How To Catch Up When You Are Overwhelmed By Laundry

Imagine if your laundry basket could be empty for more than three seconds, wouldn’t that be amazing? I love doing the washing, call me strange but I love every part of it, especially folding. However, it can be tough to stay on top of the huge pile of laundry your family produces.  It doesn’t take long to be overwhelmed by laundry and desperate for a solution. 

In this post, I share with you some quick tips, talk about how to tackle a mountain of laundry, get you into a simple laundry routine, and I’ll even show you how to get your kids doing laundry!

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The laundry pile can triple in size in the blink of an eye and an empty washing basket only seems to last a few minutes when you have a busy household.

We all have our own way of tackling the piles of laundry;

  • Laundry day once a week
  • One load per day
  • Several loads per day
  • By color
  • By family member
  • By work clothes/uniforms

Knowing how to get laundry under control can seem like a daunting task I have tried many methods and have now managed to get into a great routine that keeps me on top of the laundry mountain.

The benefit of doing a daily laundry routine

  1.  There is no sorting to do.
  2.  The basket you have washed, dried, and ironed gets put away into one person’s room.
  3.  Iron upstairs and put it away straight away; this helps stop laundry hanging around downstairs waiting to be folded and put away.
  4. Ironing immediately prevents a massive ironing mountain and guarantees that the kids have school uniforms and sports kits always on hand. It also ensures there is never any emergency ironing to do.
  5. I wash my spouses and my clothes together as they will be put away in the same room.

How to prevent being overwhelmed by laundry

  1. Use laundry baskets for each family member.

    The first step to getting on top of the dirty laundry pile is to give everyone their own washing basket. There are two benefits to this.
    ✔︎ It’s more convenient for your kids to drop their laundry in the basket than to take it to another room; therefore, you’re less likely to get a pile of dirty clothes on the floor.
    ✔︎ It encourages your kids to be responsible for their laundry and is good for self-improvement.
    ✔︎ It’s much easier to wash by each family member as there is much less sorting to do, and you won’t have a huge laundry basket of clothes to organize

    I insist everyone in my house puts their clothes straight into the laundry baskets, and it really has reduced the pile of clothes waiting to be put away each day!

  2. Complete the laundry cycle.

    Always complete the full laundry cycle from start to finish. Whenever possible, wash, put the clothes in the dryer, and put laundry away on the same day. You should not start washing a load of laundry unless you know you can complete the full cycle.
    This is the best way you will stay on top of laundry management!

  3. Wash what you wear daily.

    If you don’t wash what you and your family have worn every day, you will always have a pile of dirty clothes, and if you miss another day, you can easily become overwhelmed by laundry.
    A simple way to think of it is that the dirty laundry pile is like the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. You wouldn’t leave the dishes for a few days because it would be unbearable and soon mount up. So you make it your priority to wash your dishes after every meal, it only takes a few minutes, and the benefit is having clean dishes and a clean kitchen.
    Apply the same rule to do some washing, and you’ll soon have an empty washing basket.
    Keeping on top of the daily laundry means that it won’t send you over the edge when you also have to wash bedding and towels!

    When you have a young family, you can always find a full load each day to wash. I have a 13-year-old who has several outfit changes a day and has a terrible habit of putting unworn clothes in the laundry basket because it’s quicker than hanging them up. And my 9-year-old is muddy 30 seconds after getting dressed, so I am always doing some laundry!

  4. Plan ahead

    When the kids have been swimming, or they are going somewhere muddy, make sure the washing machine is empty before you go out, so wet towels or muddy sports kits can go straight in the machine to be washed when you get home and are not sitting by the washing machine or in the laundry room going moldy.
    Want to learn how to manage laundry? Plan ahead!

  5. Put clean laundry away immediately

    Always put away clean laundry immediately to avoid clothing clutter!  It can be challenging to find the motivation to do laundry sometimes. Still, if you time yourself, you’ll find it literally only takes a few minutes but makes a huge difference and prevents you from getting overwhelmed by laundry.

  6. Prioritise work shirts and school uniforms.

    My best laundry advice is to prioritize work shirts, school uniforms, and sportswear above everything else, so they are always clean and ready for your children and spouse every morning. It is a big deal if your kids don’t have their school uniform but not so much of a big deal if their unicorn onesie isn’t clean!
    It’s effortless to wash uniforms quickly when you have washing baskets for each family member.

  7. Iron at least every other day

    Try to iron at least every other day whenever possible to prevent, emergency ironing and stay organized, minimize chaos, and ensure your family always has clean clothes each morning.
    “But I hate ironing clothes,” I hear you say. Well, you probably hate ironing because you save it up until you’ve got a huge big pile that takes hours to do which will definitely play havoc with your laundry motivation!
    Recently I bought a cordless iron like this one that makes the job a lot easier.

