Friday, February 6, 2009

Laundry, laundry

Two of my children are hiding in the room baskets. I used laundry bags to put inside to differentiate between whites and colors. (I didn't have room for the ones that come in colors that are rectangular.)
Each laundry basket has a label for those who are helping fold. (I have children who help on specific days.)
VoilĂ : the dirty rag basket. Anything muddy, etc., goes here.

This post is for anyone who is frustrated with laundry and wants some fresh ideas.

I am finally at a place where the laundry system is working for our family. I think, essentially, that it is because I have no babies right now, and I have children old enough to help and a husband who follows up on the system we've established. (Probably any system works with that kind of support.) But here is ours.

The children have two laundry baskets in their rooms: one for colors, one for whites. Since they share rooms, each child is assigned to bring the laundry from one of those baskets down from their room to the laundry room each morning right after they get up. There are two similar baskets in the laundry room, so they dump their clothing in either the white or colored basket. Then I can start a load first thing in the a.m. I also have a basket for dirty kitchen and cleaning towels and rags, and one other small basket for hand washables.

I am VERY thankful for a large capacity/high efficiency washer and dryer, since I can basically do one load of whites and one load of colors each day and keep up with the laundry. 

I fold the laundry as I take it out of the dryer. (I don't ever take it out of the dryer unless I'm going to fold it right then because then the double work begins.)  I put it into a basket labeled for each child. The children then have to ("house rule") put away their own laundry each day and bring the basket back immediately. I put anything that has to be ironed (heaven forbid) into a separate pile in the laundry room and pray that it gets ironed some day. (Mending? Yikes. Another pile off into the oblivion of the sewing room.) I help the 5 year old put his laundry away, and another child is assigned to put the 3 year old's laundry and basket away.

I have one basket for clean linens, which I put away. Everyone has his or her own towels (2, a different color for each child), so it's not a big deal since we probably only wash sheets every other week or so.

I also have a tall plastic drawer thing that I use for socks. Instead of sending children's socks up to their rooms, I put their matched socks and any unmatched socks in their own little drawer. I know it sounds more complicated, but actually, it has made the sock thing easier for the whole family. Not quite sure why. Got the idea of a sock drawer from another family and use it this way in ours.

There you are. Hope it is helpful to someone! 


Wendi said...

It's helpful to ME!! Thanks, Liz! I'm going to try to implement some of those ideas. I am just really impressed with you and your kids on SO many levels. :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds great! I am guessing you have a really large laundry room. I wish!!

liz said...

You're right--my laundry room is larger than ones I've had. It has a closet that allows for each person to have their own basket. It also has a cupboard where I can have two baskets for sorting. (I guess I would have them on top of my washer and dryer instead). Otherwise, this would be a challenge: not having a place for baskets with a larger family. We've had that problem before. This has been a huge help.

This system might be problematic with other families or circumstances, but it works for us right now. :)

I would love to have others submit ideas that work for them, such as working within smaller spaces, etc. Please post them!