Thursday, January 6, 2011

Taming the Laundry Monster...I hope

Our Laundry Room rarely looks this neat
One of our biggest household challenges has been laundry and getting it taken care of efficiently.  Princess Artiste (14) was stuck doing most of the actual running of the machines, but was often falling behind the in-flow.  We have 4 holding baskets, 1 each for light colors, dark colors, reds, and towels.  The the sorting was not being done as well as I'd hoped, and overflow, especially sheets and blankets, just ended up on the floor in a heap, followed by total chaos in a laundry room of minimal size for a family this large.  The worst was the folding problem.  NO one wants to fold that much laundry.  (It was the #1 request I asked if there were any chores the kids would like taken off their list.) The kids shared the folding by having particular days assigned to each, but there were constant fights about when exactly a load was complete, so whose responsibility it was.  --And baskets full of unfolded laundry were mysteriously turning up in closets, etc... As in, "If it's not in the hall where Mom can see it, maybe I won't have to fold it."
Clean laundry, sometimes 3 times this
much, ends up waiting in the hall.
I HATE that.
I suddenly realized that I now have only one child too young to run laundry equipment.  EUREKA!  New idea and new plan:  Each person, from age 11 and up, is responsible for their own laundry.  They will each be assigned a day, and will be expected to make sure their own clothes and bedding are washed, dried, folded, and out of the way by the next day.  I warned about not running the machines too full, or running half-loads...We'll see how this works.  Maybe if they don't want to fold so much, they won't be as inclined to throw things in the wash they just don't want to hang up...  


  1. Oh my gosh, I love this! WD knows how to run the machines, but I can count on one hand the number of times he's run a load. You've given me the green light to have him(he's 14 for goodness sakes) do his own laundry. Maybe we'll make it a Sunday chore.

    Maybe this will keep clean clothes from entering the laundry room. Our current system is I do the laundry, fold the clothes, and place the clean folded clothes outside the boys' doors in the hallway. SB(the 6yo) does a very good job of putting away his clothes. WD kicks it around until he's been told specifically to put his clothes away. I find clean, folded shirts in his hamper all the time.

  2. I hate that. Part of our cost-cutting emphasis involves cutting the number of laundry loads...and I told the kids that starts with not re-washing clean clothes!! Our kids get older and more capable, and sometimes the fact that there are now things they can take over slips past us. I hope it works for you with WD.

  3. I believe this must be one of the biggest chore challenges for most households. I would guess there are as many systems as there are families.

    I think with my new laundry room I've finally gotten into a groove. The two both have laundry on their daily lists. They must do something related to laundry each day -- bring and sort the clothes in their hamper, throw in a load, transfer from washer to dryer, or fold their own clothes. It is the boy's job to pull out clean laundry and sort it for each person to fold. Of course I'm still doing lots of the laundry work myself but having them responsible for various steps keeps it from piling up, and they are more likely to put the folded clothes away without being reminded.

    I have the same kind of sorting that you started out with in the laundry room, white, light, dark and towels. If we have reds that haven't been washed repeatedly, I save those out for a separate load, but that happens infrequently.

  4. I imagine that what works for smaller families and what works for 10 is somewhat different. Of course, things are much different for us now that they're at more capable ages. This new system seems to be working all right. Some can't make it all the way through the week without doing laundry, and the reds have to collect until there is enough of all for a whole load, but the room is no longer a heap, and the folding is getting done on a better schedule.


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