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A laundry “system” that’s actually working for us (Go to Bed Early Challenge: Day 14)

A laundry system that's actually working for us!

One way I start my mornings well is by checking to see if a load of laundry needs to be started or switched.

Kathrynne (11) is in charge of bringing all the laundry from the hampers to the laundry room and starting the laundry everyday and then I help out by switching loads or starting an extra load, as needed.

The kids and our wonderful mother’s helper take care of folding and putting all the laundry away on Mondays and Thursdays when she’s here (they usually have around 3 loads to do because we’re averaging doing 6 loads of laundry per week).

Laundry is something I’ve always struggled with (as longtime readers well know!), but these simple things have helped us to really stay on top of it in this season.

I’m not sure whether that means I’m getting more organized or whether it means I’m just getting better at delegating or whether it’s just the fruit of my kids getting older, but any way it is, I’ll take it! ?

(It’s Day #14 of the Go to Bed Early Challenge and I kind of failed last night… I had Wednesday Bible study and then a few work projects that needed to be taken care of and then I took a bath, read a little, and hung out with my husband — and didn’t get to bed until a little after 11 pm. The good news? 11 pm felt SO late! Tonight I’m very determined to do a better job and wind down early!)

Do YOU have a laundry system? Tell us about it! And how’s the #GotoBedEarlyChallenge going for you??

Are you joining me for the Go to Bed Early Challenge? If so, leave a comment on this post to let me know how you did with your go-to-bed goal last night.

We’re in this together… And if you didn’t hit your goal, that’s okay! Give yourself grace, don’t beat yourself up, and know that you can try again tomorrow!

P.S. Read more about the Go to Bed Early Challenge here. Need some help and inspiration to go to bed early so you can get up and use your mornings well? Download Day 1 of Make Over Your Mornings for free (scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up for it!)

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45 Comments

  • I didn’t join you for this challenge. But lately I’m going to bed as early as 10 PM (I used to go to bed around 12 midnight before. So, it’s an improvement). Today I woke up at 6 AM and did a work out after a long time. Feels great!

  • Victoria says:

    I posted my done laundry yesterday on Instagram. I finally found a system that works…for now.

    I do laundry every Monday, Wednesday & Friday which are my children’s homeschooling days (they go to a very reasonable private school the other 2 days a week ).

    My son or daughter sort it all for me and I wash and dry it all and then one of the three kids fold it all and each individual puts their own away. The person in charge of folding puts away, sheets, towels etc.

    It is really working for us and it means my Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are left for concentrated blog work that isn’t interrupted by the sound of the washer. Sunday is for rest.

    You might have noticed the –for now–above though and I say that because after 20 years of parenting if there is one thing I have learned it is that routines must change with the stage of parenting you are in if you are to have continual success in homemaking.

    If that routine that was working like a charm for you suddenly isn’t and you don’t know why it is usually because you life season changed and your routine needs to change to best work with it.

  • Brandy says:

    Our laundry routine goes like this: I put a load of laundry in the wash when I get up in the morning, I switch it to the dryer sometime before lunch, and my daughter folds it and puts it all away sometime before dinner time (she does more because this is a job she asked for to earn money). I’m so thankful to her because folding laundry was the worst chore ever for me (now it’s meal planning and grocery shopping…haha). With this system we stay completely caught up on laundry.

  • Cindy says:

    For those who hate to fold laundry try rounding up all hangers from closets when getting laundry out of bedrooms. When the dryer is done hang all shirts straight out of dryer. Fold other items on top of dryer. This takes about 5 minutes so you never get behind. You can put the clothes away right away or put them in a clothes basket. I have always folded all clothes straight out of the dryer.

  • Kristina Holcomb says:

    Right now I do laundry on Monday and Thursday and wash sheets and bedding on Tuesday. I put the hanging stuff on hangers right out of the dryer but I usually don’t have the time to do the folding right then but I used to have a bad habit of sticking that stuff in a basket and then forgetting it so now I take all of the stuff that needs to be folded and lay it on my bed so it doesn’t wrinkle and then I fold it later in the evening when the kids are playing with daddy and I have free time to do it…. and I have no choice if I want to sleep in my bed that night 😉

  • sdr says:

    This may offend some people (especially my mom!) but my system starts by not sorting clothes. I wash in cold using good quality detergent and haven’t noticed any issues…we don’t really have any measurable amount of “whites” and towels, etc are light colored. I do one full load a day…usually I throw in during the evening after kids take showers/baths, and if I remember I rotate at night, if not first thing when I wake up and everything is folded and put away by lunch (my one yr old “helps, it’s one of our morning jobs). Friday’s we do sheets and older kids remake beds after they get home from school.

