Have one hamper or gathering basket for the entire family to use. I prefer a basket but use what you prefer. Have everyone put their clothes into it at night before bed. Each morning, bring the dirty clothes to your laundry area. In your laundry area, have some sort of sorting system. Here's a 3 section laundry sorter from Walmart for $21.98 that is perfect for sorting laundry into.
Once the clothes are done drying, fold them straight from the dryer. Don't grab the clothes and bring them to the living room to fold or to your bedroom to fold, when you do this you're moving all of the clothes twice and it's much more likely that the clothes will end up where they shouldn't be. After you fold each piece of clothing, place it into a stack or a bin for each family member. Take the clothes and put them away as soon as you finish folding. If your kids are old enough, leave the stacks and have them put their own clothes away as soon as they get home but all clean clothes need to be put away before bed each day!!!
Pick one day a week to wash the sheets and the towels. With this method, it's so much easier to keep up with the laundry and not have lots of clothes sitting around cluttering up your laundry room or house. You don't ever get behind. Once you get in the habit of doing laundry this way, it is so much easier.
When should kids start doing their own laundry? In my household it was about the time my kids were 12 to 14 years old- they each started doing their own laundry the first time they complain to me about it. Comments like: "Where's my white shirt? I need it and I put it into the laundry yesterday." or "Haven't you done laundry yet? I needed my favorite jeans for today." My response to this kind of comment was to give them a gift of their own hamper and teach them to do their own laundry. I never did their laundry again unless it was an emergency and they asked really, really nicely and thanked me!
With 5 kids and pets, this was the only way that I found to stay on top of the mounds of laundry that my family could produce. I hope that some of these suggestions help you stay out from under your laundry.
One more thing! When you get home from a vacation or trip, don't let the suitcases go to the bedrooms. If you unpack the dirty clothes, from the suitcases, right in the laundry area then send the rest of the items up to be unpacked, it eliminates having to gather up all of the laundry. It's one less step and time saved.
Have a great week!