Part I here.
Now, when it comes to actually doing the laundry, I've discovered that, duh, routine is key. Like I mentioned before, I recently discovered flylady.net. (Look, I know the website is cheesy, but it's working for me.) Following her suggestions, I set up a new laundry routine: Monday for white clothes, ahem, underthings, and towels; Tuesday for sheets; Thursday for dark clothes, Greta's bedding (if it needs it) and towels. I throw a load in when I first get up on Monday and Thursday morning, and on Tuesday wait until Mr. H-B wakes up to wash the sheets.
Making sure that I can get things in and out of the closet and dressers has made it about a million times easier to put laundry away, which means I don't avoid it nearly as much as I used to. Folding and putting away laundry is really where all of my other laundry routines broke down. Seeing basket upon basket of unfolded t-shirts and socks was just overwhelming. Honestly, I really hate folding laundry. Doing laundry on a schedule has not made me hate folding laundry less, it just means that there are no more than seven of any given item to be folded at a time.
Since we only have two kinds of socks each, I don't have to fold them anymore. I just make piles and put them in drawers with dividers. When the shirts come out of the dryer I fold them or hang them immediately, before they start to get wrinkly. Our laundry room has a place to hang clothes that need to be ironed immediately after they come out of the dryer. If I know I'm not going to be able to fold t-shirts immediately, I shake them out and hang them over the edge of the basket. In order to save on electricity and minimize damage to some clothes, I dry a lot of my own, more delicate, shirts and sweaters on a rack, along with all of our jeans.
Putting away laundry isn't necessarily a breeze. However, because we have a fairly boring selection of pants and shirts, that means they stack and hang more easily. Since I'm dividing laundry up over several days, it also means that I don't have to spend a lot of time putting things away on a given day.
Because the only thing I hate folding more than t-shirts and socks are sheets, I only use a single set at a time. I wash them, dry them, and put them back on the bed so I don't have to fold the cursed fitted sheet. Every so often, I switch sheet sets (say that 10 times fast) and Mr. H-B helps me fold the fitted sheet. We each have two towels, both of which get washed each week (dried, but without a dryer sheet to increase absorbency), along with a lot of dish towels and various rags (we've cut back significantly on our paper towel usage to save money).
Of course, this isn't a perfect system. Sometimes I'm exhausted when I get home from work on Monday night and I don't get the laundry folded right away. Sometimes I find a secret little stash of dirty t-shirts on Mr. H-B's side of the bed. Sometimes Greta pukes in the car and quadruples the amount of towels to be washed. Sometimes I buy fabric for baby quilts and blankets that needs to be pre-washed.
In the future, I would like to hang a lot more of our laundry to dry. Right now, given our space limitations and the ridiculous amount of time it takes to dry things in our apartment, it just isn't feasible to cut out dryer use completely. I'd also like to attempt making my own laundry detergent to save even more money.
So there you have it, the laundry routine that is keeping us in clean clothes without burying us alive in clean shirts and socks.