Many families (big or small) battle the laundry war, overwhelmed with what feels like an impossible chore. After struggling for a long time, I feel confident claiming we stay on top of our laundry now as a family of eight, more than we ever have before. It isn’t always perfect, and some weeks I fall behind. But knowing it can be done gives me hope, and more often than not I have this chore totally under control.
1) Pick a Spot
Designate a specific spot in your home for dirty laundry. Whether that is in each bedroom or bathroom, hallway, or maybe even a laundry chute. Having large baskets that are simple to use, and manageable to carry makes putting dirty clothes into and transporting easy. I find flip top and open baskets are what my kids (and husband) are more likely to use it. Everyone in our family knows if the basket is gone, the place to pile dirty laundry is in the hallway where the basket normally sits.
2) Set a Routine
I know in our life, if I am not doing laundry everyday I am getting behind (in a huge way). Our family of eight creates at least one load of laundry every single day. Changing the bedding once a week creates two more loads, add in towels, various other surprises – you get the idea, I am basically doing laundry all the time! I know something is ‘off’ when the sound of tumbling clothing is missing.
My routine choice is “A Load A Day, A Load Away!” This means I am washing one load, folding one load, and putting away one load EVERYDAY. Sometimes it is more, but if it is less I have a back up.
Routine examples; “Boys on Tuesday,” “Girls on Thursday,” Saturday Sheet Day.” Write them down, set reminders or even timers on your phone. “Upstairs/Downstairs Laundry Day,” “Towel Day,” “Lights,” “Darks.” I don’t know what would make the most sense in your home, but routine and habits can easily break the larger chore into smaller more manageable ones. Giving yourself permission to keep the task at a manageable size may make you more likely to attempt it. “I don’t have to wash the sheets today, that is tomorrow’s chore.”
If you are overwhelmed with laundry on a daily basis, you probably have too much. Things you own should help you to enjoy your life, not create extra stress. Clothes can bring happiness, comfort, warmth, and maybe a sense of confidence. If you are struggling with where to store, or how to keep on top of cleaning them, you have too many. Downsize, pass along the clothing you no longer wear. Be strict with what you keep, and honest about what you actually use. There is no sense in owning things that overwhelm you just to say you own them.
4) Ask A Friend For Help
Don’t laugh! You know that friend who seems to have a good handle on her laundry? Maybe she has a good hiding spot, or maybe she has a few helpful hints she is willing to share. Ask her to come help you get organized, form a plan to tackle it, or even spend sometime folding together. It never hurts to ask, a true friend won’t judge you out loud. I love to share things that work for our family with others, and I love to hear what tricks they have up their sleeves. I don’t expect everyone to fully adopt my concept, but if it is in anyway helpful, why not share?
5) Hire Someone
Honestly, if you have gotten this far and you are thinking “Whatever lady, get over yourself.” Consider hiring someone else to come in, and tackle the mountainous chore. Life in our big family is about streamlining and creating simplicity, at times this means asking (or paying) others to help. We have found this simple concept beneficial to our marriage relationship as well. Giving one another permission to hire outside help rather than argue about daily chores, helps us feel less stressed, and the chore gets done. If it makes your life more manageable, and you can afford it – hire the help!
I hope at least one of these ideas is helpful to you. I would love to hear how you make laundry happen in your house? And of course if you use ones of my tips, please let me know how it goes.