Tips to store and organise dirty clothes in the laundry

I have shared with you here how I created a laundry schedule, that’s right a schedule for the laundry, but there is a reasoning to my madness, read more about it here.  This would have to be my #1 top organising tip:

I pre-sort my washing into piles:

  • Darks
  • Colours
  • Whites
  • Other – Tea towels, wash clothes, tablecloths, mop heads etc

How it works

My kids don’t have a dirty clothes basket in their bathroom, there is just no room to store one.  So they put their clothes directly into the laundry baskets, sorting into darks, whites and colours as they go.  They have done this for years and it is such a great help to me.  I have a clothes basket in my room which I empty and sort into these baskets daily.

I find this system takes a lot of time out of the washing process.  I enjoy going into the laundry and without fuss load the washing machine and continue on with whatever I was doing.

Different Laundry Storage Ideas

I used to use this wonderful system below at our old house, it fitted in perfectly between the linen cupboard and the washing machine.

{The Organised Housewife} Organising the dirty laundry 1

If you have the space I recommend you try separating your washing.

Washing Storage and Sorting possibilities could be:

  • A row of baskets or plastic storage containers (this is what we currently have)
  • Antonius frame and wire baskets (similar to my unit) from IKEA
  • I have seen similar frame and wire baskets from Kmart and Big W.
  • Skubb laundry bag from IKEA
  • Mulig laundry bag from IKEA
  • Sorting hampers from Howards Storage World

How do you store your dirty laundry?

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.

{The Organised Housewife} Laundry Wall Art & Schedule - Design 1

You may also like

73 comments

Tara March 3, 2011 - 6:12 AM

Oh that is a fabulous idea!!! Il be getting one of them for sure i sort my clothes exactly the same way except they are piled in front of the laundry door 😐 this way is sooooo much better THANKYOU!! xx

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 9:53 AM

Will make it look tidier too!

Reply
Mtomsey77 December 22, 2011 - 8:13 PM

i finally organised our laundry too. I have 3 standard laundry hampers from Kmart(however the ones that you have linked actually look smaller and would fit better in my laundry). They are sorted into Everyday Clothes, Uniforms/Work, Towels/Sheets. I don’t have any for whites, but basically because I have a lack of room in the laundry to put another hamper. It is a constant battle keeping it clean, as it is so small and pokey and doesn’t take much to dirty it up. But I have already seen the difference in implementing this system with the kids. They do have their own hampers in their rooms, but this is because I don’t expect them to go downstairs everytime they have dirty clothes. I still have to sort those clothes out, but the majority is sorted downstairs for me.

Reply
Katrina December 28, 2011 - 9:12 PM

It does makes it so much easier when you have a system in place.

Reply
Rosemary April 10, 2015 - 8:25 PM

I have been doing this too and it has been a fantastic strategy.
I also have a basket for each person for when taking the clothes off the line. So when you have not put away clothes straight away, you know where each persons items are. Then the kids (9&8) can put away their own washing “like the way mummy likes it”

Reply
Kat March 3, 2011 - 7:25 AM

Thank you so much. I am going to Howards next time I am there and buying this.

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 9:53 AM

I love Howards, so much I would like to buy!

Reply
Jodie Daniel March 3, 2011 - 7:41 AM

I redesigned my laundry and I now have a long bench… with the washing machine at the end & dryer positioned above it. Under the bench I have 3 Ikea baskets (on wheels). One black one (for dark clothes), One white one (for light clothes) and another black one for ironing. I can roll the ironing basket out to the line and put the clothes straight from the line into the basket… then wheel that around the house (where-ever I decide to iron). I love my laundry. Although I don’t love doing laundry. LOL. Your system is a great idea too!!!!!

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 9:54 AM

What a great idea, ironing basket on wheels!

Reply
Terry June 29, 2014 - 2:19 PM

I have been looking for baskets on wheels, where did you find yours?

Reply
Melinda Russell March 3, 2011 - 8:27 AM

Are these the Elfa series? If so what one is it Elfa White or Mini?

Thanks

Melinda

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 9:49 AM

Hi Melinda

The system we have is ELFA same to the mini but slightly higher with 10 rails on each side. We have 2 deep baskets (taking up 3 rails each, which hold the darks and colours) then 2 regular baskets (taking up 2 rails each for whites and other items) with the shelf ontop to hold the washing basket. I hope this helps.

Reply
Anne April 16, 2015 - 1:40 PM

Hi, Could you tell us the sizes of the frame and baskets?

