“Super Simple Laundry System”
By Sarah Mueller
Benjamin Franklin once said “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I would amend that list to read “death, taxes and laundry.”
In our family of 6, we produce a lot of laundry.
Our washing machine has faithfully chugged for many thousands of hours. After trying out many options and tweaking the process, I finally have a laundry system that gets the job done with a minimum of fuss.
My super-simple laundry system looks like this…
- The two children’s bedrooms each have their own laundry basket. My husband and I each have our own as well. The kids are responsible for putting their dirty clothes in their baskets.
- There is another laundry sorter in the laundry room. If an article of clothing gets dirty, we can quickly throw it in this sorter and it will be washed with the next load. This sorter also holds overflow laundry if there is more than can be done in our 1-2 loads / day.
- A large cloth shopping bag is used to collect soiled cloth napkins and cleaning rags (we keep our kitchen mostly paper-free). This keeps these items separate from the rest of the wash.
- An expandable wall-mounted drying rack and a disappearing bar for hangers are conveniently mounted next to the washing machine.
Days are assigned to family members:
Monday – 2 older boys. The two older boys handle all their own laundry themselves. I just have to remind them to put it in the dryer and put it away.
Tuesday – my laundry, my husband’s laundry (although he frequently does his own – what a guy!)
Wednesday – 2 younger boys
Thursday – whites, any linens
Friday – catch-up
Saturday – catch-up
Every morning (except Monday when the boys do their own laundry), I throw in the day’s assigned load in the morning.
White items are pulled out of the baskets and left in the laundry room sorter to wait for the next white load.
Before quiet time, I switch it to the dryer. I will take it out and put it away during our chore time in the afternoon. If necessary, I start another load at quiet time which will get folded in the evening (gulp – or sit in the basket for a day or two until I get sick of stepping around it we get to it).
Cloth diapers for my toddler are washed about every other evening and dried late that night or the next morning.
If something has gotten wet and needs to be washed sooner rather than later, we’ll put it in the laundry sorter and it will get washed with the next load.
Bath towels are washed once a week and sheets every other week or as needed.
The advantages of this laundry system are:
- Very little sorting needed. Honestly, this was my biggest problem with laundry before. If you wash everyone’s laundry together, once it’s clean, you have to fold 20 different piles and put it away in 4 or 5 different places. With this simple laundry system, we can just fold all the laundry for 1 or 2 people and bring it to their closet to put away. It seems quicker that way.
- Laundry doesn’t pile up (too much). As long as we do at least 1 or 2 loads a day, we never have a mountain of dirty laundry to wash or a pile of clean laundry to put away. Our laundry room is quite small so there’s not room for Mt. Washmore to grow too large.
- Doing 1 or 2 loads a day doesn’t seem as daunting as 5 or more if you let them pile up – I am more likely to get to it if I know it’s a small-ish job.
- Since the big kids do their own laundry from start to finish, I only have to worry about half of the laundry for the house – big difference from doing laundry for 6 people!
We average about 10 loads a week
plus 4 for the diapers . (no more cloth diapers except at night now). If you are looking for more laundry tips, make sure you read my 7 tips to tame the laundry pileup.
Sarah Mueller blogs at Early Bird Mom and is homeschool mom to 4 boys. She loves helping busy moms get more done through simple household systems. She’s giving away her latest free e-book, 5 Critical Technology Safeguards: A Mini-Guide on Internet Safety for Families. Get your copy here!