So many ladies express difficulty in keeping up with this particular household chore. As a professional organizer, I have organized some laundry rooms and as a mom of three, laundry is an ongoing battle I face every day as well.
Here are some tips that may help you in your quest to defeat Mount St. Laundry:
For the laundry room:
~ Try to keep the room/area focused. The purpose is doing laundry so only things related to laundry should be in the room (irons, detergents, scissors, bleach, etc). I have been in homes that stored craft supplies in the laundry room and another that used the other half of the laundry closet as a pantry (ick!). As much as possible only keep laundry related items in the room.
~ Pre-sort and pre-treat. There are several ways you can approach this but this is how it works in our house. Each child has a hamper. They are responsible for bringing that hamper to the laundry room when it is full (they now actually wash their own clothes as they are old enough). My hubby and I each have our own hamper as well. Then I have a three bin sorter for general laundry (towels, sheets etc). When the boys were smaller I treated stains as they occurred or (if I didn't notice right away) when they were changing into their pajamas. Now they are responsible for treating a stain or letting me know they need help with it.
For doing laundry:
~ Check pockets. I love to pass this tip along as I learned it the hard way. Crayon is a witch to get out of your dryer so do yourself a favor and check those pockets. Even a stray tissue just takes up more time if it gets by you and you spend time picking little pieces of paper off every item coming out of the dryer.
~If the item recommends hand wash then by all means- hand wash. I have also learned that washing whites after EVERY wear reduces underarm stains and keeps the shirt bright and white longer!
~ Zip any zippers to avoid snagging other clothing.
After it's clean:
~ Fold/hang up the laundry as it comes out of the dryer. This prevents wrinkles from settling in and in many cases can save you from ironing. This may seem like you don't have time for this step but folding laundry is something you can do while blog browsing, watching TiVo'd shows or sitting with the kids watching Spongebob.
~ Put it away This may seem like the obvious next step but how many times have we all pooped out by this time and the laundry ends up sitting in folded piles in baskets. Then our wonderful hubbies go to get their golf shirt out, not noticing that they knocked three other shirts out of the basket, which end up getting peed on by the dog or the baby and you end up having to wash them again before anyone ever even wore the doggone things? Does this only happen to me? Do yourself a favor and put it away!
~Designate laundry days/times. Stick to a schedule.
~Underwear and socks are not that expensive- purchase enough that if you get the flu, your kids don't have to sniff for the "least dirty" pair to wear until you are back on your feet.
~Don't let laundry just be Mom's job. Little kids can help sort and fold. As they age they can put their own clothes away and at age 10 I taught each of mine how to wash their own as well.