and then the first 5 years of our marriage, we did not have a washer and dryer. Getting our own machines a few years ago was such a luxury for me that I LOVED doing laundry. The convenience of having your own machines should NOT be taken for granted! I still find it to be quite satisfying.
In all of our apartments, clean, unfolded laundry lived on one of our couches. There seemed to always be laundry to fold. When we moved into our house 2 years ago, one of my personal rules was that no laundry was allowed in the living room. I fold it all in the laundry room (even though that room is VERY small - just enough room for the washer, dryer, one hamper, and a shoe rack. Even then you can only stand in front of the washer and have to reach sideways into the dryer.) The only exception to that rule now is that sometimes I'll bring the basket over to where ds is playing on the floor (in the living or dining room) and fold it "with" him. I give him all of the socks (it's his job to match them
) and play peek-a-boo with clothes/towels/etc. as I am folding them. I love doing that so much that I actually miss him if he is napping during laundry-folding time.