Monday is laundry day at our house.
When I worked full time it seemed impossible to stay on top of the laundry. So I did what seemed sensible and went out and bought everyone enough underwear and socks to last at least a week. Then I committed to doing laundry on Sunday’s only. It worked and has kind of stuck all these years later. More recently I have established a new program officially named, “One Load. One Child.” or OLOC for short. Read more on this below.
By the time Monday is over- laundry is done and the washer (and laundress) gets the week off. No looming laundry chores in the back of my mind. It does usually take me a few days to put everything away, but that seems normal to me based on your Instagram images of laundry 😉
Between loads I do the usually daily stuff like cook, nap, work, read, etc. On a slow Monday I get about 7 loads done before dinner but I don’t hang out in the laundry room all day. Lots of regular life happens too. Some days it takes until bed-time.
Back to my laundry day routine…
- Kids drop laundry baskets in laundry room before they leave for school. (Yes they need reminding.)
- I gather towels and other household dirties that didn’t make it to the laundry room during the week.
- Drop our hamper in laundry room.
- Get to washing!
- The drying load typically takes longer than the washing load. I usually get the dryer started then turn on the washer to start filling while I gather the next load or hang anything that is staying indoors to dry.
- Check tags on new items before you wash for the first time.
- Find a soap that works for your machine, water type, budget, and your skin. I use Purex Free and Clear. I am HIGHLY allergic to Borax (want to hear that story…. call me. I now travel with my own laundry soap.)
- Don’t overload your washer. Clothes need space to float and swish around.
- Line drying not only saves energy/time/money, it also lengthens the life of your clothes.
- Fold ASAP to eliminate wrinkling and procrastination.
- Everyone (or room) needs their own clean laundry basket. Get baskets that can nest together when they are not used. I also have one for the linen closet.
- A hamper for each person will make following my routine easier for you.
By the way- I have thus far refused to hang linens or under garments of any size on the outdoor laundry rack. I don’t like crunchy sheets or towels and the time it takes to hang socks is not worth the energy saving cost, for me.
MY KIDS CLOTHES WASHING ROUTINE aka “ONE LOAD. ONE CHILD.”:
(I have 2 boys. One is in elementary school, one is in middle school.)
Each kids clothes are washed in one load all by themselves- One Load. One Child (OLOC). I don’t sort colors for the boys unless they have anything white (which I have learned at these ages is not the smartest purchase. Who buys white gym shorts for an 8 year old!)
I check pockets and look for stickers. Do I have to explain why? Let’s just say both were expensive lessons learned.
From the washer I hang anything that is stored hung and skip the dryer on those items. Everything else goes to the dryer and then promptly folded upon completion. The full basket gets an escort to the bedroom where its owner has the responsibility to put everything away neatly. Violations of this neatness act means next week I don’t fold anything. Seems fair to me.
By keeping each child’s clothes together I eliminate the sorting and separating after drying. I also don’t have to remember who’s clothes are who’s. This was getting harder the older, and closer in size, they get. Genius right?! It also means as soon as that basket is full, it can leave my tiny laundry room (or where ever I am folding).
ADULT CLOTHES WASHING ROUTINE:
I sort the dirty laundry by type: bottoms, tops, under garments, whites, and lights. If an item is white or light colored it trumps the garment type and goes right to my three bin sorter*.
I found that washing by type saves me time in the drying and folding steps. First, because when weather permits I hang most of the clothes outside to dry and hanging or folding the same item over and over saves brain power and time, for me. If not outside shirts go on hangers and skip the dryer and I hang dry most of my under garments. Also, washing by type I don’t have to remember, “pull out the stripped shirt before that load gets dry.” (I typically forgot to do that anyway.) And when hanging, the whole load gets hung and the dryer stays empty.
After the three main adult loads (depending on season), I usually do a load (or more) of any kind of dark linens or random goodies that need washing. Then a load of those lights. This is usually bi-weekly depending on season because we don’t have a lot of light colored items. Finally the whites.
I separate my whites into linens and non linens. Brilliant again 😉
I choose not to use bleach too often, but if you like it, here’s where you will pull it out.
OTHER LUNDRY TIME SAVERS and TIPS:
- Spray stains right away with your favorite soap. I like Zout.
- “Accidents”, muddy items, wet play clothes either get dropped in empty washer or into a plastic bucket in laundry room and depending on their condition may require a mid-week load.
- Use a multi-item skirt hanger to hang delicates after washing. Mine has 8 clips and I can clip or hang bras, underwear, tights, pillow covers etc. right out of washer to dry.
- I love this idea in Better Homes and Gardens (August 2015, page 88- can’t find online yet) for marking hanging clothes by family member. Tie a ribbon on hanger, designating owner by ribbon color. When the boys shirts are the same size I might start doing this. Colored hangers are also a great way to sort.
- Athletic clothes often get their own load- that’s what the “water level” dial is for. A small load of only one muddy soccer uniform is worth the time.
- I hang scriptures in my laundry room and read them when I stand in their to fold.
- My laundry room is small though, so sometimes folding on the dining room table is easier. It also means I have to get it done before dinner and everyone has to take their baskets away to eat.
- When you can, invest some time and energy into making your laundry room a place you want to be and keep it neat. It makes the whole chore more pleasant. (No I do not have a laundry room chandelier but I do have some fun art and cute curtains.)
*Laundry sorter. After re-reading this I decided I might need to clear this up. I have a laundry sorter. I have actually marker-ed the words “WHITES” “LIGHTS” and “DARKS” on each compartment followed with color words in the corresponding colored marker. I used this method before I switched to “one load, one child”. The kids were required to sort by color. This might be a great method for you if you aren’t able to do OLOC or once a week laundry. I also still use the sorter for things like linens that make it into the laundry room during the week, or when clothes make it to the laundry room before laundry day for any reason. (i.e. lawn cutting, etc.)
I found doing weekly laundry works better for me than daily loads. After countless forgotten smelly “clean” wash I recognized my limitations. I also realize that every family has their own routine. Find yours and own it. Try something new. Babies change everything, but know there is a light at the end of the laundry tunnel, well until they need deodorant and play on sport teams.
Your day, your time, spending it doing the things that you really love… not laundry.