Phantom Laundry (And the Laundry Management Method that is Rocking My World)

What do you see when you look at this picture?

A couch?  Like . . . just a couch?

OK good.

That’s what I see too.

This couch (actually a loveseat) has been invisible, covered in clean laundry for the past ten years.  And we bought it ten years ago. 

Which means I’ve only rarely seen it not covered in clean laundry.

I felt the need to clarify that it’s a loveseat because that makes me feel less space-wasteful.  I would never cover an entire real couch with clean laundry because then where would we sit???

But really, over the past several years as our family’s bo-hineys have increased in size while the surface areas of the furniture in our living room have not . . . this space-for-sitting was needed.

Which brings me to the Phantom Laundry Phenomenon I’ve experienced over the past month.  I finally grasped the benefits of folding laundry straight out of the dryer a while back. 

But it has only been since school started four weeks ago that I’ve been adamantly doing it.  Like, every single time without ever coming up with a totally-logical-and-arguable excuse.

And I have to say, the results are kind of freaky.

It’s like the laundry vanishes into thin air. 

The piles in the little hallway outside my laundry room?  There’s no trace of them.

No clues to follow and eventually find laundry piled on the loveseat.

It’s just . . . gone.

I’ll admit that, strangely, it’s unsettling.  Like a part of me is missing.  I’m just so accustomed to seeing piles of laundry (either clean or dirty) that not seeing them is just . . . well . . . weird.  Like, where have all the clothes gone?

But don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining.

At all!

I think it’s kind of like that strange feeling you get after wearing ankle weights.  When they’re gone, your feet feel so light and you have to get used to walking again.  And you have this phantom-ey feeling where the weights were.

And just like with ankle weights (I assume, since I never wore ankle weights for anything but a whim), you’re stronger and better with the weights being gone.

Like how we now have enough comfortable spots to sit on family movie nights.  And  the master bedroom has a fighting chance because an impending doorbell doesn’t require a laundry pile transfer from the loveseat to my bed.

I’ve tried other ways.  I’ve piled clean laundry on my bed to fold (or move to the loveseat) before I could go to sleep at night.  I’ve folded immediately and waited til after school to distribute to bedrooms.  But the only way the laundry  disappears into thin air is if I truly and literally fold it straight out of the dryer and put it away IMMEDIATELY.  Like, before I even put the next load into the dryer.

No excuses.

Not even for socks.  Not even when my back hurts from bending over the dryer door and matching up the blankety-blank socks.

Not even when the dryer’s buzzer sounds within two seconds of putting my lunch into the microwave and I’m very very hungry.

And yes.  I do fear that the minute I hit publish on this post . . . this newfound resolve will disappear when faced with whatever other great excuses I’ve had in the past for not doing it this way.

I guess I’m a risk taker.


Phantom Laundry (And the Laundry Management Method that is Rocking My World) pin at




  1. 1
    Slob with OCD says:


    I think you’ve hit on something vital to us slob brains. When we break a bad habit or make a productive one, it doesn’t look right to us. So it’s almost hard to keep it up, either because we’ve come to feel at home in our messes, or because the clean reminds us how fleeting previous cleans were, and thus of many failures in the past. At least I think that works that way for me.

    I’ve been working with your e-book for awhile, and while I have new habits that I seem to be able to keep up 90% I still think my kitchen looks a little strange with clear counter tops. Nice but strange.

    • 2

      I know this is an old reply but you have hit the nail on the head! Every time I get everything clean I always look at my husband and tell him I am going to get sick or something else bad is going to happen because it can’t last. Then I do well for a week or so then back to square one or at least that is how this slob sees it. Thanks for helping point out my own bad attitude about what I could or could not do in the past and know that I can do it for this time.

  2. 3

    I know the backache.
    I found a cure.
    I take a clean laundry basket and set it so I can swoosh all the clean laundry out of the dryer and into it. Then I set it on top of the dryer.

    Then I put (or can put) the next load in the dryer, and put (or can put) the next load in the washer, so I can move the laundry basket over onto the washer and fold the laundry and pile it on top of the dryer till it’s all folded and I can go put it away.

    Now I have it all typed out, I’m surprised I don’t stop somewhere in the middle there before I get it put away, but somehow I don’t. I don’t always think to take the clothes out of the washer and into the dryer before I start folding.
    But no backaches.

