Overcome the Laundry: Step #4 Prevent a Bottleneck

Overcome the Laundry: Step #4 Prevent a Bottleneck

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We’re back at this laundry series today with the 4th step and it is a really good one! In order to have a sustainable system in your home for laundry, you need to take a look at what is causing you to fall back on bad habits. Today we are going to set yourself up for success as we prevent a bottleneck.

If you are like me, when it’s easy and orderly, you have less trouble keeping it maintained. When things look and feel overwhelming, I tend to panic a bit inside and almost freeze. I have always attributed this to being a person who wants to succeed and do things well [read perfectly]. In these cases I think, “this place is so crazy! I’ll never be able to have this all cleaned up and get everyone fed & bathed!” Rather than do something partially and haphazardly, I tend to do little to nothing in a complete state of overwhelm. Am I proud of this? No, but I am finally in a place where I can think clearly and assess why things get chaotic. Writing about being vulnerable isn’t easy for me. I’ve always been somewhat of a perfectionist and it’s not easy admitting to the World Wide Web that I have lived in piles that have their own piles in the past. Time to move forward and live more intentionally. I don’t want my kids growing up setting completely ridiculous expectations upon themselves. So, vulnerability here we come.

Before We Prevent Anything

Before we move forward, if you missed the first few steps, check them out here: Step #1, Step #2 and Step #3. This post here is going to be a vital piece to the success but you’ll want to complete each piece to this puzzle in order for it to be effective.


A bottleneck is a blockage. It’s a buildup of stuff.  In this case, the bottleneck is excess laundry that doesn’t actually need to be adding to your workload. These items sneak in and when you fold them you think, what is this doing in here? Do you have items like this? When you go to fold laundry do you have a pile per person, a pile for towels, one for sheets and then items you don’t have a pile for?  Some examples:

  • Clothes your kids have outgrown
  • Clothes your kids don’t fit in just yet
  • Items of clothing that belong to guests
  • Clothes that were in the donate pile that your kids got into
  • Clothes for other seasons… winter items you don’t need for another 4 months
  • the list goes on!

Clearly, in my house the issues arise mostly from the kids growing out of clothes quickly and needing to keep some for the next child and donate others etc. If I didn’t get these items out of this rotation, the laundry pile was bigger than it needed to be, sometimes but a load or two per week. When you add that to potty training sheet laundry, things start to get out of hand quickly. Cue the stress.


The key to my success in overcoming this chaos was to give every one of those categories a place to go. I could prevent unnecessary laundry by organizing the items that clearly needed some attention. I designated a box in a closet upstairs where I could put items that one child outgrew but younger siblings would wear eventually. They’d need to go to the attic but I needed a place for them before they end up back in the laundry. We also need a box where we can put items ready for goodwill. When these fill up, I take them to the attic or to donation center. I know I told you in Step #2 to take donations right away but that was when you were just getting organized.  Once you get a handle of your laundry, this ‘go when the box is full’ thing works great.  I even use cardboard boxes so that I can just grab the whole box and drop it. It gets recycled and the stuff gets out of my house. Quick tip, where appropriate, keep these boxes out of kids reach to further prevent them from returning.

We have a place in the front hall where I put items that guests left. I see it when I grab my coat and will pull things out if I am going to visit with them that day. Having a place to put these type of items will drastically impact your laundry supply. Winter gear? Make time to designate where it all goes.  Give things a home. It is much easier to maintain you laundry, and the tidings of your house for that matter, when things have a place to go.

Do you have items from Step #2 that you don’t know what to do with? Set aside some time to figure out what bottlenecks keep occurring for you and what you need to house to prevent art from happening again.

The Finale is Coming!

Next up, I’ll be wrapping up this series with an outline of our weekly laundry schedule that is simple and sustainable for our family.  It would not be a possible schedule if I hadn’t done these 4 other steps. In fact, the schedule presented itself only after I’d spent time getting things under control with these previous 4 steps. I am getting countless messages and emails from people saying they are overwhelmed and feel they’ve hit rock bottom in their home and/or laundry situation.  I feel honored to give hope to people, to make them feel that they too can get out of that negative place and stay out. Meet me back at SimplyOnEden tomorrow for our 5th and final step, Overcome the Laundry: Step #5 A Simple Week of Laundry.


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9 thoughts on “Overcome the Laundry: Step #4 Prevent a Bottleneck”

  • Oh my gosh! Laundry Bottleneck is my middle name! WE have jokes about what stage of laundry we are in for each load. One thing we’ve started doing to ease this is to do each kids load separately and then put them in charge of empyting it from the dryer and putting it away. Maybe worse for the earth but it teaches them a bit of responsibility and prevents a huge back up on my end! Great post!

  • Laundry is the chore that I hate tackling. I have gave a lot of clothes away to help my laundry pile get smaller. Most were clothes that my son and I could no longer fit. I’m going to have to go back and read 1-3

  • The worst is when I clean my kids clothes, they don’t put them away and then I rewash them! Drives me nuts. These are really good suggestions.

  • The washing basket is an enigma. It’s always full! No matter how much washing I do there’s more to be done. Thanks for the tips. They were badly needed!

  • I didn’t know there was a name for what was happening in my laundry life. It is a huge bottleneck. I have to change my evil laundry ways. Thanks so much for the guidance!

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