    • We don’t do a ton of sorting, either, unless someone has new jeans or a bright new shirt that I think might bleed… and then we usually soak that first.

      • Jerica says:

        The only sorting we do is
        boys clothes
        girls
        baby stuff
        mom and dad
        Bedding
        Towels and rags
        We do 2 loads a day and boys wash their own and put away. Girls wash theirs and put away. I wash baby and mom and dad, and collectively we tend to the others.
        Laundry can be a monster if you’re not careful! ?

      • Amanda says:

        I use the new Shout color catchers in with laundry that could possibly bleed (ex: red clothes). They work great for me. I have had the sheets change colors even with clothes that have been washed many times before.

    • Kelly S says:

      We don’t sort either!

      We have one laundry basket/hamper and everyone throws all their stuff in there (my husband, me, 3 year old, and baby). Plus we usually do towels and stuff in there too.

      We just don’t have high-maintenance clothing. On the rare occasion there’s a delicate undergarment, I have a little mesh bag I throw it in, but it still gets washed with everything else.

      We do have a little tub that sits on the washer for wet rags and stuff – we still wash them together, but that way they don’t stink up the hamper.

      We try to do a load every day-ish or so, maybe every two days. That way the hamper never gets too full.

      This also allows us to have less clothing because everything gets washed pretty frequently, as opposed to needing to have enough of so-and-so’s clothes to get to a full load. If my favorite jeans are dirty, no problem, because they’ll likely be washed and ready within a day or two! 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Lol! I have a red load, dark blue load, black load, gray and light blue load, white load, tan/green/yellow load, jeans and towels. 8 loads, 5 people. I sort that way because I have a full load of each!!!

    • Kelli says:

      I do not sort clothes either and I also wash in cold even with generic store brand detergent I’ve never had any issues. even with 3-4 people I never have enough towels to do even a small load (and that would include bras and undies in that load still wouldn’t make enough for a full load). New clothes I wash by their self 3-4 times before I toss in with everything else, Unless I didn’t realize it was in there then it’ll accidently be washed with everything else, and I do think washing in cold helps the colors not bleed, because ever since I’ve moved out on my own and only use cold water I’ve not turned any whites pink 😛

      This week I did do a load of nothing but jeans, but that was only because we finally got around to finishing switching my sons room with my bird room and what I didn’t know was my Kitchen sink (was beside his old bedroom) sprung a leak under the house – and I don’t even know when it happened but apparently it’s been like that for a long time… Every piece of clothing in his closet STUNK. so I had him remove it all and throw it in the laundry room and I’ve been doing a little every day, for the last week and half. Today I was down to his hunting clothes (he’s 17 btw) and Jeans so I just did them all at once.

      But what I’ve been doing recently is not even doing laundry until around 5 pm and only doing a couple loads – I wait until the dryer is done before doing any others – I have a bad habit of forgetting laundry in both the washer and dryer! But I was told if you do laundry in the evening it doesn’t use as much electricity — if it’s true or not I don’t know but figured it wasn’t going to hurt to give it a try 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    I do laundry every day. We somehow produce like 12-15 loads of laundry each week between towels (washed just once weekly, 1 towel per person… unless someone gets sick= 1 load usually), swimming laundry (1 load swim towels & suits per week), socks/underwear/wash cloths (1-2 loads per week), bedding (2 loads per week) and then shirts/pants/pajamas for the 5 of us.

  • Amanda says:

    I end up doing laundry every day but that’s because there is 6 people in my family. I try to do each person laundry a different day and if they have a small pile I sometimes combine them. ( example: ethan on sunday, dad on Monday, Cole on Tues, extra) I put them in before bed and switch in the morning before the kids get up for school. This also saves energy for our electric to do it at night. That way the clothes are warm and no wrinkles b4 school. After I drop everyone off at school I usually fold them while watching Rachael Ray, lol. That way I put away during commercial breaks. Buy the time the show is over its all done.

