I thought our previous laundry system was pretty awesome. We were able to keep up without too many bumps in the road. We only did a couple of loads a day and I even made sure to always have a kid helping out, usually the one I found aimlessly walking around with apparently nothing to do.
I liked our previous system so much that we even built a laundry chute into our new two-story house. That was before I discovered a NEW and BETTER way to do laundry!!
While searching through YouTube for a video to listen to while folding laundry I happen to come across another large family and their system.
Since I love learning from others and sharing with my readers what ideas work for me and what doesn’t, I tell you, this mother is brilliant!
I’ve been following her system for about two months now. I didn’t want to share it until I was positive it was a better approach to laundry but I truly have been having success from the very start.
How does this system work you ask?
To start off with, every child at around five years on up does their own laundry. I kid you not. I don’t mean they just help me transfer their load either.
They 100% do their own laundry! Wash, dry, put away. Complete independence! Even my 3-year-old helps put her laundry away and can even transfer her load, with a little help. 😉
What’s the first step?
I began with buying them each their own laundry basket from The Dollar Tree and writing their names on the handles of their basket.
Each of them stores their laundry baskets on the floor of their closet, usually two to a closet. Into these baskets goes all their dirty clothes, towels, and various linens.
Two kids are assigned to do their laundry per day, an older child and a younger child. I chose to pair them up by the Partner System we follow but you can also choose to pair them up by those in one bedroom, or those that just get along better.
I wash my own clothes, plus Ed’s and the baby’s. Friday is my day. 😉
What happens if someone forgets to wash their laundry on their day?
Yes, this is definitely going to happen. Especially with the little ones. Even though they have an older kid to help remind them, it seems the older kid forgets to remind the little one periodically.
To start off with, due to our decluttering, my children have limited clothing. If they don’t keep up with their laundry then they just run out of clothes. Pure and simple. This helps them remember their day.
I’ve also added their name to their day on the Whiteboard we use for our chore list. This helps me to be able to just glance at it and know whose day it is, especially if the washer and dryer seemed kind of lonely that day.
If they still miss their day then they do have the option of doing their laundry on a different day, so long as they’ve talked with the child whose day it is. They are only allowed to do laundry after the assigned kids have had their turn. Under no circumstances are they allowed to disrupt the normal flow of laundry in the house.
Time to put the laundry away!
This is where the time is ultimately saved. The kids put their own laundry away into bins in their bedroom. You can use a dresser or bins but we prefer bins.
Each child has 5 bins labeled for specific clothes (underclothing, pj’s, shirts, pants/skirts/jumpers, winter/summer extras). After their laundry is finished they just put their clothing into the proper bin.
No folding. None. Zero.
And you know what? The kid’s clothes aren’t wrinkled either.
This process is so fast! It takes minutes, if that, to put their clothes away.
And, the older kids?
I gave the older kids the option of using a dresser or bins. My 19-year-old son chose a dresser as did my 13-year-old daughter. The rest chose bins.
There are still clothes they hang up (jackets and church clothes mainly) but 80%+ fit in their bins.
What about towels, etc?
Everyone pitches in when they see that the towel basket is full. Usually, it’s one of the older girls or myself who put the towels (or diapers or miscellaneous blankets) on to wash. When the washer isn’t being used I’ll just sneak in a transfer.
Of course, with little’s, it’s always a learning process.
One little boy (a.k.a. Joshua) decided he didn’t want to put his clean clothes away and just started adding his dirty clothes to his clean clothes in the basket. Only two days after his day, he was officially out of clothes since we don’t keep a ton of extras lying around.
This caused a learning opportunity for the little man in training.
He wasn’t able to go outside to play with his brothers because all he had was shorts to wear in the 50-degree weather. I don’t honestly see this as too cold but he needed to learn.
So, into the wash his clothes went and he had to wait for his laundry to be finished before he could go outside.
I’m sure he hasn’t learned his lesson completely as he’s only 7 but it was still a nice little training session for him. 🙂
After a few months of following this system, I have to conclude that it is working beautifully.
I honestly don’t even think about the laundry anymore. It feels very liberating. <3
What laundry tips have you found helpful?
I’m always looking to streamline my home. Share below if you’ve found something particularly helpful!
This is something we are 100% going to implement. We have a few years to go but we made the mistake with our older boys by doing their laundry for them. Not happening again.
This is perfect!
It has saved me so much time and it’s helping my younger children learn how important it is to take care of their clothes. For example, you don’t throw your clean clothes into the clothes hamper to save yourself some work! Haha!
Hi! Thank you for your blog! I just found you by searching for large family blogs. I am currently doing all the laundry at home. I haven’t yet delegated it, because I’m afraid of ruined clothes. It seems I have to pretreat most items of clothing in our home. Do you use a special routine or products that you feel get the stains out? Or did you teach them to pretreat?
I only have 6 children but pray to have more. Thank you!!
Honestly? I gave up trying for the most part. My kids do have play clothes and nicer, going out clothes, so that helps a bit. My older children don’t like to wear stained clothes so they will use dish soap (oil stains), OxiClean (dingy), and peroxide (blood) as needed. I have been teaching them as they come to me asking what to do. Looking back it would be ideal to just have everyone line up and I give a short little class on clothing care though. Hmmm…