Reply
Dannielle March 3, 2011 - 9:24 AM

I too have started thi sidea about 3 weeks ago ( starting to get in a declutter our house) and have found it works very well. Just a question ” Is cat a ragdoll by any chance? As we have one and that’s his favourite place to sit and watch the birds” i look forward to turning on the computer and see what you have up next on your website.

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 9:51 AM

yes she is a Ragdoll. She is nearly 2 years old, gorgeous but ever so snobby…lol. Once we are awake each morning she meows like she is hungry but just wanting us to open the laundry door so she can sit there and watch the birds.

Reply
Dannielle March 10, 2011 - 5:06 PM

Are you sure you are not talking about my raggy,Chocolate? That is exactly what he does ( he turned 2 last month) and is a very spoilt puppycat undeed.

Reply
Natalie March 3, 2011 - 9:47 AM

Yes. I need one of these 🙂 It would just release me from the sorted piles of clothes on my laundry floor that are waiting to be washed!

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 9:52 AM

It’s a wonderful system Natalie, the ELFA system is great, but you can find more economical varieties at your local department stores. I saw some at Big W recently and know Ikea had some too.

Reply
Charlene April 27, 2015 - 12:29 AM

But are the big w and ikea ones just as big? ?

Reply
Summer March 3, 2011 - 10:34 AM

OK I am going to get the laundry done today whilst little one is sleeping. I have been independently decluttering since the start of the year but have lost my way so will try and track with your blog. So I will do yesterday’s laundry sink declutter as well. I will try and post back later when completed to keep me on task! thanks for your wonderful blog.

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 7:44 PM

Love your motivation Summer, how did you go?

Reply
Bec March 3, 2011 - 10:41 AM

That looks awesome! I don’t have room in my laundry for something like that..but currently have a basket that had 2 compartments, 1 side is white and the other blue. The plan is the lights go in the white side and the darks the blue side. My son hasn’t quite worked this out yet and just puts his clothes in anyside. I’m still teaching him to put them in the laundry so will work on the right side later (I usually change it later that night)

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 7:44 PM

Lol, he will get their at least he is putting it is the baskets!

Reply
debbie stone March 3, 2011 - 12:37 PM

I love it. It looks great. I was off to Ikea any way so I will add it to my list. Thankyou for all your wonderful ideas.

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 7:45 PM

I ? Ikea, can get lost for hours in there.

Reply
Brittonie March 3, 2011 - 2:43 PM

That is such a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to try it when I have my own place xx

We have our own individual laundry baskets here, since we all do our own washing. I usually just sort it out before I do the wash.

Reply
Joelene Accatino March 3, 2011 - 2:59 PM

I love this idea.

Reply
Joelene Accatino March 3, 2011 - 5:35 PM

Went out and bought one. Not from Howards though 🙁 Just a little out of my price range. But I found one (not as good, nor as deep) at Sam’s Warehouse (crazy clarks franchise). It’s a 5 drawer storage set. Frame is D480mm x W440mm x H818mm and basket is D480mm x W437mm x H175mm. The baskets aren’t that big, but they do have a little length on them. Also, just makes me do the washing when I need to.

By the way, I am absolutely loving your site. Thanks so much Katrina. xx

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 7:48 PM

It will still work the same way Joelene, will make washing alot simpilier for you! Thankyou for your lovely comments 🙂

Reply
Leila March 3, 2011 - 3:19 PM

Love the idea, we bought the kids each a small garbage bin (like the council bins) each a different colour. We took them out of the kids rooms when they stopped putting their clean clothes away and just put them back in the bin. They are now in the laundry where we have 1 for towels/linen, 1 for school/work and white clothes and 1 for everything else.
I love your idea and think i might head out and look at this system and re-purpose the bins for toy boxes for them.

Reply
Katrina March 3, 2011 - 7:49 PM

I think that’s a great sorting set up Leila, I love those little wheelie bins so cute!

Reply
Bek @ Just For Daisy May 28, 2012 - 5:17 PM

We had the wheely bins when we were younger too! 🙂

Reply
Leisha March 9, 2011 - 1:34 PM

Katrina – cannot thank you enough. Last Saturday pulled laundry room apart and tossed so much rubbish and stuff that didn’t belong in there. Sunday morning sent DH off to Ikea (Sydney) to get their basket system which is similar to yours $49.99 (Antoniou – 4 baskets with top & frame). Knew that I couldn’t be trusted to get in and out of Ikea quick, so told DH to leave early and get some yummy breakfast at the Cafe. He was out of here in a flash ! LOL… Well, the Ikea baskets are smaller, but we have a front loader and each basket is the perfect size to fill the machine. I am now doing full loads and not forgetting the odd sock etc after the machine has been started (one of the probs with a front loader – cannot open door after cycle started). So… looooove this system – it has made such a difference to my daily routine, especially the hanging out at night, and it is saving us money on water & powder.