  3. 4

    This was the ONLY ONE of my mother’s housekeeping lessons that has ever ‘stuck’ with me. Why did THIS one stick? Cos I may be a slob, but I’m a vain slob. A vain slob who despises ironing. I know if I remove the laundry a few minutes before it’s totally dry, then hang and fold it immediately, I will never have to do much ironing. (It’s almost impossible to be ‘vain’ while wearing wrinkled clothing.) I also developed the habit of folding the towels, etc. while doing the rest, so I guess that PROVES good habits can actually BECOME habits. (Sadly, this works in no other areas of my ‘housekeeping life’.) I also do laundry fairly often cos I run out of towels, as I can’t stand using a ‘dirty’ towel. (Especially after they’ve been tossed on the floor after my shower or bath!) I just wished my vanity could express itself in a desire to allow everyone into my home at all times. But, it just DOESN’T. I AM learning quite a few tricks/methods from you. It’s just that I’m such a SLOW learner. But, thanks again for this blog. I love it, and you, so much.

  4. 7

    As my very first boyfriend wrote me in a some what passionate letter….

    Throw caution to the wind and let fate take its course….

    I think what I mean is, do your very best and I will bet you can sit on that love seat more often than you think.

    Thanks for the inspiration… as she looks at here nightmare office and drinks a bit of vino.


  5. 8

    Urgh. I am so not there. Right now, there is a load of (unfolded) clean towels on my couch from last week. The hamper is so full of dirties that they are spilling out and creeping across my bedroom floor like some sort of evil creature. The laundry monster must be vanquished! (now where’s that Laundry Knight in Soapy Armor?)

  6. 9

    I can’t stop laughing. I thought I was the only one who had laundry on her sofa. Also, when the doorbell rang into the stash & dash — either bedroom or wherever I could cram it.

    Love your articles. Thank you for sharing & inspiring.

  7. 10

    Thank you for making me laugh and giving me hope and inspiration! I moved from folding laundry on the couch to a banquet table, but the piles are still there – need to purge!!! maybe then it will be all better? 😉 I hope so!

  8. 11

    I’m so glad to find someone else who has the same troubles and who also has a passionate distaste for socks!
    Let’s see if your new found resolve will inspire me to do the same!

    • 12

      I just sat down and mated an entire bag of socks during multiple hours of a Disney movie on repeat for the littles age 1 and 3 while my better half of at a wedding 2hrs away , yes crazy Saturday night I know …the bag had previously held a QUEEN size bedding set. yes it was a whole heck of alot of socks. I give the hated chores the title “a$$hole” I hate folding socks, but will fold the laundry my fault is leaving it in baskets. I remedied that in our new house by getting rid of all but 3 baskets and 3 hampers. now I have to put it away or I don’t have an empty basket. Currently the folded socks have taken residence in one precious basket in the living room, no the man of the house isn’t happy but it’s better than digging through the bag for mates.

  9. 13

    Nony, Thank You. You have given me hope. I don’t have a kitchen, just like you “didn’t” have a Love Seat. I try to find it, but i don’t even have a lundry room to hide all the clean/dirty laundry in, so it sits in my kitchen waiting to be processed and taken care of. I’m going to try your fold & put away method and hopefully find the resolve that you have so that one day i’ll be able to say the same thing as you. It’s no longer wasted space.

  10. 14

    A great trick for the socks is to get a big lingerie bag (or better, one for each family member) and throw them all in there before they go in the washer. This way they get transferred to the dryer in the bag and you can give each person their own bag to deal with, or at least save a few bend-overs into the washer and dryer!

    • 15

      That is a great idea! Especially with tiny socks and maybe even underwear.
      I am a passionate fold/hang immediately person because I do not own an iron. But I never fold my undies. I just throw them all in the drawer, willy-nilly. It just seems silly to fold those into tiny little squares.

  11. 16

    LOL Guess where my clean laundry is right now… Did you guess the loveseat? ;o))

    I’m going to reward myself with baked apples for dinner if I get it all folded and put away today! :o))

  12. 17

    I’m almost there… I figured out that I have to fold the laundry right out of the dryer, but then I end up with 8 loads’ worth of clean, folded laundry in baskets gathered around my dryer. (Yes, I went and counted just now.)

    I’m not at the point where I can take it up and put it away as soon as it is folded. I want to dry and fold it at night, but then the rooms are dark, so I figure I’ll do it in the morning when I make beds. But it never happens. Even worse, I’m normally folding it in the day time since I’m not keeping up with my plan to wash & fold in the evenings, but I rationalize not putting it away right now because I should be washing & folding at night and then putting away in the mornings. It makes no sense.

  13. 19

    I had the same back problems for a while, until a friend of mine got rid of a child’s stool from their bedroom. Perfect height for sitting in front of the old dryer, reaching in & folding small pants/shirts/undies. 🙂

    Hope you can find a good stool! Or, barring that, use the one from the kitchen/pantry just for laundry time.

