These 8 genius laundry hacks will help you conquer mounting piles of laundry

These top tips for organizing laundry will help keep laundry day stress-free

(Image credit: Future / Darren Chung Photography / DeVol)

Is doing laundry becoming a source of everyday stress? For many of us, the answer is ‘‘yes’’, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Laundry day can become easier - and perhaps even somewhat enjoyable - if you can get on top of organizing it.

It is usually the lack of an efficient organizational system that makes laundry days chaotic rather than the volume of laundry that you have to get through. So, e’ve asked professional home organizers for their top laundry organization hacks.

We were interested not just in the tips they give customers but also in the organizational methods they use themselves when doing laundry. Here is the wisdom they shared with us. 

Laundry organization hacks: stay on top of your laundry

A lot of people struggle with organizing laundry, and many even consult professional home organizers to help them. Professional organizer and owner of A Meaningful Space Janelle Azar confirms that laundry organization is ‘one of the hottest topics I talk about with organizing clients.’ Azar’s general advice to everyone is to ‘start by pinpointing the laundry snag.’ 

Always begin by thinking about what it is about organizing laundry that gives you the most trouble. Is it sorting or washing everything efficiently? Or maybe it’s the folding and putting everything away afterward? By identifying where your challenge lies, you can make a few simple tweaks to your laundry routine. Here are a few of the most common ones:

1. Choose a sorting technique - and apply it consistently

laundry room with bench seat under window

(Image credit: Eric Piasecki / Otto)

If you only take away one laundry organization hack from this article, let it be this one. It’s not about how much laundry you have to sort. It’s not even necessarily that there is one superior way to sort through your laundry. But whatever you choose to do will only work if you do it consistently. Janelle Azar offers a couple of different options for organizing your laundry:

  • Use the 3-sort method with the help of a sorting hamper: darks, lights, and towels.
  • Or ‘if you have a few people in your home, each should have their own laundry basket and a designated day of the week that their laundry is done.’

Having a separate laundry basket per person works well for families with children. It not only makes organizing laundry much easier, but it also teaches kids to be responsible and not to leave their dirty laundry on the floor. The baskets/hampers don’t all have to be in the same place. Each bedroom can have one, and then all the baskets are brought to the laundry room when it’s their turn to do laundry.

Couples will usually find it easier to use the 3-sort method - or sort items by fabric/type. For example, it’s a very good idea to have a separate basket/section for delicates, one for towels, and one for general items/everyday clothing.

2. Rethink what fabrics you wear regularly

Which brings us to our next point. Organizing laundry is much easier if most of your clothes have more or less the same fabric composition. The 3-sort method, for example, only really works if you’re sorting through cottons/cotton blends. If you have a substantial collection of silk items you wear regularly (say, silk work blouses) or cashmere sweaters, you will need a separate sorting basket for those. The same goes for items that are dry clean only, and for synthetics. 

You can see how the sorting process becomes more and more complicated the more different fabric types you use. So, if you feel like you’re running out of space and have too many baskets and hampers, it may be useful to rethink your wardrobe. You might decide that you don’t buy dry-clean-only items as that will help eliminate a whole sorting step - and trips to the dry cleaner’s. 

3. Use mesh bags for smaller items

This organizational hack will save you a lot of time come laundry day. Mesh bags can be purchased on Amazon or from any home store. These are very useful for keeping smaller items like socks together and are essential for laundering bras and other delicate items without damaging them. 

Again, if you have kids it’s a good idea to at least try to get them to use mesh bags for socks rather than having to search the floor/behind furniture for lost socks. 

Tori Cohen
Tori Cohen

Tori Cohen (aka ‘Tori the Organizer’) has owned a decluttering and organization business for the last 8.5 years. From Los Angeles to New York City to Michigan, Tori has led her clients through the overwhelm of clutter to a more organized life.

4. Don’t delay drying and sorting clean laundry

A laundry room with a washing machine and built in cabinetry

(Image credit: Future / Darren Chung Photography Ltd)

Professional organizer and owner of Tori The Organizer Tori Cohen points out that certain steps in your laundry routine are ‘timely,’ which means you need to be around to execute them quickly. That’s why setting aside a whole day for laundry is beneficial for most people: you’re less likely to miss these steps if you stick around the house.  

