Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Keeping Up With Six People's Laundry [Without Feeling Overwhelmed]

You wanna hear some sarcasm?!There's nothing better than getting ready to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer, only to open the dryer and see cold, wrinkled clothes that you'd totally forgotten about.

There aren't too many sights more beautiful-to-the-eyes than your guest bed, covered in piles of unfolded clothes.

Yeah, wow. What about your laundry room floor, strewn with dirty clothes... like, everywhere?

First thing that comes to mind, is to whip out your phone, and start pinning these awe-inspiring images to Pinterest, am I right?!


No. Not a chance.

Here's more the feeling that overwhelms me when I see this: discouragement. Feeling like the laundry is a MONSTER, that I'm JUST TOO TIRED to keep fighting.

I was a little nervous about adding a fourth child's laundry to our "laundry situation"--especially since a baby goes through a good deal of clothing the first few months. It's small clothing, but still... clothing nevertheless that needs washed and put away.

But honestly, it hasn't been too bad. Really. I adopted a system of doing things, that seems to be working nicely. It's pretty simple, too, and the laundry is almost always done for the day by lunch time. At least, that's the goal!

So, here are my favorite tips for keeping the laundry under control...

Dirty laundry everywhere? No. Designated spots where dirty laundry is contained, until washing? HUGE HUGE HUGE YES.

We have two laundry baskets--one in the girls' room, and one in our master bedroom. The girls are pretty much in charge of putting all the KIDS' dirty laundry in their basket. So if I'm changing Matthias's jeans, Caroline's sleeper, you name it... the girls come and get it [immediately], and put it in their hamper. The girls are more than welcome to change their own clothes, or put on their nightgowns, etc., as long as they put their dirty clothes in their hamper right away. We have a strict "no dirty clothes on the floor" policy.

What about dirty towels and sheets? Blankets? This might sound silly, but when we have dirty towels/sheets/blankets, I throw them down the steps towards the laundry room, and then whenever anyone of us (including the girls) are going downstairs, we pick it up and place it right into the washer. That way, they're already there, ready to be washed, along with the clothes.

How much laundry is there? I mean, isn't there, like, a TON, with six people? Okaaay. Maybe there's a lot, but honestly, I think you'd be surprised how LITTLE there is, all things considered. And here's why: We only change clothes if they're actually dirty. Otherwise, we wear them a couple days in a row. If you know me personally, I'm a bit of a clean freak, so don't worry--if the clothes are actually dirty, they're getting changed. It's not like I have dirty kids running around. And this system works VERY well in the winter time (when they're primarily playing inside), as opposed to summer days (when they're getting dirty and sweaty, having fun outside).

As for pajamas, the kids don't wear them every night. It's kind of like a special treat, though the girls are wearing them more often now, since they can dress themselves. But it'll take SEVERAL wearings of pajamas before I proclaim them needing-to-be-laundered.

I don't know how much this ACTUALLY plays into LESS LAUNDRY, but my kids' outfits are pretty simple, meaning they don't have a ton of clothes to begin with. The girls wear shirts, skirts, and leggings every day, Matthias wears a shirt and jeans, and Caroline's favorite outfit is still cuddly sleepers. ;)

The girls can mix-and-match the pieces in their outfits a lot, so that it appears that they're wearing different outfits, but really... we're working with the same basic pieces. :)

Oh! Oh! I want to talk about socks. I'm just a wee bit passinate about socks. ;) I buy ALL the kids' socks from Old Navy--every time. I try to buy cool designs--so Matthias has orange fox socks, gray and black raccoon socks, striped or plaid socks, etc.

Similarly, the girls have pink, polka-dotted, purple, striped, and so on. Not white, which get stained easily (not a fan of stains over here). When the socks are very colorful/specific (who could accidentally match an orange fox sock with a purple polka-dotted one?!), then it's easy to match them up, and tell whose are whose.

And by the way, the girls wear the same size socks, which makes it awesome. Old Navy had a 5 pairs for $5, so I bought five pairs, and the girls share them.

Once they're dirty, they get put in the wash. While folding clothes, all the socks get thrown a pile, where they are then matched up and distributed.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Each day, right after breakfast, the girls dump the two laundry baskets together, and I carry it down the stairs and start the wash. In this season of life, it's all one load, folks. No sorting. (But that's just based on our preference!)

[[our laundry room]]

An hour or so later, I go BACK downstairs, and switch the wash into the dryer. Then an hour after that, the laundry is dried and ready.

Woo-hoo! Excitement, excitement. Clean, warm laundry!!

And then what happens??? The girls open the dryer, pull out all the kids' stuff, and distribute it. We're still working on the folding aspect. Right now, each child has a dresser, with certain drawers designated to hold different pieces of clothing, and the girls deliver the clothes to each drawer accordingly.

Then, whenever I get around to it, I'm "in charge" of the adult clothing--which, considering we're doing a load every day, it isn't that much stuff.

As for towels and rags... I fold them, and the girls put them away.

What about all the bedding? Extra for an extra crib sheet, we don't have any extra sheets. So if I strip the bed (or beds) in the morning, I try to have the bed made up again by the time it's needed for naps/night time.

All this being said, my biggest tip for laundry (especially the distributing part) would be...

Just Do It.

Same with cleaning the bathrooms, wiping the floors, doing the dishes. Sometimes, it'll never seem easy, and you'll never FEEL like folding, even if it's a small pile.

So just start working on it, and little by little, you'll soon see your hard work pay off!

No more piles?! Hurray! Definitely a cause for celebrating.


  1. Hi Tricia! I'm loving your blog (I found happened upon your Instagram account first)!

    I have 4 kids and a 5th on the way and can't get a handle on laundry (I do try to cut myself a little slack because of the pregnancy). My question is, when you say you put everything in together without sorting, do you mean towels and rags with clothes, lights with darks, etc? It's all just one load mixed? This sounds lovely to me and if it's doable, I'm doing it! :)

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