Step 1 - My first piece of advice is to go through all your clothes and purge a ton of them. Follow all the normal advice about getting rid of items that you haven't worn in at least a year, only keeping pieces that make you feel good about yourself, keeping clothing that pertains to your current lifestyle (i.e. get rid of working woman clothes if you're now a stay at home mom), etc. Be ruthless.
I once read in a book that the average person only needs about 9 outfits. I also read online from another source that a stay at home woman needs 5-7 outfits for everyday (no sweats), maybe 4 nice outfits for church or whatever, 2 pairs of tennis shoes (1 for working outside or painting), 1-2 pairs loafer type shoes, and I think they said 4 dress shoes, and a winter coat....how close are your collections of clothing to this average suggestion? I think that I've pared my belongings down to something similar to this and it is very refreshing. It is much easier to decide what to wear when you have fewer choices!
Make an effort to donate / sell / throw away enough clothing so that you can clear out at least 1 drawer in your dresser (hopefully more!). This is important because when you've accomplished this, you suddenly have a newfound spot for all those things that end up on top of the dresser on a daily basis (like your keys, your husband's wallet, spare change, etc.) Now you walk into your bedroom and see a cleared off flat surface and you can think to yourself, "Wow...our house isn't that messy after all!"
In an effort to stage our home to sell, we actually decided that we should take 1 of our 2 dressers (which were at the time completely crammed full) out of our bedroom and really minimize the amount of clothing in our closet to make our master suite appear roomier than it is and therefore more appealing. So we both went thru our clothes and got rid of a lot. In the end we ended up only needing the 1 dresser. And 4 of the drawers in it are taken up not with clothes but with Dave's random stuff (to do lists, flash lights, watches, etc.)
Another thing we did in our bedroom that makes me very happy is that we relocated Dave's coin jars. He always wanted to have 4 jars (one for pennies, one for nickels, one for dimes, one for quarters) sitting on top of our dresser. He puts his change in there each night. I hated how that looked sitting out cluttering up our space. And it definitely wasn't an attractive decoration. But I also loved how it was all sorted when it came time to roll it up. So I talked him into stashing the jars inside his drawer with some of his clothing and it works quite nicely.
I did not follow that advice completely but I have reduced our collection down to 8 towels. They fit comfortably on two shelves in our master closet and it is nice not having to find a spot for a bunch more. I also purchased a basket from HomeGoods that I use for hand towels and wash cloths and baby bath towels. If my basket gets too full, I know it's time to get rid of something. (The bottom shelf is empty b/c those towels are in the laundry currently...)
Another thing is that I think you really only need 2 sets of sheets per bed. One to be used while the other is in the laundry. Perhaps you might want a third for a baby/small child in case they were sick. I keep our spare sheets in our storage ottoman in the bedroom and Levi's are in his closet.
Step 3 - Get into a laundry groove. Set a couple days a week for doing laundry and DO IT NO MATTER WHAT. I do laundry on Wednesdays and Saturdays now. If I have some big event and can't do it one of those days then I just do it the very next day. In all actuality, if you've done a good job of purging the towels and clothes you don't need, you probably won't be able to go more than 3-4 days without doing laundry anyways. At least that's where we are right now.
I think some peoples' problems with piles of laundry is that they simply have so many clothes they rarely even have to do laundry and then when everything is finally dirty and they are forced to wash the clothes out of necessity, they have a mountain of dirty stinky clothes with set in stains to deal with.
I don't have a problem with putting loads of laundry in the washer or dryer but actually folding and putting them away is what I hate doing. I will stall out at that step. Then the machines sit there full of clothes and the day just flies by and my laundry is not done. So I had to come up with a system to trick myself into doing it.
Nowadays, what I do is I throw in a load of darks then a load of lights and dry them immediately. As the loads get dry, I just throw them in a laundry basket in a big wad and carry it to our bedroom, dumping the clothes out on the bed. At the end of the day I have a giant pile of unfolded clean clothes on my bed. Then before I can go to sleep I have to force myself to fold it all and put it away. There's only been about once in the past year that I've just taken the pile and shoved it onto the floor to deal with the next day...because I think I'd hate to see that big pile of clothes mess up my bedroom floor more than I hate folding the clothes.
My perfectionist self tells me this is not a good system since the clothes tend to get wrinkled throughout the day before I fold them. It would be best to fold them right as they come out of the dryer to reduce wrinkles. But I know myself well enough to know that I fail at that. So I'd rather have clean wrinkled clothes at the end of the day than dirty ones still waiting on me to tend to them.
So, evaluate what makes you procrastinate when it comes to laundry and set up some sort of system to motivate yourself.
Once you've reduced your amounts of clothing, towels and bedding, laundry should be a much simpler task around your home. And you should be able to reclaim some closet/cabinet/dresser space for other items.
Are you following any other 31 Dayer's blogs? I sure am! My mind is practically spinning with all the inspiration. What's your favorite topic so far?