Reply
jody April 11, 2015 - 11:20 AM

Leisha, you made me laugh! I sent my husband to IKEA to return some items and collect another that I needed for my big storage clean out and he was back in record time. I asked him how he was so fast and he said he went straight to returns, sorted that out, bought a hotdog and left LOL I have never been able to get out of there in under 2 hours!!

Reply
Kellie @ThreeLi'lPrincesses April 9, 2011 - 9:56 PM

Oh, I love this. I’ll be heading down to Kmart tomorrow, I think. Our clothes are in piles… on the floor! At least I can shut the laundry door so people can’t see. But still, it would be nice if it was organised! 🙂

Reply
Glowless April 9, 2011 - 11:58 PM

I’ve got three laundry baskets: one of the IKEA ones that we sort in to lights and darks; a separate basket for my son’s clothing because it’s often wet or covered in food so I don’t want it sitting for a week with the family washing; and a dry-pail nappy bucket!
I’ve never understood why people don’t sort as they go along, it’s so much easier!

Reply
Kelly B April 13, 2011 - 9:24 AM

I LOVE that storage thing. I need to link this post with my laundry one too!

Reply
A Cajun Down Under April 13, 2011 - 9:30 PM

My mom had a system like this when we were growing up. I must start something similar here.

Reply
Kelli Stevens June 7, 2011 - 10:56 PM

Our laundry requires you to go downstairs, out the door and back in another door. Keeping clothes in there is very hard, so we have hampers in the bathroom instead.

We have one of these (http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/90180134) and it’s brilliant. We separate into Darks, Colours/Lights and Towels/Linen/etc. You’d be surprised how much fits in there, and they don’t buckle under the weight of towels or anything like that.

Then the bags get unclipped, taken downstairs (they each have handles), clothes are washed, and brought back inside in the bags to be folded and put away. I love it!

Reply
Tam Wells January 4, 2012 - 7:35 PM

Love this idea! We are moving house in only 15 days (NSW to WA) and I need to keep on top of the housework and especially the washing, with a baby on the way and study as well. I will have to add another basket to the list for hubby’s stinking farm/work clothes!

Reply
Katrina January 4, 2012 - 9:46 PM

Yes great idea to keep his clothes separate.

Reply
Ann Percival January 29, 2012 - 11:15 AM

Wish I had the room to do this as we store the freezer in the laundry as well and room is limited.

Reply
spottsy7 February 3, 2012 - 10:25 AM

My kids have dirty washing baskets in their bedrooms. I used to work one day per child (we have 5 children) and weekends for hubby and myself. I hang all his shirts straight onto hangers – same with school uniforms. I also fold everything as I take it off the line so it minimises ironing. Because it’s one child per day it keeps everything under control.

Reply
kirsty September 4, 2012 - 9:08 PM

1 day per child? that’s genius! then bringing the washing in would be so quick and simple too! tfs.

Reply
Joolzmac August 22, 2012 - 10:28 AM

A brilliant idea for larger families – you can see which load needs doing at a glance!

Reply
Michelle August 22, 2012 - 1:36 PM

I got a formica cabinet made with 4 cubbys and 4 holes cut out in the top. I brought 4 baskets, so each kid and parent has its own clean washing basket, then I take the basket to each person’s room and fold the clothes and put into the drawers. Saves on time and dreading Mount Washmore!

Reply
Katie August 22, 2012 - 3:30 PM

I have colour co-ordinated baskets in the laundry (blue for darks, red for reds, clear for white, green for baby, pink for a “dryer” load ie. undies, pjs etc). Unfortunately though our laundry is down stairs so this sorting happens on laundry day.

The good thing is that the baskets are always there so if I’m doing a bubba load in the middle of the week (or a few times a week!!!) and something else gets caught up in the load, I can easily put it in the right basket!

Reply
Lauren September 5, 2012 - 8:37 AM

Am I the only person who doesn’t sort the washing??

Reply
Natasha Cain February 21, 2013 - 10:42 AM

I dont seperate unless the whites dont come out so well at the end of the week ill do a load seperatleyI don’t have a clothes line at the moment, I have to do 1 load a day to hang on the clothes airer..

