Organize & Clean

I Tried Another Mom’s Ingenious Laundry Strategy — Here’s How It Went

published May 13, 2023
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someone taking a shirt out of a woven basket
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

I’d try just about anything to keep from drowning in laundry. In our family of seven, if we get even just a little bit behind, catching up on laundry can turn into a whole afternoon (or weekend!) project. 

I prefer to keep up with laundry in smaller, doable chunks — a little a day so that the task never becomes an insurmountable mountain that takes over beds or couches and entire afternoons. I want it to get done in the background of life. 

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When I saw what Courtney Holsworth of A Life from Scratch does, I knew I had to try it. She is the mom of a blended family with several children, some of whom also play sports — so there’s lots of laundry to be done regularly. 

Holsworth’s laundry method, which is part of her daily routine, is unconventional, in my opinion. She doesn’t sort by color or by type or even by person! Instead, she gathers all of her family’s laundry from the day in one basket upstairs. She takes it downstairs first thing in the morning, starts a load, switches it to the dryer, and then folds everything and puts it away. Because it’s a manageable load, it doesn’t take long to do any of these steps and the laundry never becomes a giant task. (Note: Holsworth does other items, like towels on specific days.) 

I decided to try this method out. I put a laundry basket upstairs and gathered everyone’s laundry into it at night. In the morning, I put the load in the washer on cold, switched it to the dryer, and then folded and put it all away. 

Here’s what I learned from the experience and what I liked and didn’t like about Holsworth’s method.

I found it challenging to switch gears from everyone having separate hampers for their own clothes to combining everyone’s items into one load. We had been doing it for so long the other way that it felt somehow wrong to mix everything. This also felt like an issue when I went to put the laundry away. Putting folded clothes away is the hardest part of laundry for me, and having to go to each person’s dresser and/or closet felt tedious. Lastly, I also found that my younger children kept reaching for the same clothes because they were put in their drawers clean within just a day or two. This isn’t a huge deal, but I do prefer them to wear their clothes more evenly. 

However, I did find that the method was excellent at keeping me on the “little bit a day” plan. The load was such a doable size that I found myself folding and putting it away with very little procrastination. It was easy to fit into the minutes-long pockets of time I had throughout the day, such as waiting for my bread to toast or my coffee to brew. I also like that this method completely sidesteps the issue of overflowing (read: stinky) laundry baskets and that no one ever has to scrounge for clean underwear. 

I do want my older children to continue the habit of doing their own laundry because I think it’s a good experience. However, I may continue this method when it comes to doing mine and my husband’s laundry, along with the younger children’s. 

I love having a window into how other busy moms take care of life’s necessities, and this peek into Holsworth’s unusual-but-effective laundry system was a winner.