A few years ago, I discovered the obvious: anyone can load the machine, but it takes a real mom to put the laundry away! So, we start backwards in our thinking:
End goal: drawers, bins, or closets full of nicely folded, easy to access clothing.
Obstacles to getting there:
1. Clothes need to be gathered from all ends of the house to make appropriate sized loads.
2. Clothes need to be sorted into colors for washing.
3. Clothes need to be washed in appropriate loads.
5. Clean clothes need to be folded/ironed and put on hangers.
6. Once folded, they need to be sorted again, handing them out to each person
6, Each person has to re-sort them into like groups and finally
6. Clean clothes need to be put away.
I am going to look at the task of laundry from the last step first. You might also think of this as a preparation step. This is what has made laundry day almost fun--I don't even have to think about where things go! I just talk on the phone or do something else with my brain, and my little hands know where it all goes!
The last step is putting things away. So, how can we make things fast, easy and efficient.. literally brainless... in the putting away step?
Preparing the space:
So, I get all of the clothes out of a space: the dresser for example. This is a good time to get rid of clothes that don't fit or I don't like any more. You can also get rid of the out of season clothes and store them in a bin marked "off season". (I do this task about twice a year)
For everything that is worth keeping, there should be an assigned home for it. Try to find a system that seems logical to you. Close your eyes and think about looking for something. Where do you naturally WANT to look for it? (drawer #3?) or (closet on the left) etc. Where you assign homes for things is up to you. I like to categorize things by color, length of sleeve, type of neck or sets or separates. I like all turtlenecks to be together. I like all pink t-shirts together, or long sleeved t-shirts together. It isn't too over the top to actually put a label in the drawer or in the closet. These will change from time to time, but it helps you get started.
How does it fit?
If you fold your shirts the same way every time and put them in the same (general) location, they should fit each time. Plan for the space to be not too crowded, or you'll just get frustrated. Do you need more storage? Do you need more hangers? It's really frustrating to put laundry away when you have no idea where to put things.
Go around the room/ and room by room: After you've conquered the dresser, start the other parts of the room that contain clothing. Assign more homes. The more tempted you are to leave everything sit in laundry baskets all week, the more structure the system needs.
I tend to have a lot of clothes--probably more than I need-- but it helps me get away with my once a week laundry schedule. If you think having less clothes will make your life easier, you're probably right.
Unfortunately, this is the most time-consuming part of the laundry organizing. Once its done; its done! No more figuring things out until the season changes!