Thursday, May 19, 2011

Found: A Laundry Routine That Works

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that out of all my household duties, none do I loathe as much as Laundry.  Due to our regularly increasing family size, laundry went from a very small job to a very huge job in just a few short years.  I think the early years of marriage with just one child and a husband lulled me away from my previously held knowledge of large family laundry logistics.  After all, I was the "laundress" at my mother's house from 7 years old.  I well remember folding and putting away at LEAST 3 loads a day.

Over the years I've tried various schedules to trick myself into doing laundry...I've done the "one person's laundry per day" schedule, the "one day a week is laundry day" schedule and the "boys room, girls room, parents room" schedule.  None of them worked for me because they all had one thing in common: there was always laundry.  Someone always had a full hamper.  Full hampers mean dirty clothes mixed up with toys in the kids' rooms, making the job of cleaning up incredibly daunting for my kids.

Enter the "Two a Day" laundry solution.  I do two loads of laundry every day except Sunday.  My rule is that I have to fold and put away each load as it finishes - no waiting around til all the loads are dry and folding them away all at once.  That has only served to overwhelm me in the past and leads to having large stacks of clothes tumbling off the dining room table.

So far, after about a month of using this system, I love it.  Everyone always has clean clothes.  Bedrooms are staying cleaner.  I spend less time dealing with laundry, so I have more time to keep up with the rest of my home.  I have even been able to dramatically pare down the amount of clothing my family owns, as we do not need as many outfits when everything is always clean. There are days when we are "light" on clothing laundry, but the 2 load rule applies - and means I am way more on top of linen laundry than I ever was before.  My dish towels are always clean - sheets, too.  No one asks me if there are any towels clean, because there always are.

Mostly, I love how it feels like I never really have to do laundry - and laundry never really feels like a chore.  I spent about 15 minutes per day working on laundry.  It is simple, it is painless.  It works for me.

Adding a new family member may bump us up into the "3 load a day" bracket, especially with cloth diapers...but I'm confident that I'll be able to keep up.

What is your laundry routine?

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  1. I love this! I hate laundry too. Something that helped me so much was to limit the number of hampers. My husband had one, I had one, the kids had two. So I got rid of mine and shared with hubby and I got rid of one of the kid's hampers and now I'm forced to do laundry on a more regular basis rather than let it all pile up in four different hampers. Changed my life. That and really pairing down all our clothes, so that every garment had a place and nothing was extra, hanging out on top of a dresser or in a basket because it didn't have a home.

  2. Great post Lyd! I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you paired down on your clothes. That is huge for me - TOO MANY clothes for my kids. I am definitly going to try this method.

  3. GREAT point with the number of hampers, Danielle! My husband and I also share, and then we have one in the girls room and one in the boys room - although with this laundry method, we could probably get by with just one! If I had room in my bathroom upstairs, I'd love to have just one hamper in the bathroom and keep the dirty clothes out of the bedrooms altogether.

  4. Oddly laundry is one chore I like. I do the one day a week laundry schedule. But with cloth diapers- I have that load every few days, too.

    I may have to add another day of laundry as Natalie gets bigger.

    Its nice when you find a routine/rhythm that works for you and your family.

  5. I've been having such a hard time with laundry too...either a lot of it is dirty and I can't catch up, or a ton is clean, but it's hard to find a time to put it away without the kids unfolding it all. My current plan is to just have one laundry basket in the living room (I stash it in our room when people come over) and we put all our dirty clothes in that. At least that way I'm not forgetting about dirty clothes hidden in the kids' closets. However, I'm still getting caught up since we didn't have a washer for two months...ugh.

    I think I might try your method, and I agree that the key is to put it away as soon as it's if only I could put that into practice!

  6. I got rid of a ton of clothes for this same reason! too much laundry sitting around. I found my kids don't need more than 10 shirts and 4 PJS for each season/size (even this is 'extra', but good for traveling). We had a lot more than that before :)

    We have a smaller family so our routine is a bit different, but I'll have to remember yours for when we have more!! Here is my little routine:

    *2 loads--every other day: clothes load & towel load
    *1 load-- every other day: a diaper load (& 'back up' load if necessary)
    *I VACUUM/MOP on THURSDAY (so the house is clean for the weekend)
    *I wash SHEETS on FRIDAY (so they are fresh for the weekend)
    *Water PLANTS on SUNDAY because we get 'watered' that day and that's the only way I remember!

