7 Tips to Stay on Top of Laundry (as a Busy Mom)

How do you keep laundry done when you have kids and an endless supply of dirty clothes? Here are 7 laundry tips for busy moms that will help.

Laundry can easily become frustrating and make your home messy when it’s not done. And if you are a busy mom with kids, it can feel overwhelming to catch up once you’re behind on washing clothes.

As a mom and stepmom of 4 kids total, I know all too well what it’s like to be behind on laundry. But I’ve also learned how to stay on top of it. And today I’m sharing what I’ve learned with these 6 laundry tips for busy moms.

Note: I updated this post 09/30/2020. Also, if you aren’t a mom, but you do laundry, some of these tips may still be helpful to you.

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1.) Stay on top of laundry daily, not just weekly.

woman doing laundry starting her dryer

“What are you doing on Saturday?”
“Oh I’m busy, I have to do laundry,” I’ve never once said ever…

No.. those words will NEVER come out of my mouth. And actually, I don’t do ANY laundry on Saturdays. (That’s my day to rest and not clean.)

To me, laundry is a small but necessary part of my day for some days of the week. I do between 1-3 loads a day on the days I wash clothes. There’s 6 in our family, so just one day to do EVERYONE’S laundry would be overwhelming to me. So I avoid that.

Doing laundry daily keeps me caught up, so some days I don’t even need to do ANY laundry.

Now, when I say to stay on top of laundry daily, I’m not just referring to washing clothes. They also need to be put away where they belong each day.

That means dry, clean clothing needs to be hung up or put in drawers. It also means worn clothing needs to be either put in the hamper (if it’s dirty) or put away (if it’s still clean.)

These are all things I do as part of my daily cleaning routine. You can get my free printable cleaning routine checklist here.

Now I do have a day weekly (usually Fridays) that I have all the clothing in the hampers sorted and brought to the laundry room. That way it is all ready for me to wash the next week. Doing laundry is a million times easier when all of the dirty clothes are already in the hampers- where they’re supposed to be.

I talk a little more in detail about my current strategy for avoiding clutter when it comes both laundry and dishes in this Podcast or Post.

2.) Start early on days you do laundry.

woman hanging up clean laundry outside early in the morning

While our school-age kids are getting ready for school and the baby is asleep, sometimes I’ll start a load.

Next, I put any clothes from the dryer in my laundry basket.

I then fold the clothes in the basket and put them away.

So even if the rest of my day is busy, I already have one load clean that just needs to be dried.

Note: I am a stay at home/work at home mom so it is not a problem for me to start in the morning on days I wash clothing. If you’re unable to start first thing in the morning, start a load as early as is possible for you personally on the days you wash clothing.

3.) Put away clean laundry ASAP.

asian woman folding clean clothes after they are dry

As soon as I bring clean clothes upstairs, (our laundry room is in the basement,) I put them away immediately with few exceptions.

I can’t stand having clean clothes just sitting around the house. When this happens, sometimes the clean clothes get mixed in with dirty laundry, and it becomes a mess! And my goal is to avoid unnecessary mess and stress.

So I get clean laundry put away as soon as I can, inside dressers and closets.

4.) Don’t use too many clothes baskets.

laundry baskets in a laundry room

I personally have ONE clothes basket I use to transport laundry around with.

I know what you’re thinking.. ‘What..Why..?’

It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, and yes I have considered getting more… but I have decided against it.

The reason I only use one laundry basket is this: With my one-basket method, I always take care of the clothes in it before doing something else. This helps me to accomplish the previous tip of getting the clothes put away ASAP.

If I have a load finished in the dryer and my basket still has the previous load of dry clean clothes in it, I will fold and put away those clothes prior to removing the current finished load from the dryer.

Note: When I say I only use one laundry basket or clothes basket, I mean the baskets used to transport clothes in, not to be confused with hampers that we use as stationary storage for dirty clothes in multiple rooms.

