I have a small family (just my husband, me, and our son), but laundry still piles up around here like 20 people live in this house. And when my son plays baseball in the spring and fall --- well, laundry seems to take over.
Or it used to until I began a very simplified version of laundry duty.
I purchased three hampers. One for the bathroom we all use, one for mine and my husband's bedroom, and one for my son's room. These are just plastic hampers from Walmart that were maybe $8 each. I also have two laundry baskets.
My family is super casual. We're homeschoolers and my husband's office is casual, so we don't purchase many clothes that aren't just normal wash and wear. My husband has suits. I have certain things or dress pants that I don't want put in the washer, but 98% of our clothing is easily sorted into 2 categories. Everybody in my house knows my system and everyone (including my 11 year old son) knows how to use the washer and dryer. Well, my husband pretends not to know, but he really does know. ;)
Here's my simplified laundry division:
1) Towels, socks, underthings: These items are washed on hot and color bleach is always added to this load, along with detergent and softener.
2) Clothes: I don't sort by color. All of our clothes are washed on cold with detergent and softener and sometimes I add color bleach.
There is another couple of smaller categories. All my son's baseball stuff is washed together. I usually spray the stains with stain remover. It's all washed on cold, with detergent only. No softener in this load.
My dishtowels are washed separately in hot water with bleach. I am usually the one to wash this load.
When I have hampers overflowing, my son brings them all downstairs and I sort. I put all the towels, etc. in one hamper and all the clothes in another. We have a small basket that is the perfect size for what fits in my washer. So I can just fill that basket with whatever load I am washing and it's the perfect amount of items. I use that small basket for my son's benefit. I can tell him to wash a load of clothes or towels and he can fill that small basket up with the items and know that's just the right amount to put in the washer. He knows what temperature to use, how much detergent, softener, or bleach. Everything is washed on a normal setting. My towels, etc., are dried on regular setting. My clothes are dried on medium.
So 98% of my laundry is done in this way. It has made laundry so much easier and I have never had any trouble with the way laundry turns out. Just this past weekend, I was going to bed a bit early because I was tired. My son and husband were staying up to watch a movie and I remembered we had no clean towels for the next day. I was able to just ask my son to wash some towels and he took care of it. No problem.
One thing, though. I think it's a small thing. No one in the family likes to fold clothes except for me. Seriously, folding clothes is kind of therapeutic to me, so I fold everything. My son and husband put it all away. I don't like putting things away, so it works out great.
Simplified laundry -- it works for me!