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.

SHOP: Laundry Schedule Printables

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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