While inconvenient, only having one basket prevents me from having 2, 3, or more clean loads just sitting in baskets around the house. I have to face the fact that I’m a procrastinator at heart. And having multiple laundry baskets are going to do nothing for me, but give me an excuse and opportunity to put off putting away clothes.

It’s taken me a long time to get to the level of clean I’m at and I don’t need any conveniences pushing me in the wrong direction- even if it’s just a clothes basket. 🙂

5.) Let your family help, and teach your kids to do laundry.

a mom is teaching her son to do laundry as he pulls clean covers out of the dryer

My husband helps me sometimes with making sure clothes that are on the floor are picked up, and watching the younger kids while I’m starting a load.

Also, I have our 3 oldest kids take care of their dirty clothes including my 4-your-old, who knows to put her dirty clothing in the hamper. (She will also pick up other dirty laundry and put it in the hamper when I tell her to.) The oldest 2 kids sort their own laundry each week, and help put away and fold their own clean clothes, (the only exception being when they aren’t home).

In addition, the kids know to NOT put clean clothes in their hampers. I feel this is a must-have rule for moms (and dads) who enjoy their sanity.

Kids can definitely help with age-appropriate laundry responsibilities. This will benefit them when they grow older and have to do all these things themselves.

Getting your family to help you around the house makes it easier on you, so you won’t have to constantly pick up after them. And it’ll save you time once they get the hang of it.

6.) Wash clothing in large loads.

a woman holding a large load of towels up to her face

Unless I have a rare occasion where I have a small amount of clothes I don’t want washed with anything else, (such as with something that may bleed or is too delicate,) I pretty much do large loads ALL the time.

I separate clothes more by how delicate or dirty they are than by color, with the exception of whites or if I have some newer items in the mix that might bleed their color.

The washer I have has a hand-wash setting for delicate clothing, and settings for how dirty the clothes are. It also has a sensor for how full the machine is, so you don’t need to select a load size. It has other settings I use too, such as ‘deep water wash’, ‘bulky/sheets’, and ‘normal’.

But regardless of the setting, I usually wash in large loads. This means I get more done at once, and that saves me time.

Just be sure not to over-stuff your washer, of course. You don’t want to pack everything in so there’s no space for things to get cleaned.

7.) Declutter excess clothes you don’t use or need.

a donate pile of clothes and a pile of clothes to keep after decluttering

If you have too many clothes, it can be easier to get behind on laundry. And you’ll have more items to wash.

This Podcast or Post discusses how the amount of clothes you have affects laundry and how you can declutter clothes.

You can also learn about how to declutter baby clothes & outgrown kids’ clothes here.

✅Download our FREE Clothes Decluttering Cheat Sheets to help you declutter extra clothing.

So those are 7 laundry tips to help busy moms keep laundry under control. I hope they help you to keep up with those loads, and/or help you find methods that work for you.

Don’t forget to grab our free Clothes Decluttering Cheat Sheets PDF!

Laundry Products I Love:

Stain Remover

I really like this stain remover. Personally, I feel stain remover is an absolute must, and this one has worked really well for me.

Spray n Wash on Amazon pack of 6

Sturdy Clothes Basket

If you’re looking for a sturdy clothes basket, I really like this one. (Eventually it did break, but I used it nearly every day for probably 5 1/2 years. And this was with the kids playing with it, and packing it full, so we got our money’s worth. I’ll probably get this one again, because the other brand I got after it just broke within a year.)

sturdy white clothes laundry basket Sterlite brand on Amazon

Laundry Detergent

I really love this laundry detergent . It’s natural, which I love, and this brand also has a reasonably priced detergent for baby’s clothing (instead of paying a ton for baby detergent that has a lot of chemicals in it.)

Purex free and clear laundry detergent on Amazon

Related Posts:

a husband and kids are helping the mom around the house by cleaning

How to Get Your Family to Help You Clean Up

clean dishes are shown with a dish cloth and dish detergent

2 Types of Clutter that Make Your Home Look Dirty

an overflowing hamper is shown that has a bunch of dirty kids clothes and toys

How do you stay on top of laundry as a busy mom?

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