My Washing Pile Never Sleeps

I’m notoriously bad at doing the washing. And I seem to be obsessed with how bad I am at it. I featured my washing pile here, it has pride place in this video, I talk about it here and even here too.  My washing pile never sleeps and I especially don’t like folding and putting it away…often my kids first point of call for clothes is the clean washing pile and not their drawers. Bad housewife.

I’m excited to say, after 11 years, I’ve found a system that works for me. So I’m talking about the laundry today so if you don’t want to read on, I totally understand.

My Laundry

Organising the Laundry

1. After the machine washes the clothes, I take out the shirts that need ironing and place directly on the hanging rack. This aids in the ironing process. They stay on the rack until needed.

2. I take all the socks and undies and place them in the dryer. This saves me a lot of time as hanging out small items is so fiddly, and basically drives me nuts.  They don’t take long to dry so I don’t feel so carbon-footprint-heavy.

3. I hang out the rest of the clothes on the line (unless it’s raining).

4. When the washing is dry, I find all the matching socks and place them in the “matching socks” basket. The “I can’t find any socks” scenario has gone down to zero since I started this system.

5. All single socks go in the white basket until their partner can be found. If they are in the missing sock basket too long, they are destined to be sock puppets. Just saying.

6. Husband takes a shirt directly from the drying rack and irons of a morning.

7. I fold and put my older children’s clothes in their room and I put the rest away…eventually.

Folding & Sorting Washing

Sorting LaundryWendy from Jazslings (mother of four) uses individual baskets to sort her children’s clean washing.  The beauty of this system is kids can collect their own washing to put away and it’s easy to sort as you go. As of today, I’m folding my washing this way. Thanks Wendy!

Other tips from Wendy:

* Use dual washing baskets to sort coloured and whites. Ikea has these laundry bags. Click the picture for more information.

        Ikea washing baskets

*  If there are clean clothes, or toys lying around, they go in the basket also.

* Do a load everyday.

* Keep a large basket for clean towels and sheets.

* Iron once a week to a good movie.

Here are some DIY Laundry Dresser sorting plans for inspiration:

Laundry Basket Dresser: Free plans to make a laundry sorting system similar to Wendy’s (above).

Washer Dryer Pedestals: Place under front loader for easy sorting.


Feeling so proud of myself right now. I found a system that works for our family. My housewife-o-meter has gone up from 20% to 40% I believe. Go me.

Even my laundry is happy with me. Look at my dryer smiling at me.  Seriously came into the laundry and found it starring at me like that. What a freak! My washing pile never sleeps, and if I’m in any doubt of that, I just remember this picture…it’s always there…waiting. {insert suspense music here}

Face in the dryer

Do you like doing the washing? What is your system?

Read more

My Washing Machine Eats Socks

Sorry the House is in a Mess

I Didn’t Clean the Kitchen Last Night

Organisation posts

External Links

The Organised Housewife: Folding Clean Laundry

The Orgnaised Housewife: How to Iron a Business Shirt

The Organised Housewife: Washing clothes

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

Latest posts by Kelly - Be A Fun Mum (see all)


  1. says

    I hate washing. It’s my most hated ‘housewife’ job.
    I’ll put the washing on, forget to hang it out. Peg it out and forget to bring it in.

    But basically I make sure I do one load a day plus either towels or bedding.

  2. Liz says

    The washing is basically taking over our house at the moment, I’m afraid the washing is going to eat us. hehe

    It’s mostly all washed but seems to cling to baskets and soft surfaces and is allergic to drawers…..

    I need to get a folding / put away system in place asap! So great idea!!

  3. Nicole says

    Very similar I have a full load camping clothes line set up in my spare room now so I only need to go outside to hang out sheets. If it goes on a hanger in the cupboard it goes on one straight out of the machine no need to peg and re peg

      • lisa says

        my dads mrs does that it is a clever idea, but i dont have room for one :( and wish i did for we have a swamp instead of a back yard so i need gum boots to go out side

  4. Sarah says

    My system is similar… Undies, socks and ironing items go in the dryer for quick turn around. Once ironing is dry, I try to iron it immediately. I hate folding (with 3 under 4, one of their favorite games is unfolding and messing up folded cloths) so I have 1 basket per family member and I sort each persons cloths into their basket and put it in their room until I have time to fold and put away. It means that if you’re looking for something, it’s almost always in your room and you don’t have to look through everyone else’s stuff.

    • says

      My kids the unfolding game too. lol I really like the idea of having a basket per family member. I’m off to the shops today to do that. Awesome idea! Thanks Sarah.

  5. says

    I love washing!!!

    I have a great system in the laundry. After I wash and dry I have 5 large coloured boxes that sit in a short (5 shelf) bookcase in my laundry. 4 kids = 1 box each and hubby and I share a box.

    When the clothes are dry they go into each box depending upon whose the item belongs to. Once a box is filled I take it to the designated child’s room and we put it away together. Its unlikely that I have everyone’s box to do at the same time so it spreads out this chore and the kids don’t mind helping.