  8. Wash white clothes on their own

    It’s essential when washing whites to make sure you separate them from everything else. To keep your white clothes very white, make sure you don’t wash them with any other color, even beige!  If you have white clothes with different colored trim, I would suggest hand washing those items on their own. If you mix whites with any other colors, you’ll soon find that they start to become grubby and dirty looking rather than crisp and white. Read how much laundry detergent to use for each load in this post

  9. Separate coloured clothing too!

    This is an example of how I separate my colored clothes before washing:
    ✔︎ Darks
    ✔︎ Reds and light browns
    ✔︎ All lighter blues and lighter greys
    ✔︎ Beige and cream
    ✔︎ Whites

    Although it’s not as important to separate colors, it will keep your clothes looking fresher for longer if you group them as much as you can.
    To learn what the symbols mean on your clothing labels read this post!

  10. Try to get help with laundry

    A few of my clients who work full time ask me to do their ironing for them. I love ironing, so it’s a win-win situation for us all. If you are struggling with working full time and trying to keep up with the family’s washing and ironing, getting help can prevent you from getting overwhelmed by laundry and take some of the pressure away. However, it can be quite expensive to pay for outside help.
    Another way is to ask other family members to help you.
    If you’re worried about asking your kids for help, think about this:

    1) If they can work an iPad or a games console, they can work a washing machine! As can your spouse!
    2) If they can drag their bicycle out of the shed, they can carry a small washing basket!

    My kids bring their washing baskets downstairs. When I ask, they can sort the whites out and put them in the washer, and they can fill up the powder and switch it on. They both know how to work the tumble drier too!
    I don’t expect my kids to help all the time or to do their own laundry, but it’s great that they can be part of the team when I’m feeling overwhelmed by laundry, or if I’ve been at work all day.
    Kids love to help, and I believe that teaching them valuable life skills is hugely important from an early age and is good for self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-improvement.
    To read how I got my kids to help around the house read this post.

Following the routines above helps you know where most items of clothing are at any time. This is critical when you have several people asking you where their favorite item of clothing or sports kit is!

What to do when you’re overwhelmed by laundry

When you’re overwhelmed by laundry it can be daunting looking at the huge pile of clothes staring back at you. It can feel like you’re forever folding laundry

If I find I’ve fallen behind and have a mountain of laundry, which I often do due to our busy schedule, I catch up by washing each load of washing by a family member. When it comes to folding and putting it all away, it all goes into one person’s wardrobe, and there is absolutely no sorting to do! I take the clean laundry basket to the family member’s room and put it straight away. This is how to put away laundry fast!

  • Wash every single day without fail
  • Then dry, fold and  put away without fail
  • Iron it if you can!

When I  first decided to start washing by family members, I put a small wicker laundry basket in my kid’s rooms and asked them to drop their dirty washing in there. This was a game-changer in our house when it came to dirty laundry solutions!

My 9-year-old loved using his basket, but my 13 year old preferred to drop a pile of clothes all over the floor. However,  with perseverance and nagging, she got into the habit of popping it into the basket and realized that if it was not in the hamper, it didn’t get washed!

My spouse still likes to pile clothes by the side of his bed rather than use the laundry basket, but as they say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

It took me quite a while to remember to check in the kid’s rooms for laundry rather than in one central laundry basket, but one time it just became a habit.

How to do the laundry step by step

  1. Take one person’s basket downstairs and wash their load only.
  2. Wash one white load and one colored load if necessary.
  3. If there isn’t enough washing, add a towel to the load, but you will probably find there will be piles of laundry to wash if you have a family!
  4. Dry it, fold it, and put it away immediately.
  5. Iron if possible.

The best time of the day to do laundry

There are a few things to consider when choosing a time of the day to do laundry.

  •  The weather, if you like to line dry your washing, check the weather forecast and plan to wash on the clear days, especially if you are at work all day and can’t pop out to bring it in!
  • The time of day, some electricity providers give you cheaper electricity at night to encourage people to use less electricity during the day. If you put a load of laundry in the washing machine before you go to bed and delay the start or use a timer, it will finish just before you get out of bed in the morning, allowing you to hang it out before you go to work and save money!
  • How busy you are: On the days you’re not going to be in, do very little washing to prevent laundry from going moldy in the washer for days!
  • How many loads you have to wash, don’t start your first load of laundry at midday. If you’ve got lots of washing to get through, start your first load while you’re asleep using the timer!
  • The priority of items being washed, prioritize uniforms, work shirts, and sports kits before casual clothes, as these are worn and needed more regularly. Prioritize getting them washed, dried, folded, and put away as soon as they hit the washing basket to prevent the chaos of last-minute ironing!

