For a number of people, sorting laundry means forming two piles: one marked "dirty" and the other marked "clean." Others may stack all of their dirty laundry in a single clothes hamper, waiting until the last possible moment to separate whites from colors or permanent press from dry clean only. There is a solution to this laundry conundrum, however, and it is known as a laundry sorter. Single men may want to leave the room at this point.
A laundry sorter is essentially a three or four section clothes hamper which allows users to manually separate different types of clothing. Laundry items which can be washed as "whites" in higher temperature water are placed in one section of the laundry sorter. Colors fit in another section, while delicates or dry clean only clothes live in the third section. On laundry day, the launderer or laundress can remove each section from the laundry and wash the clothes according to temperature or type.
Many laundry sorters use separate canvas bags to hold the clothing until laundry day, but others may have more permanent partitions. The entire laundry sorter unit can be wheeled into the laundry room or the user can transfer individual batches with the help of a laundry basket. The main benefit of a laundry sorter is reducing the amount of time a user must spend dividing a congealed mass of clothes into manageable portions with similar washing requirements.
Some people may opt to change the natural order of laundry and sort dirty clothes into different categories. Socks and underwear may fill one section of a laundry sorter, while work uniforms or household linens could fill another section. The laundry sorter itself simply provides a neutral organizational platform; it's up to the individual user to decide which types of clothing are section-worthy.
A series of single compartment clothes hampers could serve as an impromptu laundry sorter as long as every player understands the rules of the game. Parents of young children may want to explain how a laundry sorter works and which types of clothing belong in each section. Despite the best of intentions, occasionally a black sock may end up in the "whites" section or a delicate item may be discovered in the permanent press neighborhood of dirty laundryville. A final check may prove useful before emptying a laundry sorter bag into the washing machine or placing the washed items into the dryer.