Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Large Family Organization...Laundry

Oh the dreaded laundry!  It is not at the top of my list of enjoyable activities.  I will also admit that the only laundry that I enjoy folding is the little baby clothes.  They are quick, easy, and cute:)  But baby laundry soon gives way to toddler, child, and teen sizes...and smells. 

I would like to say that the laundry process in our home looks something like this.

But honestly, it looks more like this.

And, sometimes it feels a bit like this.

So, I thought I would post here on the evolution of the laundry process in our home.  Yes, it has evolved over the years!

When Peter and I were first married, I worked full time.  He was in school full time and working part time.  Those were the days when I could clean the house and it would stay mostly clean for the week.  During this early phase, we did laundry once a week.  And, funny enough, I thought it was quite a chore...haha.  I continued doing laundry once a week with the birth of our first and second children.  I would do a dark and light load of  "baby" clothes and it didn't really add much to the overall chore.

When our third child came along, I started doing laundry on two different days. One day for the kids and one day for everything else.  I would separate dark and lights for the kids laundry and then do the same for our laundry.  This worked well until our fifth child arrived. 

With seven people in the house, I needed a new system.  So, I decided to do a laundry rotation and choose a different category for each day.  So, one day I would do the older boys' laundry, the three littles on another day, sheets another, and so forth.  I still had room for a catch up day...or two:)

When our sixth baby arrived, we decided to switch to cloth diapers.  That would be two babies in cloth as our fifth baby was not potty trained.  Yeah.  This made an immediate impact on the laundry.  I then started doing a load of diapers each night and hanging them to dry over night.  This was, of course, in addition to the other many loads of laundry. 

Now, with nine people in the family, we have a slightly different rotation.  We have several different laundry baskets in the family closet and the kids know where to put their dirty laundry.  So, one of the morning chores (currently Wesley's jurisdiction at 6 years old) is to take the correct basket to the laundry room.  This way, the laundry is waiting for me first thing.  The older boys have two baskets (light and dark) as do the little boys.  Abby and Timmy have their own seperate baskets and each usually takes just one load.  I divide the day's laundry into light, dark, and do separate loads for Peter's work clothes.  Adding in the daily load of cloth diapers, I do between 3-5 loads daily.

Here is our rotation:

Monday - 3 little boys
Tuesday - Abby and Timmy
Wednesday - big boys
Thursday - Dad and Mom
Friday - towels and sheets
Saturday - catch up

When it comes to folding laundry, the older three kids fold and put away their laundry independently during their afternoon free time.  I really just praise them for their work and don't require perfection.  Which sometimes means not looking in their drawers...haha.  Their folding will come along with maturity.  My purpose in having them fold is to develop a good work ethic and character not to have them become perfectionists.
I am teaching my four and six year old boys to fold laundry so the three of us work together to fold the little boys' clothing.  It's a good time chat with them about whatever is on their little minds.  The plan is for me to fold other laundry during my scheduled time each afternoon.  But, if a day gets too busy, I just do it that night or the next day.  This lets the schedule support me and not enslave me...something that took me years to learn:)

So, that's how we get our 15-25 loads of laundry done each week. How do you get the laundry done in your home?

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure I'll be referring back to this in the future! =) I also like what you said about letting the schedule support you and not enslave you.