The Time-Saving Reason I Switched to These Smaller $8 Laundry Baskets

updated Aug 24, 2020
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Credit: Tetra/living4media

I enjoy simplifying and streamlining wherever I can, especially when it comes to routines and tasks at home. Usually this means downsizing supplies and tools and cutting down on decisions when possible. Simplifying almost always means less.

But when it came to solving my laundry problem, it turns out that simplifying means having more of something, specifically more laundry baskets.

First some background: We’re a family of seven. My oldest two boys play sports, and my youngest two children are in various stages of potty training and learning how to eat without wearing their food. All of this is to say that we generate a lot of laundry, and I’d never been able to get a handle on it. One time, the kids’ laundry was piled so high out of their hamper that my son made a star to top it off. It was a laundry Christmas tree, and yes, I laughed at myself and took a picture.

But getting dirty laundry to the washer wasn’t actually my biggest hiccup—putting it away is where my laundry engine tends to peter out. Getting washed clothes from a big jumbled pile into separated stacks for each person was always a major bottleneck. I debated the options: Should we all sit in the living room while I toss articles of clothing to the right family member? Should everyone dig for their clothes from the big communal pile? Nothing felt viable. So for a while, I kept folding (or not folding! or not putting away!) everyone’s clothes myself.

But then I decided to introduce more laundry baskets into the equation…

Credit: Target

Why Several Smaller Laundry Baskets Are Better Than One Big One

Adding more moving parts at first felt like a contradiction to the ways I’m used to moving household chores into a streamlined direction, but our smaller laundry baskets changed our laundry routine for good and they’re here to stay.

I bought one of these $8 plastic Target baskets for each of the kids. My daughter, whose household chore is “laundry duty,” separates the washed clothes. She lines the smaller baskets along the wall in our laundry room and tosses each person’s items into their basket. Adult clothing and larger items like towels go into a regular-sized laundry basket.

The baskets of sorted clothes then get distributed to the big kids who can fold and put away their own clothes. They can carry their basket to wherever they want to do the task and, within reason, can do it on their own time. (I fold the little kids’ clothes and my husband and I both chip away at our clothes and some of the larger items. My oldest daughter folds the rags.)

This method has worked so well for our family. Sometimes I miss folding my kids’ clothes myself, but the twinge is not much more than a nostalgic squeeze of the heart. Having our family’s laundry situation on track, the kids regularly practicing the life skill of folding clothes, and a few extra laundry baskets is well worth the sentimental sacrifice.