  • Sarah says:

    The first thing that revolutionized my laundry process was when I really began taking advantage of the timer on the washing machine. I wrote about it on my blog here:

    http://bit.ly/1GUiMfs

    Then about a month or so, I took it a step further and created a schedule for our laundry. We “sort” our laundry by person and not colors so I’ve assigned a day/time over the weekend for each person and then also for things like towels, sheets and our tablecloths & napkins. Using this system we can have everyone’s laundry washed, dried and for the most part, put away, by Sunday night to start the week.

    • Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Amy says:

      I do the same thing! We have 4 kids, the youngest three are boys and their clothes were taking me forever to sort. Now I have a hamper for each kid. I wash one child’s laundry each day M-Th, then I bring it up, dump on their bed and they hang/fold it and put away on their own or I help the younger ones. I do my mine and hubbys laundry on Friday, and the linens on Sat. I think the thing I hated most about laundry was running around collecting it from all over the house, and then trying to get it all sorted and put back in the appropriate rooms. This really streamlines the process.

  • Laundry systems! Man – aren’t they as variable as people are?

    My MIL and I always have a good laugh since I’m a laundry once-a-week person and she’s an everyday person. Makes things interesting when she’s at our house for sure!

    Here’s what we do with our family of four (two adults and two 10-year-olds):
    * We do all the laundry on Saturday. My children wear school uniforms and my husband wore uniforms to work for many years so this means we start each week with all the uniform pieces clean!
    * My husband and I sort ours in hampers in our room as we take off our clothes during the week. The children sort theirs into light, dark and white on Saturday morning. Ours are sorted in the same categories. I combine the whites since we don’t ever have enough for separate loads. This means we have 5 loads of clothes laundry each week.
    * The children and I then strip the beds and sort the bedding and towels into color-like piles as well. This usually gives us two additional loads – total of 7 loads per week of laundry for us!
    * I always fold the load when it comes out of the dryer – I’ve tried other things and find that I end up with way more ironing and chaos when I do it any other way. These then go onto our bed if they’re adult clothes or on top of the piano of they are the children’s. Clothes that get hung up and/or need ironing go on hangers immediately upon coming out of the dryer and are hung in the laundry room, waiting for ironing later.
    * The children the put away their own clothes and I put away my and my husband’s clothes. The bedding and towels go in the linen closet so I put those away too.

    For now, it works well! I’m hoping that by the time the children are in high school, they’re doing their own laundry from start to finish. We’ll see!

    Lea

  • Danielle says:

    Both my parents worked outside the home, so they had us kids completely responsible for our own laundry by age 10. Yes, kids can definitely help out!

    I have laundry day 2 days a week. The night before I put a large hamper in the hallway and my 2 and 5 year old are responsible for dumping clothes from their hampers in their rooms into the main one. It goes by the washer that evening, ready to put in first thing in the morning. Switched over before the school run. Fold the first load after we get back.

    I have a tiny house and my only (1) laundry basket is stored inside the dryer when not in use. This helps me keep on top of the folding.

    I also utilize the trick mentioned above: collect all empty hangers from closets and put by laundry area. Put clothes fresh out of the dryer onto hangers. (We don’t have any dressers). I feel like I save time not folding either lol.

  • JJ says:

    I have 3 kids 3 and under. So, for now, my system is a little bit like this: wash, dry, oops, forgot to get it out and fold yesterday; dewrinkle button; dewrinkle button; grab clothes out of dryer to wear; fold leftovers; repeat! Haha! And I’m okay with this. :p

  • You must have a HUGE washer and dryer! We do like 12 loads a week for our family of 5. Next time one of these bad boys breaks, I’m buying what you have. 😀

    • sdr says:

      A huge washer helps tremendously; when our older washer died two years ago I bought the biggest capacity washer I could find and cut my laundry down from about 10-12 loads per week to about 7. We’re a family of 5 (soon to be 6) so the time savings really adds up.

    • They are pretty big and can do some pretty massive loads. We may have tested their capacity a time or two. 😉

  • Chanda says:

    So, on a mostly unrelated note, any tips on finding a mother’s helper?

