Let’s chat about LAUNDRY

why?  because I need your help… and because it’s part of our every day life… eh?

So this is our laundry for the week.Jimmy did laundry on Saturday while I was forever-more at the church doing Visiting Teaching changes. I guess a family of 7 produces a lot of laundry. And because we have so many kids who make many messes, we wash an outfit a day (at least) per person. And then there is Eliza who spits up on parents so our clothes also make it into the dirty laundry pile daily.

This seems like a crazy amount of laundry. I should do a batch a day or something nice like that… but usually I save it all up for Saturday. Abe carries it all downstairs to line up against the wall by the laundry room, I try to remember to keep it going, and then reality is that Jimmy folds it. I shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true. He’s great. I’m not. Ok. Moving on.

My friend told about how much she loves her laundry room (hi laura!). It’s upstairs. She has all the dirty clothes stacked in 3 hampers. She can fold the clothes in there on the counter. She has a window in there. She loves that the laundry never goes downstairs. Sounds great… well, except for that you still have to do the work. I don’t love my laundry room. I do sorta like it when I clear the table off in there. But it’s smallish. And I painted it light buttercup in hopes it would bring me cheer, but it’s too bright for such a small space. You can just ignore all my babbling about now.

Anyhoo… so… let’s chat about laundry.

How can we simplify?

I hear about people who have 3 laundry baskets. What’s the system? Lights, Whites, and Darks?
It appears that we keep adding colors to our system. A while ago I decided to label the baskets (see green arrow in picture) so the kids would get the laundry in the right basket. So we’ve got Jeans, Darks, Brights, Pastels, Grays/Tans/Blues (seriously – we have a lot of boys), Whites, Towels… did I miss one? Oh yeah… sometimes Red if we have enough.

So – am I completely wacko? You can tell me yes. Well… in a nice way maybe.

Should I really just go with lights, whites, and darks… or whatever the 3 basket system is? Do the clothes really get as clean? Where do the brights go? I’m at a loss.

Folding out of the dryer. This is a very nice idea. I absolutely love folding warm laundry out of the dryer. I think it’s happened like once in the past year. I do not like folding wrinkled cold clothes. I really don’t.

So – is there a realistic solution to being able to fold clothes warm out of the dryer? I’m serious here. Is there? I don’t mind folding laundry, but I don’t like the kids running through the nice folded piles (ah-hem… truman)… or throwing laundry out of baskets (ah-hem… max!). And I don’t like to be interrupted. I like to watch a movie and sit in peace and fold. Realistic in my life right now… nope.

I think I’m done with my questions and babbling. Let me know what works for you. I’d love to hear ideas.

“I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.” Meg – You’ve Got Mail

13 replies
  1. Amand
    Amand says:

    Heather – I despise laundry as well. When I was a kid I use to think that it was the easiest job because the machine does all the work. Anyway, I have a triple sorter hamper that I keep in my closet. Yep – only 3 color separations. Whites, colors, and darks. Oh, and I do towels separately, and I keep a separate hamper for towels. In a perfect world, my kids would bring me their dirty clothes hampers every day, I would sort it, and do 1 or 2 loads (every day!). I’ve found that I actually can get one load washed, dried, and sorted that day. I try and start the load as part of my morning routine. Now, I said in a perfect world because it doesn’t always happen that way – but I try!

  2. Marne Clark
    Marne Clark says:

    Monday is always a laundry day for me. I try to schedule nothing or go anywhere on Monday so I can catch up from the weekend. Our house is always a mess and I do laundry. Then I don’t do laundry again until Thurs morning, and I usually do about 2 loads then, sometimes 3. That gets me through until Monday. I don’t like doing laundry on the weekend. I try to keep the weekend open for family time and I always have a ton of church stuff to do on the weekend. So that system works for me. Lacy is still home in the mornings (she has afternoon Kindergarten) and she helps me fold. I don’t always fold right out of the dryer…because I don’t live in a perfect world either. :) But what I always do (because I hate wrinkled shirts and pants) is I get it out of the dryer immediately and lay everything out. Socks, garments and other items that can stay not folded I don’t usually fold right away. Unless I have lots of phone calls then I fold while I am on the phone.

