Laundry Routines that Work #1

Earlier this year I showed you My New Sorting Clean Laundry Routine and the response from you, my lovely readers, was amazing, I received an abundance of great examples of your laundry routines. Thank you to so many of you that shared your routines with me, over the next few months I want to share them all, as I really enjoy reading about how other families run their households too.

Create a laundry routine that works for your family, here are quite a few systems that other households use that work for them!

AS TAKING CLOTHES OFF – My washing is sorted as we take off clothes and put them straight into the baskets at night; whites, coloured, darks and linen/towels. When a basket is full or I know that our limited number of work uniforms have been worn I do that load. Everything is folded as soon as possible after drying (the “do it now” principle) and each family member is expected to put away their own clothes. Ironing is attended in the very early morning while it is cool in summer and to warm me up on a winter morning. Works for me but I know that everyone has to find what works for them and this can change depending on what stage your family is at.

HANGING SMALLS – One section for each family member. Plus, I hang the “smalls” (undies, socks etc) on the inside lines, gradually going longer (tops, shorts then long pants & dresses etc last) towards the outside lines, so that when it comes to taking them off & folding, the biggest/heaviest clothes are taken & folded first so end up on the bottom of the basket with “smalls” on the top. Easier to put away too.

SORT BY PERSON – My laundry routine revolves around my Hills Hoist style clothesline and the fact there are four in my family. As I retrieve the washing from the machine I place it in the washing basket in a very orderly fashion so that the clothes of each family member are together. I then hang out the clothes using one side of the clothesline for each person. When I take them off, I take my husband’s off first, then mine, then my daughter’s and finishing with my son’s. I fold all the clothes as I go. So when I come inside it’s simply a matter of putting them straight in the drawers, one person at a time. I like making the job as easy as possible at the end!

SORT BY PERSON – When I’m organised I do much the same -sort by person as I hang it out – and it was such a life changer when i stopped scoffing at old people who suggested it and gave it a go. Also i try to sort the clothes into ‘drawers’ as i unpeg so the folded piles are (in theory) just grab and pack when it comes to putting it away. When I’m not organised (which is a lot lately) the washing sits unfolded until we run out of empty baskets … It was easier at our previous house where the line was under a shelter and i wasn’t rushing the job to get out of the blistering sun. We’re 5 too. I tend to end up with 2 piles in the basket. Parents on top of kids and baby on top of all to make them easier to separate. It is tricky if you find a bunch of kids clothes you missed at the start but we have separate kid and adult laundry baskets so each load is mostly kids or mostly adult clothes. Laundry and how i pack cutlery are the only household chores i do that area even close to organised or systemised!


Unfortunately, washing is one of those tedious jobs that is never-ending, you think you have found the bottom of the pile, but the next day it’s back! Having a laundry schedule will help you stay in control of your dirty laundry piles. This helps me to make sure the kids always have clean school uniforms. Read more about my laundry schedule here.

Unfortunately washing is one of those tedious jobs that is never-ending, you think you have found the bottom of the pile, but the next day it’s back! Having a laundry schedule may not be for some (a bit regimented), but it suits me to make sure the kids always have clean school uniforms. Find laundry schedule prints in my shop here, personalised charts are also available here.

DON’T STRESS OR FUSS – I used to really struggle with a mountain of clean laundry which was left for me to sort – now I get the kids to help in the sorting which generally takes place when I get to reminding them!! Each person’s clean laundry is placed on their bed for folding/putting away – I have a couple of laundry baskets that are used to carry them but not to be left in bedrooms else Mr 13 would live out of the basket/box & not put things away! I don’t fuss about whether they fold or how neatly as long as put away or even which drawer as long as they can find it! It’s great to give them the responsibility for their own clothes and now I don’t stress so much about the Mt Everest of washing to fold & put away!!
Penny Marrett

USING A CLOTHES HORSE  – I have a hanging system in my laundry where I hang all shirts/pants/shirts etc straight onto hangers (living in QLD the weather is generally warm enough that clothes dry same day). I then have a clip hanger for each person for underwear and shorts, I also have a clothes horse for excess items, this all generally remains in the laundry to dry. This allows us to grab clothes from laundry instead of worrying about bringing off line and putting away if we’re short on time. Kids have a basket each for anything not on hangers and hangers go straight into wardrobes. Towels and sheets go on the outside line.

