How I Do Our Entire Family’s Laundry in 1 Day (Without Losing My Mind!)

I often find it fascinating to talk to people about their laundry routines. Whether it’s “a little every day” or “let it pile up until there’s no clean underwear,” it seems each person/family has their own way of dealing with this not-so-fun-but-oh-so-necessary chore. Admittedly, I have tried many times to adopt the do-a-little-everyday approach. Yet every single time, I leave the load in the washer for way too long, so it ends up stinky and in need of another wash. If a load miraculously gets all the way through to the dryer, it almost always sits in the laundry basket unfolded as we hand pick out random items until someone finally gives in and folds the few things that are left. Nope – the little-bit-every-day approach doesn’t work for us at all, but you know what does? Doing our entire family’s laundry in 1 day. It’s not as awful as it sounds, and after tweaking my method for years, I’ve settled on some tricks that make it as efficient as possible. If you need an adjustment to your laundry routine (or need a laundry routine in general), here are some ideas to try!

Each family uses a different routine to get the laundry done. I do our entire family's laundry in a single day. Read on to see my tips and tricks for getting it done without loosing your mind!

Admittedly, I didn’t always have the “done in a day” method down pat. Sunday has always been our “laundry day” because I like starting the week with all the laundry done and put away. But more often than not, our day would get away from us and we’d end up shuffling loads through their wash-dry-fold-put away cycle well after dinner time and late into the night. When Sam was just a few months old, the addition of his laundry was really catching up with us, so I made some minor tweaks to our system that made all the difference.

Each family uses a different routine to get the laundry done. I do our entire family's laundry in a single day. Read on to see my tips and tricks for getting it done without loosing your mind!

We now do our entire family’s laundry, from start-to-finish in less than 24 hours…and no, we don’t feel a slave to the laundry baskets. We start running loads Saturday night and have it all put away by Sunday afternoon. Here are the main tricks we use to get it done:

Sort It All At Once

Every Saturday night, right after we get both boys into bed, we sort ALL the laundry. All of it. Greg usually grabs the boys’ hampers while I walk the house picking up every last cloth napkin, rag, towel, strewn about socks, and hanging bathing suits. We have three laundry baskets and three hampers, so we line them all up in our master bathroom and sort it all at once.  (For anyone curious, our loads are typically: Darks | Lights | Brights | Light Towels and Rags | Colored Towels and Rags | Greg’s Uniforms.)

TAKE AWAY: By having every last item that needs washing pulled out and sorted into loads, it becomes very easy to push loads through one after another.

Start the Night Before

We used to start our laundry day on Sunday morning when we got home from church. And as I mentioned above, there were many a time when the day got away from us and we were literally waiting for laundry to finish so we could go to bed. Then one Saturday night a few months back, while I was waiting for Greg to finish up reading stories to Henry, I decided to get a jump on our laundry by sorting it all and then throwing one load in before we settled in to watch a movie. By the time Greg and I were ready for bed, we could swap in a second load. That meant when we woke up on Sunday morning, #3 could go right in. After breakfast and before heading to church, load #4 went in…and I think you get the idea.

TAKE AWAY: By starting the night before you want all your laundry done, you can take advantage of sleeping/TV watching/relaxing time. Getting just a few loads put through during late/early hours allows you to get all the loads washed and dried in seemingly less time. Saturday into Sunday works for us because we are almost always home. Pick a night-int0-day that works best for your schedule!

Each family uses a different routine to get the laundry done. I do our entire family's laundry in a single day. Read on to see my tips and tricks for getting it done without loosing your mind!

Turn the Washer Alarms On Loud

Folding and putting away laundry isn’t really our family’s problem – where we struggle is typically getting all the loads through the wash/dry cycle. When we lived in small apartments and single-floor homes, we never needed to use the buzzer on the washing machine or dryer. But now that we’re in a busy household in a large two-story house, it was becoming all-too-easy easy to forget about the laundry. Hours would pass between loads and you guessed it…by dinnertime, there would still be 3 loads to get through. Now that we have the buzzers turned on nice and loud, we are prompted to immediately get up and swap loads whenever they finish. It’s a simple change that has made a huge difference in getting the wash through quicker!

TAKE AWAY: By turning up the alarms on your washer and dryer, you increase your chances of getting as much laundry moved through in the shortest time possible. Just be sure to train yourself to respond to the buzzer right away! 

