In pursuit of a simple, fabulous, imperfect life at home.

The One Basket Rule

This is a tip I received as a newly wed, back when it didn't matter much because all of our clothing combined would only fill one laundry basket. We used to stuff every article of clothing we owned, both of our towels and our bedsheets into one big duffel bag and then carried them up the street from our crappy apartment to a laundry mat that always kind of smelled like urine and citrus and submarine sandwiches.

But six years and five kids later, I do A LOT of laundry.

12 loads a week. At least.

So here's the tip.  (No, not a tip....  a rule!)  Here is the rule that will change your laundry routine forever if you dare implement it:

Own only one laundry basket.

And when it's full, empty it.  Fold the clothes, put them away.  Before you wash another load.

It isn't anything too profound, but in some small way it really is life changing.

One solitary laundry basket doesn't take up any floor space.  It can easily be place on top of the washer or dryer.

One solitary basket looks somewhat tidy, even when it is overflowing with clothes to be folded and put away.

One solitary basket is rarely so overwhelming a task that you would need to keep putting it off until later.

One basket.  Try it!


  1. Your ears must have been ringing about this topic because my hubby just made me a shelf to hold three baskets to accommodate my horrible need to have varying degrees of dirty clothing! hahaha. Guess we're in 1 basket denial!

  2. so wise! I have been doing this, not on purpose, but because we moved into a smaller house and simply do not have the space. It really does make a difference... even though the laundry occasionally battles to take over our laundry room, it is so much easier to stay on top of. :)

  3. I'm a fan of the one basket rule myself - it seems if I dig out a second then things have a way of getting a little out of control. Good tip!

  4. This is so simple, but brilliant. It's just my husband and me and we have 1 hamper and 2 baskets. Normally (sadly) the baskets are full with clean - not folded laundry as the hamper fills with dirty. This is a GREAT idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Great rule! Wish I could do it. . .or can I?

  6. This is a great rule. I'm going to have to give it a try... now which basket should I hide? :)

  7. how do you organize colors from whites? delicate items from towels?

  8. this post made me smile as I am always drowning in laundry - think I'm going to banish all laundry baskets from bedrooms and adopt the one basket rule!!

  9. I'm wondering the same thing as the last anonymous person was .. how do you separate colours from whites? :)

  10. Maybe I should've been more clear: I'm not suggesting only one laundry HAMPER...we have two of those,one outside of the kids rooms and one in our room. I'm suggesting having only one laundry BASKET (like the plastic thing pictured) for clean clothes. That way you won't end up with a ton of clothes waiting to be folded and put away.

    I sort laundry on the laundry room floor when I'm preparing to wash it.But sorting into various hampers is a good way too.

    Sorry for the confusion.:)

    In the future, if you want to ask a question it is best not to be anonymous. I respond to most comments through email.

    Thanks for reading!

  11. thank you for the clarification. as someone new to the world of blogs, i posted as anonymous so as not to offend anyone. i'm enjoying what's on your site and printed the spring cleaning list. great ideas here :) thanks again!

  12. Yep! Great advice. I have only had one for 20 years of doing this unending chore! :) You are smart! :)

  13. ha! My system is very different, everyone gets their own basket that they are responsible to put away and bring back empty. So we have 4 hampers & 5 baskets. And that works for me. BUT I refuse to start drying another load if the previous one isn't folded and in the respective baskets. In the other hand I don't have a laundry room... My washer & dryer are in the basement :-(

  14. great tip - I must try this.
    love your blog.
    cheryl xox.

  15. I love this idea. Thanks.


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