How to Quickly Conquer a Mountain of Laundry

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Do you feel like you are living out of laundry baskets? Does the clean laundry never seem to make it from the couch to the dresser drawers? Then read on, because I have a tried-and-true method for quickly dealing with a mountain of laundry!

My little system became necessary while I was working full-time as a teacher.  I found that I just couldn’t even think about laundry during the week.

Not a chance.

So Mr. Blue Eyes would spend his day off on Friday washing all of the laundry and then I would fold the baskets upon baskets full of clothing on Saturday.  

It was a method that got us through those crazy years, but even now that life has slowed down for me, I still have an occasional mountain of laundry to deal with on busy weeks. So this system definitely comes in handy.

Are you interested in giving it a try? Here’s what to do:

Step One:  Consolidate

Make sure you have that load from the dryer that you’ve hit “wrinkle release” on and forgotten about like ten times.  

Clear off the drying rack while you’re at it as well.  

Those pants are part of the decor by now so they are easy to overlook, but you’ll want them.  

Make sure that you have every piece of laundry so that you don’t have any unpleasant surprises later on, when you think you’re done.  

Then it’s time to dump it all out.  

All of it.  

One big pile.  

Get good and overwhelmed.

Large Pile of Laundry

Step Two:  Speed Sort

If you have littles, this step will be their favorite part. Be sure to get them involved from a young age! Even my toddler likes to jump in and look for her socks.

As a side note: I’ve found that keeping the kids engaged in these tasks from a young age has helped it to be a non-event when asking them to help as older kiddos; they chip in and help because that’s just what we do. (Do we still have assigned chores and allowance? Absolutely! Read more about our system here.)

Anyway…back to the Step Two.

Designate one laundry basket for every person in your family and then quickly sort the huge pile into the hampers.  (One day I will have a cute sorting cart like this, but for now I just use mismatched hampers). Collapsible hampers are also very handy for this if you don’t have space for a bunch of different laundry baskets.

laundry sorted into different baskets

This sorting might seem like just one extra step when time is of the essence, but it goes super fast.  

It is self-explanatory that sorting by person breaks this huge chore into smaller chunks, which makes it less daunting.

BUT there’s actually another huge reason to sort like this…

Step Three:  Fold and Put Away

While the kiddos are looking for their own clothes to sort, you should start folding the towels, tablecloths, and blankets.  Getting these large items out of the way will help the kids find their own items and it will help you gain momentum.  (Especially if you find towel folding as oddly satisfying as I do.)

Once you have sorted the laundry by person, dump one basket out at a time and start folding.

The sorting helps save folding time in two ways:  

First, you can easily find matching socks, PJ sets, etc. because you don’t have to hunt through the whole laundry pile.

Needle, haystack, you get my drift. 

Second, if you were folding clothes for the whole family at once, you would have 20 different piles all over the place; for example, finding the right place to stack The Professor’s Star Wars shirt is much easier when I am only dealing with his four piles at a time (shirts, pants, PJs, and underwear/socks).  

folded boy clothing

Then it’s time to put it all away!

At our house, we fill cubbies with complete outfits for the week (read about my clothing organization system here).  Then the kids help get the rest of the laundry put away.  

Stacking the empty baskets back in the laundry room is so gratifying!

So that’s my method for folding a crazy amount of laundry in a hurry. I hope this was helpful for some of you!

2020 UPDATE: I wrote this post a LONG time ago, but I wanted to pop on here and let you know that I STILL use this method for dealing with laundry. I actually create a large pile of clean laundry on purpose because I know it saves me so much time in the long run.

On a typical laundry day, I will wash three to five loads at a time. I won’t bother folding any laundry until everything has been washed and dried. Plus, now that my kids are older, they are in charge of finding and folding their own laundry from the mega-pile I create on laundry day.

folded towels

I’m sure most of you have had mountains of laundry to deal with at one time or another, whether it was due to vacation, illness, or a busy week.  How do you quickly conquer a mountain of laundry?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!