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.