Reply
Bron September 5, 2012 - 2:08 PM

We have a laundry basket in each bedroom. I only wash from Thursday – Saturday/Sunday for all the clothing. All washing gets taken downstairs and sorted in the rumpus room. I usually have four loads per week. I only wash fold and iron in a space of a few days so that I feel like it has a finishing point. Then I have a few days without having to do any washing of clothes. Then I was towels and sheets throughout the week. At least I have some days when I and my house are not filled with washing.

Reply
KristyDB January 7, 2013 - 7:48 PM

I use a three-part laundry hamper (just a calico bag on a metal frame) and store it in the bathroom. As we are a childless couple, I have the luxury of only needing to do a couple of loads a week. The hamper is the perfect size for my washing machine, so whichever divider (darks, whites, colours) is full is what is done next. Always doing a full load saves so much time, energy, power and water! I could never go back to sorting all the laundry again.

Reply
Katrina January 8, 2013 - 12:32 PM

Sorting as you take it off saves so much time. I love your system!

Reply
Lisakim February 21, 2013 - 6:41 AM

Love this. Now got my laundry sorted very similar and its working great. Roughly following the schedule you do with washing certain loads on certain days and its helping keep it so much more manageable. Not scrambling round of a morning looking for some part of a uniform only to findd it ‘missed’ the washing processs

Reply
Ann February 21, 2013 - 8:05 AM

I’m in New Zealand and I haven’t seen anything like these drawers…. Anyone have hints as to where I could find some? That would so make a difference in my laundry system!
Thanks

Reply
Natasha Cain February 21, 2013 - 10:41 AM

Im pretty sure mitre 10 mega and bunnings sell this sort of thing 🙂 Good Luck Ann

Reply
Ann February 21, 2013 - 10:46 AM

thanks so much. I’m going to Bunnings later today so I’ll have a look

Reply
Bron April 9, 2015 - 11:26 AM

You can get the Elfa range at Storage Box.

Reply
Kelly February 21, 2013 - 10:41 AM

Hi. There’s this at Briscoes http://www.briscoes.co.nz/Furniture_&_Storage/Storage/Basket_&_Boxes/1032137/3-Tier-Wire-Basket-System-White.html

Quite pricey in my thinking though..

There’s this cheap option at the Warehouse but the baskets might be too shallow..http://www.thewarehouse.co.nz/red/catalog/product/Perroplas-Plastic-Storage-4-Tier-Trolley?SKU=763152.

Hope that helps…

Reply
Ann February 21, 2013 - 10:46 AM

thank you so much. I’ll check these out

Reply
Jayne February 21, 2013 - 12:05 PM

You might also find them at a hardware store – can be bought at Bunnings here in Oz.

Reply
Diana Sparke February 21, 2013 - 10:27 AM

This looks great. We have laundry hampers in the bedrooms and I usually just drag them to the laundry. Unfortunately I just don’t have the space for a hamper like this in the laundry 24/7, I don’t even have a bench to put things on! I’m definiitely thinking of getting one or two shelves installed though so I can put things like the laundry detergent on a shelf rather than in the laundry sink.

Reply
Peta Jones February 21, 2013 - 10:50 AM

what a great idea. I usually just end up with piles on the floor!

Reply
Jo February 21, 2013 - 5:58 PM

i have 2 very large drawers under my bench in the laundry we call hoppers and they are fantastic. I use them for darks and lights. Towels and sheets go straight into the machine. I used to run a house for homeless girls, and was able to pass on many hints. Some on which i learned from my mum….unfortunately, these girls didn’t have this luxury. Anyway, we used little clothes hangers from $2 shops (similar to the PRESSA ones ikea have but with more pegs on) for all the smalls. Each girls had their own and if it was looking like rain, you could easily grab all your smalls off the line with one snatch. Other time saving ideas i have are: gently spin and all items that can be hung straight away onto plastic clothes hangers and hung on line. This takes care of at least 60% of my washing and saves on line space (small line) and then easy to hang straight into wardrobe when dry. We use a system like yours but for clean washing. Each family member has their own drawer and grabs out the drawer and puts it away when they have a spare minute. The last thing we have is a Clevacover over the line that saves a fortune in dryer bills, and is really great. Everyone comments on it when they visit-designed by a QLD mum of 3. Thanks so much for all your tips. I think laundry is the most discussed topic of all household chores amongst mums. We certainly spend enough time in the laundry. I feel i could write a book on it!

Reply
brisyvonne November 5, 2013 - 7:19 PM

Just loving all the tips and ideas, I don’t have the space to do that in the laundry. I do take more than one washing basket out to the line when I am getting the clothes off. I place each persons clothes in each of the baskets, then it is less sorting. take it to their rooms and then they can put it away.