  6. says

    Oh lawks, I loathe washing. My husband is always plaintively asking where this or that has disappeared to. *shrug* We have a sock monster, I know that for a fact, but some days its appetite grows to include undies and even shirts.

    One thing I don’t do is iron. We have an ironing cupboard. I fold stuff neatly that needs ironing and stack it there. And there it stays. When the shelf is full, I figure we’ve done without those items for a year or so, and we give them to the op shop.
    True. But I am fanatical about shaking most clothes when I hang them out and folding neatly when they come off the line, so most clothes don’t need ironing. If they do…see above.

    • says

      BC you really crack me up. I don’t iron either (rarely…like maybe 5 times a year) and that is why the husband does his own. I did do it for a while but did such a bad job that he decided to do it himself (YES! That plan worked).

      Think of all the lovely people able to have your “ironing” clothes. See? Not ironing is a very good thing I believe. 😉

      • says

        @Kelly B, Until recently I ironed about twice a year for weddings maybe or really special event ?
        My then 3.5 yrs were in awe of what an iron was the first time they remembered seeing it :).
        I hand everything that can be hung on hangers so it saves ironing too.

      • lisa says

        i dont iron either. last time i went to a wedding i got mil to iron. and i make sure i hang with the right creases to for amd if it needs ironing i wont spin it for it creases more and i just hang it up then after being peged in perfection when it is dry i may put it in cubard, but usually we wear it soon after. i dispise ironing and do not own one,, but i want to get one for sewing lol

  7. Shaaro says

    Hi Kelly,
    I wash daily, sometimes 2 loads a day. I don’t have a problem with folding or ironing however I was struggling with getting it put away. I was just adding onto the piles of clothes. Invested in 5 baskets from Target one for each child including hubby. When they have finished afternoon tea, they each need to go and collect their daily washing and put it away. I have found this system works well.
    Love reading your blog

  8. says

    I think the washing gets up to xrated things whilst we sleep as it seems to breed over night.
    I have a back injury from lifting a basket of wet washing incorrectly, so I have a reason to hate it so much!
    However, I’m getting better.
    I got a new washing machine 2 weeks ago and we have moved the laundry to the back of the garage which is closer and easier to use and my committment to washing has increased. Then Sunday night my iron died so I got a new one of those too and ironing is getting to be ok.
    Ive started ironing Sunday nights, or on a thursday or friday when I’m kid free in front of a dvd I hire from the video shop so it seems like a treat.
    Still. Washing and ironing is NOT fun and I don’t understand women who think it is LOL x
    Love the dryer pic Kel, such a smiley image! x

  9. says

    I love reading how other people do things!
    I don’t have room for more than one dirty clothes basket at the moment – so I have to sort before washing.
    I have an indoor retractable line that fits a medium size load so I can and do wash at any time of day, I hang all dark clothes inside and use the outside line for towels, sheets and clothes on a sunny or breezy day when I wash in the morning.
    We had an ironing angel next door – but she is getting old so we took back out ironing… hubby irons his shirts and I fold or hang everything straight from the line.. and iron nothing! (I smooth the crinkles as I hang them when still wet)
    I fold into people piles – and ask the kids (all except miss 3) to put their own clothes away – which don’t always make it into their drawers neatly folded) but that is their responsibility and they are learning that.

    I like to do 3 or 4 loads a week – which is easier when you don’t need uniforms – and hubby has at least 10 business shirts.

    looking forward to having a larger house one day to have sorting drawers and seperate sorting baskets for dirty washing.

    • says

      Me too: I love what people do. Yes, I’m with you…I get my kids to put their own washing away and this means it’s not perfect but that’s okay… I’ve just put together my washing sorter…I’ll do a post on it next week…love it!

  10. Stacey says

    call me wierd or silly, but i like doing to washing, i always do at least 1 load aday, i hang it out on the line, once its dry i fold it as i take it off. i thne sort the ironing n put the rest away, do the ironing every day that way theres not much cause there is nothing worse than standing there all day doing a big load of ironing yuk lol, i really lke the smell of clean washing so i dont mind doing it, lol

    • says

      I don’t think it’s silly at all…I’m just envious LOL. My sister is the same: LOVES the washing. ….Oh, and yes, the smell of clean washing is noice. True, true.

  11. Kellie says

    As soon as kids out of pj’s in the morning the washing goes on and gets hung out asap. More often than not the washing doesn’t get folded until kids go to bed but I don’t sit down of a night til it is folded and sorted into piles and put in the applicable rooms. Any ironing gets folded and placed in an ‘ironing basket’ and my husband irons and empties the basket at least twice a week. He even irons all the sheets etc!! My 4 yr old loves to fold the washing so half the time I get her involved too.
    If I wash/fold/put away every day it keeps it all to a minimum and there is never a huge pile to be sorted.

  12. says

    I do at least one load a day.

