BMT: Laundry Bag Living

Disclaimer: I don’t typically post “cheats” for those heading to BMT, if you could call it that.  I advise and educate you on aspects of training, but have refrained from telling you things that you will learn on your own through the process.  It’s not that I want to withhold information from you – I’ve always wanted to see trainees be successful at BMT – but some things are better learned in a hands-on manner than by reading.   

“Living Out of Your Laundry Bag” is a more advanced BMT concept/strategy for success.  I had a reader request a post on this topic, so away we go!  I’ll chunk the information so it’s easier to understand.

Problem(s): Success at BMT depends on inspections, particularly inspections of your locker and clothing drawer.  Passing an inspection depends on you being able to perfectly fold and display your clothing items.  [See my YouTube videos if you want to see the extent of perfection they require.]  You have an abundance of clothing items, which means more items to fold and keep perfectly displayed.  You’re limited on time.  You’re exhausted.  You kind of suck at folding/rolling one or more of those items.

Solution: “Living Out of the Laundry Bag” is the concept of rolling folding only the essential items perfectly, leaving them in your clothing drawer, and never touching them again.  You won’t wear them at all – you’ll only maintain the drawer as needed to ensure that it’s always looking perfect, including dusting, lint rolling, slight adjustments, etc.  The items you’ll actually wear will be stored in your laundry bag, hence the name.

Caution: There are two different laundry bags in the dorm – a personal one that hangs on the end of your bed and the larger ones the laundry crew uses to transport everyone’s laundry down to be washed. You will not be storing all of these excess items in your personal laundry bag.  The MTIs know when they’re overstuffed and will dump them out and call you on it.  Your excess items will go in the main laundry bags in the utility closet, but not all of them.  You’ll stash some of your extra clothes in your civilian luggage, never to be touched for the duration of BMT.  So, you’ll have your perfect items in your clothing drawer, one set on your body, a dirty set in the laundry, and a clean set in the laundry.  You’ll cycle between the set on your body and the sets in the wash.

Pre-Requisites: Your laundry crew has to have their routine down.  This is huge, and this is why this strategy doesn’t work right away.  The laundry crew job is overwhelming at first – having to clean the clothes of 50ish people, dealing with whiny trainees who can’t find their items, etc.  We had a number of outbursts from a disgruntled laundry crew.  Eventually, they get it.  Once they figure it out, you can put this system in place.  Before then, you’ll be tapping into your perfectly rolled/folded items, which is not the objective.  The laundry crew also has to maintain an organizational system in the utility closet, positioning the laundry bags so that they know which ones are clean and which ones are dirty.  Technically, you’re not allowed to have clean laundry stored in the utility closet laundry bags, hence why you need to figure out a code for clean versus dirty laundry, typically by the positioning of the bag’s opening.   

Making It Work: After PT in the morning, we would immediately load the laundry bags with our PT clothes and the laundry crew would go start those loads.  This requires everyone else to pitch in and get their areas squared away during dust down and details.  It wasn’t uncommon for the laundry crew to get the shaft when it came to showering, although we generally had them eat first so they could get right to work.  Later in the afternoon, we would distribute the clean laundry and stash only the items needed for the next day in our personal laundry bags.  Every now and then we would have to use an item from our wall lockers; we would use this time to redo those items.

Hope that helps!  Again, you’ll pick this all up eventually, but don’t expect to have a flawless system in the first few weeks.  Your laundry crew will network with more advanced trainees for tips and hints, and eventually your flight will coordinate and work together.


  • Matthew Leesaid

    I have to say that I got away with MURDER with this in BMT, but you're definitely right with warning people about it.Depending on who your laundry crew is, they will notice what you're doing as well, and they may or may not have a problem with it as well.Personally, I was utility chief, so it was a lot easier for me to do this, because I could just walk in there with my dirty clothes and stuff them in a bag, and leave. So the quantity of items that I'd do was a lot greater than most of the people in my flight.People eventually started just throwing things away as well, which is what I did around 5th week (which I reget now in Technical School, by the way, although it did make my time at BMT 100% easier), and lived with a total of three sand tees, two PT shirts / shorts, one pair of PT socks and three pairs of green socks.>_>Needless to say, when my MTI opened my drawer and there was only one usually like 3-5 of a certain item, she was more than a little annoyed.

  • Johnsaid

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