Wednesday, February 23, 2011

All in a Day: Laundry, Laundry and More Laundry!

Today the All in a Day bloggers are talking about Laundry, which just happens to be one of the biggest challenges facing mothers of large families!!

Keeping on top of the Laundry has always been one of my greatest struggles.  Unfortunately, I still haven't found "the perfect, foolproof system" to share with you!  But, I do want to share a few helpful tips and some of the laundry wisdom I have gleaned through the years.

Covering The Basics:

1.  The bottom line is you need a system for dealing with the dirty laundry before it is washed, washing/drying/hanging out the laundry, and then folding and putting away the clean laundry.  On top of that, you need a plan for getting the ironing done.  So, you need to think through each of these steps and figure out what will work for you.

2.  There is no "one size fits all" system for conquering the laundry.  A workable system depends on many factors, including the number and age of your children, the layout of your house, the location of your laundry room, your personal homemaking style, etc.

3.  You need to keep on top of the laundry, which will most likely mean doing about four loads a day, every day, if you have a large family.  This needs to be worked into your daily schedule or routine and parts of the process can and should be assigned to your children.

Examining My Favorite Systems:

1.  My favorite location for a laundry room is near the kitchen.  That seemed to be the most convenient for me.  My worst set up was in the basement!  And it goes without saying that a laundry room is preferable to a laundry closet!

2.  My favorite system for dealing with the dirty laundry is what I used in my last house, and is illustrated by the picture in this post.  I had a large enough laundry room to accomodate four different colored baskets in a row beside the washer -- a white one for the white clothes, a tan one for light colored clothes and sheets, a blue one for dark colored clothes, and a smaller one for towels.  As soon as a particular basket got full, we put in a load of that type of clothes.  As long as I didn't get behind and in a situation where all of the baskets were overflowing, this system worked pretty well.

3.  My favorite tip for easily recognizing whose clothes are whose is the "dot system," which I learned about and implemented back in 1998 after the birth of my eighth child.  (Wish I'd done it sooner!)  Basically, it works like this -- using a Sharpie, you put one dot on the tags of your oldest child's clothes; two dots on the second oldest child's clothes; three dots on the third, and so on.  The beauty of this system is that you just add a dot when you hand the item down!  I only did this with my boys, but of course, it could be used with girls too.  My favorite post about this system, which is way more interesting than my description of it, can be found here.

4.  My favorite time for folding is after lunch.  The children bring the laundry into the family room and fold and separate the laundry according to person, while I read aloud to them from a chapter book.  This is what we are doing currently.  This system helps us keep up with two of my goals -- consistently folding the clean laundry, and consistently reading aloud!

5.  I like keeping mine and my husband's laundry separate from the children's.  I usually take one day a week to wash and fold all of our laundry.

6.  I usually take one or two afternoons during the week to do all of the ironing.  I iron my husband's and son's church pants and shirts every week.  I have actually learned to enjoy my ironing time, by using it as a time to listen to an inspiring message.  I have teaching tapes/CDs that I reserve for my ironing time that encourage me in my role of mother/homemaker/home educator!

Exploring Other Options:

1.  Many organized mothers have recommended switching to a system where each child is assigned a day to do their own laundry.  We never went to this system, partly because with so many children in each bedroom, we just didn't have room for the children to keep their dirty laundry in baskets in their bedrooms.  Currently, I am utilizing this system with my three oldest sons (ages 17, 18 and 20), who keep their laundry in their room and wash it when they get around to it.  So, their laundry is no longer my concern!!  :)

2.  Our current house has a laundry chute, which has its advantages and disadvantages.  What I don't like is that all of the laundry gets mixed together, and I have to reach in and pull out all of the white clothes or the dark clothes each time I get ready to put in a load.  What I do like is that the dirty laundry is contained and out of sight!   The younger children and I take turns putting in loads of laundry to wash.

3.  I've known mothers who have tried all kinds of fancy systems for eliminating the solitary sock problem.  I just never thought my children would realistically take the time to safety pin their socks together or use the little plastic sockmate disks.  So, I just decided to live with it, and quit stressing about it.  I have a basket in the laundry room that holds all stray socks.  Every now and then, I purge it and we start over.  I think having lonely socks is just part of family life. ("God setteth the solitary in families . . ."  Psalm 68:6)  ;)

Those are my tips.  Like you, I'm eager to check out what the other All in a Day bloggers have to say about this important topic of conquering the Laundry!

Carrie @ Our Full House

Christi @  Where the Creek Meets the Lake

Elizabeth @ Yes They're All Ours

Kathy @ Kathy Mom of Many

Kristy @  Homemaker's Cottage

Lori @  Happy Busy Mama

Monica @  Natural Mama

Renee @ Bakers Dozen

We would love to have you link your blog with us and share how you handle the laundry at your house. Here's how it works:

1. Copy and Paste this code to add the All in a Day banner to the top of your post.

2. Copy and paste the list of "All in a Day Bloggers" into your post.

3. Put your name and a direct link to your blog post into Mr. Linky.


Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Hey friend - I posted my laundry links on the All in A Day series. Nice and convenient that I had already written on it :)

I love your ideas. And I love the subject. I have to, with all these dirty boys!

Heather said...

I know I don't know you, but I love reading your blog! So, I tagged you on my blog for the sweet blog award!

Amber said...

Thanks for the encouragement-- I've got 7 kids and am hopelessly behind on the laundry-- we get it clean but we don't get it folded and put away-- someday soon I hope!

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