Mama Life Hacks {#12}: Color-Coded Laundry Baskets

I’ve admitted here several times before that I’m not a naturally organized person. That is not to say that I am not organized. I have places for things in my house. And each year, I get a little better about figuring out what makes sense for the way my brain organizes. But it doesn’t come easily for me.

So, when I implement something super-simple and super-effective, I just have to share…even if only for those who are similarly organizationally challenged.

So, here’s the deal: our laundry situation really isn’t that bad, considering how many of us there are. I probably shouldn’t even admit this, but…I don’t feel like I do laundry all. the. time.

Yes, I do a lot (DUH…there are 8 humans in this here house, including at least 3 who have a tendency to soil their clothes on a thrice-daily basis with an abundance of various bodily fluids), but I (usually) do a couple of loads every other day or so, and the kids have gotten really rather good at knocking out the folding/putting away in 1/2 an hour of so.

BUT.

As much as I’m happy to report that we’ve found a system that works for us, I will say that our stacking/putting away process has left a bit to be desired.

Why? Because I only have 2 laundry baskets, and both of them are always tied up holding the dirty clothes in the laundry room.

After watching my kids make 14 trips up and down the stairs for the 136th time and dealing with the leaning towers of laundry piled on beds and chairs until they got put away (assuming that they didn’t get knocked over and completely muddled in some sort of spontaneous dance party, which is just as likely as not), I fiiiiiinally put “laundry baskets” on my shopping list.

laundry

It only took me 3 or so trips to various places that carry laundry baskets to actually remember to buy them, but it did finally happen on one trip to Target when my memory was jogged by the sight of a bright coral basket.

I honestly hadn’t thought through color options, but the second I spotted the coral one, something clicked in my brain, and I thought, “I should get a different color for each group of laundry.”

I’m almost sure I would have gotten all white if I hadn’t thought it through, but, instead, I grabbed one coral, one white, and one turquoise.

Not too surprisingly, the coral holds the girls’ clothes, the turquoise holds the boys’, and the white one goes to our room.

Obviously, there are towels and various other things that don’t go to just one location, but the color-coding + corralling of all of the clothes, at least, has made SUCH a difference in our laundry efficiency.

laundry1

We make fewer trips up and down the stairs, drop fewer clothes, mess up fewer piles, end up with fewer wrong clothes in wrong rooms, and have MUCH less confusion about which pile goes where (little boys/girls are not naturally organized either).

The results are really nothing short of magical for a single trip to the grocery store + $12 worth of supplies.

Again, I’m sure this is child’s play to most of you. But it’s been a game-changer for us.

And game-changers are always worth sharing, in my opinion.

What about you guys? Any laundry (or other) Mama life hacks to share? Don’t forget to hashtag any shares on social media with #mamalifehacks so I can feature them! :)

 

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12 thoughts on “Mama Life Hacks {#12}: Color-Coded Laundry Baskets

  1. This is a wonderful article! I was wondering how long ago was it that you found the coral and turquoise baskets at Target? I’ve searched for them and can not find them anywhere?

  2. I love laundry tips and tricks! Thank you for sharing these. The colors are beautiful! At our house, all of ours are white, but square/rectangle ones for clean clothes and round are for dirty clothes. Same principle, but not nearly as colorful and pretty!

  3. In our family of 6 everyone has their own colored basket. I keep the baskets out in the laundry room so the clothes come straight out of the dryer and dropped into the owners laundry basket. When their basket is full they are required to put it away and return the basket. They are not allowed to keep the basket in their rooms to keep them from stashing the clean laundry and not actually putting it away. I don’t fold the laundry either. Straight from the dryer and into the basket. They fold as they put away and if they don’t fold..what’s the big deal if they just throw it in the drawer. I choose to ignore if the drawers are messy on the inside as long as they are closed and everything is clean inside them. Shirts are hung up anyway so its not hurting anything and they never complain about the task because it takes them no time to complete. At the change of the seasons, I clean out their drawers with them and get rid of out grown things and organize them. This helps my OCD tendencies while also not smothering them. I also keep 2 small baskets in the laundry room, one for “Leftovers” that all socks go in straight from the dryer and the other for “Fix Me” which is ironing/sewing. Once a week when we are watching a movie or show together as a family we all match socks and I iron. Not to mention this process helps my teenagers not wear the same thing every other day because its the first thing in the drawer/closet at 6am :)

  4. I recently got two new ones like these at target also. Now my daughter puts her dirty clothes in them. One for school uniforms and one for her other laundry. When she fills one she knows it’s time to do laundry. Then she folds and uses the basket to take the clean stuff up to get room. We just started this two weeks ago but it’s been great so far.

  5. Funny/not funny story… Using the same basket for dirty & then clean clothes works great until a case of lice or worse, intestinal worms hits your household. Then it becomes an unintentional way to keep re-infecting the entire family. A friend learned this the hard way & now I think of her (gratefully!) almost every time I touch a laundry basket! :) If you can, you may want to consider keeping separate baskets.

  6. This is unrelated, but boiling water will take any fruit stain out of ANYTHING. White shirt stained with popsicle juice or grape juice? No problem. Strawberry smashed in the carpet? No big deal. Boil water in a kettle, pour over said stain and watch the color go completely away. Place clothes over the sink, as the hot water soaks into fabric and could burn you…and place a couple of towels immediately over the carpet, so no one steps on it and burns themselves. This is my favorite life-hack of all time cause it’s free and works every time!

  7. I can’t use baskets like that or there’s a real possibility of it getting left sitting in the room for days instead of getting put away. We have a single level house though, so it’s best to take one small pile at a time to put away. I DO love my sorter hampers right in my hall closet next to the laundry shoot though! THAT has be revolutionary for me!

  8. We are a family of 8 so laundry can get overwhelming really fast. Each of our kids (5 of them…this doesn’t apply to the baby yet!) has their own laundry basket. We got them from the Dollar Tree and everyone has their own color. They are supposed to keep their dirty clothes in their basket until it gets full, then they bring it down. I wash, dry, and fold and put it right back into their baskets. Then they grab their baskets and put away their clothes. This works pretty well for us because the baskets are small enough for them to carry up and down the stairs, but still big enough for a decent amount of clothes. If they bring it down when it’s full (to the top, but not spilling over) then they still have clothes in their closets to wear until I get their baskets done so no one is ever without clean clothes. PLUS, it helps control the laundry to be washed downstairs. Unless I get preoccupied with other things, the laundry room never gets out of control. I can usually fit 2-3 kids’ baskets into one load and I fold as I take things out of the dryer, and THEY put it away. The girls (ages 11, 9) hang up their shirts and put away ALL of their laundry. The boys (ages 7, 6, 4) only put up pajamas, socks, underwear, and pants.(They can’t reach up high enough to hang up their shirts.)

    My husband and I have our own baskets (regular size laundry basket) and when they are full, we bring them down. I wash, dry, fold, and usually put up both of our stuff though. I’m just glad most of the kids’ stuff gets done!

    Similar baskets: http://www.dollartree.com/household/storage-organization/Round-Plastic-Storage-Baskets-11-/500c541c541p177485/index.pro

  9. i use the washing machine as a ‘hamper’, once it’s full I turn it on. I’ve gone to using colored bleach so that I don’t have to separate the whites and colored, altho this one is mixed reviews for me. they don’t come as white as with regular bleach so I’m not sure if that one will continue. but the washing machine as a hamper is HUGE, I actually get a load a day done. now if I cud just get the putting them away part done. I fold them as soon as they come out of the dryer but the putting away is another story, lol!

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