Ready to establish a life changing, effective family laundry system in your home? Get tips and tricks for streamlining the process, with ideas for either a small or big family!

how i created our life changing family laundry system.

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I have finally gotten to the point where I have the laundry system in our home that has absolutely changed our family's organization systems for the better. It didn't come easy though.

I feel like our laundry organization has been a little challenged over the past few years. In our apartment, we had a teeny tiny laundry closet that basically allowed for zero organization (besides a few cleaning supplies). In our last house, our laundry was actually outside - which I hated. I was counting down the days until I could actually do laundry without putting my shoes on. 😉 Since it was in an outside storage room, there wasn't any space in there for organization either. In both homes, we were limited to the little bit of organization we could do in our closets. But even that was limited because of smaller closets. It was frustrating to say the least.

So, one of the priorities when we were designing our home was storage and organization. I shared a little bit of what I had our cabinet maker do in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago to best utilize our space. Today, I thought I'd share how we set up our laundry room and what I've done to streamline the laundry process in this space!

looking into a laundry room with washer and dryer, stacking basket cabinet.

Welcome to our laundry room!

side of laundry room with cabinets and hanging bar.

I wouldn't say it's the largest space in the world, but it's plenty of room for us and has an insane amount of storage. Like, I don't think I realized how much storage we would have in here. There are still lots of spaces I haven't used (which is a good thing!).

stacking laundry basket built in cabinet.

The main thing I wanted in this space was this basket organizer. I gave a picture (from Pinterest, of course) to our cabinet maker when we were designing our cabinets and he made it happen. This has become the basis of our laundry organization system. The thing I love about it is the fact that it can be utilized in more than one way - one day when the kids are older, I'd love to have a basket for each member of the family to take to their room and sort.

laundry baskets stacked in a cabinet, with labels in front.

(Updated 3/19 with picture to show the new decals - these make it so easy to get kids in on the sorting!)

For now, here's how we do it: there are five baskets total. The top basket is for clean laundry - that's the one we use to get laundry out of the dryer and transport it to rooms. If I can't take it to rooms for some reason (say, the kids are asleep), I store clean laundry temporarily in that cubby. I try to keep that basket empty though. The next one down holds hangers, and the next three hold dirty clothes (darks, lights, and reds, respectively). My kids change clothes downstairs all the time, so we're working on immediately sorting laundry into those baskets when they take dirty clothes off.

In the last house, I kept a small clothes hamper in our living room for the kids' random laundry. It was a lifesaver for keeping the dirty clothes at bay!

Now, for cleaning those clothes...

1. Do it weekly.

For some reason, the frequency of doing loads of laundry is kind of a divisive topic. 😉  Some people are dailies, some are weeklies. As a matter of fact, I took a survey on my Instagram and in my email newsletter, and the results were pretty split - almost exactly half of the readers were dailies, half were weeklies. I thought that was interesting!

But, as for me...I'm a weekly. In Journey to Clean, I recommend once a week just keeps the folding clutter to a minimum in my opinion and gets it all out of the way at once!

2. Have a "sorting home base" in the laundry room.

brown wood laundry hamper.

Everyone in the family has hampers in our closets for the dirty clothes we take off in our rooms. (This one available here.) On Friday mornings/afternoons, I clean out all of the laundry from those hampers and sort into darks, lights, and reds in the baskets in the laundry room. (I'm hoping to get the kids in xyn this's just to heavy for them to carry downstairs right now.) I also take sheets off of beds (I alternate weeks on this; one week is ours and one week I get both of the kids' beds), get towels from the bathrooms, and get all of the laundry that needs to be cleaned from the Journey to Clean Room of the Week (like throw rugs, kitchen linens, comforters, etc.). It's all sorted in the laundry room and ready to go in the washer.

3. Treat stains from the previous week.

clothes covered in oxiclean paste, laid out on a laundry room counter.

clothes covered in oxiclean paste.

