The first step in cleaning my clothes, is putting the dirty clothes somewhere. Currently, my dirty clothes end up in a couple places. Dirty diapers, wipes, and uh-oh panties (thank you, Miss Imogene) go into the dirty diaper pail. That is simple. Dirty clothes and towels (everyone’s) end up overflowing out of a 3 compartment hamper in the doorway of my room. It is 3 compartments, so you’d think it was a sort as I go system, but typically I just throw clothes over into it without paying attention to which compartment it falls in. Then, I have to dig through and pull out what is to go in each load, inevitably leaving something behind that should have been washed with this load or that load.
So, obviously this part of my laundry system does not work. From my research, I’ve decided a sort as you go method makes more sense. The benefit would be that it removes the sorting step, saving me time. Also, it will hopefully prevent my problem of leaving one or two items out of the load. (How annoying is it to keep forgetting that one white shirt in the bottom of the hamper every single time you wash whites?!) There are a couple sort as you go methods.
Sort By Instructions
In this method, you would sort each clothing item by the instruction tags. Things with like instructions go together. I’m not too good at following the washing directions on tags and we don’t own a lot of special care items, so I’m thinking this method is not for me. It would also take me way too long to sort by this method. I know I would eventually memorize most of the tags, but I would never memorize all the tags, we have far too many clothes for that.
Sort by Color
Clearly, most of us sort by color. Whites, lights, and darks. That is my typical sorting system plus towels go off alone. (For some reason I do not like my towels to wash with clothing. Odd, I know.) This system leaves me with 5 piles. White clothes, light clothes, dark clothes, light towels, and dark towels. I could use my regular system as a sort as you go system. I think this will be my fall back if all other things fail.
Sort by Room
In this system, you sort your laundry by the room in goes in, taking no interest in the color or instruction tag. (Exceptions would be clothes you know bleed, or whites that you are wanting to bleach.) This way, it is sorted by where it belongs the entire way through the process- eliminating the after wash sorting! Genius. I typically wash most everything the same way anyway (exceptions are towels and diapers). The downfall of this method would be for households with smaller amounts of laundry. You’d either have to wait a while to get a full load, or combine loads- eliminating the sorted advantage. Clearly, I have plenty of laundry, so that shouldn’t be an issue for me. I’m going to try this method first. If it works, I’ll stick with it! If I follow this method strictly, I’ll have 4 piles. However, I am going to make a slight tweak and put Emery’s stuff on his own rather than with mine, so I’ll have 5.
No Sorting Method
In this method, I would not sort a thing. I would wash each day what we wear and dirty each day. Somehow, I end up with multiple loads each day, so this method wouldn’t provide me with enough organization. I yearn for organization. However, this method would be great for people that accumulate piles and piles of dirty clothes- instead of sort as you go, it is wash as you go. With this method, you could eliminate the hamper if you only accumulate one load a day. Off your back and into the washing machine awaiting you to turn it on in the evening. Once again, you’d ignore instructions and colors and just wash your stuff.