    I really detest folding more than once, so I wait until the laundry is done for the day and have a "folding party" on my bed to SIT and RELAX :)

  7. When my older son was 6 months, my very old and already 2nd-hand washing machine finally kicked the bucket. I started going to the laudromat arond the corner once a week... yes, even with cloth diapers! I used the dryers in the winter, and took the wet loads home to hang on the line in the warmer weather. It was meant to be temporary, but the years went by.

    My baby grew into toddlerhood, I got pregnant again, and while I was 7, 8, and 9 months pregnant, and with a very busy 2 1/2 yr old, I continued to go to the laundromat once a week. (I had finally abandonned the cloth diapers...) I swore I WOULD NOT continue without my own washing machine after the new baby came, but ... I did. Newborn and toddler in tow, it took me 4-6 hours to get the laundry done outside of the house because of the need to stop and nurse, etc. I went on our weekly excursions fully prepared, with snacks, books, toys etc. The only benefit I saw to the task was that I could go in the middle of a weekeday when no one else was there and do all the loads at once in their big machines; once it was done, it was DONE. But let me tell you, it took a magnifying glass for me to find that silver lining! The folding process seemed to take forever, though...

    Baby #2 grew bigger, toddler #1 turned to preschooler and I was STILL going to the laundromat. No word of a lie.

    After 5 years of doing that, we finally moved, and with the move came a brand new, front load, high capacity, energy efficient washer and dryer... which I still couldn't use for another 6 months because hubby didn't have time to get it hooked up.

    After all that time, out of sheer necessity, I had developed such a fantastic and effective once a week laundry routine, that I decided to continue with it when my home system finally became available to me. And I continue even now after 2 years of leaving the laundromat behind.

    If I had to do laundry everyday, I think I'd pull my hair out! I dislike the task, but for me, keeping it to one day a week makes it feel as though it's not an endless job.

  8. My husband and I have three baskets in our walk-in closet; a darks, a lights and a whites. When one gets full I wash it. One basket = one load. Then our son came along, but items from his little basket will fit with ours, so I sort the appropriate colors accordingly. As he grows, this will change, but for now . . . it works. ;)

  9. I agree. A load (or 2) a day keeps the chaos away!

  10. This is my system for our family of eight. Works great! For me I add diapers as an extra load for that day. I still do my regular 2 and then diapers. So I only have to do 3 loads a day once or twice a week.


  11. I've done the two a day, and whenever I don't do the two a day I fall behind. Been doing this for years, and it works sooooo well! Keep up the good work!

  12. I find it difficult because our front loaders hold SO much clothing. I think I can fit 3 queen sheet sets in there easily. Which is kind of great because you can wash a lot of stuff. but then you have to fold and put away A LOT of stuff. And when it is kids size clothing: I think every article of clothing my 2 girls own fits in these suckers. That's quite a bit of baby clothes to fold at the end of the day. Plus, I tend to wait until I have a full load of colors, full load of whites, full load of darks...etc. Then all a sudden, I'm way behind and someone has no clean underwear.
    Supposedly these machines will only use the amount of water required - -but how? how do they know? It's still using electricity though, so I don't like doing half loads.
    And don't hate me....hubby does his own. Yeah, I am that lucky girl. He has uniforms that have to be done a certain way. I'm not that big a slacker, honest.

  13. Rory - goodness, a husband who does his own? Awesome! I know what you mean about large capacity some ways it makes sense to wait til you can have a full extra large load. That's what I used to do - not washing until I had a full load. Once I let go of that though and went ahead with washing smaller loads and just getting it done, I really do like it! Folding takes less time and so does putting it all away.

    Kristine - I well remember my laundromat days with my littles. We only did once every 10 days then!

    My youngest isn't currently in cloth, but when the new baby arrives, we'll add a diaper load in every few days as well, in addition to the 2 per day.

    Love all the feedback!

  14. I usually do the 3 a day, but I'm able to skip a day or two each week, since our family is smaller. I do have guest laundry to do, since we run a Bed & Breakfast, so that's part of the schedule. We only have 1 hamper, so I'm really motivated to not let it overflow! :)



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