A decluttering update: The $10 solution for our dirty laundry woes

Decluttering is all about letting go.

For the longest time, I have clung to my vision of a pristine home. And in pristine homes, there aren’t laundry baskets out in the middle of everything.

I, therefore, wanted our laundry baskets on the floor of the closet, behind closed doors. But, as it turns out, no one in my family is capable of opening a closet door whilst getting undressed.

After seven years of dirty laundry EVERYWHERE except for in-the-behind-closed-door-baskets, I gave in and let go.

My husband has his own theory of “organization”: Put it right in front of your face, even if it is not aesthetic, because then we will remember to do it.

This theory applies to all manner of things, not just dirty laundry. Books that need to be returned to the library? They go in the library bag – which sits in the middle of the pathway that we have to walk through to get to the garage.

(Would you believe that we have, nonetheless, on more than one occasion, walked right past that library bag, forgetting to put it into the van? Yeah, that’s what we’re dealing with here.)

Anyway, back to the laundry… Dirty clothes were my arch nemesis. Much worse than the library books. Dirty clothes were carpeting my house. They were on the bathroom floor, the bedroom floor, the steps (?), the couch (??). The one place they weren’t was that basket in the closet.

So, I bought this coolio laundry divider thing at a garage sale. (Remember… “on a budget”.) It was brand new, in the box from Bed, Bath & Beyond. They wanted $20, I paid $10. Because I lived in Israel for a dozen years and if nothing else, I learned how to bargain my tush off.

The sorter sits right outside our kids’ bathroom. There is one bag for each kids’ darks, and one bag for collective whites.

At first, my kids were so charmed by the novelty of the laundry sorter, that every night, they put their stuff right into their bags.

After a few weeks, they started haphazardly throwing their dirties near the sorter. A few more weeks, and the laundry was all over the floor again.

But here’s the catch: When I say, very calmly and pleasingly (because I would never shout at my kids – especially not about dirty laundry), “Please put your clothes in the laundry sorter,” they actually do it.

And if, on the incredibly rare occasion that they don’t listen to me, I just scoop up the dirty pants and throw them into the right bag. Less than 10 seconds and it’s done.

A few weeks ago, as I was working on decluttering the linen closet, which is right next to this laundry nirvana sorter, it suddenly dawned on me: “We don’t have dirty laundry carpeting on floors anymore!”

And just like that, our dirty laundry woes had been solved.

If only there was a $10 solution that would fold and put away my mountain of clean laundry.

By the way, I’ve been making tremendous progress on some of my other foundational decluttering projects, including our master bedroom closet, the boys’ room and even the storage room! Stay tuned for updates and photos when I put the finishing touches on these spaces.

How are your spring cleaning / decluttering / Pesach purging efforts coming along? Can’t wait to hear all about it in the comments!


  1. So far have decluttered the medicine cabinet, the mis-matched tupperware, and the water bottles (we had a ton of those). There is still a lot more to do, but I am breaking it down into 20-30min mini-jobs and it seems like I can get one done every day or two.

  2. I did my linen closet! Now I need to work on the rest of the closet space…

  3. I was actually just thinking this morning that I want to get a laundry divider, reading “I just scoop up the dirty pants and throw them into the right bag. Less than 10 seconds and it’s done.” has clinched the deal for me … now I just gotta find a bargain:)
    Thanks for the inspiration.


  4. stephanie says

    You are nicer than I am- anyone who is capable of putting their laundry in the hamper and doesn’t means that stuff isn’t washed 🙂

  5. we have a similar 3 bin laundry sorter for darks, whites, and dry/hand wash. after 3 years trying to get my husband to sort his items, we had an “ah-ha” moment. I used a sharpie to write those 3 labels onto the fabric bins. now he sorts too!

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