These time-critical steps are:

  • Moving items from the washer to the dryer: ‘if you leave it for too long you risk items becoming musty’, Cohen says.
  • Moving items from the dryer to the folding area and out of the basket: this step is timely ‘because if you don't do it quickly enough, items will become wrinkled.’

If you have a lot to do around the house on laundry day (let’s face it, most of us do), then use an app that will send you notifications when it’s time to take your laundry out of the washer/dryer. Laundry Timer is our favorite. Knowing when the laundry will be ready for sorting is also useful if you want your partner/kids to do their own sorting.

Janelle Azar also swears by sorting through clean laundry as soon as it’s done: ‘I never leave things in the washer or dryer because I don't want to waste time washing them again if they sit too long, and I can't stand wrinkles.’

5. Separate just-dried items into piles

Do this as soon as you’ve taken your laundry out of the dryer. Here’s how Tori Cohen does this in her own home: ‘my folding, my hanging, my undies, bras and socks, hubby's folding, hubby's hanging, hubby's socks and undies, little L's folding, little L's hanging, little S.’

Tori explains that the reason for the separation is two-fold: ‘it forces me to shake out clothing so it doesn't get wrinkly before I have time to get to it, and should a member of my family - say little L - need something - she can find her pile and rifle through without wreaking havoc on all of laundry mountain.’

Having separate hanging and folding piles is especially useful for organizing laundry, as it saves a lot of time.

Janelle Azar
Janelle Azar

Janelle Azar is the owner of A Meaningful Space, a professional organizing company that serves the metro Detroit area. Her company specializes in residential organizing services for moms and families that are tailored to each client’s home, routine, and lifestyle. She is also the creator of Simplifying & Organizing with Kids, a digital course that teaches busy parents how to keep their homes clutter-free while getting their kids involved in the process.

6. Label items by family member

laundry room with cabinets and shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In large households with smaller children, it can be very challenging for both the adults and the children to be able to tell whose items are whose. If that’s the case in your home, consider getting creative with labeling each family member’s clothing. 

The easiest way to do this is to put different-colored dots on clothing labels with permanent markers. The dots won’t wash off after you launder the items and they might just save you from clothing pile chaos. 

7. Do a closet audit

If you are finding that you are constantly running out of space to hang clean items in your closet, you will need to do an audit of what’s in there. Closet organization can be a challenge of its own, especially if you live with a partner, but getting it sorted is essentially for avoiding stress come laundry day. 

If you are running out of hangers, buy more. If you are running out of space to hang clothes, try rotating items seasonally and only hanging up items you’ll be wearing in the next two to three months. The rest can be put away in storage. 

8. Simplify your folding routine

If you are dreading the folding stage or your laundry organization, Janelle Azar recommends asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are you not setting aside time to fold?
  • Is your folding system complicated?
  • Do you have a good space to complete the folding?

Folding clean clothes can be a pleasurable, even meditative activity, but you will hate doing it if you’re rushed off your feet. If you need help doing it, make sure you schedule the folding with your partner/family when everyone is around to do it. 

If you’re struggling with the folding itself, it may be a case of wanting Marie Kondo-style perfect folding. If your piles don’t look as neat as the home organizing guru’s, don’t worry too much. Just do whatever feels easiest: after all, you’ll only be taking it out of a drawer in a few days’ time to wear it.  


What is the no-fold method? 

You may have heard of the no-fold method, but what is it, exactly? Janelle Azar explains: ‘‘ It's basically a method to skip folding clothes and/or save time. This can be done by using bins, baskets, or drawers for clean clothes or by hanging the majority of clothes. If using this method, Janelle has the following tips: 

  • Using sturdy hangers
  • Using drawer dividers to help keep items contained
  • Adding labels to drawers and bins

You really don’t have to fold anything at all if you don’t want to; just make sure that everything has its own place to avoid chaotic drawers. 

Armed with this advice, you will find laundry organization a breeze. Just remember: give yourself plenty of time to do your laundry and the whole process will be much less stressful. 

Anna K. Cottrell is now a freelance writer, having previously been a Content Editor for Future's homes titles. She writes about interior design, property, and gardening. On H&G, she specialized in writing about property – buying, selling, renting – sustainability and eco issues.