Many of you may remember that in growing from a family of four to a family of six, one of my main concerns was the laundry. Yes, in hindsight I should have been more concerned about a few other things, but I was right to be concerned about the laundry. Adding two kids, plus now having Eleanor in swimming (three swimsuits and three towels a week) plus Sam in fall baseball (white baseball pants that have to be soaked after every game) has left us with mountains of laundry. Although this is not a sexy topic, I thought some of you might be interested in how I’ve been handling this task.
First, many people suggested doing a load a day so that I wouldn’t have to spend a whole day doing laundry each week. I tried this, and it definitely has its advantages. I can do a quick load in the morning, put it in the dryer after I drop the first set of kids off at school, and fold it after I take the third kid to school. However, the thing I hate most about laundry is putting it away. By doing laundry every day, that means that I have to put it away every day. (Did I mention that we don’t have a laundry room and that our washer and dryer are in the kitchen?) So for me, having a “laundry day” once a week is a better option. Although I end up doing smaller loads during the week, I have one mega-laundry day. I can even fit in a few errands between loads, if I time it right.
On laundry day, I pull all the dirty baskets into my bedroom and sort all the clothes together. Then I put the empty baskets back in everyone’s closets. (This is my favorite part of the day…when all the baskets are totally empty.) Then, I run the loads one by one. I fold them as they come out of the dryer into piles on my bed. The piles are arranged by drawer, so each kid has several piles (shorts, long pants, shirts, underwear, etc.). This way, when I’m done, all the like items are together and can be easily put away into the proper place. I used to do this activity in the living room, but since the piles are around all day, the kids would invariably knock them over and make me mad. Plus, by having them on my bed, I know I have to put them away THAT DAY, or else I won’t have a place to sleep that night. I also tried having the kids put away their own clothes, but I just got frustrated with them sticking everything in one drawer and then not being able to find anything they wanted to wear. I know, I could teach them how to do it properly, but the reality is that for now, I’d rather just do it myself.
On my big laundry day, I do about seven loads. I do the socks/underwear last, since if I don’t get to folding the last load, it won’t matter that it’s wrinkled in the dryer. Then, during the week, I do a load of towels and sometimes another load of colored clothes (because someone always needs another swim suit or baseball jersey).
Overall, it’s not as bad as I anticipated. I wouldn’t say I enjoy laundry day, but it does give me an incredible sense of accomplishment when it’s over. I will say that there have been a few times when we’ve run out of clean socks, but that’s been pretty rare. This is probably way more than you ever wanted to know about my laundry system, but I thought it might be helpful to other large families who are struggling under a mountain of dirty socks.