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A Laundry Update

Shall we talk about how my hanging laundry basket system is working out for my family? Oh, let’s!

hanging laundry baskets

It is the best. thing. ever.

The hanging system has completely changed the way I approach laundry. Like I mentioned before, we dedicated a hallway closet to take care of our laundry needs, and installed six labeled laundry baskets for our family of four. It’s been an organizational dream – no more overflowing cloth bags or hampers stuffed in the back of the closet until I’m forced to shake them all out. The six baskets are labeled Towels, Whites, Lights, Darks, Colors, and Blacks, which would probably work for most, but over the past few months, I’ve realized I seriously micro-manage my laundry piles. Yes, I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I still sort some of the laundry baskets before washing. As if six categories weren’t enough, I prefer to separate laundry into 9-10 piles before washing. Is that crazy? Have I gone off the deep end?

Let’s break it down. Here’s how I sort.

Towels

Whites

Lights – tans, beige, khaki

Lights – grey, pale blues

Colors – reds, pinks, oranges, purple

Colors – blues, greens

Darks

Blacks

Denim

Yep. 9 loads. Some people have informed me that I might be a little loco, but I like to keep all my colors vibrant and I believe my method keeps our clothing from looking dingy and worn.

laundry

Also, some of our laundry baskets are far more popular than others. Our “colors” and “lights” baskets fill up twice as fast due to the kids’ colorful clothing and my husbands penchant for grey and light blue. Do you notice a predominant color in your laundry baskets? Also, I would love to hear about your sorting system. Are you a “more is better” when it comes to separating laundry, a “who cares” or somewhere in the middle? Laundry separatists unite!

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43 Comments
  • Esther

    June 12, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Laundry Separatists? I didn’t know YOU PEOPLE had a name! lol

    • whoorl

      June 12, 2013 at 7:20 am

      Hahaaaa, I know. Just another way my Type A manifests itself. ;)

      • Esther

        June 12, 2013 at 7:42 am

        Pshh! I threw away my Type A a LONG time ago….lol

  • Katie

    June 12, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Fist bump from a fellow Laundry Separatist. 9 loads here too. :) I do a lot of dark loads (hubby) and colors (girls pjs and play clothes). I have a laundry basket dresser/sorting system like you and I love it. :)

    • whoorl

      June 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Fist bump!

  • KateP

    June 12, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I am as diligent a sorter as you…I’m REALLY concerned about the red clothes bleeding into the other items. Also, I am just OCD/Type A in general, so of course it spills into laundry, too. I need a system like yours. My dirty clothes end up either piled in my first floor laundry, or all over my family room floor on “laundry day.” This way I could take a basket or two a day!

  • Tiera

    June 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

    How funny we had this conversation at work yesterday. All the men thought their significant others were crazy for separating to this level of detail. They were a happy to let their jeans get dirty to the point of being able to stand them up in a corner on their own! We also discussed balancing the loads and when it’s ok to sacrifice a piece of clothing from its typical sorting because it doesn’t matter as much eg. Men’s light grey boxers can move to the dark jeans wash to balance the load.
    In my house I do the laundry always so I can control the sorting and the cycles.

  • Cass

    June 12, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Been there, done that. :-) I’ve had to change my ways a little because my husband and anyone who asks looks at me a little crazy. But currently it goes towels (light colors), towels (red/dark colors), towels (dog) whites, colors, darks, denim, dress clothes/sweaters, sheets. Still at 9 loads, but they don’t all get washed every week – thank goodness.

  • Ginger

    June 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Not a separatist here. I just use cold water and hope for the best.

  • Michelle

    June 12, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I’m with Ginger – all in cold and hope for the best. This is primarily due to the fact that I only have one person to do laundry for – me! And most of my clothes are black…

    Can someone answer this for me – what temp water do you wash sheets and towels? I usually wash in hot.
    Yay/nay?

    And for clothes – what exactly are you supposed to wash in hot and warm?

    Thanks!

    • MommyTime

      June 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      I do everything in cold, even sheets and towels, unless someone has been really sick. Then I wash and rinse his/her sheets and towels in hot. I think that heat sets stains, so I prefer cold for everything unless I have a lot of germs to kill. But I could be wrong about this.