Fold All At Once

If it hasn’t been clear from following my blog or even reading this post, I am very much an all-or-nothing person. And when it comes to folding the laundry, the same holds true. Instead of stopping what I’m doing several times during our laundry day to fold laundry, we simply line up all the completed loads in our master bedroom as they come out of the dryer. Sometime during the afternoon, usually while Sam is taking his afternoon nap, I will wander up, turn on some music and fold all the laundry at once. I actually don’t mind folding laundry, and often Greg will come in to help. Even on my own, it takes about an hour to get it all folded and stacked by family member.

TAKE AWAY: Your laundry routine doesn’t have to occupy your entire day. Focus on getting all the loads put through the wash and dry cycle and then fold everything at once. If necessary, turn on a movie, podcast or your favorite playlist to make it a bit more enjoyable!

Each family uses a different routine to get the laundry done. I do our entire family's laundry in a single day. Read on to see my tips and tricks for getting it done without loosing your mind!

Fold In a “Problematic” Location

I used to fold all of our laundry in front of the television on Sunday nights. By the end of the evening, I’d have a basket of nicely folded laundry for each family member to put away. Guess where all the laundry (usually) stayed? Yup. In the baskets. And it would typically stay there until I needed the baskets to start the next week’s loads! About a year ago, I started folding all the laundry on our bed. Why? Because it’s pretty hard to crawl into bed with stacks and stacks of nicely folded laundry on top. After implementing this strategy, we’ve never had an issue getting all the laundry put away the same day it’s washed!

TAKE AWAY: Don’t put your clean, folded laundry back into baskets that can be easily ignored and forgotten. Fold your laundry in a really inconvenient area like your bed, the stairs, or the couch to ensure it gets put away right away.

Make Putting Laundry Away a Family Affair

Although I usually fold all the laundry myself, everyone (well, except for Sam) is responsible for putting away their own clothes. And we’ve found it works best to all do it at the same time. Usually before I start Sunday supper, we all gather in the master bedroom to put laundry away. Yes, Henry often needs a bit of prodding to get it done. But just as sorting it all at once and folding it all at once saves time and mental energy in the long-run, so does putting it all away in one swoop.

TAKE AWAY: When you fold laundry, keep piles sorted by family member. Then make it the family member’s job to put the laundry way. Even if kids are too little to put away their own laundry, putting away all the laundry at once keeps you from making multiple trips to multiple closets and dressers throughout the day!

Each family uses a different routine to get the laundry done. I do our entire family's laundry in a single day. Read on to see my tips and tricks for getting it done without loosing your mind!

I hope you guys enjoyed this look into our laundry process! I know the all-in-one-day method doesn’t work for everybody, but I’ve found knocking it out in a single day starts our week off on a strong note and also gives me the mental “break” from worrying about it or remembering to do it. No matter how you do your laundry, I hope you found some tips here that might streamline your process a bit! And as always, if you do anything that makes your laundry process quicker and easier, please share in the comments below!

By the way, thank you so much for being patient with me as I took some much-needed time away. Little by little, I’m starting to recognize the signs of burnout before they really take hold of me. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I step away from all the technology for a little while. There may still be some bumps over the next month or so as I work through some things behind the scenes AND get back into my grove after some time off. As usual, I’ll do my best to keep you guys updated to when new content will be hitting the blog. Speaking of which, I’ll see you back here on Friday with my foyer reveal. Yes…finally 😉 See you then!

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22 Responses to How I Do Our Entire Family’s Laundry in 1 Day (Without Losing My Mind!)

  1. This is what I do, too! Sometimes we do a load mid-week and it inevitably ends up staying in the machines anyway. Just tackling it all in one shot is what works at our house!

    • Glad to hear I’m not the only who tackles it in a day! Not only do I find it easier to just push it all through in a day, but then I don’t have to think about it for 6 whole days!

      Hope you’re having a great week!

  2. Megan,

    Thank you for the validation! I do this, too, and so many seem critical of the one day approach (“oh, just do a little each day, it is so much easier”). Mine is usually Friday night to Saturday, but sometimes it is all day Saturday or Saturday night to Sunday. Like you, I have found that starting the night before helps SO MUCH…it’s actually unbelievable. The first time I started the night before, it felt like no work, just “prep”; and when I was done, it was sooo much earlier than usual, I kept looking around thinking I forgot some loads!