    But seriously….I am teaching Braden, (11) how to do laundry. I read the book The Parenting Breakthrough last year and I realized there is so much more I can be teaching my kids. So Braden will do the wash sometimes. But I ALWAYS have my boys hang up their shirts, and put their clothes away. I don’t have a laundry room (its a laundry closet in my upstairs hall) so my laundry room is my bedroom. On my big laundry day on Monday, I have most everything ready so when the boys get home from school they can spend 10 min and hang up their shirts and put clothes away. About half the time I have them fold their own clothes too, I need to have them do it all the time.

    I wash towels once a week, and change beds every other week. Except my bed, I do mine each week. I have an obsession with crisp sheets on my bed.

    I just do darks and whites. Seriously…the best invention EVER are the Shout Color Catchers. If you only have a few dark items you can throw in a color catcher in a white batch and the sheet picks up the colors in the water and keeps your clothes just fine. Saves a lot of time!

    I probably do 12-15 loads per week for our family of six. But I definitely was doing more when I had a little baby. So I feel your pain. Most of the time when I had a baby my laundry was in piles on my love seat in my bedroom and everyone had to dig for what they wanted. And that still happens now…just not as often. My kids just each have a hamper or basket in their bedroom, and we sort as we wash. I think since I do it a few times a week its not overwhelming in that sense, the sorting I mean. And I don’t wash the kids jeans each time they wear them. Only if they are stinky or noticeably dirty. That is usually twice.. Their shirts get dirty each day of course. Abby goes through a few outfits a day, at least. That’s a 2 year old. And pj’s have to be worn at least twice! Sometimes 3 times before they are washed. I hate washing clothes that aren’t dirty. Not only is it a waste of my time, it wears the clothes out faster.

    Hope that helps. Laundry is so never-ending. It is impossible to be completely caught up. I know.

  3. Heather H
    Heather H says:

    Here is what we do: We have a hamper between the big kids room for their dirty clothes, a hamper in the little kids room for their dirty clothes and then two hampers in our master bedroom (one in our bathroom and another by our bed). The hampers come downstairs on Monday mornings where I then sort them into our laundry sorters in our laundry room. I do use the color catchers that were mentioned above (I love them!) but we wash a seperate load of whites, socks, blue pants, blue tops, reds/pinks, lights, darks, towels, kitchen towels, and bibs. I do another round of laundry on Friday. Some weeks there isnt enough of one color catagory to get washed so it either waits or gets combined with another. I fold (or hang) Rob’s and my clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer but the kids clothes just get smooshed into a laundry basket which then goes upstairs and gets sorted out into a seperate basket for each kid. Olivia folds her own clothes and I fold the other kids clothes when their drawers get empty. ;)

  4. Julie P
    Julie P says:

    Oh, laundry. One of my least faves. Thankful for a husband who does so much of the job with me. We have whites (and the kids colored unders so they get washed hot), lights and darks (brights with darks). Towels separate. Sheets separate. In my flowin’ mojo days, I do a load a day. It SAVES my life! And my sanity. If you’re worried about bleeding colors – have you seen those things that look like dryer sheets – they’re called color catchers. They WORK. You could throw bright red with white and the whites don’t come out pink. Promise.

    For folding – I don’t fold the kids clothes. I throw all the boys stuff in a basket and pass it off. They have to put everything away themselves. I think it helps that we hang their shirts, I don’t care if they have wrinkly pants in their drawers, and socks and unders go in a basket in their drawer. I can’t wait until the girls are old enough to put their own stuff away!

