Monday, January 30, 2012

A Laundry System that Works!

I love this little cartoon I found last year, a little humor before we start talking Laundry Systems:

Are you or your children allergic to laundry?  Do you dread when it's laundry day?  or is laundry day every day at your home?  Well I have the remedy for your agony!  Once you use my laundry system, adapted from my dear friend Stephanie, you are going to never think laundry is a chore...you will embrace it!

Here are some easy steps to help you get started:

BEFORE YOU BEGIN
1.  CLOTHING:  Make sure that each person/child has about 12 to 14 outfits to their name.  This does not include under clothing and socks, just outfits.  For underclothing and socks, I'd recommend a little more than the number of outfits just in case, especially when potty training.  ;)  Also, make sure that your child has their drawers organized and easy to find where everything goes.  If need-be, give them a tour of their drawers and where their hangers are so that putting clothing away is easy-peasy!

2.  BASKETS: Get one laundry basket per person, if you want, you can color code them or do like I did, I bought two rounds for the smaller children and three squares for the bigger ones.  I avoided the rectangular shapes ones because of the small space I have for each basket.  You could also label each basket with your child's name.  My husband and I share a basket and this is the only one that I actually sort anymore...we share only because we don't have the space to have two baskets in there.

ALSO, I have TWO more baskets in the bathroom closet one for towels and another for linens.  These are my old rectangular laundry baskets, by the way.  So in my case, a family with five kids, we have 5 kid baskets + 2 linen/towel baskets +1 parent basket = 8 baskets.  Notice, you are already sorted out the laundry this way!  ;)

Here are some choices of baskets that aren't so bulky but hold the same amount of clothing as a larger rectangular basket:
I have three of these for the bigger children.
I have two of these for the smaller children.
When my first kids where smaller, I had these as laundry baskets and while they are super cute and you can color coordinate with your kids room, I honestly hated them and got rid of them when I implemented this system, so I don't recommend them.  BUT if you can't purchase new baskets and these are the ones you have, don't let this stop you from reading on.:


3.  LAUNDRY ROOM:  Have a "catch-all" basket in your laundry room, especially if it's on the first floor and your kids' rooms are on a second, or vice-versa.  I really like this one (the one I have has only two compartments) but you can just have a general one...here is where I place my kitchen towels, etc.:
Also, make sure you add all the items you use for your laundry room on your grocery shopping list.  This will remind you to check before leaving to the store and always have items in stock.  :)


THE SYSTEM
1.  SORTING:   Since each child has his/her own laundry basket the clothing is already sorted.  My kids have a bad habit of turning their clothing inside out when they take it off.  If they do this, they stand next to me and flip them back out and they also get a lesson in putting the clothing in the wash.  Trust me, once you get them to do this often enough, they start remembering to turn the clothing the right side the next time the change.


2.  ROTATIONS:  You have to ways of doing this.
     A) once a basket is full, the child (if able to do so) brings his/her basket to the laundry room to get it washed OR like I do,
     B) have an assigned day to wash per person.  So here's our rotations:
Mondays:  Dad and Mom
Tuesdays: Child 1
Wednesdays: Child 2
Thursdays: Child 3
Fridays: Child 4
Saturdays: Child 5
Sundays: NO LAUNDRY, it's the Lord's day!  ;)

Using this rotation, you will do laundry every two weeks or so.  :)  So in essence when you look at a two week (14 days) time period, you have six days of laundry (if you have as many kids as I do) and eight days off without laundry!  If you have less kids then you have less time between laundry days!  If you have more kids than we do, I'd double up on kids so child 1 and 2 on Mondays, child 3 and 4 on Tuesdays...ect.  OR if you want to have less laundry days do this as well.  When I know we are going to have a busy week and it's time for laundry, I double or triple up.

We don't sort whites and darks, we wash the kids clothing all together....about every 2-3 months, I do grab underclothing and socks that might need bleaching and do sort but I don't do this every laundry cycle.

3.  FOLDING & PUTTING AWAY:  The key for this system to work is that you fold the clothing as they come out of the dryer.  Sometimes we have an errand to run and I have to tumble the clothing for about 10 minutes to de-wrinkle them.  I fold and put back in their assigned basket.  Each kid (if of age and able to) helps fold and take their own baskets back up.  Some with supervision, I get them to put their clothing away on their own.  :)  When folding stack all the pants together, all the shirts together, etc. so that when you or your child puts the clothing away everything is sorted and organized to easily put away.  Then grab the basket and put it so that they have it back in the designated location.  If they changed clothing while their basket was gone, I have them put the clothing on the floor where the basket is normally placed so that when returned, they just put it in the basket.

4. SPACE:  If you have space issues and one basket per person is a pain to your ears, this is my solution for you:





Tips on pesty lost socks: Teach your kids to put socks one inside the other when they take them off, this keeps them from getting lost.  Also, don't buy the same style for all the boys or all the girls if they are different sizes, this makes putting socks back together a pain!

Once I started using this system, I really didn't hate doing laundry!   Also remember every toilet scrubbed with love gets us an inch closer to Heaven! (includes tantrums and gentle guidance towards little people that test our motherly patience as well, lol)...Todd calls it the PASS technique = Purgatory Avoidance Suffering System!


Here are other systems that I have seen that worked too:
1.  A Laundry System for Large Families...and small ones too!  (Liz and I were trained by Stephanie, a mom to 6)
2. I love doing the laundry, really!
3.  A Laundry System that Works!
4.  Finding a Laundry System That Works for You
5.  Home Organizing Tip #3: The Laundry

Have you learned to tame the laundry monster?  Tell me how you did it and if you blogged about it, please leave a comment with a link!

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember organization + clean = peace!

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