Thursday, April 2, 2015

Loads of Laundry

This post is dedicated to my 
friend Natalie who asked me 
to post about laundry a long time ago!   

Laundry, laundry… it never ends.  May I confess that I don't love laundry?  We have a lot of it and we stay pretty well on top of it because I have a secret weapon… my husband.  Years ago when all of our kids were too tiny to help he offered to take over the laundry for a few months each time we had a new baby. (It was a great deal!)  He is super organized and thinks of great processes of how to work efficiently, thus, our laundry system was born.   Here is how we handle all the dirty clothes:

All dirty laundry that is removed is placed in one of three bins:

Always Sorted!

White, light, or dark.  There are only 3 dirty laundry bins in the entire house and they are all lined up, it has been that way for years (many years, like 10+).   When kids get out of the bath or shower upstairs or down they come and drop dirty clothes in the bins.  The little kids of course need reminding or help.  This helps so much, because I never have to collect or sort clothes! 

(*note: at our house this works because it is a habit.  If your family is currently in the habit of throwing dirty laundry on the floor or in the closet it will take time to break that habit! Be patient and persistent.)

Load a Day

I try to do about one load per day.  (The exception is when we have a potty training child, and then the laundry never ends!).  I fold clothes and leave them in piles on my bed and have the kids take their piles after school to their own rooms to be put away. If I fold laundry after they are in bed I leave their pile by the door so that they can put it away the next morning.  Doing one load a day ensures that we all have clean underwear and socks, but we have a lot more laundry than one load a day.  The fact is that somedays are busy and slide by without a load of laundry getting done.  

Plan to Have a Catch Up Day

In the past:  Saturday has been a big laundry day at our house.  I usually would direct the kids in Saturday work while my husband collects all the towels that need to be washed.  Saturday is the day that we make sure our laundry bins are empty and that all our towels are clean.  Part of the kids Saturday work is to help with laundry, so we all help fold or hang.  

This systems has worked quite well, but my husband continues to get busier and busier at work and church so I have had to adjust to getting more done durning the week.  I now have Thursday as my big laundry day to make sure bins are empty and all towels are clean.  The kids come home from school and help fold their own clothes and put them away.  

I usually do bedding on a Tuesday or Thursday during the week.  Most of our kids take a bath or shower every night before bed, so I don't feel it is necessary to wash their sheets every week since they always get in bed clean.  I usually wash one room's sheets each week.  

Our laundry room is small, but it works. I think the key is to stay on top of the clean clothes and make sure that they are folded shortly after they are finished in the dryer.  

Everyone happily helps with laundry :)  
Favorite Products

If I am going to all the work to have clean clothes I want them to smell clean.  I prefer Gain.  There are two different scents at Sam's Club.  I like to switch it up occasionally so that we notice the fresh smell!  Bounce works for a fabric softener.  

Oxi Clean Max Force Gel Stick is a product that we love!  I can't tell you how many white and light pink shirts this stuff has saved.  When the kids have had an extra messy day with spaghetti sauce, ketchup, or watermelon we stain stick their clothes before we throw them in the hamper and this stuff works!   

Less is More!

Most people can reduce most of their laundry problems by reducing the amount of clothes you own.  You don't believe me?  Try it!  Here are some of the benefits to having less clothes:

-It is easier to put your clothes in your drawer or hang in your closet because it isn't over stuffed.  

-If you only have what you like in your closet you spend less time trying on multiple outfits (I have kids that will try on an outfit and throw it in the hamper so that they don't have to put it away!).  

For little kids our rule is 10 outfits.  (if they have 11 shirts that is close enough :)  

Here are pictures of our 4 year old's 10 outfits.  I roll her outfits together so that she can get dressed herself in the morning.  

My general rule for little kids is:
-10 outfits
-3 pairs of pajamas
-1 coat
-a few cardigans or sweaters for girls
-a sweat shirt
-swimming suit

(I am not a total stickler, if they get a new shirt for their birthday they can have more than 10 :)

Bigger kids:
-At least 5 pairs of pants or shorts (depends on the season)
-Around 10 shirts
-3 pairs of pajamas
-1 coat
-a few cardigans or sweaters for girls
-a sweat shirt
-swimming suit
(of course older girls have vests, scarves, cardigans. . . )       

Church clothes for everyone: Girls at least 4 dresses, boys have a suit and khaki pants with a sweater vest so that they can switch off each week.  The boys usually have a long sleeve and short sleeve white shirt. 

FYI:  for kids over the age of 6 we fold pants but hang all their shirts.  

I cleaned out my closet this week and only kept things that I love.  (I thought my closet was pretty clean and organized, but I filled two and a half garbage bags of clothes for Goodwill.) The best part is that I feel like I have more to wear!  I don't have to sort through the stuff that I don't really like!  

1 comment:

Clint and Angela said...

Sounds like just the solution I need... So many valuable tips!!!

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