Once the laundry is collected and sorted, I start treating the stained laundry from last week. I don't immediately rewash items that come out of the dryer with stains; instead, I set it to the side (on my other laundry counter) and treat it the next week. I love using a paste made from Oxy Clean and a little bit of water...mix it up in a small cup (to a toothpaste consistency) and rub it really well into the stain. I try to let that set for at least 30 minutes or so before washing (the longer the better), and just throw the treated laundry in with the rest of its load as I start it in the washer.

4. Keep that washer/dryer running.

Then, I usually get the first load going on Friday afternoon. I have this as the Saturday chore of the day in the book, but I like to go on and get the loads cleaning on Friday so I can knock out all of the folding at once on Saturday.

From there, I basically just keep the washer and/or dryer running at all times, dumping each basket from the wall into the washer (since they're already nice and sorted). If I don't hear either the washer or dryer running, I go start a new load, throwing in the treated laundry from the other counter with what I've sorted into the baskets next to my washer/dryer.

5. Fold all of your laundry on the same day, in the same place.

clothes stacked next to a laundry basket.

Once it's done, I like to spread it all out on my bed to fold. The kids' clothes go on one side and ours on the other. Doing it on the bed makes it easy to go on and put up the adult laundry...then, I just throw the folded laundry in the basket to take upstairs for the kids. Simple as that! I'd love to just do all of the folding at once, but there just isn't enough space in my clean hamper - so I usually fold 2 loads at a time (and I typically do 4 bigger loads a week). It makes my bed junky for a few hours, but in my opinion, better to sacrifice a few hours than have to worry about laundry daily.

clothes folded and rolled on a bed.

6. Have the right supplies.

speed queen washer and dryer in a laundry room.

For those wondering, I have a Speed Queen washer and dryer - we bought these for the new house after lots of recommendations. I have been incredibly pleased so far. They're absolutely no frills, no computers, no fun sounds - which we wanted. Less frills means less to break! They typically last 20-25 years and are really effective at cleaning (the same company makes motors for laundromats). We've been pleased so far - they are a little bit more expensive than your standard washer/dryer combo, but we think it's been well worth the investment!

ironing board hanging in a laundry room.

(Picture updated 3/19.)

And, as far as laundry supplies I use, I keep it kind of to a minimum. I flounder between detergents (if you have one you love, comment with it below - I'm looking for a new one), but I do love good old plain powder Oxy Clean for stains. I usually toss some of this in the washer with my detergent, as well as using it for the stain treating method above. I also have the Oxy Clean Max Force Spray for quick stain removal before I toss something in the washer. And, I'm kind of a smell junkie - and I'm absolutely obsessed with Dreft Blissfuls. Makes your laundry smell like babies - it's heavenly!

Alright friends, let me know what works for you - comment with your favorite laundry supplies and methods below!

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  1. We have been trying new detergents too. We actually really like the bargain powder detergent from Sam's Club. "Wind Fresh" is what its called. It has a great scent and cleans remarkably well. I was pretty impressed. In Tuscaloosa, it was abour $16+/- for a 215 load tub of it.

    1. I actually just picked some from Sam's up...I haven't used it a ton yet, but I'll update the post if I end up liking it! Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. U didn't mention fabric softener. Do u just use vinegar or dryer sheets or what? I too use oxyclean n laundry. Thanks for all the great tips/ideas

    1. I don't use it. Really I've never seen a huge need as long as you use a quality detergent and a scent booster. Yes, we do use dryer sheets though to give them a little softness and reduce static!

  3. I am not big on laundry smells. I usually try to avoid highly scented detergents, but I make an exception for Persil Intense Fresh. It smells heavenly and cleans like a charm.

