Too Much Laundry? 23 Ways to Simplify + a Free Laundry Schedule Printable!
The "one load a day keeps the laundry monster away" will not work as your laundry system if you have more than seven loads per week. As someone who has decluttered thousands of items, I did not think I had more than seven loads of laundry per week. And then I counted.
In general, a consistent weekly laundry routine will deal with too much laundry. Naming and mapping your laundry categories on a schedule will get you started. Sticking to a printable laundry schedule will help you regain control of your piles.
If you perpetually feel behind on laundry or have mounds of dirty clothes calling to you on your laundry room floor, this blog post is for you. It was inspired by my own struggle to gain control of laundry for our family of five. I wrote out a schedule of laundry categories, which I've turned into a free printable laundry schedule for you.
Read on for 23 ways to gain control of your laundry when you are overwhelmed, and print your free laundry schedule!
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23 Ways to Gain Control When Overwhelmed by Laundry
Obstructive, massive, problem-level clutter used to overwhelm me... until I decluttered thousands of items, created open space in our home, and found free time with simple living! In my humble opinion, simple living is better than feeling overwhelmed in your home.
To gain control over laundry, here are 23 ways to simplify laundry:
Define "half dirty" clothes
Give "half dirty" clothes a set place in your home
Wash your clothes less often by wearing them 2-3 times
Declutter high-maintenance clothing and bedding
Buy low-maintenance clothes and bedding
Create a laundry routine (morning or night?)
Simplify laundry products
Declutter extra towels and sheets
Sort before laundry day (separate hampers)
Assign days by person or category (or both, like me!)
Delegate the chores (kids can use hampers)
Swap dryer sheets for reusable wool balls
Use a stain remover to pre-treat stains
Hang dry towels instead of keeping them in a linen closet
Simplify your space: remove what does not belong laundry room
Set a timer for the washer and dryer
Keep less in your drawers and closets with the boundary method - makes it easier to put away
Combine loads - check your washing machine's capacity load by googling the brand + model + "load size"
Use fewer products to clean your laundry - use one detergent type
Swap fabric softener for vinegar
Use a drying rack or hang dry, then fluff
Too Much Laundry
A schedule helps deal with too much laundry. When my children were toddlers, they helped put clothes away. They were too young to be responsible for the washer and dryer. Organizing everyone's laundry in one basket was easier for me to manage.
My children are now ages 9, 8, and 6. They have their own laundry hampers in their rooms, and they are learning to be responsible for laundry. My husband and I share a laundry basket in the laundry room clothes.
For me, laundry feels like an everyday task. Mapping a set schedule calms me because it keeps it under control. By sticking to our schedule, I no longer feel overwhelmed, and the kids do not run out of clean clothes.
How to Get Started
Figure Out Your Routine
First, identify your laundry routine. Do you prefer to finish the laundry in the morning or at night? Do you need to simplify your laundry products? Do you have laundry bins and hampers to pre-sort as the week passes to save time?
One of the first things I do each day is laundry. My laundry routine finishes by lunch, and we use hampers and baskets to pre-sort the categories. One detergent works for every load, so I've simplified what I need to buy and store. Click here to see my favorite and most used laundry products.
I'm a working mom, and I get to work from home. That means I can do laundry in the mornings if needed. When I worked at an office, I did laundry at night. You have to figure out which time of day and which days of the week fit into a routine for you.
Name Your Categories
Then, write down every category of laundry. A category is a related group of items to launder, such as darks, colors, whites. A category may also be a person's weekly laundry instead of sorting by color.
As an example, here are my categories:
Child #1’s clothes + karate shirt
Child #1's sheets and blanket
Child #2’s clothes + karate shirt
Child #2's sheets and blanket
Child #2's clothes
Child #2's sheets and blanket
Mom and Dad's clothes
Kid's bath towels (and any dirty washcloths in the towel hamper)
Mom and Dad's bath towels (and any dirty washcloths in the towel hamper)
Mom and Dad's bedding
Kitchen towels and tablecloths
Swimming clothes (swim class + our pool in the summer)
These categories work for our family. Before using a schedule, my kids ran out of pajamas, shirts, and underwear EVERY WEEK. Compartmentalizing helps me avoid large laundry piles because we have fewer clothes to choose from nowadays.
Reverse Declutter Back Up Clothes
To reverse declutter, decide what to keep first, then evaluate the unchosen items for decluttering. Back up clothes (clothes you keep just in case) creates a laundry safety net. If you have back up clothes in your drawers, you do not have to do laundry. In my house, this just makes for larger laundry piles... later.
I choose to not have "back up" clothes in their drawers, which means their laundry needs to be done often enough to make sure they have clothes. My oldest had five shorts in his drawer. His shorts are usually not re-wearable a second day. I had to decide to add an extra laundry day to his schedule so he had clean shorts or I had to buy at least two more shorts.
I bought 3 more shorts for him so keep one laundry day for him. His weekly pile is usually two loads anyway, so I wasn't creating a new step for him. It is simplier to have the "right" number of shorts rather than add a day.