    Glad to have you back! 🙂

    • Ha! Right? People always look at me crazy when I say I do it all in a day. Glad to hear I’m not the only one given a hard time! And I’m with you – once we started starting the night before, the whole process became so much faster!

      Hope you’re having a great week, Heather!

  3. I’m also one of those that have to get it all done in one day. When I was a single mom of two my girls each had a laundry basket that their folded clothes went into and they were responsible for putting their clothes away. The only difference is I fold the laundry straight from the dryer – always have. Cuts down on wrinkles and, to me, it’s just easier. Now that’s it just my husband and I the clothes are put away immediately after coming out of the dryer – some folded, some hung up. Easy!

    • If our laundry room wasn’t the size of a shoebox, I would maybe try that too, lol! Thanks for sharing this great idea!

  4. Glad you enjoyed your break. Better to have you take some time for you and come back in a month, than burn out all together and lose you for good! My kids (19 & 21) do the laundry on the weekend. It should only take them a day, but by the time they sleep in and have a social life, sometimes it takes two. One of them sets the alarm on his phone for when the loads needs switching around, as it is hard to hear the buzzers while gaming on the computer with headphones on! Boys!

    • The phone tip is a great idea, Carol! Our machines actually have a countdown timer on them, which I love (our previous machines never had that). So when I am walking by, I can get a quick glance how much time is left. Helps me know if I should “stick around” to swap things out!

      Thanks for understanding about the break – I’m learning it’s worth it every time. So thankful to have awesome readers who understand!

  5. This is about our laundry routine too! Only we sort the dirty into piles on our bedroom floor. There’s incentive to get it done!! I also like folding on our bed…it’s a nice large surface and is a nice height (for me).

    The other HUGE HUGE saver for us is the “Quick Refresh with steam” setting on our dryer. It’s a 15m cycle that mists in just enough water to release wrinkles. It’s not unusual for things to sit in the basket or dryer long enough to wrinkle. I pop just those items back into the dryer while I’m folding the rest, and out they come, wrinkle free and ready to fold! Of all the gadgets we have, that one is the one I use the most. SO worth the price upgrade when we bought the dryer. Works far better at releasing wrinkles than the old damp washcloth in the dryer trick.

    • Great tip, Jen! Thanks for sharing. The machines in this house have that setting, I’ll have to give it a try!

      Hope you’re having a great week!

  6. Everyone needs a break. Glad you are rested and renewed. In our household we each have our own laundry basket and is responsible for its contents. My children are 15 and 17. So they wash, dry, fold and put away their own clothes. (I started when they were much younger on this one) Our washer and dryer usually runs every other day. Towels and bedding is washed once a week starting on Friday nights and finishing by Saturday night. So far this is working for us. Funny thing is my son is way better at laundry than my daughter!

    • Sounds like you have a great routine!! Henry can actually sort and swap all the laundry. it’s the folding he doesn’t quite have down yet!

      Hope you’re having a great week!

  7. Even though it’s just the two of us, I’ve had a load of laundry sitting in the washer since yesterday, and I walk by the laundry room every single time I go into and out of our bedroom. There are no words. I’m going to go check them now and rewash, if necessary. And from now on ….

    Glad to have you back!

    • Lol!

      I get it. Every time I say I’m gonna remember to swap them out, I never, ever do. Glad to hear I’m not the only one!

      Good to be back! Hope you’re having a great week!

  8. I’m like you in that I have tried the one load a day and it did not work for us. Someone was always out of something. I have always liked doing it all in one day. I’m that way about all my house keeping actually. I can’t do just one chore per day (like dust one day, clean glass the next). I have to do a whole room or area of my house so I have it broken into zones assigned to a day of the week. I actually have 2 laundry days now, since my little ones go to a school with uniforms I do laundry twice a week so they only need 3 uniforms. So I do it all on Wednesday and Saturday. I sort, wash, dry and then each load comes out of the dryer and into a basket in layers made up of each persons clothes (there’s 6 of us right now), I take the basket and go room to room folding and putting away until I reach the room of the person whose laundry basket it is and leave the basket there. It works great for me with only occasional hiccups, usually just me having too many distractions. Anyway that’s me late to the party with a huge novel. After this long I’ve found the real “best” method is the one that works for your family and gets the job done. 😁

  9. I used to be an all in one day laundry gal and I would love to get back into that routine! We have very busy schedules with the kids that pull us out of the house for large portions of the day. I don’t have a day of the week anymore that I am home all day. So I was trying to do the “one load each day approach” and I didn’t like that… at all!