    Love your blog, as always. 🙂

  14. 20

    Ha! I knew if you would join the ranks of us fold-it-right-away folks you’d see a change in the piles. 🙂 Good for you – another old habit bites the dust!

  15. 21

    I had to laugh at your last comment about “as soon as I publish this post . . .” That happens to me a lot. I write an article about how I do something and then I don’t want to do it that way anymore. Why is that???

    I’ve been doing laundry your new way forever! I hated having laundry sitting in the dryer and I fold it on my bed so I really need it to be done and put away by bedtime. Plus I can’t check it off my list if I haven’t put it away and I must check things off my list!!!

  16. 22

    You’ve inspired me to get back into this habit. For several months I folded the clothes/towels/sheets/etc directly from the dryer and immediately put them away. For some reason that I can’t seem to recall I stopped doing it and, you guessed it, just dumped the clean clothes on my love seat. What a great feeling of ‘I’m not alone!’ to see that you had done the same. So I’m going to take the pledge and the time (maybe 2 minutes?) to do this again. I have a couple of advantages over you. There’s just 2 of us in the house. My daughter is grown and has teenagers of her own so the socks issues in really easy. We each have a stash of black socks and another of white socks. All the same. So it makes sock matching really easy. Also my washer and dryer are stacked so I don’t have to bend over. 😉

    Thanks for the laugh and the inspiration!! I’ve Liked you on FB and subscribed to your site.

  17. 23

    I very much support folding straight out of the dryer. Course we just moved and I found that I used all my laundry baskets as boxes so now I have been folding on top of a box. I am seriously considering buying one more basket just so I can have something to fold into. I think my worst laundry “sin” is leaving clothes in either (or both at times) the dryer or washer. Even though I do the laundry my DH is the worst about wanting to tumble some item of clothing to get the wrinkles out (I don’t iron) and so again the clothes get “dried” or tossed about. I hope once we get more settled in then I can keep the drums empty unless I’m actually doing the laundry at that very moment. Here’s hoping and thanks for sharing your struggles and triumphs!

  18. 24

    The idea of folding and putting away laundry immediately never ever occured to me until I saw it here a few months ago. It’s so nice, and my clothes don’t get VERY VERY lost anymore. Thanks for sharing.

  19. 25

    I thought I was the only one with a clean laundry chair. I always tell myself it will be easier to hang up everything at the same time…you know when I am DONE with laundry who am I kidding. Our laundry is NEVER done. Thank you for sharing that I am not alone.

  20. 26

    One thing i try to do at our house is limit our socks. My son has the Old Navy white roll socks with the sizes printed on them. My daughter has the Old Navy and one other package. My husband has 12 pairs of the exact same white socks and 12 pairs or the exact same black socks. I do this with women’s socks. It’s boring but it makes mating much faster and if we lose one, no big deal the are lots of other mates around 🙂

  21. 27
    Elizabeth says:

    Yes! One laundry day is a must. I hate having it drag throughout the week. My other thing that helps me get started on Mondays – I have four laundry baskets in my bedroom closet and one in each child’s room. I sort my clothes and my husband sorts his throughout the week, then I bring the kids down and sort into the four baskets and bam! I’m ready to do laundry! No digging through mountains of clothes in order to start 🙂

  22. 28

    I have folded and hung up immediately out of the dryer for a while (so I don’t have to iron) except for the dreaded socks. I put the kids’ folded laundry in their chairs at the table so they have to put them away before their next meal. Lately also their towels and sheets. Socks still end up in a basket for a while until I can force myself to match them. I have tried different strategies to fix this problem but nothing has stuck yet. One of those jobs I keep ignoring while choosing to complete others I enjoy more. Dishes is another one I avoid. But I can keep the yard mowed. Go figure!

  23. 29

    Know how I cured my laundry loveseat problem? I just got rid of the loveseat! Bam! Problem solved!
    I just down sized from 1200 sq ft to 576, no room. Now watch, I’ll have a laundry bed. Nooooooo

  24. 30

    I’m glad you found the answer to your laundry monster. I used to detest doing laundry, until I too, discovered a method that worked for our family.

  25. 31

    I know this is an old post, but I had a laundry epiphany and wanted to share.
    First, I am a slob. Second, I’ve been a stay at home mom for 14 years and I just recently conquered my laundry demon. Now for the epiphany: Do one person’s laundry at a time then you don’t have to go into 4 bedrooms putting away the entire family’s clothes at once. the exception is towels and small loads like whites. I do laundry every day, but really concentrate on getting to the bottom of each basket on Saturday.

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