Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Laundry Organization

Time for another post on organization. Actually, it's probably past time. Hmmm. Maybe I need to do a post on organizing posts.

Maybe next time!

In the meantime, laundry is a never-ending challenge at our house. Clothes, towels, etc. We go through an enormous amount. In order to stay on top of it, we pretty much run the washer and dryer all day long. A minimum of four loads a day, washed and dried, maintains our status quo. Meaning the laundry piles don't get any bigger, but they don't go down much either.

I've had people suggest before that some things, like skirts and pants, don't necessarily need to be washed every time you wear them. That's true. The problem with the boys, though, is this: they shuck off the pants and toss them in the floor. Then they are walked on and stepped on and looking pretty bad by the time they need to be worn again. Or they take them off and actually stick them in the hamper because they don't want to be bothered right then with actually putting the pants away or *worse* hanging them up. (Why is it so terrible to have to hang things?)

I do have a good sorting method. I have a hamper in each of the bathrooms. Each morning the boys are supposed to collect them and take them down to the "hamper room". This is a small room under the stairs. That room has five hampers lined up along the side of it. Each hamper has a different type of laundry: towels, jeans, darks, lights, and "special wash". The boys sort the clothes from the bathroom hampers and then return the empty hampers upstairs. They've got the sorting part down, no problem. Collecting the hampers in the first place and returning them to their proper area? Well, that requires a little more nudging from me.

The point of the hamper room is this: now the clothes are always sorted out. My three oldest boys all know how to do laundry. So if I tell them to change the wash around, I can just tell them to put in a load of towels, or wash some jeans. Thankfully, our whites never turn odd colors because of bad sorting.

I usually put a load of clothes in when I first get up in the morning. I'm up before everyone else, so not long after they get up, it's ready to be changed around again. I'd like to have one more load done before I leave for work, but that only happens if I remember to tell someone to do it. I can't seem to get anyone else to take the initiative. The amount of loads we get done each day is in direct proportion to the number of times I remember to tell someone to change it around. I've tried assigning each boy a different day when he is in charge of making sure the laundry keeps going, but that doesn't seem to be working too well. Any other suggestions?

Our other major problem with laundry is what to do with the clean items. When the boys change the wash around, they toss the clean clothes into one of the baskets. Or at one of the baskets. At any rate, clothes don't get folded until there's a huge pile. For a short time I had them convinced that the job was much easier if they folded it as it came out of the dryer. Sometimes that doesn't work because the wash gets changed just as we're rushing out of the house.

I did try requiring each boy to fold one basket a day. But after a couple of days I noticed that the pile of clean clothes was not going down any. They had found a small basket, little bigger than a toy, and they were using that as their one basket a day. Three pairs of jeans or two towels filled that basket completely. They'd fold those few things and claim their basket was done for the day. I've since gotten rid of that basket!

I know some families give each person in the house their own wash day. Some of my boys are not old enough to be responsible for that yet. Plus, not all of us have enough clothes to last an entire week until our day comes around. In addition, in case you've never noticed it, boys tend to stink on a regular basis. Some of the clothes around here don't need to be sitting around for a week.

We also end up with multiple changes of outfits per day. For instance, if my husband goes bike riding, or he and Matt come back from the gym, they need to shower and change. If the boys come in from outside dripping in sweat (and they always do because we live in Florida. and because they're boys.) they're going to have to clean up and change if we're going somewhere later. Or Terry and Matt might have spent time doing some pressure washing or lawn care. Another reason to shower and change when they get home.

I can't cut down on the amount of laundry. But I think there must be a better way to process it. How about you? What systems or methods work in keeping your laundry up to date? You write your comments while I go downstairs and dig through the clean clothes to find a towel so I can take a shower.


  1. Jill, unfortunately I have no grandeur words of wisdom. Laundry is a thorn in my flesh too!

    Blessings to you...

  2. I thought I had a lot of laundry, but no more. Sorry you're swimming in a sea of dirty/clean clothes. I'm terribly unorganized, so I have no help for you.

    Good luck! I hope lots of your readers offer great advice. Just be glad you're in Florida - no sweaters, coats, extra socks, hats and gloves.

  3. I don't have that many problems with laundry yet...there is only 3 of us. but my mom used to have 4 small baskets for each childs clean laundry. so whoever emptied the dryer would simply divided the laundry to the proper baskets. each of us was than responsible for folding their own basket plus we had to hang up any hangup clothes. The towels were folded by the child who emptied the dryer. Mom and Dad's clothes were usually washed seperately. The dirty clothes were handles similar to your method. well it's not original.


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