As a mom of 9, I am no stranger to laundry. Lots of laundry, in fact. I know what’s it’s like to feel overwhelmed and even paralyzed by all the laundry. Both dirty and clean laundry. Laundry overwhelm is real. There is nothing worse than having loads of clean laundry overtake your home simply because you don’t have time to fold it and put it away. Ask me how I know this. In fact, I may have been guilty of telling my kids to “dive into” their basket of clean laundry to start finding their clothes. The thing is, laundry can be boring and mundane. And, maybe like me you’ve discovered that somehow laundry never ends. Just when you seem to get it all caught up, more dirty laundry has appeared from somewhere. Because I have such a large family, I have had to come up with some pretty slick tricks to stay on top of the laundry. Otherwise, I think it would be a quick downward spiral into the land of laundry chaos. Following these simple laundry steps will help you stay on top of laundry every day.
For many years I just did laundry in whatever way worked. But I found that without consistency, it became too easy to procrastinate.
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I will also say that my older kids are responsible for either doing their laundry or helping with laundry in general. But to some extent, this becomes a more complicated theory when older kids have sports, jobs, and homework. This makes having a laundry structure in place all the more important.
Since laundry isn’t going anywhere, here are the steps you want to follow to stay on top of your laundry – no matter the size of your family.
Have several laundry baskets
I find laundry baskets that are on the smaller side to be more useful. It allows you to sort laundry down into smaller groups. They are easier to lug around. It makes it easier for kids to do their laundry, and smaller baskets just makes both the dirty and clean laundry seem less overwhelming.
Sort laundry by person ahead of time to get ahead on laundry day
While it is important to sort laundry by color and fabrics sometimes, it is so useful to also sort laundry by person. This is essential in a family of my size. But even in your own family it will be easier to put laundry away if it only belongs to one or two different people.
In my home, each of my four boys have their own laundry baskets. Then when it’s time for their laundry, I combine a couple of them and then sort by color.
This really makes putting the laundry away so much easier and reduces laundry overwhelm.
Pair socks all at once to save time on laundry
Can you imagine the socks in my family? We have 22 feet and live in Michigan where socks are a must-have nearly year round.
It might even be possible that socks were put here on earth just to drive me insane!
While I still hate dealing with socks, I have found it’s easier to put all the socks in a basket and pair them once or twice a week.
The primary reason this works best in my home is because the kids in my life are famous for taking both socks off but never keeping them together. One ends up in one load of laundry while the other sock ends up in a completely different load of laundry.
Once I decided to embrace the fact that sock pairs were usually separated, it was so much easier. It just naturally made sense to just let them pile up a bit and then pair them all at once.
This has been a huge game changer in our home.
Know how you work best when it comes to laundry
Are you an all at once or a once a day laundry person?
I really don’t think there is a right or wrong here. And, I truly believe that you should try it both ways for a few weeks to see which you prefer,
You might assume you’re one way, just because you’ve always done it that way when you might actually prefer it the opposite.
I have been both of these, personally.
And I find there to be pros and cons to each way.
But if you tend to easily feel overwhelmed by laundry, I’m not sure only doing it once a week is good fit for you.
Personally, I have found doing 2-3 loads of laundry a day to be the best fit for me. Although your “happy medium” might look different from mine, it’s possible that a compromise between an all at once and once a day strategy might work great for you, too.
Do laundry from start to finish to stay on top of laundry
I find it’s almost always a problem to stop midway in the laundry life cycle. Whenever doing laundry, it will be best to wait until a time when you’ll be able to do laundry from start (washing) to finish (putting it away).
In my home, it is a nightmare to try to wash some here, fold there, and see when we can get around to putting it away.
This is always, always, always a recipe for laundry overwhelm in my life.
Train your family
If you have a family, teach them to do laundry so they can help.
Kids can learn to be responsible for their own laundry, and it’s good for you and good for them.
In our home, kids start doing their own laundry around age 8. They aren’t solely responsible for their laundry at that age. But, they are trained how to do it so they can be responsible when needed.
Do “extras” on a separate day
I don’t find it effective to mix things like towels, bedding, and other non-clothing items in on a day when I’m doing regular clothing laundry.
These extras are best done on a day all their own.
Have a fluid schedule that can change
I am all about having a schedule for all things including laundry. Yet it’s also important to be realistic about things like laundry since life often gets in the way.
Back in the day, I had a very strict laundry schedule. I did certain things on certain days.
But then life started happening and my schedule only frustrated me because I couldn’t stick to “the schedule.”
While there is great value in having laundry planned in such a way, it is also best to have a plan and schedule that remains fluid.
That way, you can adjust to things on your calendar. You can adjust kids getting sick or an unexpected interruption and more without getting totally flustered and overwhelmed.
A plan is always a good idea. But making adjustments to accommodate people and things is a super smart way to avoid overwhelm of any kind.
Start a load of laundry the night before to avoid being overwhelmed in laundry
Whenever you have laundry planned, start a load in the washer the night before. That way you’ll have a jumpstart on your laundry.
It really is such a small thing. Yet it makes such a huge difference on the day when it’s time to tackle the laundry.
I always start a load in the washer just before bed and am ready to move it into the dryer first thing when I wake up.
Hint: the simple act of moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer first thing in the morning also gives you a great and productive start to your day.
Laundry is one of those things that is just a part of life for most of us. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to let it get the best of you.
These 10 steps are so simple, yet they will make such a difference in managing your home. Even with a family of 11, I can stay on top of the laundry mountain.
And, you will, too!