    • Ask around and see if anyone knows someone who might be a good fit. Or, advertise for one in a local homeschooling newsletter?

      We found ours through a friend and she’s been SUCH a gift to our family!

  • I can’t say that I necessarily have a system. Some days we’re still looking through various stacks to find matching socks or a clean t-shirt. 🙂 However, the tip that has helped the most is having the kids put away their own laundry. Somehow they can do it in no time. I have three boys and they can turn anything into a competition. But, hey, if it means the laundry is put away, fine with me!

  • I struggle with laundry, too. Hey, maybe everyone does? 🙂 My current “system”, if you can call it that, is to do as much laundry as I can on the days that I’m able to , and hopefully fold it right away. Otherwise it ends up hanging out in baskets in our laundry room for far too long. The dreaded laundry monster…

  • Mari says:

    I have a 4 hamper sorter for the master bedroom. My girls share a room and hamper. I wash whites on Mondays (every other because H has a lot of undershirts), lights on every Tuesday, girls every Wednesday, darks every Thursday, delicates/work clothes and ironing get done on Friday. Bathrooms are cleaned on Monday, so towels are washed on Monday. beds are changed on Tuesday, so sheets get washed on Tuesday. I don’t start a load until the previous one is put away.

  • Sarah says:

    We recently moved and it was time to update the towels because we were still using my towels from my college days (graduated in 2003). The towels were ratty and I was trying to find a better system for laundry. The new house also came with a front loading washer and dryer. I settled on buying each of my four boys their own individual color of towel that could easily be identified as theirs. With the front loading machines all but my 8 month old were able to put their own clothes in the wash and move them to the dryer. I taught my 3, 6, and 7 year how to work the machines and then fold and hang their clothes. I have to help fold some but they are learning very well. My Oldest does all his laundry on Monday, next kid on Tuesday and so forth. I do my husband and my laundry in the evenings before bed. It had tremendously helped me to stay up on laundry.

  • AmyDawn says:

    As mentioned above, laundry changes as phase of life changes. I have 7 kids, ages 6-17. I’ve always done laundry (washed all the dirty clothes in the house) 2 days a week. I do Tuesday and Saturday just because they are spread out. If I know I am going to be busy on Saturday, I’ll do it on Friday instead. I’ve always washed everything in cold water, except when I used cloth diapers. Those were soaked immediately in a tub and then washed in hot on washing day.

    My 4 girls share a room, and so their laundry all goes into a hamper. That’s usually one load twice per week. Same with my 3 boys. My husband and I are usually one load a week, sometimes two. I’ll combine hampers together in a load if they are not full. And, I’m constantly throwing kitchen rags and towels in the washer. They just get washed with whatever load goes in next.

    Now, life is different. My oldest 2 teens work at Chick-Fil-A and have uniforms that need washing at not-always-convenient-to-washing-day times. So, it is their responsibility to wash their uniform (and to add to the load anything in their hamper to make a full load) whenever they need it.

    I have always taken the clothes out of the dryer and dumped them onto the couches. My kids fold and put away their own laundry from the age of 4. I do mine and hubby’s. If my teens aren’t home when the laundry is dumped onto the couch, I gather up their unfolded clothes and move them to their bed for them to fold when they get home.

    I only do a few loads on Tuesdays, but I often feel like laundry is all day long on Friday or Saturday because of towels, etc.

    *And, as for the Go to Bed Early Challenge, it is not the season of life for me I guess. I have kids that don’t get home from work until 11:00, and I won’t go to sleep without them here. Seasons change…

  • Samaree Totten says:

    My husband and I only have 2-3 loads of laundry per week. We both grew up thinking that because an item of clothing had been worn that it needed to be washed. Years ago, I realized that if you don’t get an item sweaty or dirty, it can be worn again. Saves on water, energy and detergent. (Mostly applies to pants, skirts, sweaters, jackets, etc.)

  • HoosierMom says:

    Two adults, four kids six and under. One big new washer (thank You, Jesus!)

    We have a small house, so the washer is our laundry basket. All the little people take their dirty clothes to the laundry closet as we change them. Whenever I walk past, I throw all the dirty clothes in the washer, with no sorting. Each morning I bring our little pile of clothes from yesterday out to the washer and start it. Switch to dryer as soon as possible. Fold during nap time while listening to podcasts (Gretchen Rubin, A Slob Comes Clean, etc.) Put away as soon as possible.

  • Kristi says:

    Our dryer just broke and we are in the market for a new washer and dryer that’s much larger for our family of 5. Are you happy with your washer and dryer? What brand is yours? Thanks a ton!

  • Debbie says:

    I do my laundry in the evenings. I switch loads from washer to dryer and from the dryer to the clothes basket during commercials while watching what I might have recorded during the day while I was working and anything else I want to watch that night. Then I fold and/or hang up the laundry while watching my show. I then put away or hang up during commercials again. I must admit that I live alone now but when my children were home this worked well.

  • Mags says:

    We are on a dual meter system and get 1/2 price electricity from 12am to 9am. So we have everything on delay. Laundry is brought down and sorted by everybody into bins. The washer is loaded and the detergent/softener added to compartments. The washer is then set to start after midnight. Next morning (7am) the clothes from the washer go into the dryer and a second load is washed. That evening- washed clothes to dryer, next load is set and they all wash/dry at night.. one load at night, one in the morning- it works great…. We have LG washer and dryer which are fabulous, efficient and do a great job- they are front load and take LONGER but are better for your clothes and love the time set/delay. will never go top load again.

  • Chelsea says:

    The only sorting I do is by person’s clothing. Each gets washed in their own load. There is minimal folding as almost all clothing is hung. So clean clothes into the basket in the room of the owner. It’s gets put away but not spending hours folding for it to sit in a basket or get taken out by my 2 year old!

  • Sarah says:

    We have 6 kids, and I used to be so overwhelmed with laundry…never knew when my husband was out of clothes, or if the kids had clean underwear, and where a favorite shirt was, etc. Always had a huge pile of dirty clothes and another huge pile of clean clothes to be sorted and folded.
    One day we bought individual hampers for everyone and gave each kid their own laundry day. Nobody’s clothes mixes with anyone else’s, ever, so everyone knows exactly where their own clothes are, and whether they are clean or not. The kids are responsible for their own laundry (as soon as they are old enough to learn how to work the buttons on the machines), and there is no more crazy sorting days, trying to figure out whose sock is whose.
    It’s been about 8 years, and we’ve let the “laundry day” for each kid slip a little, but we still never have laundry pile up. 9 hampers (one for each of us, plus one for towels) did the trick. Will never go back to a communal hamper. 🙂

  • I have a laundry routine. Since that I can cope with laundry. I can even say : I am up-to-date with my laundry.
    Every single morning I put a laundry (we do 4 per week sometimes 6 when we have the beds sheets). I can program it if I want but as I work from home I don’t.
    1) I wake up, I put the laundry (first thing I do).
    2) I come back from kids school, I put my laundry to dry on a hang-drying spree).
    3) Every evening I fold the clothes.
    4) I put piles on the stairs and every person concerned can put it back in his cupboard (even my 7 year old son).
    In winter, after dinner I put the jeans a little bit in the dryer before folding.

    It works perfectly for me and I rarely let me overload with that any more. It takes 15 minutes a day and it is so pleasant when finished.
    It needs few preparation :
    – have the kitchen table cleaned for the folding operation
    – no clothes outside the laundry basket (a daily learning for the kids)
    – have space to put the hang-drying spree in winter (we have just one beside the heating).
    As I live in Belgium, where it rains quite often and without warning, I sometimes have to use the dryer because I have a rule : do not leave any clothes to dry in the evening befoire going to bed !

  • Ann Marie says:

    Wonderful post! Any suggestions for washer and dryers? We are moving & need to purchase for a family of 6.
    Appreciate any help, thanks. 🙂

  • Anita says:

    For many years I do at least 1 load of laundry a day. Folded and put away. I start a load in the morning. Usually when my coffee is brewing. My children are involved. Who ever folds the laundry, puts away the laundry. I find by keeping up with at least a load a day, keeps you from ever having laundry issues. Unless a flu hits your house!;)

  • Stephanie says:

    We sort by color and type- whites, darks, lights and white/dark towels. The towels being separated helps with drying time. I try to only do full loads and usually do one a day.

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