    You know those quotes about how we find peace and joy and God through ordinary tasks like this? I’m still waiting… ;)

  5. Laurie
    Laurie says:

    Oohh, I love reading comments on this. I always need new ideas. I do lots of laundry on Mondays and then 1-2 loads/day the rest of the week. I have an occasional bed-wetter so I have some days when I have lots of extra laundry. I do the jeans/whites/darks/brights/towels and sheets. I used to separate more than that, but my dryer is really slow and it needs a break between loads. I always make my kids wear jeans and pjs multiple times (unless they are dirty from something other than normal wear). I do fold right out of the dryer. If I don’t, everything gets crinkly and I can’t stand crinkly clothes. I have teeny laundry room…just a closet really, but I fold everything right out of the dryer and set it in piles on the washer. Then I have to put it in baskets before I can move the next load over. The only problem with this system is that my room is right across the hall from the laundry room. All of the kids rooms are upstairs so the clothes in the baskets tend to hang out in my room for a few days before I haul them upstairs. Of course, right when I think I have the laundry under control, we get the stomach flu, go on a trip or something.

  6. Callie
    Callie says:

    I do a load every day. I don’t like laundry- but I can handle it if I only have 1-2 loads a day to deal with. I think I would die if I had 10 loads in one day! I usually have a load going by 8am. Every day I do a load of either lights or darks. Tuesday and Friday’s I do 1 load of colored and 1 load of whites. Wednesday’s I do sheets. It just so happens that our towels are white- so they get done with the whites twice a week. For me, it’s so much more manageable to just have 1-2 loads to deal with a day. I even usually do a load on Sunday- I know I shouldn’t but I can’t handle it all on Monday!

  7. Mary S
    Mary S says:

    This was fun to read. Lots of great ideas here. My oldest (12) is in charge of laundry. The other kids are supposed to bring their dirty hampers down to the laundry room for him. We only separate whites and darks. That makes life much easier for him and I have not had any issues. The only change to this is if there is a new item of clothing that might bleed the first few times it is washed. Then I am more careful about what goes in with it.
    When the clothes come out of the dryer, he brings me the basket and I fold it (um… right away?, not very often). If there are dress shirts in the load he hangs them on the rod in the laundry room before bringing me the other clothes.
    We are constantly doing laundry in our house. With five kids (mostly boys) that is how it goes. I agree with the comments about pjs and pants. My big kids keep their pjs in their beds for the 2nd night’s wear. I have not convinced them about the pants, but I am working on it. Little ones still need everything washed every day. I am not looking forward to the added laundry in another month from the baby.
    PS – On a different note – my 10 year old is in charge of dishes and does an awesome job. I think I will need to switch them soon though. You know that feeling of having to do the same thing over and over? They understand that now. Hopefully they will be very supportive husbands someday.

  8. Jenifer
    Jenifer says:

    hah! seriously, i love that picture. i have never even heard of anyone who sorts by color like that. do you sort your legos too? i LOVE it.
    laundry- tide with clorox 2 and arm n hammer lavender drier sheets– i get compliments all the time on how white my whites are (even on hand-me-downs)
    goal- a couple loads every day.
    reality- Monday and Thursday– for sure.
    keep it small and manageable.
    A large front loader changed my life and i didn’t even want one.
    i do 3 loads at least twice a week.
    towels sometimes.
    sheets– um, if they pee or if i see living creatures on them. :)
    Darks, pinkish, whites. i am not particular about my sorting… not important at all.
    (i have rarely had any issues, maybe it’s the clorox 2)
    when i have a baby i wash all her clothes in one load with dreft.
    i only buy white towels and sheets.
    i have a bucket above my drier for mismatched socks and i don’t even take time to find one that doesn’t have a match, i just throw it in.
    i don’t spot check.
    i keep 3 laundry baskets near my washer/drier.
    as i fold, i just put the clothes right in the baskets- boys, girls, mom/dad/baby.
    i fold but i don’t always sort. they hang shirts so i just pile them over the side of the basket.
    i put away the little kids laundry and my big kids put their basket away after school.
    the empty basket collects their dirty laundry.
    oh, and while i’m sorting if i see clean clothes i just put them right back into the basket to put away, i don’t rewash them.
    this past week i mentioned to my 10 year old that i hadn’t washed any underwear. i KNOW he has showered. he said, “I know mom, it’s because these boxers i have just never get dirty.”
    hah! love that kid. and, thank goodness for magic boxers!!