    1. Oh my! I have to get some more laundry detergent soon ! I think I’ll try this one out!

  4. Laundry was more of a weekly happening at my home when the kids were little. It became daily as they entered middle school and were involved with sports. You don't want to leave a teenager's workout clothes in the hamper to "ripen" for very long 🙂 My son now plays football in college and brings his laundry home when he visits. I has to be washed right away! lol

    I like your laundry room. To me, a small and well-organized space is better that a large area with wasted space.

    We bought a Maytag Neptune washer and dryer set around 12 years ago. With daily use in those 12 years, the only repair was to replace a broken bearing on the inner tub. So we're very pleased with the brand. As for products, I'm a Gain gal. I love the fragrance, it cleans well, and deodorizes the kid's athletic and our farm clothes very well.

    Laundry is a job I enjoy. You get instant gratification: dirty, smelly things are made clean and fresh. Ironing is satisfying because wrinkles are a problem I can solve. Just put on some music or a podcast and iron away. And I'm so happy it's spring because there's nothing so fresh as sheets dried on the clothesline. Ahhh, sushine! Have a great laundry day 🙂

    1. You're right about that...there are definitely exceptions to weekly laundry, and sports clothes is one of them!

    2. What brand of gain do you use? I love a fresh scent, not flowery or strong, just a pleasant smell that hopefully lingers in the closet, freshening that too!

  5. Elaine A. Woolly says:

    I have already paid for Journey to Clean 2018 but am having difficulty downloading it. would you be able to give me some pointers or send it to me by email?

    Thankyou, Elaine Woolly

  6. Heather Moore says:

    We tried Gain Apple Mango Tango one time and we have never purchased any other detergent after that! It smells fantastic while washing.
    My husband and I were just talking about getting a washer and dryer with twisty knobs and no computers, due to the durability. So, I have a question, where did you buy the Speed Queen washer and dryer? I noticed that you added the Amazon links, but the shipping is almost $400, so that's not an option for me.
    Also, I just found a link of yours on Pinterest and I am loving looking through your website today. 🙂

  7. Hi Leslie- I am trying my hand at couponing. I have a family of five and love the feeling I get when I save money. What are your thoughts about couponing? Any tips?

    1. Hi Tonya! I used to be into couponing years ago, but kind of fell out of it when we moved to our current area (that doesn't have many coupon-friendly stores). It's a great way to save money if you have stores that support it! I love for couponing tips, but there are so many great couponing sites out there.

  8. Thank you for your response regarding couponing. I noticed the hanging stockings in some of your pictures. What are you using to hang your stockings from the mantle of your fireplace? Also, I am a working mom- 5 days a week- with boys who are extremely active in various activities. Do you have any tips concerning "quick-fix" recipes for dinner?

  9. anonymous says:

    I absolutely LOVE your organization methods, do you have the measurements you used to create the laundry basket rack? it looks like I have the same ones and really liked the way you have them organized!

    1. Leslie Lambert says:

      So sorry for my delay in answering this - I've been meaning to measure them for you! Each cabinet is about 33" x 15" tall. The top one is a little taller to match up to the top of the rest of the cabinets. I really just gave my builder a basket and had him build the cabinets to fit them!

  10. Hi! I love this laundry room and I think it has a lot of elements I NEED in my life! Three kids 7 and under, 2 dogs, and a husband…lots of laundry! What are the overall dimensions of the room? How deep is the counter on the storage side? Do you have a sink in there or wish you had one? What would you give up to have one? Thank you!

    1. Leslie Lambert says:

      So sorry for my delay in answering this! (Great questions, too!) The room is 10x8.5' and the counters are 26" deep. We do have a sink - we love it and I can't imagine not having one! It's a cheap plastic utility sink...we didn't want a nice one because we knew we would be washing any and all gross things in there. We're really bad about storing things on the counter, so I don't always have it for folding room - I do wish I was able to use it more often, but that's totally on us. But besides that, not regrets - it's a really functional space! (And yes, the laundry basket cabinet is 100% worth it, it's one of my favorite pieces of cabinetry in the whole house.)