All of us have to do laundry. Some have only a couple of loads a week, while others have a dozen. It affects us all the same way; we put it off till it gets to be such a big job that we are paralyzed by the thought of it. This week we are going to tackle our laundry monster.

Do you have piles of dirty laundry in your bedroom floor that just keep growing? Do you want to know why they continue to multiply? You have too many clothes, because you have compensated for not doing laundry by buying more clothes. Then you struggle for two days to finish it all, but it never really gets put away, because your drawers are too full. So then you live out of a clothes basket or the piles on top of the dresser or bed or chair. After a while you can't tell the dirty from the clean. So they all get tossed back into the dirty clothes pile.

How in the world can I stop you from doing this to yourself? Let me tell you how:

1. I cleaned out one drawer for myself and one for each family member.

2. Then I labeled the drawers, so I would know where to put the clothes.

3. At one time, when I lived alone, I would have every thing I owned dirty before I would go to the laundry. (I did not have a washer or dryer!) I mean two huge garbage bags of dirty clothes. Did I tell you I had too many clothes? Then I would go to the laundromat and spend half a day doing it. At least it was done, but I would start the vicious cycle all over again. It was so draining. I could go several weeks without doing laundry.

4. My remedy was to cut out some of the steps that would trip me up. Sorting! As I took off my dirty clothes, I would sort them into a dark basket and a light basket. Yes, I actually have a dark-colored and a light-colored basket to remind me. My husband does, too. In fact, I think he taught me this. He also taught me to take my socks off, right side out. Push them down over your heels and then pull the toes. Poof! Your socks are right side out. No more having to turn socks after they are washed. I love this part.

5. Now as a basket gets almost full, I can do a small load. It actually takes less time to do a small load so it is no longer overwhelming. It gets put away much faster, too. The socks are easier to match. I hated that part, but not anymore.

6. Now you have to have a simple routine to accomplish this. I have it included in my morning routine. As I leave my bedroom in the morning, I grab one of the baskets that looks almost full and take it to the basement. I turn on the washer, come upstairs and set my timer for 40 minutes, which is how long it takes for my washer to do a load. (Do not leave the washer running while you are going away from home. Just stop the washer and let them soak. Also have a smoke alarm in the area of the washer and dryer.)

7. After the washer has stopped, grab some hangers and head to it. (We need washers with buzzers. Did you know that men must design these appliances or maybe born organized people?) Put the clothes in the dryer. Now when the buzzer goes off, you will already have the hangers. Now, here is the rule! You have to go to the dryer when you hear the first buzzer. No excuses. Hang up the good clothes first and put the rest in the basket and go to the room where they belong. (I have a secret, I do not fold underwear. I just put it in the drawer.) Then I match the socks and fold everything else. I have timed myself, and I can do this in two minutes. I'll wager you can, too.

I don't have to do a load every day, but I check my baskets to see if I do. It is so much easier to do when you just get a routine for it.

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS; check out: or "Sink Reflections" published by Bantam and "Body Clutter" published by Fireside. Copyright 2007 Marla Cilley. Used by permission in this publication.