    Once it’s done, and dried it gets sorted into two big baskets – the ironing basket or the “put away” basket”. Both baskets sit on a long work bench in the laundry. Then I shut the door. Out of sight, out of mind. (We have an external laundry, so it really is out of sight out of mind. Mount Putaway and Mount Ironall arepractically in a different state!)

    Then, once a week (usually on a Monday) I sort and put away all of the put away stuff and iron all the ironing. (I am addicted to ironing. I know that is lame. Cannot help myself.)

    • says

      Okay ladies we have an ironing lover here… Lucy, can I send all my ironing to you lol….I love the out of sight out of mind thingy…good plan…good plan.

  13. Charlene says

    I am in the same boat, I hate ironing. My whole spare room is now dedicated to the ironing pile, so much so that I think my kids drawers are nearly empty. My little boy had nearly 30 pair of white school socks at the beginning of the year and now, not even at the end of term one we are pushing to find a pair each morning. Will definitiely be using your sock idea!!! Love it.

  14. Emma says

    Great idea kel, I try and wash everyday buy if I don’t I leave my washing in our room to do but it never gets done so now I leave it on my big table and that make me do it lol

  15. says

    You mean that mountain of (clean) laundry on my bed isn’t meant to be there?! Dammit!

    I have coloured plastic boxes for the kids, and when I am being good at laundry, I sort into their boxes as I take it off the line. Then each box goes into their rooms and I eventually put it away. It usually goes in drawers etc pretty quickly. When you’ve only got what seems like a handful of things to put away, it’s easy to do.


    Like right now, this is not happening.
    (You know, life gets in the way!)
    I have a small mountain growing in my room. It moves too. From my bed to the floor and back to my bed…! The aim for this raining afternoon is to get on top of the the folding so I can start fresh again tomorrow.

    All the clean laundry hanging around, making our house look messy (messier!!!) stresses me out!!!

    Oh, and I’m terrible at bringing the washing in. I remember to hang it out(side) but can’t see the line from inside, so I am always forgetting there is a load out there to bring in!

    • says

      Absolutely know what you mean…when I’m on top of the washing, it’s great, but a few days out of the home and it’s bedlam!!! Oh and I’m shocking at remembering to bring the washing in too. I’ve had a towel load out there for 3 days because it keeps raining and I keep forgetting to bring it in. HA!

  16. Jenny McDonnell says

    I am not alone… what a relief. I am amazed if anyone else has read this far but this is what works for me…
    I am blessed with a large under house laundry (Queenslanders are great for this) and so I have 5 Ikea laundry baskets… the $4 ones. I sort the dirty washing into whites, darks, blue/green, yellow/red/pink, linen. As each hamper fills I wash, Usually a load of the fullest hamper after the kids are in the bath after dinner and then a second load as I am going to bed. I have a front loader and the loads take about 2 hours each. I then have two loads to hang out after the 2 of 3 kids have gone to school – or one at night before bed and one first thing before the frantic morning begins if I am out all day.
    I hang with all kids in one section and adults in another, sorting as I hang my coloured loads. Then when the loads are collected they go stright into separate baskets, preferably folded – but this doesn’t alwasy happen with the current weather as I seem to be grabbing them off the line in a rush avoiding a climatic rinse.
    My system fails miserably here as clothes are then allergic to the cupboards as well and I don’t know why as I get it so right to here. I have a sock basket – brilliant! I have a mostly empty ironing basket as hubby irons his work stuff and otherwise its all hung and folded properly.
    I can find socks, no more pink streaks, power bill seems to be less and yet… empty cupboards and 4 baskets of washing to sort tonight, 2 of which to fold as well.

  17. says

    great blog…new follower here. Laundry is my most least favorite “chore” I get stuck when it comes to folding it and putting it away…haha!!

  18. Dancing in the Rain says

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. My Mum also died about 5 years ago. Which seems like forever and no time at all.

    Great post about the laundry – it is a never ending battle and always good to get some new arsenal!!

  19. says

    I, too, try to fold the into a basket for each person. I don’t iron in bulk. I get it out each morning & iron the school uniforms as I found that if I ironed them in advance they would only get crushed & creased by the kids anyway…..very little else needs to be ironed as I fold it as I take it off the line unless it starts to rain, in which case I just throw it into the basket but then am guilty of finding something else to do rather than fold it immediately. If I miss a day with washing, it seems to take me days to catch up again, so I do at least 1 load a day. With a household of 6, there is always something waiting to be washed. And yeah, my kids have learned to check the baskets on the loungeroom floor if they can’t find something!

  20. says

    I love this post. It is so true. I’m going to have to get some of those stacking baskets. My oldest now does his laundry by himself, its great. Only two more to go.
    Thanks for the tips. Shelly

  21. Jennifer Ebbage says

    I LOVE this post Kelly. Again you crack me up. Actually there is not a post of yours that I don’t love. Especially that towel lady that appeared in the window of your dryer…. mmmm i wonder how that happened! Love how the little things are important to the big guy too if you know what I mean!

    thanks again.

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