Reply
Katrina November 10, 2013 - 6:10 PM

This is such a great idea Brisyvonne, will take away from the time to sort the clothes, I think your onto a winner there!

Reply
Natasha Daffy April 8, 2015 - 8:30 PM

Great idea. I have always wanted baskets for each different load. I don’t have the space at the moment. Currently for dirty washing, all dry items go in a basket on the dryer, rags in a bucket and all wet items go on the floor by the machine to wash straight away (have young kids so plenty of wet items). I have a hamper in my room for mine and hubby’s items which I empty when I’m fulling the washing machine (daily) and I tell the kids to put their stuff outside the wash house door (working progress). I sort loads into darks, whites, towels, delicates, and rags. Do 2 – 3 loads a day

Reply
Nancy April 10, 2015 - 10:42 PM

I love this idea and will be buying either the Howards ELFA system or the Ikea Antonius system. I have noticed both stores sell the unit with either wire basket draws or mesh draws. Which do you think would be easier to use for this purpose? My main concern is the wire basket draws may have sharp bits on them that “hook” onto clothing (especially delicates).

Reply
Courtney Edwards April 14, 2015 - 11:06 PM

This is such a great idea. You’ve turned a place that many of us avoid into a beautiful and clean area. The storage solution you chose really fits the space and keeps dirty laundry off the floors and out of the way. This solution will definitely save time when it comes to getting laundry done!

Reply
Nancy April 27, 2015 - 8:42 AM

Thought I would post an update – I ended up buying the Ikea ALGOT frame and wire baskets for my laundry makeover. http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/S59905727/

The quality of the ALGOT was much better then the Antonius in my opinion, a much sturdier frame, the top on top of the frame to put my washing basket on and much better quality runners for the wire draws. The size of this unit was comparable to the Howards storage world unit. I have had it now for 2 weeks and LOVE it. It has made my laundry so much more organised and washing is a breeze now as everything is already sorted 🙂

Reply
Nancy M April 27, 2015 - 8:43 AM

Thought I would post an update – I ended up buying the Ikea ALGOT frame and wire baskets for my laundry makeover. http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/S59905727/

The quality of the ALGOT was much better then the Antonius in my opinion, a much sturdier frame, the top on top of the frame to put my washing basket on and much better quality runners for the wire draws. The size of this unit was comparable to the Howards storage world unit. I have had it now for 2 weeks and LOVE it. It has made my laundry so much more organised and washing is a breeze now as everything is already sorted 🙂

Reply
Renata June 11, 2015 - 11:19 AM

Hi katrina,I love your laundry and the organisation you created.i would love to have a room were I could do my washing and ironing.i have a small shed outside with the washing machine,storage and freezer.i have to have everything in storage boxes because I get regular mice in the shed.

My question: because I have to do my ironing and folding in my bedroom (which isn’t very big) it looks always untidy because of so many things. Do you have any good ideas how to do it better so it Looks less like chaos and I can feel a bit more comfortable.
Thanks

Reply
Ebony March 13, 2016 - 8:43 AM

Hi Kat, I am going crazy over dirty wet washing. My husband comes home and dumps his wet sweaty gym gear every day and wet towels on the floor of the laundry. The 3 kids dump their wet swimwear and towels on the laundry floor if their bag gets emptied as well and this is seen as acceptable by all of them. My husband justifies that if the washing isn’t done that day all the wet items will make everything mouldy. I agree but I can’t think of any other solution than washing straight away but it doesn’t work if I don’t get to it in time or if I don’t know about it. Would love some ideas!

Reply
Eleanor Kay January 4, 2017 - 11:00 AM

I have the 3 compartment canvas trolley, and it is often easier to have it our little used guest bathroom shower recess,which has a pretty curtain hiding it. Right next door to the laundry. The problem ! My dear 80 year old husband who dumps his cloths from the bathroom across the top, instead of sorting. I have asked him to just put them on the shower floor, so I can separate his often dirtier yard cloths from my white bin!. At least he does hang and bring in the wash if needed even if it is in his way,and I am glad of his help sometimes.
I was really getting into decluttering in a hurry and 3 weeks before his surprise birthday lunch ( to be in our back yard) I tripped on the paving bricks and badly bruised my knee. I am still not bending it properly so no driving. Someone who hates shopping had to learn to check the food and go buy what was needed. Good to know he can cope, even to getting cash back from Woolies.

Reply

Leave a Comment