Recently, a fellow blogger (one much cooler than me) posted a question on Facebook about laundry baskets. Kate’s had broken, and she was looking for recommendations for a new one.
(I know what you’re thinking: this post is going to be thrilling. Laundry baskets? Really?)
(Well… yes. Really. Sorry. I’m over 40 weeks pregnant at this point and my brain is not capable of any thoughts more complicated than, “When is this baby coming out?!” and “Someone bring me a burrito and a milkshake.” So we are talking about laundry on this here blog. Buckle up for the excitement!)
But here’s the thing: when I stopped to think about it, I realized that we actually have kind of an usual set-up for our laundry–and I LOVE IT. It’s super helpful in keeping our household in clean clothes. It’s way easier than any other arrangement I’ve ever seen. And so your humble servant is here to share the wisdom, in case this idea appeals to you, too.
Here’s the key: instead of having one big laundry hamper and one big plastic laundry basket, what we have is three of these babies–large utility totes from Thirty-One Gifts.
We keep them on a modified Billy bookcase from IKEA (the back panel was falling off anyway; my darling handy husband also shortened it somehow and took out one of the shelves) in our bedroom, and we sort our dirty clothes right into the baskets at the end of each day. Whites, colors, and delicates. Nice and easy.
(At the beginning I put a tag on each basket to spell out what clothes should go into it; at this point we’re just so used to the system that when the tags fell off, I didn’t need to replace them.)
It’s not the prettiest system, but you can get the totes in different patterns, which is fun–and really, what laundry hamper is ever really beautiful? And it’s the practicality of this arrangement that has totally won us over.
The bags are the perfect size for one load of laundry, which makes timing the laundry simple: when a basket looks full, we carry it down to the laundry room and dump the load in. The sorting is already done.
The individual bags mean that while a load is being processed, you can leave its empty bag right there in front of the dryer, so that the clean clothes can go right back in to be folded and put away. You don’t get stuck in the situation of already having clean laundry in your laundry basket, but more that needs to come out of the dryer at the same time. Each load has its own container! Which means you can avoid having a giant mountain of clean clothes starting to pile up somewhere.
(Or maybe you’re more on top of your folding/sorting/putting-away game than I ever was… but no, you’re not. You’ve had to sort through Clothes Mountain before, looking for a pair of pants that you eventually find at the bottom of the pile, unbearably wrinkly. I know you have. And I don’t judge. That’s just what happens when you only have one basket.)
But the best, best, BEST feature of this system is that the bags are so easy to carry. They are called “totes” for a reason. The bags are made with light, flexible fabric, and the straps are sturdy and fit comfortably over a shoulder. Which means you can easily carry a bag while also carrying a baby.
Or while carrying a toddler and 38 weeks pregnant and taking a selfie.
I get a lot of “grand ideas” to revolutionize our life that turn out to be horrible mistakes, but this one totally paid off. So if you’re in need of a laundry solution, think it over. Find a friend who sells for Thirty-One. Ask if they have any specials coming up to get you a discount on the Utility Totes (I know earlier this year at some point the Utility Tote was a monthly deal or something, which meant you could get them for like ten bucks a pop). We’ve been doing our laundry like this for years now, and have no intention of going back to a traditional laundry basket EVER.
Never ever ever.