Ask Wirecutter: How Do I Deal With My Partner’s Bedroom Laundry Pile? | Wirecutter

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Ask Wirecutter, an advice column written by Annemarie Conte, explores the best approaches to buying, using, and maintaining stuff. Email your biggest product-related problems to

My partner keeps the chair in our bedroom stacked with semi-dirty laundry: T-shirts that have been worn once, jeans that may or may not pass the sniff test, and the like. It drives me absolutely nuts, and I have no place to sit. Can you help us come up with a solution?

Apparently, there are two kinds of people in this world: 1) those who toss off their clothes so they land on the nearest available surface and 2) those who pointedly ignore their partner’s clothes pile or heavily sigh while passive-aggressively folding their loved one’s day-old jeans. And then the clothing-folders write into advice columns to figure out how to make their bedroom not look like a clothes version of Stonehenge. I won’t tell you which category I fall into, though the rumpled T-shirt I’m wearing might be a clue.

Look, pilers know they are pilers and can’t be nagged into submission. But it is possible they will positively respond to gentle behavior-modification measures. There are the clothes that end up in purgatory between wearing and washing (like jeans, hoodies, and pajamas), and clothes that really need to be washed immediately (socks, underwear, workout gear) but haven’t made it to the laundry basket yet. Thankfully, the smarties at Wirecutter—who fall into both camps—have a bunch of really excellent tips for you.

I have a friend whose husband has an “emotional support laundry basket” that is kept on the floor next to his side of the bed. Since it’s out of her view, she doesn’t feel compelled to nag him, and she isn’t subjected to his stressful-to-her visual clutter.

Or you could place a second hamper—preferably at arm-height so the dumper can just take off their clothes and drop them—in the bathroom if your partner is also someone whose clothes end up hanging out on the bathroom floor post-shower for far too long. No lid makes it even easier for them to just aim their clothes and toss. We like the Honey-Can-Do SRT-01235 Heavy-Duty Triple Laundry Sorter and the Mind Reader 50 Liter Laundry Hamper.

Three reinforced cloth compartments make it simple to sort laundry by type, while the wheels are great for people who need to scoot, rather than lift, heavy loads.

This well-ventilated hamper has a lid to keep the mess out of sight but offers the portability of a basket.

Frankly, the chair might be the problem. It’s a too-convenient drop zone for your partner. Even so, it’s possible that stuff will end up on the floor if you take the chair away, so you need to find another landing spot. There is a definite danger in your partner throwing the clothes on top of a storage bench like the Seville Classics Foldable Storage Bench Ottoman, but if you don’t mind being the better half who then dumps the clothes into the bench so you have a place to sit while you put on your socks, well, you’ve achieved compromise. You can also clear out a dresser drawer for this purpose if you’re someone who really strives to reduce visual clutter wherever possible.

This collapsible bench assembles in seconds and offers ample interior storage for a fraction of the price of any other we considered.

If what you’re looking for is a way to store clothing that isn’t ready for the washing machine, think beyond the front entryway and move a coat rack like the Yamazaki Plain Coat Hanger or the Umbra Flapper Standing Coat Rack into the bedroom. Tall, slim, and stately, this is what they were born to do, and they look more intentional than the chair tangle.

This cute coat tree is slimmer than most we’ve tried, and its small base is great for tighter spaces.

This rack’s large and heavy base makes it more stable than other coat trees. Its fold-down hooks are customizable too, and it wears well over time.

If you don’t have floor space for a coat rack, a few people on staff also use a decorative ladder (Yamakazi makes one) that looks intentional and streamlined while it holds your PJs. Or a few wall hooks like the Eames Hang-It-All or the KES Solid Metal Swivel Hook (in your bedroom or the closet) can go a long way to giving those in-between clothes somewhere to live before the next wearing. You can also purchase strong bag hangers to hold a few canvas totes that you then stuff full of day-old sweaters and the like.

The Hang-It-All is a historic mid-century design that’s as beautiful as it is functional, with 14 hooks to organize clothes while making a vibrant statement.

Whether it’s bag mountain (a real term that not one, but two Wirecutter staff spouses use for their partners’, well, mountains of bags), or your partner leaving gross sponges in the kitchen sink or wanting to buy you a ladder as a birthday gift, most of this comes down to communication and a few smart product solutions. But the best answer came from Wirecutter senior staff writer Phil Ryan, who said simply, “Know and accept that whatever effort you put into this will likely feel wasted in the end unless it’s the other person who comes up with a change to themselves that they are going to be committed to.” When all else fails, said Phil, “The best thing to do is to remember that you love them.”

This article was edited by Jason Chen.

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