With a toddler, a baby, and a puppy in the house, I do quite a bit of laundry. Attempting to keep up with it has always felt a little overwhelming, until I put a few new things into practice. Using this strategy, I'm able to keep within two loads of being caught up all the time, even now that we're using cloth diapers.
Here's what works for me:
1. Get caught up. This took several hours of work, and James helped me get it done. We got everything washed, dried, folded, and put away, so that we could start fresh.
2. Put two hampers in the bathroom. If we had a real laundry room, the hampers would live there - but we don't. Fortunately, we have enough space in our bathroom for two full-size hampers. One is for light clothes and one is for dark clothes. All of our clothes go into these hampers - adult clothes, Wendy clothes, baby clothes, etc. The only things we keep separate are the cloth diapers, since they have to be washed in a different way. (And they're icky. Dirty cloth diapers mixed with our regular clothes? Yuck.)
3. Make a point to do one load of laundry every day. Even at our messiest, doing one load a day, start to finish, keeps us caught up. I take a glance at the hampers every morning and see which one is the most full, and that's what gets washed that day.
4. Start the laundry early in the day. It only takes a few minutes to throw a load in the washer if it is pre-sorted. I usually do this while my coffee is brewing or while David is playing after having his first bottle of the day. If the washer has been started early, it is easy to find little blocks of time during the day to switch it to the dryer (or hang the clothes on the line) and then fold them & put them away.
Now, with only separating our clothes into "lights" and "darks," the white clothes seem to gradually get a little dingy. When I notice that they aren't very bright, I just set them aside & run a big load of white clothes in hot water with a little bleach, and the problem is solved. I only have to do that about once a month, so it isn't a big deal to me.
This laundry strategy works for me. I stay at home all day; if you work outside the home you would obviously need to tweak things a bit. I think you could still start the washer in the morning, and perhaps put the clothes in the dryer when you first come home from work.
What laundry tips work for you?
For other organizational tips, visit Works-For-Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family!