      • GreenInOC

        June 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm

        @MommyTime, how do you rinse in a different temperature – does your washing machine have that feature? Clearly mine doesn’t nor have any that I’ve ever looked at but I desperately want one that does. Thanks!

        • MommyTime

          June 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm

          I have a pretty basic model Maytag (top loading, manual nobs, absolutely no frills and hence relatively little to break), but it does have temperature choices for both wash and rinse, load size options, and the standard cycle type options. I’ve had it for ten years, and it’s a workhorse. I love it.

    • whoorl

      June 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      I wash always wash my towel and sheet loads in warm or hot.

  • Rebekah

    June 12, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I used to sort like that when I had a smaller machine that couldn’t handle mega-loads. I’m not so specific now, but I totally understand the impulse. I typically do whites, light colors, dark colors, towels and diapers, although I have been known to throw the odd towel, napkin, or washcloth in with those at the end of the day. Some people like an empty inbox. I like an empty laundry hamper.

  • Christine

    June 12, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I’ll see your 9 loads and raise you 7 more: sheets, table linens, underwear and socks (dark), underwear and socks (light). I also have sub categories for sweaters (delicate), bathing suits, lulu lemon and similar athletic materials (washing them with other cottons messes them up). I have accepted that I am crazy about this one thing but I swear all of our clothes look new for a ridiculously long time. Don’t even get me started on how little I put in the dryer though. I hang almost everything but sheets, towels and underwear/socks. :)

    • whoorl

      June 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      You’re my kind of woman. And I do my Lululemon separately as well! Same on the dryer too…I hang dry tons of stuff.

      • Summer

        June 13, 2013 at 6:56 am

        LOL I feel like I found my people! I OBSESS over separating and definitely prefer to dry on ultra low for a few minutes before hanging dry a good portion of the wash.

  • MommyTime

    June 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I separate whites and lights, though don’t care if grey and tan and powder blue mix. I ALWAYS do a red/pink/orange/purple load — and because both of my kids favor those colors, I sometimes have more than one load’s worth in any given week. I also have mesh zip bags that I used for things that don’t get dried, so that I don’t forget to pull them out of a wash load (little girl tights, sweaters, delicates, anything containing lycra, my good jeans). I put those into the bags as I’m sorting laundry, so that they don’t accidentally get thrown in the washer. My mother always did denim with towels, which makes very heavy loads. I like to mix sheets and towels, since I find that in my large-load washer, an all-towels load sometimes doesn’t spin effectively due to weight.

    And now, I can’t believe I’ve written this much about doing laundry. (Perhaps I’m procrastinating from actually doing it?)

  • Mikal

    June 12, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I only separate out known color offenders, which for me is only dark wash jeans. So jeans get their own load and everything else is mixed.

  • Ambr

    June 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Nah, I’m a lazy laundry washer. I separate it into the ever so difficult [/sarcasm] categories of “jeans” and “everything else”. I’m frequently working outside, so by the time i’m doing laundry, everything’s so covered in dirt that I just want to dump it in the machine and call it a day hahah. Periodically, however, i’ll do a “delicates” run, for my few nicer items. And I *always* throw in Shout Color Catcher — I swear by them, I haven’t had any sort of bleeding of colors since I started using them — just to try and compensate for my laziness x)

  • ChrisB

    June 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    WOW!!!
    I did not even know those options existed… My word!
    I only separate into lights, darks and sheets. The towels end up with the lights or darks.
    But I only use a dryer for towels, everything else is air dried.

  • Kevin

    June 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Whites, Lights, Darks, Towels, Bedding, Boy #1, Boy #2, Wife’s Unmentionables. I will wash and fold all but the last. The last also includes delicate sweaters, etc., that I don’t want to take a chance on destroying. Everything on warm, except Whites – those get hot.

  • Jessica

    June 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I did not know that Laundry Separatists could exist to this extent! I wash Chris’s work clothes separate because he is a paramedic and that’s kind of a dirty job. But everything else is tossed together and I wash on warm. I do occasionally wash special clothes on a gentle cycle, and towels/washclothes are always washed alone on hot. However, I am a bit of a crazy when it comes to putting clothes away.