    So now, we do kids clothes one night. Our clothes another night. And bedding/towels on the day when home the longest. I don’t prefer this method, but it’s okay… Thanks for your tips! Maybe starting the night before will help me feel like it’s all in one day again.

  10. That’s pretty much exactly how I do my laundry (except for two things – I fold each load when it comes out of the dryer. I can’t stand for it to pile up. – I hang approximately 1/2 our laundry because those items are either athletic wear or 100% cotton.) Sadly because I’m in Europe and each load takes 100 years and is pretty small, it ends up taking about 3-4 solid days working non-stop. Ugh!!!

  11. I used a similar method to yours when my children were at home but now they’re all grown and flown and I live alone. But still…laundry has to be done even if you’re only one person, so I choose to do it all on the same day, starting with separating into piles. My laundry room is very small so no room for a dryer (even if I wanted one, which I don’t…) As each load finishes, i take them out and put in the next lot, then go out to the garden and hang the first lot on the washing lines, to flap in the breeze. As I live in Western Australia I can pretty much rely on (and LOVE) my outdoors drying…! I work through all my different loads and hanging out in under two hours and can bring everything back inside an hour or so later, to be folded and put away as I listen to my radio…. 🙂 I’m 78 years old and continue to do all my own housework and gardening as I’ve always done it…..for the pleasure of having a comfortable little home. Cheers, from Nadia in Perth .

  12. I live in South Australia and have a family of 4. In summer it’s really easy to get the job done in one day (or 2 hours, to be specific), however winter it’s a bit trickier. I don’t own a drier (and, like Nadia, don’t want one) and have limited under-cover lines, so washing becomes a bit more sporadic due to the time needed for drying. I like the idea of making it more of a routine but it’s hard to keep as the rain only lasts 3 months and we’re back to our (nearly) 2 hour routine! What I do need to keep on top of is putting the washing away asap, as it does tend to sit in baskets for quite some time. Thanks for the tips!

  13. I love this idea of doing laundry in one day. Since Wednesday evening is a TV night for me, I think I will try Wed/Thurs schedule. I also like to soak my dish towels overnight in bleach so this would be last put in on Wed night. I also have one full load of stuff that does not go into dryer and nearly all hang. I could make this my first load to speed things along. This is fantastic. Will implement this week.

  14. I am definitely an all at once person! I can’t stand to run a partial load and need a week to get enough for some categories. I attempt to start it Friday night and have it completed Saturday, but sometimes it runs into Sundays. I used to do all my folding Sunday nights watching Masterpiece Theater, but its been a while since I’ve been hooked on a show (our laundry was never better during Downton Abbey!) I get everything washed and dried pretty well, but I’m TERRIBLE at getting the folding done. Since my husband and I both do laundry interchangeably, our system is to never put dirty clothes in laundry baskets and clean clothes in hampers. That way even if something isn’t folded, everyone always knows if its clean or dirty! We are fortunate to have a good size laundry room, so if I’m short on time, sometimes I will leave a pile of something non-critical (extra sheets or little worn clothes) until the next weekend. My other problem is putting clothes away in the kids rooms. I work full time and am gone most of the day and do my folding in the evening, so when it does get folded, it sits outside their rooms until I need the basket back! I’ve seen ideas of a family closet with washer and dryer right there and it seems like a good idea to me!

  15. We are a family of four (we have an 8 year old girl and a 5 year old boy). I don’t separate darks and lights. We just don’t have a lot of lights because I don’t like having bleach in the house. I’ve never had a problem washing them together! On one day a week, I do a load of my clothes with my husband’s clothes combined and a second load of the kid’s clothes combined. I’ve stopped folding my kid’s clothes because they just end up unfolded whenever they get dressed! The kids put their clothes away (usually all jumbled up), but I just try to not let it bother me. Then a different day of the week, I do all the towels (and sheets every 2-3 weeks), which seems to be quick and easy compared to clothes! I again don’t fold the towels or sheets because I just hang them back up or put them right back on the beds.

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