Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Laundry Day

I know laundry is a big issue for many families large and small, so I wanted to post about how I manage laundry for 10 people.

First of all, some of my kids change their clothes much too often and some of them don't change often enough.  I know for a fact *someone* didn't change their underwear more than once this week.  Yuck!!  ;)  I'm trying to train my boys that it's good to wear their jeans two days in a row, but bad to wear them more than that.  Some of my kids (particularly the same one who didn't change his underwear all week) will wear the same pair of jeans all week, and usually wear holes in the knees by the end of the week.  And they can't figure out why that happens!  This is the good/bad of homeschooling--the good is that they don't need to wear certain clothes every day, the bad is that mom may not notice if they are running around in very dirty clothes.  Case in point:  I just sent a child who came up for breakfast back down to change the clothes he has been wearing since after church on Sunday (two days)...and yep, the jeans have a hole in the knee.  Argh!

Secondly, I don't deal with stains well.  I usually don't notice a stain that needs to be treated until after the clothing item has gone through the washer and dryer, meaning that it will be even harder to get out.

I do the majority of our laundry all on one day.  We have a large capacity front-loading washer and a large capacity dryer, so we can get really good-sized loads in each wash.  My laundry room is set up with a laundry chute that empties into the deep wash tub.  That's usually spilling over by the time I get to sorting (I really should sort more often...but why?).  The tub, washer, and dryer are along one side of the laundry room.  Along the other wall of the narrow room is a counter that Mitch built for me.  Underneath I have 3 laundry sorters that have 3 compartments each. 

Yesterday I had 6 loads of laundry:  3 loads of darks, 1 of jeans, 1 of whites, and 1 of reds.  That's not too bad for 10 people for a whole week of laundry!  Kathi sometimes does some of her own things that she needs done at a different time during the week.  There are also delicates and things that I wash as needed and not on laundry day.  Diapers, towels, and sheets all get done at a different time too.  (I'll admit the sheets get done very rarely).

As each load comes out of the dryer, I fold and sort it like this:

We're short a couple of white baskets and I found out that our Walmart no longer carries them.  :(  But also see they are available on amazon.com.  Hmmm....  I like these because they are inexpensive and sturdy.  They stack nicely to put away between laundry days.  Anyway, back on subject.  For perspective, that church pew is 12 feet long, and I have all 8 kids lined up across there.  (And room for a couple more!) Mine and Mitch's are together in the basket on the floor.  I did get a couple blankets washed, too, because I needed to round out a load that wasn't quite full.

Ok, so this goes on all day until the laundry is done.  Eventually most of the kids' clothes will be hung, but I fold it neatly so that in the meantime it doesn't get wrinkled.  Much.  Because I don't iron very often.  Once it's done, I have each child put their own laundry away.  I put Tirzah's away.  Micah is Malachi's buddy, so he puts his laundry away too, and Eden helps Josh.  This usually works really well, but occasionally I step into the boys' closet and find a huge mess.  That typically makes me a very crabby momma, but I get it all organized and set right again and I'm happy.

If something happens in the middle of my day and I need to clean up in a hurry, I just stack the baskets on top of each other and set them out of the way.  Now there is no laundry mess lying all over the place!

What I hear from a lot of moms is that laundry is the job that never ends.  At my house, at least the bulk of it does end one day a week.  It really does help keep me sane.  Yes, there are always random loads that need to be washed here and there.  I try not to do any regular "clothing" during the week because I don't want to stop kids to put it away.  Wash it once, put it away once.  It's more efficient!  Don't you think?


  1. I love the pew. Is that in your living room? I'm assuming your laundry room isn't that big!

    I have a similar system, with the additional blessing of normally having help. She comes on Tuesdays and Fri afternoons so those are laundry days. I try to have much of the wash already done since she doesn't notice stains as well as I do and she helps me fold and put away. What a blessing! Today she isn't coming, but it's laundry day anyway. I canceled Bible study tonight just in case I'm not able to get the house looking neat and laundry done with the kids running around making messes all day.

    You don't have long to go so it looks like that nesting is going strong! Can't wait to see your new little man!


  2. How do I find those baskets? What do I look under on amazon?

  3. Great question! The brand is Sterilite Ultra Basket and the ones we have are approximately 16" x 12" x 7" deep. I am not sure how they measure since the baskets are wider at the top than the bottom, so I'm having a hard time finding a listing that is *exactly* like ours. I am going to check our baskets to see if any still have a label. If I can find the right one, I'll edit my post and put a link on. ;)

  4. Ok...I think I have it figured out. Measured by the largest measurements it is 19 x 14.5 x 8. Now I will see if I can find them. If not there are some that are close in size and would work just as great, especially if you are just starting out.

  5. I am a marathon-washer-woman too :) I agree with you - I need the sense of finishing and I hate to stop the kids to put their things away often too. I get very crabby when things don't get put away (socks matched, folded and put away, ususally) before we are onto the next laundry marathon.

    I'm trying something new - I am using an oversized mesh laundry bag as a sock/underwear hamper in my daughter's closet. I hang it right from her lower closet rod on a pants hanger. On laundry day, she brings it to the laundry room, I cinch it off and wash it, dry it and give it back to her to match up and put away. I'm hoping it'll go well enough to extend this to the rest of the family memebers (but I have to get more bags - prefererably zipper ones). Her socks are so simular in size to her little sister's now that it is really a chore to match socks - and my oldest hates that chore - at least now it's just her own.

  6. I love those baskets, too. We use them for school - each child with his/her own. I went to Walmart the other day to find another, as we'll be adding another student this year, and you're right, no more. I'll have to check Amazon...

  7. I guess I am a different bird in the fact that I do one college load every day. I don't have much trouble with the kids putting away clothes because it is their ticket to either lunch or supper. Clothes on the counter then I guess you are not hungry for the next meal. Works well even with 3 year olds. I would say that I am the worst at putting my clothes away. Katie Nueman bought me these blue baskets I think from target that the handles can turn in and thus they stack without falling down or turn handles out and they all compact down to almost one basket. I LOVE them and need to buy more for when we move and add one more kid to the bunch.

  8. yep, it was target angel:) and i believe that shopko carries your baskets steph- i thought i have seen them there. this is my laundry, upstairs people, luke, myself, and the little ones use the tub and each day i usually run a load or two, typically my whites with bleach and then a dark. once a week i then wash the kids clothes that are in a hamper in their rooms, and yep...same day it is put away. i sometimes have a little pile on my dryer that i am sure to have cleared off if company is coming, the joy of main floor laundry. cool on the pew though, that's great!! libby is my laundry aide since she knows where everything goes and even if it is delivering it to the boys room that is how i cure any accumulation. i fold my laundry right out of the dryer too. fun! laundry! atleast you only do it once a week though, if i had a chute and laundry room like my old house the clothes could tower me. i do strive to have my tub basin emptied before luke gets home though and enjoy knowing that our clothes are clean and put away. he's got it good. on a tough day he can put his own clothes away though! and i never match socks either. isn't it amazing what routines we have though and how we do what works for us in our own little worlds. well cheers to the laundry ladies! thanks steph!! great dipes btw:)