How to wash socks.

Knowing how to keep socks together can be the bane of the washing schedule! I have a simple trick to keep socks together without any sorting at all!

Buy each member of the family their own colour plain socks:

  • Dad black
  • Daughter white
  • Son light grey
  • Mum charcoal

If you wash by family member, all their socks will be together in the same load, all the same color, and there will be no matching! You can thank me later!

FAQ

Can underwear be washed together with socks in the washing machine?

You can wash whatever you like together in the washing machine; however, it is advisable to wash your underwear separately from anything else. Use a small laundry bag to put your underwear in if it is delicate. It’s a good idea to use a small net bag to wash your socks in as it will keep them all together and will be much easier to put away after drying!

Will sun drying damage clothes?

Yes, some clothes can be bleached by the sun. Some damage can be caused by suncream on white clothes, which can often turn bright red when dried in the sun!

I feel so overwhelmed by all my health issues, how do I deal with this as well?

If you are suffering from ill-health or depression, only do what you feel you can manage on the days you feel you can. Try to enlist some help from friends, family, and your spouse. Let someone know that you are struggling and seek help from your doctor if you are feeling really overwhelmed.

Can I use laundry detergent to wash dishes?

Laundry detergent is not the best thing to wash dishes. However, it is great at getting burnt food from off the bottom of a pan if you’ve accidentally left something to boil dry. Just add a couple of tablespoons of laundry to the bottom of a pan, add a couple of cups of water or cover the bottom of the pan, then leave to soak for a few hours or overnight if it’s really bad. All the burnt bits should lift away without any scrubbing!

What is the best thing to do when feeling overwhelmed with laundry?

Start to build a routine every day. Set a small goal for yourself, such as just doing one load of washing per day and stick to it. See that load of washing right through to the end of the process. It’s important to be consistent with that one task, and you will soon start to see improvements.
Having simple routines to follow can help you stay on top of the daily jobs and prevent you from being overwhelmed by laundry and housework.

I want to know how to get laundry done faster.

Make it you priority to wash every day, and put lightly soiled items on a 15 minute quick wash to save time and energy.

I hate laundry can you tell me how to do less laundry?

Try starting a capsule wardrobe for you and the kids , the fewer clothes you have the smaller your washing pile will be.

I hate folding laundry please help!

I think the simple way to get around the folding situation is to first not let it build up. Secondly, learn how to fold the Konmari way
I also have this fantastic clothes folder to help me fold my clothes into the neatest piles

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If you feel you’ve just got too much laundry, consider creating a capsule wardrobe for your kids;  it can really help when you feel overwhelmed by laundry as it brings some order to the chaos.

If you’re wondering how to catch up on laundry, start by trying to reduce laundry. You can do this by simplifying your wardrobe. Consider creating a capsule wardrobe for yourself. Read how here. It can make getting dressed much easier and help reduce your own pile of laundry!

For information on  laundry symbols  click here

Are you overwhelmed by laundry? Do you know a good laundry hack? We’d love to hear it! Drop us a line in the comments!

How To Start A Summer Capsule Wardrobe. 

How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe Color Palette

6 Simple Tips You Need To Follow To Stop Yourself Buying More Stuff

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little girl helping mom with laundry

7 thoughts on “How To Catch Up When You Are Overwhelmed By Laundry

  1. Something About Baby says:

    I hate doing laundry, but it the one thing that we decided would be “my” job – most things we share or do together, but early on it was decided that I would do the washing and my husband would do the bathroom. I think I definitely go the downside of that agreement! I probably have one day out of a whole month where I don’t have a pile of washing to sort though. I know if I did it every day it wouldn’t take me long, but I can just never get in the habit. I like your idea of doing a load a person, so you only have their washing to put away. Very good tip!

  2. Beth says:

    The dreaded laundry mountain! Some great tips, I like the doing it by person one I hadn’t thought of that! My husband also doesn’t seem to be able to put his clothes in the basket!

  3. Mrs Mummy Harris says:

    I actually love organising the washing basket, i put into the whites, darks and colours and where the darks always need more than one washload i categorise work clothes with underwear and then casual clothes. Darks are always first in the wash!

  4. Lindsey says:

    If im honesy i love doing the laundry nothing makes me happier, but the nly real issue is, is that i’ve not enough space to dry everything, but roll on spring so that clothes can go outside!

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