TEAM EFFORT – Kind of a routine. Each bedroom has a laundry hamper for CLOTHES only. Each day the youngest (8) gets hers and empties each basket into it and takes it to the laundry. Oldest child (12) puts it in the front loader and puts it on. Just before we go to school it’s done and I’ve put it in the dryer (we have a Labrador and washing hung up is not safe) or the clothes airer on the laundry wall. Middle child (10) empties dryer after school and folds. I sort into piles on dining table and they kids pack away before dinner. All their drawers are labelled where things go so they don’t just shove stuff in one!! Towels, sheets and kitchen linens in extra weekend wash ? Saves my sanity and means when hubby is home (FIFO) he knows the routine too.

PROTECT THE CLOTHES FROM BIRDS – Best thing I have found is a cover (much like a tarp) for my clothesline, called “Clevacover”. It protects the clothes and me from the blazing GC sun, also from bird or bat droppings and if it has started to rain while there’s washing on the line I don’t have to freak out.?I also hang all t-shirts, dresses and tops on coat hangers to dry on the line. That way when they come off the line they are sorted and hung straight into the wardrobe, and we iron as we go

PROTECT THE CLOTHES FROM THE SUN – Who thought talking about laundry could be so interesting on a Friday night @ 10:00pm!?I think most laundry tips have been covered in the comments already, the only thing I would add is, I turn clothes inside out to protect the colour from our strong New Zealand sun.?I learnt the hard way when arriving in NZ and ended up with?T-Shirts that had faded terribly on one side, bleached by the sun I suppose. .

COLOUR CODE – We’re a family of nine and the best thing I did was colour code the rooms. Each room has its own dirty laundry basket in the laundry, the kids know that I don’t hunt for dirty clothes in their rooms, if they don’t go in there they don’t get washed  each basket holds exactly one load, as soon as it’s full then it gets washed, dried and sent straight back to the room for either me to put away or the kids if it’s the older ones. No time spent sorting!

POCKET MONEY – One of my teenagers has to sort and distribute the washing into bedrooms for their pocketmoney. I will usually fold sheets if they haven’t gone straight onto the bed as i can’t stand the scrunched up mess when i open the linen closet ?

WASH BY PERSON – I wash clothes by person, (no sort powder, cold wash) then take the clothes out of the machine in the order they go into their drawers, so they go on/off the line already sorted. (Eg – hanging clothes into the basket first, then bottoms, tops, underwear)?I find it easier than trying to sort them while taking them off the line.

What are your top tips for washing and sorting laundry?


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Pip June 21, 2016 - 1:00 PM

How awesome!! I find I just do whichever load needs to be done, in my (tiny) laundry I have 3 different baskets which I use for sorting clothes into and I’ve ‘trained’ my boys to put their clothes in one basket so I don’t have to search for their clothes each day. My folding and putting away are the bits that I struggle with the most- I never seem to have the time to fold them and putting them away is an impossible task!! I’ll have to employ some of these tips and work on my laundry routine!!! 🙂

Jordan June 22, 2016 - 10:10 AM

These are awesome tips! It’s neat to read about how others do things around their houses 🙂 I don’t really have much of a laundry routine so I could put some of these into place!

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 23, 2016 - 4:05 PM

same Jordan, I always like seeing how others do it too between all our ideas you will be able to create a system for yourself 🙂

Jessica June 24, 2016 - 11:32 AM

Um… Stacey with the sorting on the Hills clothesline… That might be the most genious thing ever! How much time would that save! Thanks so much for sharing!

AmandA June 24, 2016 - 11:58 AM

I have set days eg adult clothes, towels, kids clothes, whites, bed linen. In summer I’ll do it in the morning, Goes out on the line in any order, taken off the line in any order. In winter I do it in the evening and straight in the dryer. Then 10 minutes to sort and put away. I have young kids so their clothes are in buckets in their cupboards as they don’t need to be ironed.

Chris Ann June 24, 2016 - 2:24 PM

i have a frame with 3 hanging laundry bags that I bought from Aldi years ago and dirty clothes go straight in there until there are enough to wash – sorted into lights, darks and “wash and wear” [shirts etc.]. I then do a load whenever I get enough to fill the washing machine or am in danger of running out of something. The wash and wear stuff is done on the permanent press cycle then put straight onto a hanger [the velvet type that holds them firmly] and then onto the clothes line with a good shake. When dry they go straight into the wardrobe. I loathe and detest ironing and this way I find that I get very little – occasionally something needs a touch-up with the iron before wearing but I can cope with that.
I can’t stay in the sun for long so I put a wash on at night with a delayed start, then hang the washing out early in the morning and don’t fold them when taking them off – I do that when I get inside out of the sun.

