7 Simple Steps To Tame That Out Of Control Pile Of Laundry


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Let’s tackle that out of control pile of laundry (or piles!). This 7 step laundry guide will show you the exact method I use to get back on track when life has got in the way and the piles have built up. It will ensure that you take control and return to a state where things can be managed again – and I hope it helps you to tackle your laundry piles too..

7 Simple Steps To Completely Tame That Out Of Control Pile Of Laundry

We all have times when that pile of laundry gets out of hand.

There are laundry baskets overflowing, extra clothes piles toppling over in the bedroom, and the utility has several loads that need to be put away/ironed/folded etc….


Based on the amount of laundry we have - I have to assume there are people living here I've never met

There are so many reasons why this can happen – whether it be because you’ve been away, been ill, had a really busy week or two, or just never got a system that works properly.

You’re not alone – we all have times that things get out of control – but now it’s time that it was tackled once and for all.

In this post I wanted to look at the steps to take to reach that sacred and wished for treat – an empty laundry basket!

Now – I’m not unrealistic. This empty basket may only last a second or two, but after reaching it, you will have the skills to never get overwhelmed by it all again.

Sound good?

Let’s do this!

Step #1 – Clothes Amnesty

First things first. We need to know what we’re working with – and how bad the piles have got…

So – take a few minutes to walk around the house and gather everything together in one place.

TIP – I like to put it all in the utility so that it’s ready to go through – but if you don’t have this space then pick a room that’s out of the way enough so that you can get your system going…

Step #2 – Clear A Working Space

As there is likely to be a LOT of laundry at this stage, it’s important to make the task of getting it clean and back in wardrobes/cupboards as easy as you can – otherwise you are making it harder than it needs to be.

As such – clear the place where you do your washing/laundry as much as you can, so you’re ready for action.

Remember – it’s not just about having space to put these dirty piles – it’s space for drying, folding, ironing and putting away once the system is underway.

The last thing you want is to get these piles confused and double up on washing things!

Step #3 – Prioritise

If you have lots of laundry that’s built up – chances are high that you are running out of clean clothes/bedding/towels etc…

So – you need to prioritise what you really need to clean first.

Ask yourself some of the following questions: –

  • Are there specific clothes needed for specific activities in the next week? (i.e. sports clothes, school uniform etc…)
  • Do you all have enough underwear for the next week?
  • Are there enough towels & bedding to last a while longer?

It may well be that pretty much everything is needed asap – but these questions will help you get the most important things to the top of the list!

Step #4 – Sort The Piles

When you’ve determined what needs washing first, start to sort everything into piles that will be washed together, and put them in order of when they will be washed.

(Sort into colours, whites, towels, sports clothes, delicates etc… – however you usually wash clothes, as we are all slightly different in approach!).

Knowing how many piles you have will also help you have more of an idea of when you will get back on track (as you will know how much time you have to get through this).

Step #5 – Start the Cycle

Right – now it’s time to take the plunge and get things started.

Every pile will need to go through the following cycle – WASH / DRY / FOLD / IRON / PUT AWAY (with the possible exception of ironing for some items).

Ideally when you’re in this catch-up stage you will start the first load off, and once that finishes get the next load in, and move the first load to drying etc… – and then each load will travel through each part of the cycle in the quickest possible way.

Before you know it, you’ll be back on track – and all it will take to go through each load is focus and prioritising this task for a while…

TIP – Try not to leave any part of the cycle to build up. Ideally you only ever want 1 load of laundry in any one part of the cycle – so that you don’t start getting any build up.

Related: How to Fold A Fitted Sheet – Step by Step

Step #6 – Limit What Gets Put Into Washing For A While

While you get on top of things, it’s important to not add to the laundry piles as much as possible.

The trick to adding less is pretty simple – and that’s to use everything at least 1 more time/wear.

The only exception to this being if it’s actually really dirty, of course!

For example –

  1. If your bedding normally gets changed once a week then do it every 10 days/fortnight for a while.
  2. Usually wash t-shirts after every wear? – use them twice at least before washing.

We all have the tendency to wash more than we need – and sometimes it’s easier to add something to the laundry basket than hang it up or put it away….

If you do this, then you will definitely make progress quicker and keep momentum higher because you will be seeing yourself making a difference, and the pile going down.

… and an added bonus to this step is that you may well find that you CAN make things last longer and not wash as much as often in the future!

Step #7 – Create A laundry Schedule

Once you’ve got that pile of laundry back on track (this may take a day, a week, or longer…), you will want to stay on top of things.

As such, it makes sense to make a laundry schedule – and I wrote a detailed guide on how to do this HERE.

Hopefully this helps you stick to a routine that really works, and you won’t end up with those piles of laundry going forward…

7 Simple Steps To Completely Tame That Out Of Control Pile Of Laundry

I hope this step by step guide has inspired you to tackle your pile of laundry – and that it makes a difference to your home.

An added bonus of getting back on track is that you’ll have more of your clothes to choose from each day, and less clutter building up around the house (it’s amazing how clothes and other washing can create clutter if you allow it to build up).

Lastly – always remember that this shouldn’t be too painful a task to do because you can dip in and out of the process while you are doing it (you don’t have to watch the washing machine!) – so you could do it alongside something else to make time go faster….

… and don’t forget to check out THIS POST on creating your laundry schedule if you haven’t already.


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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...


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