How This Family-of-Seven Handles Laundry

Who do I think I am talking about laundry after airing my dirty clean laundry for everyone to see?

It really was clean...I promise!

As I mentioned in that post, I don't have a problem getting the laundry washed...it's just the putting away the clean laundry that trips me up all the time sometimes.

I also mentioned in that post that the children (save G) do their laundry themselves.  I thought I'd share our method of doing laundry - that I learned in a magazine article from a mom-of-4 - that has helped us so much.

First, let me mention a laundry method that does **not** work for me.  In the book, Large Family Logistics, that mom-of-many recommends saving certain days of the week for certain tasks, like women-of-old did. For example, Monday is always bread-baking day, Tuesday is laundry day, etc.   So, do not do any laundry the rest of the week...do it ALL on Tuesday.  I tried this method.  I tried it exactly one week...so one time.  I hated it did not care for it.  I spent ALL! flippin'! day! switching out laundry (14 loads, if I recall).  And then...had a MOUNTAIN of clean laundry to deal with.  In fact, the author refers to laundry as "Mt. Never-rest".  Yuck.  I never tried that particular method again.

Another method I prefer not to use:  Everyone put their dirty laundry into one big basket or pile.  Then it gets sorted a first time, into piles according to white, colors, etc.  Then after going through the washer and dryer, it gets sorted a second time into piles according to who it belongs to.  Blah...too much sorting.

Now that I've dissed other methods, here is the lowdown on the method I **do** like...

I purchased a 5-gallon "bin" for each child.  (Bin sounds nicer than trashcan, which is what these really were intended for....shhh!  don't tell my kiddos!)

I purchased these years ago, and if I were to do it today, I wonder if I would purchase bigger ones.  (But these really work fine still, especially during the summer when they're wearing shorts and short-sleeve shirts that take up less space in the bins than jeans and sweaters.)

The bins live in the childrens' closets, as seen here in the girls' closet:

E's stuff on left, LK's on right, separated by the bookshelf that I mangled repurposed

The four older children each have a designated laundry day:  LK is Monday, D is Tuesday, N is Wednesday and E is Thursday.  

On the morning of their day, the child...
1. Brings his/her bin to the laundry room
2.  The entire contents of the bin gets dumped into the washing machine (GASP!  no sorting by color!)
3.  After washing and drying...
4.  It all gets put back in the bin that has been waiting patiently (again, no need for sorting), and finally...
5.  The child is supposed to put away his/her clean laundry before bed that night.  

Caveats and Further Explanations:

This method works best - I think - with children that are old enough to at least put away their laundry themselves.  Like I mentioned above, I originally purchased these bins (to try this method) years ago.  But it turned out my children (three of them at the time) were not yet old enough to put away their clothes themselves.  (We ended up having a family-closet for several years, which worked great and made my life much simpler for that season of life.)

But now that the children are old enough, this system works great for us.


The children bring their clothes out and take them back and put them away, but it is usually me who actually gets the washing/drying part done.  I keep meaning to **make** them do all of this also (and sometimes they do), but this part is just so not a big deal, that I just do it myself.  Our laundry room is right off the kitchen and I'm in and out (and in and out) approximately 100 times every day, so I just switch out laundry while I'm in there.  The switching out part is easy peasy...just don't ask me to put away laundry....ACCCHHH!  (refer to top picture)


Contrary to popular belief, the world does not stop turning if you don't separate your whites and colors. I was shocked to discover this.  If there is a new piece of red clothing, or brand new jeans, it would likely be wise to wash them separately at first...but after that, throwing all the clothes in together works just fine!


I am responsible for the laundry for Jason, Gabriel and I.  We don't have a designated laundry day...just whenever our laundry baskets are full, I take them to the laundry room and get them washed/dried (no problem), and then put away (big problem).  


  1. Same here with not separating the clothes colors before throwing in and I mix sheets and towels with their clothes too. I wash and dry their clothes and they fold it, but their clothes are mixed and that gets to be a pain at time. I might have to do your Idea.

  2. I like your idea. I always have laundry to do. Our youngest son and my husband seem to be the culprits on that! :)

    My children sort the laundry and bring it into the laundry room. I wash and dry and fold into piles. They sort through their clothes and put them away (and refold any items needed). It works for now as I do laundry about every other day. Boy can it pile up fast though!! We will see how it works when Grace comes home. I may need to put laundry baskets in the girls' and boys' room after that.



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