  9. Jenifer
    Jenifer says:

    pps. if you find laundry is hard to put away (it sits forever in your baskets) i have found this is NOT a laundry issue. it is a PURGING issue.
    you need to go through your closets and drawers and clean things out– get rid of A LOT so your drawers and closets are easy to manage.
    NOT that i’m all knowing, just that i’ve, um, spent half of my life crying in a mountain of laundry.
    laundry was my nemesis.
    and now He is caged!! Argh.

  10. Jenifer
    Jenifer says:

    ugh. how embarrassing, another comment…
    but, i have to say this. i keep a basket in my laundry area and i put di clothes and wrong season clothes right in there. i sort it out when it gets full. I LOVE IT.
    When i find something that needs a new home i just pile it. i wonder why it has taken me so long to do this? my kids are always like, “mom, where is my purple, leopard, sequin skirt (size 4) that i like to wear with my orange tights?” and i’m like, “Hmm, i’m not sure, did you look in your closet?” ha ha… love the di box.

    anyway, laundry time is not just laundry– it is also when i sort and purge… just fyi.

  11. Mary
    Mary says:

    Oh laundry. It got easier for me once my kids got older and I realized I could put them to work doing all the dang sorting for themselves and they realized that pulling one leg of every pair of jeans out was a pain and turning EVERY SINGLE pair of socks inside out is a little time consuming and shirts that are layered should maybe be peeled off when taking them off instead of at sorting time and then shouldn’t be inside out with sleeves coming out the neck holes. Gah.

    But. I only do their laundry once a week (usually around 10 p.m. on a random night because they told me they are out of clothes before bed one night) because there are only 3 of them and I can get away with it. Usually. Unless there is snow. Then I have to do it every stinkin’ day because of socks and mittens and snowpants. And I cry.

    I do a load of darks for Jeff and I either every day or every other day though with things thrown in for the kids as needed. Work out clothes stink man. Plus, I don’t have that many clothes so I have to wash and re-wear. Not every day, mind you. But often. That’s a little sad. I just maybe like my sweats a little too much is what that is saying. Unless we have a butt-load of laundry I just do darks and whites. If there is a TON then I sort of separate them into lights and dark/darks but I use those color catchers too. I worry more about the frilly sweaters of the girls and Jeff’s work shirts being washed with jeans and getting beat up. But, I’d rather be lazy than worry, so I usually end up washing together. Because I’m awesome like that and a sweet homemaker.

    Don’t you wish I commented more so you could feel better about your current state of affairs? Yeah, I thought so. Happy weekend.

    No binging with your purging.

  12. Angela Passey
    Angela Passey says:

    You already have tons of comments on here about this, but I have to say something because a few months ago we started something that really helps me for some reason. I am still working out the kinks and still slack and fall behind sometimes, but it’s really much better than it ever has been. I only sort light/darks. The kids each have their own hamper in their rooms now, and I do Noah’s on Monday, Kaden’s Tuesday, Ammon’s and Micah’s Wednesday, Taryn’s and ours Thursday, all whites Friday, and a load of towels/sheets/etc as needed. It has made it so much easier, because the sorting is done that way already, and each kid only has to put laundry away once a week instead of a little every day. The older two can even fold their own when I need them to (I should always make them, but sometimes it’s easier to do it and have it ready before they get home from school, because somehow we have a hard time squeezing in everything needed after school. Anyway, I also kind of like that I can see in a glance how many of everything they are putting in the wash each week so we can work on things like changing our underwear the appropriate amount and maybe wearing jeans more than they do before putting them in (or less), etc. I probably should separate more, but I don’t–I probably wouldn’t have admitted it except that I saw I wasn’t the only one….

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