Are Smaller Laundry Baskets Really The Secret To Stress-Free Laundry Days?

If looking at your overstuffed laundry hamper puts a pit in your stomach, you're not alone. Laundry ranks at number three on the list of people's most hated chores and one likely to be procrastinated by 85% of people, according to a survey by Lombardo Homes. Unlike some other chores like dusting or vacuuming, procrastinating the laundry will quickly make the problem much worse. Eventually, you'll be left with no choice but to haul the overflowing hamper into the laundry room — or use the "sniff test" and wear dirty socks for the third time this week. How can you break the vicious laundry cycle? It turns out that downsizing your laundry baskets may also downsize your to-do list and reduce your stress — but only if you can agree to a minimized system and more frequent washings. 

Swapping out your supersized baskets for smaller containers won't instantly change your life, but it can help you and your family develop better laundry habits. This can happen in two ways: by making the task of washing clothes easier to manage and by simplifying sorting the clean clothes afterwards. If you implement this simple swap, you may find that you procrastinate doing the laundry much less and that your clothes get cleaned and put away faster. 

Smaller hampers are easier to manage

If you can commit to shrinking your hamper, it'll literally lighten your load on laundry day. With a smaller hamper, you'll notice fullness sooner and get in the habit of washing clothes more than just once in a blue moon. Having limited space in the hamper may also make you question whether your clothes are really dirty enough to wash yet, especially if you haven't worn them for very long or even left the house that day. Dr. Kyle Grant, CEO of Oxwash, recommends washing shirts every one to two wears, dresses every one to three wears, bras every two to three wears, and sweaters and knitwear every five wears or longer (via Vogue). Jeans are probably one of the most over-laundered items, as they can last up to 10 wears before washing!

Having a quick and painless laundry routine doesn't just get the job done faster; it's also better for your clothes and your machine. When you overload the washer, you prevent clothes from properly moving and agitating away the grime. You're also more likely to experience rips and snags and even lose small items like socks in the machine's drainage line. The extra weight of an overloaded machine can stress the motor and shift the ball bearings out of place, shortening the lifespan of your washing machine over time. That's why using a smaller hamper, and therefore doing smaller loads of laundry, is better for your appliance.

Smaller baskets simplify sorting

How big should your laundry basket be? Individual needs may vary, but many people will find that the ideal basket can hold no more than one load of laundry, or roughly three to four days worth of clothing. This will set you up comfortably to do about two small loads of laundry per week, instead of one massively overwhelming pile. You can also adapt the small basket system to suit your most worn pieces. For example, if you go to the gym every morning, toss your gym clothes into a smaller basket beside your regular-sized hamper so you can keep these items on a more frequent rotation.

Getting in the habit of doing laundry more often also means there will be less to put away when the washing is done, so you can say goodbye to those hour-long sorting and folding sessions. In the spirit of simplifying, you might consider ditching the "clean" basket altogether! Instead, bring clothes and other laundered items directly to the room where they belong. This will prevent them from being ignored in the basket for days on end. The poll by Lombardo Homes found that about 38% of people do laundry for their whole household, not just for themselves. If you prefer to use a basket to hold clean items for the whole family, opt for a few smaller laundry baskets instead of one big hamper. After laundering, sort everyone's items into their own mini baskets for easy put away.