How do I know the "right" number of kid's clothes to keep? I let laundry be my guide.
MOM HACK: I keep one extra set of clothes in our car. If laundry is off schedule, or we need a change of clothes while out and about, I've got them handy. It buys me one extra day on the schedule, if needed, but doesn't clutter up their drawers.
Before a schedule, I washed clothes by darks, colors, and whites, but I wasn't washing often enough. I assumed they had enough to get them through. I managed laundry on a notion, rather than a schedule.
Your categories will map differently; trial and error will help you determine the best way to assign each type. Since I am teaching the kids how to do laundry, I wanted a dedicated day for them to slowly develop the skill each week. For example, I like to finish all the clothes by Wednesday, so I know all the white clothes have been separated into their own pile by then. We only need one load of whites in our house each week.
Children can help with laundry from a young age and eventually learn to manage their laundry schedule. I'm teaching my children how to deal with their laundry pile by separating clothes into hampers. They each have a dedicated hamper and a dedicated laundry day on the schedule. Learning laundry tips such as putting dirty laundry where it belongs and re-wearing "half-dirty" clothes are part of that process.
Swimming clothes are a weekly load for us from Fall to Spring after swim class. In the summer, the swimming clothes get washed 2-3 times a week, depending on how often they swim in the pool in our backyard. They have enough swimsuits to make it 3 days before I need to do the wash.
Each family member has their own special laundry needs. Some of our categories represent more than one load of laundry in our house. Some of the categories can be combined into one washing load. My oldest has two loads of laundry on his assigned laundry day. We are working on identifying when he can re-wear clothes, but he has habits of using his shirts and pants as napkins.
Assign Laundry to Days
Next, begin assigning every laundry category to a day of the week. Note that you are committing to doing that category entirely. My husband and I end up with 3 loads a week of laundry since his uniform for work takes up half a load.
Laundry happens six days a week in our house. If there's extra, I do laundry daily to stay ahead of it.
Here's my laundry schedule:
Then, figure out where you can combine loads. At first, I had a category for "sportswear" (karate shirts, gymnastics leotards, shorts, etc.). Refining the categories after a few trial weeks, I made a note to grab their sports clothes and add them to their assigned laundry day instead. They re-wear those items until their laundry day.
Another way you can combine loads is to combine darks and colors if the items to be washed are familiar or light in color. We have a rainbow of colors in our weekly piles, so I separate colors and darks.
Test and Adjust Your Schedule
Lastly, test your schedule. If you are away on Thursdays, do not plan to do laundry on that day. Sunday is a rest day for us, so I avoid tackling laundry when I can on this day.
Click to open your free laundry schedule printable!
Click this link to see more free printables on my website.
Why am I constantly doing laundry?
The top reason most people are overwhelmed by laundry is that they have too much of it. You may have too many options if you have clothes in your closet and at least one load of dirty clothes. Be ruthless and honest about your favorite fabrics and fits, and donate the extra.
How often do minimalists do laundry?
I identify as a minimalist after four years of decluttering, but I focus more on simplifying my life. Doing laundry every day keeps the piles managed in our house. My laundry room used to hold mountains of clothes I would have to climb over to reach the machines.
Piles of dirty laundry added stress to my day. I only realized how much stress the piles created after I created a schedule and the piles disappeared. Keeping up with the schedule makes my day feel calmer.
Fumio Sasaki discusses a "silent to-do list" in his book, Goodbye, Things. He defines the concept as our possessions sending us silent messages when we have too many things. The more items we have, the less we focus on what matters most to us.
My laundry piles represented a silent to-do list item because I always felt behind on the process.
I blog about our life of slow and simple living and share content on this website and on YouTube. Click the link below for a video related to this blog where I clean our laundry room and share my routine.
Am I using too much laundry detergent?
You use too much laundry if you see soapy suds at the end of a load or if your laundry feels chalky or stiff.
Why do people do so much laundry?
Kids are messy. Doing laundry every day helps keep the piles under control. I like clean sheets and towels, so I make sure they make it into the washer weekly.
One way I simplified laundry a few years ago was to identify the number of towels we actually use. My family only uses one towel per person, and I had 7 EXTRA towels in my linen closet.
Without a laundry schedule, we defaulted to the extra towels until the towel pile in the laundry room turned into a mini mountain. Managing extra towels made for even larger laundry piles later.
Towels are directly hung onto hooks from the dryer. Eliminating the steps of folding and putting them away into the linen closet saves me time and energy.
How can I spend less on laundry?
To spend less money on laundry, simplify your products. Use one detergent for all loads, or make your own homemade detergent. Hang dry as often as possible to avoid using the dryer to save on electricity (or gas). Wear items more than once, and you can wash them less often. Figure out your laundry favorites and stick with just a few products.
Gain control of your laundry by using a routine and a schedule. Naming your laundry categories will help you see how many loads you must do each week to avoid feeling overwhelmed again. Print the free laundry schedule and start simplifying your laundry routine. Click here to see my favorite and most used laundry products.