I mentioned in my last post that I've finally figured out a laundry system that we seem to be able to implement with some consistency. Here is more about that system and its evolution, in hopes that some part of it will be helpful or inspiring to you.
I should start by saying that the whole laundry thing has been a blight on my homemaking existence for years. I've often thought with a bit of (naive, I'm sure) jealousy back to the times when folks just had 2 or 3 outfits to wear and wash. Nine people worth of clothes and laundry just adds up! I never know whether to laugh or cry when one of my friends on Facebook mentions in their status that it's "laundry day." Every day but Sunday is laundry day here, or else Mt. Washmore raises its smelly head in our laundry room.
Several years ago, one of those miracle moms with 10 children and an immaculate house talked at our home school support group about home management. She had a lot of great ideas, some of which I have implemented with varying degrees of success. One idea we adopted was that of giving each child (that is old enough) a day on which it is their responsibility to do their laundry (and for the older ones, the laundry of an assigned sibling, who would be taught more responsibility as they grew). We bought stacking plastic laundry drawers per her suggestion as well.
Over the years, we've tweaked the system here and there. Last year we bought two three-bag laundry sorters, one for the girls' room, one for the boys room. For some reason, this did not work for our Blessings. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't.
Several months ago, we moved the laundry sorter to the laundry room and all the Blessings bring their dirty clothes and put them in the appropriate bag (we have two bags for darks, one for lights/whites). The children still have their day to do laundry, but the requirement has changed to doing two loads of laundry from start to clean and folded, choosing whichever bag(s) most need to be done.
This was a big improvement, but Mt. Washmore still had a tendency to rise, because we didn't have a spot for the towels/sheets/blankets. This "other" category seemed to spread all over the floor AND inspire children to drop their dirty clothes on the floor instead of in the proper bag.
So, a couple months ago, we bought two large sturdy (and cheap!) laundry baskets, one white, one blue. The dark "other" laundry goes in the blue basket, the light in the white basket. These baskets are now included in the "what most needs to be washed" selection process. This seems to have been the piece of the puzzle that we've been missing!
I haven't posted about the evolution of our laundry system for a while because for so long it just wasn't working! But this incarnation has been in place long enough that I think I can say with some confidence that it's working for us.
Here's a picture of the laundry room yesterday morning, in a pretty typical state for a Saturday:
It's not perfect, which is fine with me. There is no mountain, no stench, and no shame. A couple of notes:
~ The laundry sorter's usual home is to the left of the washing machine, so that children can reach the washer. I moved it for a more compact picture. And so that you can't see the mess on my sewing desk.
~ The tan basket on the dryer is the sock basket. It's supposed to have only unmatched socks, but often a whole load worth of socks gets dumped there. It's a process, right?
~ The white laundry basket on the dryer is a rest stop for clothes that no longer fit anyone, but that are nice enough to save. There is a larger tub on top of the big freezer that I can empty this into occasionally, and which I sort through at the seasonal clothes changeover. This is another recent addition which I like much better than the accumulating pile of too-small clothes in my bedroom!
~ I noticed when I looked at this picture that I need to remind the Blessings to throw the bag into the washer when they get to the bottom!
~ Jonathan and I have a blue basket and a white basket in our room. I throw our laundry in in the evening and/or on the weekend.
~ With baby will arrive daily diaper laundry. This will require more diligence at prompting the Blessings to start their laundry early in the day and finish it in time for me to put in diapers in the evening.
So tell me here or post on your blog and share a link. What laundry ideas work for you?