Embracing and hacking the laundry piles with (of course) baskets!

Updated Jan 9 2018
Guest post by PinkeySherbet
Grey Tree Print Fabric Storage Bins with Handles

baskets for laundry pilesI am not a very neat person, and neither is my boyfriend. We both have demanding jobs and mental illnesses that don't help us stay neat. So you can probably tell that our apartment is not the ideal, clean, uplifting haven that Martha Stewart tells us homes should always be.

Sometimes I have a day where the planets align for me, and my depression and anxiety don't bother me, I'm refreshed, I'm inspired and ready to CLEAN ALL THE THINGS! But once I clean all the things, the organizational dragon that's been fueling the fire in my soul goes "fuck this" and slithers back into its cave for a 100-day slumber. And I let my clean house go to pot again. This is the cycle that's been repeating since I was old enough to clean my own room.

I also feel deeply guilty about being able to tackle an organization project, but not being able to maintain it. I have had many clever and functional Ikea storage solutions gather dust because I can't help but let my clothes pile up on the floor. So when I moved in with my boyfriend I knew I could't let stuff pile up, but I also knew I would never be able to fight my piling ways forever. I knew if I did I would just end up miserable so I would want to clean even less. I would get what I didn't want — a cluttered apartment that we would not want to come home to, and worse, end up arguing about.

laundry pile baskets

So just like you do in any relationship, I compromised with myself. I bought cheap hampers to separate my clothes into contained piles — keeping them clean and within reach. I'll be able to find stuff without having to worry about folding it nicely and putting it away unless I want to.

I'm breaking the notion of how we "have" to organize and making it work better for me and my family. Slowly but surely, I'm making our lives better by just working with what I am instead of lamenting what I'm not. I'm also feeling empowered as hell and it feels great.

I guess in the end, baskets will always be the answer.

  1. I love this. I identify so strongly with that feeling when you come up with an answer that's practical *and* makes room for your mental health problems rather than continuing to fight a losing battle against them, if you see what I mean. I hate those cycles of doing really well to doing really badly, and finding a way forward that's a kind of compromise feels like a weight off my mind.

  2. Hmm, now you have me thinking about those jeans that are worn but not really "dirty". Maybe something like a drying rack? Really I just want them off the floor, that's always the thing that kicks off the floordrobe.

    • A drying rack is an awesome idea, especially if you have room to set it near an open window or even outside in the sun for a few minutes. The fresh air and sun refresh your clothes so they don't smell pre-worn.

    • I actually use a clothes tree (like a hat tree?) to hang my not-really-dirty-but-worn clothes. It fits well in the corner and doesn't take up a lot of space, but I can hang a lot of things on it. It's not exactly pretty, but it's very functional.

    • I have one of those over-the-door hanging racks that works great for this. No extra floor space, right next to the bed so it's just as easy to hang things up as it is to throw them on the floor when I'm undressing.

    • For those good-for-one-more-wearing I keep one or two of those adhesive, removable hooks. Hanging them in the closet keeps it from becoming a messy wrinkled pile. However, only one or two items gets this coveted position. I try to keep it to messy or clean, with few steps in-between.

  3. Our master bath is huge and there is this closet in there for towels and linens. Way more space than we needed so I turned it into my work clothes closet. Took out the shelves and added a tension rod. Now all my clothes for a week of work live in there. I still need to work on the pile of clothes on the counter beside it but at least my wife isn't tripping over my shoes anymore.

    • Oooo, I like this idea of a closet in the bathroom. It means you can get dressed while in a warm room, and anything wrinkly will likely smooth out with the humidity!

  4. I actually just recently did something similar (on a somewhat smaller scale). I did a major cleanout of our closet and realized that I almost never put clothes away because I don't particularly like hanging things up. Still fighting the battle on some of that, but I bought some of those cube-y wire shelves and set them up to hold folded clothing and keep shoes in the bottom. I also left a couple baskets in the closet and much prefer keeping my socks & undies in there than actually putting them in drawers. It's not Martha Stewart, but it's functional and it's been 2 weeks and my closet has yet to throw up clothes on me! 😉

  5. I do a similar thing. I have specific laundry baskets for clean vs dirty vs semiclean. I found cheap foldable laundry baskets from giant tiger in fun bright colors.

  6. I use a clothes tree for things that aren't dirty enough to wash yet (I hang pajamas, sweatshirts, and jeans on it, mostly). I do remove my clothes from the laundry baskets (…eventually…), but I don't fold anything. Every type of clothing has its own drawer space and I stuff it directly into there. I mostly wear clothes that don't wrinkle, and I have enough drawer space to do this. Basically, piles/baskets in drawers! So I love this idea. Good job playing to your strengths.

  7. I love how you aren't trying to fight yourself on this. There are so many things that drive me crazy because I can't keep them straightened or organized and then I can't find them, but maintaining "proper" order in my house is just something I can't quite seem to manage. I think I need to find some life hacks like this, and then work on forgiving myself for it not being perfectly the way things "should" be done.

  8. This is a brilliant solution to my floordrobe, which happens whenever I've worn something (like a sweater or jeans) that isn't really dirty yet— instead of hanging it back up, I always just toss it on the floor. So I will definitely look into this method, since it will likely keep me from constantly tripping over various items when I get out of bed in the morning.

  9. I hate having a floordrobe (mostly because of a fear of spiders among my clothes) but it always seems to end up that way as I hate the hassle of hanging clothes in a wardrobe. So when my husband and I bought our new house, with a slope-ceiling loft bedroom that doesn't adequately fit wardrobes, I bought loads of huge Ikea dressers so that we could both just put our clothes into drawers, rather than hanging, in the hope that it would stop the floordrobe. But no, the clothes have ended up piled IN FRONT of the drawers. Why oh why?!

  10. Yes! I keep a small basket in my closet for clothes that have been lightly worn (mostly pants, and lounge clothes), so I don't have to worry about folding those things up. And I have two special hooks for shirts and cardigans that I can rewear. It's funny, I do all the laundry in the house, and each person has their own dirty basket so when I do the load all the clothes belong to one person (maybe a little unnecessarily Creepy but it makes folding and putting away faster when it's all going in the same place), but what I always realize, is that my dirty hamper is almost always empty because I feel like I can rewead my clothes so often. So every two weeks I have to remind myself that I should probably just wash all my lightly worn clothes, that way I have a big enough load for my underwear (which is usually the only thing in my dirty hamper.) The little basket in my closet keeps things so much neater, and I find myself putting my clean yoga pants straight into since I'll be wearing those off and on until they're washed again! (I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but being a stay at home mom means my clothes can stay pretty clean. Unlike my maintenance mechanic husband who comes home covered in machine gunk and sweat everyday!)

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