|Here are some tips for setting up an efficient system for sorting, washing, drying, and folding.
Transporting and Sorting
Put a hamper, basket or bin in each bedroom or bathroom. Even if you can't get every family member to do their own wash, you can save time by giving everyone a portable receptacle. Without a convenient "home" for dirty clothes, guess where it will end up? On the floor ... trust me!
Set up a central three-bin sorter in the laundry room where dirty clothes are brought and sorted into whites, wash & wear, and darks. Have a separate bin for towels, another one for sheets, and another one for hand washables.
Any family member over four feet tall should be able to do basic separating into lights and darks. It's good training and will make them better roommates and spouses later in life.
Be sure to keep dry cleaning away from the laundry room to avoid confusion and ruined clothing. A bag with handles or a separate bin, kept in the closet, works well.
Keep everything you need near the washer on a shelf at eye level. If you don't have room, try a rolling caddie that slides between the washer and dryer.
Arrange products from left to right in the order you use them. Start with stain removers, then detergent and bleach, then fabric softener.
When tumble-dried clothes are dry (and still warm) hang them up or smooth them out, then fold right away. Avoid having them sit and cool in a crumpled state as it only creates more work for you. Clothes that should be folded include sweaters, sweats, T-Shirts and jeans- basically anything knit or stretchy.
Be sure your folding surface is high enough so you don't have to stoop and strain your back. Life is too short for unnecessary lower back pain.
Everyone has to deal with lone socks (even if you're very organized). It's a mystery of life, what can I say? Lone socks should NEVER leave the laundry room so set up a collection place such as a small plastic container. If the sock's mate doesn't show up in a couple weeks, pitch it! Life is too short to fret about lost sock mates and keep them endlessly. Human mates are entirely different story! :-)
Hanging clothes from the dryer, while they're still warm, can save you tons of ironing time.
Clothes that should be hung include creased or pleated items, button-down shirts, khakis - anything that wrinkles easily.
Get rid of your wire hangers (most dry cleaners will recycle them). Replace them with plastic or flocked hangers. Professional organizers HATE wire hangers, for good reason. They are cheap. tangle easily, and only hold light-weight clothing.
Get in the habit of bringing empty hangers to the laundry room, using a hanger organizer. If you do, you'll have a supply on hand, and you can rid your closet of extras.
If you have room, invest in a wall-mounted ironing board that will also hold a hot iron. It will save room and make your laundry room neater and more efficient. I've had one of these for years and love it!