I do a lot of laundry. With six kids and eight people in our home, it can pile up very quickly. Not just clothes–sheets, towels, snow clothes, swimsuits & towels and the list goes on and on! Long ago I developed my own method of doing laundry, and I’ve used it since my first child was born, then with the addition of five more kids, and lots of different sizes of laundry rooms. It’s simple, and I love it! I get asked quite frequently about my laundry routine, so for those looking for new ideas, I thought I’d share what works for me.
It’s based on a few main ideas: doing laundry every day 5-6x a week), not keeping any laundry in my laundry room, and not combining everyone’s clothes together to wash them.
For me, it works much better to do a little laundry every day, than to save it all up for one day a week and eat up an entire day. Honestly, I wouldn’t even have enough time to get it all done in one day, especially including towels and sheets. I also simplify anywhere I can, including my kids’ clothing, so I need to wash their clothes more than once a week.
I’ve also never kept any laundry in the laundry room. I know that seems counterintuitive, but I don’t like piles of clothes sitting out. I like a clean and neat laundry area, and I prefer to have designated hampers in each room for clothes and towels. Those hampers come down to the laundry room when I’m ready to wash them–then back up again.
This also works best because I don’t combine our family’s clothes to wash them, so even if I had enough room in my laundry room to keep baskets for dirty clothes, I wouldn’t. It’s much more streamlined for me to keep them separate–and saves me a lot of time. Having to sort out whose clothes belong to whom while folding just takes so much longer!
Here’s how my laundry routine works…
- Every bedroom has their own clothes hamper, and I keep them in the closets. My twin girls share a room, my twin boys share a room, my other two (oldest and youngest) have their own rooms, plus the master.
- When a hamper is full, it’s brought down to the laundry room in the morning so I can wash it that day. I separate that hamper as needed–whites, darks, and delicates. The hampers aren’t small, so there are plenty of clothes for all the loads.
- I wash and dry the loads during the day, then fold at night. It’s the time I watch my favorite shows, fold, and maybe eat a little chocolate! Some of my kids are old enough to fold their own laundry, and they fold and put them away before they go to bed that night. For the loads I fold at night, the next morning the hampers with the clean clothes go back to the bedroom, and they’re put away by the kids they belong to.
- I wash sheets once a week on the days I don’t have as many clothes to wash. I do have extra sets of sheets, but I prefer to wash them and put them right back on the beds. It takes me only 5 minutes to make a bed, and then I don’t have to worry about folding them (which, let’s be honest–folding fitted sheets are a pain), or having dirty sheets pile up.
- Towels are done every few days, and I do the same thing as the sheets—wash and put them right back in the bathrooms on their hooks. It means less folding, which is happy news for me!
- I keep dirty rags and cleaning cloths in a bucket in my laundry sink, and I wash them every day–every other at the least.
- Other things that I don’t wash as frequently, but add into the rotation on a monthly basis are mattress pads, quilts, pillows, and seasonal items.
- During the winter, I wash snow clothes once a week, or more often, as needed. My kids keep an extra set at school, so they bring those home to be washed as well. The same goes for swimsuits and towels in the summer, although I wash them more often than once a week, due to the chlorine.
I don’t keep a strict schedule as to which loads I do on which days, because I like to make that decision daily. The need changes so much that a schedule just doesn’t make sense. It also depends on my personal schedule–some days are busier than others, so I may only do one or two loads on that day, and make them up the following day.
When my children turn 13, they take over their own laundry, so I help them figure out what will work best for them–and for me. I’ve only had one child turn 13 so far…the other 5 have varying degrees of responsibility. As I mentioned above, some are able to fold and put away, others just able to put them away. Even the littlest can help fold rags and match socks!
This routine has worked for me for such a long time, and I love that it hasn’t mattered what size of laundry room we have–and we’ve had some REALLY tiny ones before, including one that when I was pregnant I couldn’t even stand inside! It is a routine, but completely flexible, which is perfect for my lifestyle. It keeps dirty laundry where I can’t see it, and my laundry room stays nice and neat! It’s not fancy, and really simple, but it definitely works!
Here are a few more ideas you might like: