Laundry. Laundry. Laundry. Do your dirty clothes and laundry routine have you down in the dumps? Keeping up with the wash can be such an overwhelming chore, especially with babies who spit up, have diaper blowouts, and require frequent outfit changes. Then there is that little guy who uses his sleeve rather than a tissue and begs to wear his favorite shirt three days a week.
Most of us have been there and would lump ourselves into the “experienced” category when it comes to laundry. You know, because we’ve washed a lot of dirty clothes. 🙂 Today, I thought it might be helpful to share a bit about how our crew does laundry.
We are a family of six; two adults and four busy, curious, and creative boys. All of those are good characteristics (at least in my opinion), but they tend to generate quite a bit of laundry. There are weeks when a disruption in routine gets us off schedule, but most of the time the dirty clothes don’t take over our house.
In order to keep up, I do an average of 2 loads of laundry per day. Allow me to walk you through our laundry routine.
A few things to know:
We have three hampers for dirty clothes. Two in our room and one (which is actually a large basket, due to space) in the upstairs linen closet. Our oldest son (C) typically brings down the dirty laundry from upstairs every other day and separates the lights from the darks and deposits the clothes into the appropriate hamper.
I have an inexpensive plastic basket hanging in the boys bathroom on (affiliate link) this large 3M hook for the dirty washcloths. C brings them down as he does the other laundry. Note that we reuse towels at least a couple of times. Some may find this practice gross, but that’s what we did growing up and most folks are clean when they get out of the shower, right? 🙂
Once one of the hampers is full, I start the washer. I wash most everything on hot and prefer powdered Tide. I have made my own laundry detergent and tried the more natural brands in the past, but keep coming back to good ole Tide as I feel it gets our clothes the cleanest. I actually used liquid Tide until a couple of months ago when we had an appliance repairman at our house. He told us that using liquid detergent contributed to mold growth around the seal of front loading washers. While I have no idea how much truth there is to this, he’s been in the business for 25 years and has seen a lot of washing machines, so I’m taking his word for it.
As you might imagine in a house full of boys, we have a lot of stains. I keep a bar of Fels-Naptha on hand, some spray stain remover (usually whatever is on sale), and OxyClean. Depending on the severity of the stain, I might just pretreat with either the Fels-Naptha, the spray or soak in OxyClean overnight. We use dryer sheets at my husband’s request. He likes for laundry to “smell” clean.
When I wash towels, I usually add bleach, but not fabric softener, as this decreases the absorbency of the towel. If you’ve used Downy on your towels before, don’t despair. You can “strip” them of the softener by rewashing with a cup of white vinegar.
We dry all of our clothes on low. Towels get dried on hot. I would love to hang clothes out on a clothesline to dry, but allergy issues in our family won’t allow it.
My goal is to fold the laundry as quickly as I can once it’s dry. I take the dried laundry to our bedroom, dump it on our bed, fold it, then distribute it into the appropriate basket. Each of the kids have a basket with their name on it. They are color coded so the smaller one knows which one is his.
The oldest two boys (ages 9 and 6) put their own laundry away and routinely fold up towels. Our three year old “folds” washcloths and will sometimes put them away.
It took a few
weeks months of training to teach the older two how to put things away without shoving or unfolding, but they do a good job now. If I’m being honest, it took me a while to let this task leave my hands. They don’t put clothes away 100% like I would. The clothes don’t always come out of the drawer wrinkle free and they aren’t organized by style of shirt. I had to ask myself if this really mattered to me. In the end, I was happier with the fact that they are being helpful with a happy attitude.
Since I fold clothes in our room, I try to put away all of our laundry as soon as it is folded. Mark and I don’t really have a basket for this reason.
There is usually one day a week in which I spend a bit more time on laundry than I do the other days. On this day, I make an effort to “wipe the slate clean” and get everything washed, dried, and put away by the time I go to bed.
A few other random things about our laundry habits… Sheets get changed every other week. Again, gross to some, but we are clean when we lay on them. I wash those in hot water and dry on high.
Mark wears a suit and tie most every day and he irons his own clothes. We have gone through several irons since we’ve been married, but our favorite by far is (affiliate link) this Rowenta. It’s the Cadillac of irons, in my opinion. If you’re on the fence about ordering one, you won’t be sorry!
Also, I feel like I should give a disclaimer. As organized as this laundry system might seem, we have a sock problem. I’m convinced those pesky little socks frolic away in the night in a valiant effort to send my type A self into a tizzy. I’m joking, of course, but it can feel pretty ridiculous to constantly have a collection of random, mismatched socks. I keep those in a blue basket identical to the one that hangs in the shower. I have a few ideas to remedy the sock issue, but haven’t fully implemented them just yet.
I think I’ve covered everything. If you have any questions, or suggestions to our sock problem, I’m all ears!
Oh, and sometimes, don’t you just need to take a break from folding towels to play or relax and listen to an audio book?