November 16, 2012

Can laundry be an easy chore?

When you have a family of 11 people, laundry can get a bit crazy. I have tried many systems and none have given me the desired result. I do love the family closet idea and have incorporated it in various fashions depending on space, stages of children and season. I have been using the basket method for nearly a year and it needed tweaking. Two weeks ago I went from personal baskets to daily baskets. It has been the best system by far.

Each evening my laundry helper pulls the dry clothes off the line and puts them on my bed. They put socks, undies, diapers and pajamas in their appropriate baskets. I set the clothing aside till morning. When I wake up I make my bed and spend about 5 min matching outfits and putting clothes away. I wash one to two loads a day, depending on if blankets or towels need washing. We put our dirty clothes, not towels or blankets, clothes only in the washing machine as the day goes. When the washer is full and we want to use the computer, we fire up the generator. My laundry helper hangs up the load on the clothesline.

Laundry takes about 30 min a day total. The most time consuming part is hanging the wet clothing up.

So how do these baskets work? I have a PVC shelf that fits 10 laundry baskets. One basket for each day mon-sat. Sunday clothes are hung in our closet. We have two baskets for pajamas, not folded randomly sorted. We have one basket for socks, one for underwear. My husband and I have our personal baskets aside.

This means the first step to being organized is simplifying. We scaled down to 8 outfits per child. (We keep an extra outfit for each child in the car, I will do a later blogpost on that) I fold each outfit together and each basket has a mini checklist so I can double check there is an outfit for each child. As the clothing is washed and dried it is put back in the basket from which it came. It's a wonderful rotating system. The shelves are in my room which lowers the chance of littles making a mess of it.

Well, this is my system to organizing,simplifying and making laundry easy! What do you think? Can you make this work in your home? Please leave a comment or question below.

9 comments:

  1. I love the idea of only having a few outfits for each child. What child needs 20 outfits, right? I think most of us tend to over-buy clothing for our kids (who mostly grow out of them before they're broken in). My older kids only have 5 pairs of pants now, but more shirts. Sometimes pants can be worn twice...and I wash a load at least every other day. My youngest, well, he has LOADS of laundry, but 99% of it was given to us. ::smile:: I would LOVE a family closet that THE KIDS could put clothing away in, but there's no place here for that.

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    1. That's what I like about this shelf. All of the children's clothing is right there, with Sunday outfits in my closet (and we have more in storage, its where we "shop" for clothes)

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  2. I hate laundry! And I only have to wash for 1 person. It's the folding, hanging and putting away that I don't like cuz the machine doesn't do that for me. ;-) Since I do only have myself, I do 1 load every 2 weeks. I really should do 1 load every week so there would be less to put away.

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  3. We have far too much clothing but it all fits in the dressers so I suppose that is all that matters. I rarely buy clothes, except for the oldest, the younger ones get hand me downs from everywhere it seems. Each person in our family has a dresser. I have 10 baskets that I keep in the basement for laundry. One for each family member, one for linens, one for dress clothes, and one for socks. As I pull clothes out of the dryer I sort them into the appropriate baskets, when they are full each person is responsible for putting their clothes into their dressers. Some of the kids fold them, some just shove them in their dressers, as long as they are put away I am not bothered with how it happens. We do sort of have a family closet, only because there is only one closet that is big enough to hold hanging clothes and that is in our room.

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    1. We keep storage totes in the attic, for extra clothing. Its organized by size, so we can find stuff easily if needed. We have about one tote per person.

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  4. It sounds so simple and easy. I have a question, though, about work clothes. Our farm jobs require different clothing than going to the library. So some days we use two sets (ugh, I know) but they can usually use their farm clothes more than one day; the farm clothes are just for potential disasters which don't always happen. I also tell my kids they can wear their jeans more than one day unless they spilled something or got them muddy. I guess we would need an extra basket or two for the farm work clothes.

    As it is, we have the little kids dressers in one area next to the washer and dryer so they can get put away as we take them out of the dryer. The big kids do their own wash and some of them choose to keep their dressers in the wash area while some of them have them in their rooms.

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  5. The family closet idea sounds great. I need to go through my 8 year old's dresser. She was given so many hand me downs, the drawers don't open. And do I ever see those clothes on her? Never. She always wears the same outfits. LOL We don't have anywhere for a family closet, but I am ready to jump on the 8 outfit idea. Hubby wouldn't go for it, but he travels a lot and laundry isn't always readily available. I don't have many outfits so I don't need to worry too much.

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  6. Amazing... I've been feeling prompted to move towards this exact same system. (I'm pregnant with #5 and have health issues) It must be a good one.

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