Roz June 24, 2016 - 4:12 PM

A really useful product (especially for those who don’t sort into whites. colours etc and for newly purchased clothes that might run) is Punch Colour Catcher. One sheet (15 in box) goes in back of washing machine and catches any excess stray colour that comes out of garments and prevents it running into other clothes. Don’t know how it does its magic but it does work really well.

Shannon June 25, 2016 - 6:54 AM

Hi Katrina! Winter in Victoria = laundry nightmares! This is my routine:
I have a husband that works in administration for a large trucking company, unfortunately grease stains are an unavoidable hazard. I pretreat using – I like to support our Aussie companies as much as I can, that shifts it with a good quality laundry detergent and Napisan with a hot wash if there’s a lot. I stick to the same brand as DH suffers from proriasis and it’s the only brand that doesn’t make it flare up. Luckily I can buy it in bulk from one of our big chain stores so it’s quite reasonably priced, I used to make my own when we had a front loader but since returning to a top loader, I found it didn’t dissolve well.
I’m a full time teacher at an exclusive school so professional dress for me is very important and DS13 attends a Catholic school, his dress uniform is rather expensive and he has WHITE SHIRTS…white school shirts are a nightmare! I love my gentle cycle for those things.
Everyone has a hamper in their bedroom which makes sorting a little easier.
Here’s my winter routine:
Monday – Friday – wash general coloureds. Rotate through the Chinese laundry of clothes horses until things dry. Fold straight from the clothes horses. DH and I put our own away, I do DS13’s…teenage boys, ugh.
I do towels twice a week and sheets once a week (on the weekends) and go to the laundromat to dry them. For $5 I can dry three loads of towels from my 7.5kg top loader in the one big dryer, in 40 mins. I generally take a book or some school marking to do, or pop over to the supermarket to get milk, bread and fresh fruit and veg while they’re drying. The local laundromat is pretty amazing, they have a coffee machine, Max music channel on TV and funky comfy couches!
Saturday’s – soak DS’ school shirts in Napisan, catch up on any coloureds that may not have been able to fit in the Chinese laundry during the week, wash sheets and towels for laundromat. Delicates are washed on Saturday – I love the delicates cycle!
Sunday – whites. I wash the altar linens after mass so the week’s whites along with those are in the machine by 10am (any Catholics reading this – the grey water hose goes on the machine for that load, as required!). School shirts go on hangers and are hung on a curtain rail, other whites in Chinese laundry. Generally they’re dry by 5-6pm so I iron while the Sunday roast is cooking. Coloureds are ironed first.
Summer – I LOVE SUMMER! We don’t have a Hills hoist, I have a wall mounted clothesline that DH put under our outdoor area – no fading! I stick pretty much to the same routine, I fold straight from the clothesline into each person’s hamper. No laundromat visits though! The grey water hose is permanently connected during the summer, to keep the lawn green. I have to fold it up between loads, otherwise the dogs destroy it!
That’s my routine. Works for me…I think the key for those of us working f/t is to do at least one load a day so you’re not washing all weekend.

Creative David July 5, 2016 - 12:22 AM

I just wanted to tell you that you helped me a lot with this post. 🙂 So many useful tips that’ll probably make my life easier. For example, I’ve never sorted the laundry by person, but from now on I’m definitely going to do it. Thanks!

adamandeva February 7, 2018 - 9:29 AM

I always get overwhelmed when dirty clothes piled up so quickly. I used to schedule my laundry on Monday’s and Thursday but it just don’t work for me until I decided to do loads everyday and it works. Since I do it daily, it’s more faster and easier to put it away after washing since the quantity of clothes are lesser. My 2 kids 4 and 6 even make my chores easier since they know where to put the dirty clothes now. I put labels on each baskets what stuff will be kept in that certain baskets. ??

Sheridan Hopgood May 22, 2018 - 1:37 PM

Thanks everyone so much, we are a family of 7, hubby is in defence, so away a lot. So then just me and 5 kids, and as I read this I am doing a house load of laundry. Looks like some laundry organisation in order now!!! Thank you all so much!!!


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