Introduction: How to Save Time by Never Sorting Your Laundry Again

Or, at least, how to never sort your socks and underwear again.

I hate sorting laundry, and have tried multiple methods to either eliminate or reduce sorting, including:
1) not washing my clothes
2) wearing only one set of clothes and washing them every night in a sink
3) washing, but not sorting
4) washing, sorting, and putting clothes away properly all while grinning and bearing it
5) eliminating all socks and underwear from my life.

1) doesn't work, especially if you're as messy an eater as I am. I've done 2) for months at a time while traveling with nothing more than a small backpack, but in the end I think it's more work. 3) yields piles of clean laundry, which I then spend at least as much time rummaging through as I would actually sorting the clothing. I can't do 4) because I will not accept the defeat of time wasted sorting clothing.

OK, I haven't actually tried 5), but I'm sure results would be excellent.

So, here's what I do that actually works, saves time, and makes me smile every time I open my sock drawer.

Step 1: Determine How Much Clothing Constitutes a Full Load

Determine how many days worth of socks and underwear makes a full load. For me, it's 20 days. Identify a favorite type of sock, or one favorite light sock type and one favorite dark sock type, and purchase enough enough socks and underwear for the full load. Eliminate all those old socks and boxer shorts you don't wear.

You have to commit at this step. If you don't eliminate, either by throwing out or moving to another drawer, all the mismatched socks, this technique will not work! They theory is to have only things that match or are easily distinguishable to eliminate any time spent sorting or searching.

Step 2: Keep Your Socks and Underwear Separate

Keep your socks and underwear in a separate laundry basket that can hold a full load. When that basket is full, do the full load of just socks and underwear. Here, I use a recycled milk-crate for my laundry basket.

Step 3: Stuff Clean Laundry Into a Drawer

Here's the real time-saver: Stuff all the clean laundry into a drawer and slam the drawer shut. There's no need to sort! Every dark sock matches with every other dark sock, and every light sock matches with every other light sock. Grab two and you're done. No searching, rummaging, or sorting. Every morning when I grab two socks from the top of the pile, I smile.

To those of you that don't mind wearing mismatched socks (by whatever metric): This technique is still useful to you, because I know you still search through. If there are any outliers you're unwilling to fully mix-and-match, eliminate them!

To those that intentionally wear mismatched socks: This technique is still useful to you, too! The laws of entropy ensure that because you actually want mismatched socks, a randomly selected pair of socks will often match perfectly! Eliminate all matched socks to prevent this.

Every minute saved by not sorting my laundry is another minute I can waste on the internet, or better yet at the beach. Three cheers to productivity and efficiency!

PS - Yes, I am now one of the elite few with pictures of their underwear on the internet.

Comments

author
Huuunksam (author)2014-10-16

Freakin clever! I'm gonna do it (!)

author
randomray (author)2013-03-17

I already do this .

author
flashj (author)2011-12-08

I thought of this too but now I really need an instruct-able on how to explain it to my wife in a such a way that Civilization Itself won't collapse if I don't match up my socks.

author
cherishedpotato (author)2009-04-09

THANK YOU :D a lot of thought has gone into this- much appreciated :D unfortunately, by implementing your ible into my drawers, i will have to refund the research grant i got to tag and monitor the sock elves who STEAL MY STUFF...

author
paqrat (author)cherishedpotato2011-04-20

I feel certain the posssibility of weaponizing the sock elves will see that your grant is maintained if not increased. Cool nick btw.

author
hammer9876 (author)2010-01-03

Quote "Yes, I am now one of the elite few with pictures of their underwear on the internet."

Obviously you haven't see all the photos of youngsters with their pants below their, uh, seat, but I have to commend you for your willingness to your photograph your underwear that is dirty, being washed and being put away.

Save a minute and go to the beach!

author
Esmagamus (author)2009-07-16

Twenty days worth of sweaty socks? I'd have to tear my house apart to get ride of the smell!

author
Derin (author)Esmagamus2009-07-17

Just jam them into the washing machine.

author
Polemic (author)2009-01-10

+10 to efficiency and a utilitarian lifestyle. You're my hero.

author
samchamb (author)2008-09-04

yes I also use the one colour sock system but then some one goes and buys you x colour socks for Christmas . so it can not completely eliminate the odd sock problem .

author
sconniebabe (author)2008-08-26

I should hope you wash your colors in cold water. that's just asking for colors to bleed/run.

author
rtalisen (author)2008-06-18

LOl. You guys are so cute talking about laundry. You could just buy a three fold laundry sorter, socks and undies in one, dark clothes in the other, and whites in the last one. As far as saving even more time sorting. Practice makes perfect with sorting, I can sort and fold five driers of laundry in about 30 minutes but then again I've been doing my own laundry since I was 10, and I always match every pair of my socks before I leave. I love socks.

author
monkeywoman (author)2008-04-16

hi... ummm, couldn't you just do laundry once a week and throw everything in cold (unless especially dirty)? Seven pairs of socks & underwear take about 1 minute to sort. (And with using cold water you're making fewer greenhouse gases.)

author
ewilhelm (author)monkeywoman2008-04-17

How can you tell I'm not already washing in cold water, and further, how is that relevant?

I think I already answered you point about how much time this actually saves with this:

Every minute saved by not sorting my laundry is another minute I can waste on the internet, or better yet at the beach. Three cheers to productivity and efficiency!

author
ducktape1 (author)2008-03-24

You should make an Instructable on what to do with all of the exiled socks.

author
Labot2001 (author)2008-01-26

Eric, are those... yes, they are! ou wear rocket ship underpants?? I have the same pair! lol, cool idea... i think Mom might get suspicious though...

author
ewilhelm (author)Labot20012008-01-27

Only ghosts and skulls; no rocketships here.

author
FaireLight (author)2007-12-14

I think I'm going to buy only white towels in the future. AND never buy anything red. I never get enough red to run a load of red only, and it fades on everything else!

author
rickysio (author)2007-11-30

For those that hate mismatched socks, get all of the same design :) But who really cares? Who bothers to note if a person's socks are mismatched, unless he has a fetish for them.

author
bruc33ef (author)2007-09-03

Choose the cold water setting. Get detergent for cold water washing. Throw everything in together. You won't have to worry about the colors bleeding.

author
carlton stedman (author)2007-08-21

Neat idea. However, I think there are quite a lot of people who have shown their underwear, and less, on the internet.

author
xlioilx (author)2007-08-05

I feel the same way so I only buy black socks they don't get so dirty looking like white ones and they always match.

author
royalestel (author)2007-07-20

Ah yes, I use this method myself. Tons of white socks that are all the same. We also have three baskets for dirty laundry: 1 for lights and socks 1for darks and 1 for whites. Still some sorting because there's four people in the house, but much less sorting than otherwise.

author
snoyes (author)2007-07-19

Or keep a basket of clothespins by your hamper, and clip the socks together before you drop them in. When they come out of the wash, they'll still be together. Granted, it makes your dryer a bit noisy.

author
crapflinger (author)2007-07-19

you could apply this to all clothes if you were say...a greaser or a goth....for greasers you just need pairs of jeans and white tshirts (maybe some dickies?)....and for a goth...everything's black...so who needs to sort right?

author
zachninme (author)crapflinger2007-07-19

Yeah, but thats how the laundry is normally done...

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Bio: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through ... More »
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