5 Effective Ways to Manage Laundry in a Large Family
If anyone had told me three years ago that I would be managing laundry for a large family of eight people, I would’ve thought they were deranged.
It’s quite an undertaking to think of having to wash, dry, fold, and put away dozens of clothes several times a week.
Actually, I don’t want to think about it.
Laundry is fun….says no one EVER!
There is the case of the missing sock and living out of your basket instead of putting it away. The list goes on, doesn’t it?
Just when I thought we had our laundry under control, we had twins, and BOY did that throw us for a loop.
Laundry for two babies who spit up and have blowouts makes laundry even more relentless.
Now that they are toddlers, it’s even worse for me because of the food mess, dirt, and drink spills – you name it!
If you’re homeschooling and trying to manage other responsibilities, then it’s nearly impossible to keep up.
Can you imagine why I have a morning routine to help me clear my head? Or why do I have to have some moments to myself?
It’s no joke!
Once my husband realized how quickly loads were piling up (and because he didn’t have clean underwear), he decided to chip in and take over.
Because this was also overwhelming for everyone, we had to do our part to make it simpler for everyone.
That’s why I put together five simple strategies that we use to manage laundry in our large family:
Delegate, delegate, delegate. If you don’t start this early enough, then you’re going to be wearing thin fast.
We taught our first son to do his laundry at around nine years old. It wasn’t a fun skill to teach (at the time) because of his complaints. With some persistence, we were able to make it consistent.
Now that he’s almost 18 years old, he does his laundry. We started this early with our next two children – now ages 14 and 9.
Our 14-year-old is mostly independent with sorting, washing, and drying; it just takes more reminders to get him to wash and dry without reminders.
Having him fold and put away his laundry also takes more pushing.
Some kids need different reinforcers depending on their personalities, but the goal is to have him do it all without any reminders (sigh, eventually).
Our nine-year-old can sort her laundry and wash but still needs some help with folding. For now, we are doing the drying, but she is a great help in putting away laundry for herself and her younger sister.
My husband generally folds our clothes while I put away ours and the twins.
As you can see, the more you delegate tasks among your family, the less burden it is for one person.
Each child needs their own basket. Be sure to make sure that each child has their own basket so you can make sure everyone’s clothes stay separated and organized.
It drives me insane to have everyone’s clothes jumbled together.
I’m over here trying to figure out if my son’s pants are really my husband’s. Then my husband mixes up our daughter’s clothes.
If everyone has their own basket, then it helps prevent mix-ups and lost clothing.
Wash in groups. Delegating does help prevent having fewer groups to wash because my older boys do their own, so they aren’t part of a group.
But my husband and I, my twins, and my daughters are in groups.
Ideally, they have their own separate baskets to keep their stuff separated before washing and after folding, but we wash their clothes and dry clothes together.
You can knock out groups all in one day, or you could identify a day where you do a particular group.
Having a particular day might be better for the older ones to know when the washer and dryer are available. This helps everyone know when they are responsible for this chore.
Do what suits your family.
Fold and put away immediately. I’ll be honest, I haven’t mastered this, but I know what it feels like to put the folded clothes away right after they’re folded. Ahhh, it’s magical!
I feel accomplished and anxiety-free for two whole days (until the laundry piles up again!).
The idea is that clothes are put away and that you’re not digging out of your basket looking for items, particularly when you’re in a rush.
Laundry is never-ending in our home. It’s not something we can do away with, so we live with it.
Rewear clothes that aren’t dirty. How many times have you put on clothes for a brief time to run an errand before changing back into your pajamas?
If I, or my kids, do this and neither of us have sweat or food crumbs and spills all over us (very rare for my kids), then I’m recycling our clothes for another use.
The younger my kids are, the worse this is, so it’s likely not happening. Although, there have been times when I’ve taken my twins out for a brief period where they were still clean when we got home
Therefore, I see no reason why they can’t wear those clothes again.
I get it if you’re not keen on germs – trust me, I’m not either.
But hear me out – I’ve been doing this for years, and all my kids are healthy and well (thanks be to God!)
Guess what this also does? It helps the environment because you’re using less water. It’s also cost-effective. You use less detergent and less wear on your clothes from having been washed so much.
On occasion, I also tend to stay in my pajamas. But since I started my morning routine, I’m changing out of my pajamas on most days.
But, I may put those same pajamas back on for a couple more uses at night.
Sometimes, my kids may also lounge in clothes all day; therefore, I don’t see a need to have them constantly change clothes unless they have a huge mess or we’re going out.
As you can see, we’re like any typical family – laundry is a BIG deal, but I hope you found this helpful.
What are some hacks that you use for your large family?