Oh Laundry… some people find it therapeutic, others find it torture and some just consider it a necessary evil. No matter what category we fall in to, its simply unavoidable. So rather than face a constant feeling of defeat how about putting a simple system in place that helps you tame the laundry beast and keep it that way??
Our family of 9 produces A LOT of laundry. Sports sweat, grass stains, mud… you name it, it comes into my laundry room but it doesn’t scare me! Sure, it often grosses me out or makes me gag but its all under control. The key to managing family laundry is managing its four key parts: dirty laundry storage, a schedule you can manage, products that work and a plan for putting it away.
Part #1: WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR DIRTIES. To me, this is the worst part of doing laundry. My husband’s workout gear or my boys’ practice clothes can take on a smell that would make a skunk run away. I want these things as confined as possible and not spread all over stinking up my house! Some may suggest a hamper for everyone in your house but I definitely recommend as few hampers as you can have to fit your families needs. We have one upstairs and one downstairs. The upstairs hamper is in our upstairs bathroom, the downstairs hamper is in the laundry room. All clothing is put in one of those places when dirty. No dirty laundry in bedrooms! This helps with smell and also protects carpet if a damp piece of clothing would be left lying around.
Part #2: A SCHEDULE YOU CAN MANAGE. Do laundry daily. Its that simple. It is truly the most manageable way to do it. For our family of 9 this equals two loads per day, normally a colors load and a whites load. Occasionally I will end up with a small load of colors or fabrics that don’t work for the two main loads. No biggie. When you wash daily your clothing smells fresher and looks brighter since odors and stains do not set in as long. Washing daily also gives your family small piles to put away daily instead of a huge overwhelming basket. You wont be caught off guard by a child panicking over a dirty gym uniform or a favorite dress. When the inevitable happens and you need to miss a day or a few, it won’t be disastrous when you get back on track. It’s just worth it. Plain & simple. Build it into your daily routine and find the beauty in it- the sweet smell of soft, clean clothes for your family.
Part #3: PRODUCTS THAT WORK. We are all busy moms and no one has time to waste doing laundry ineffectively. If the shirt still stinks or the stain didn’t budge you pretty much wasted your time. I am pretty loyal to my laundry “Dream Team” of products and you’d be hard pressed to convince me to change it up. 14 years as a sports mom and 10 years of cloth diapering gave me plenty of trial & error and I truly believe these items are the “workhorses” of laundry care.
*Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent Powder Plus OxiClean– my holy grail detergent. My sons always have the whitest baseball pants, my cloth diapers always smelled fresh and all the other laundry dilemmas have always been easily solved with this miracle worker. When we upgraded our machine I had to wait a little while for the powder to be HE safe and when I finally found it in the store I literally squealed with joy and called my husband to share the news. Bonus- it smells amazing and is also effective at tackling a few other household jobs. I’m obsessed with this stuff.
*OxiClean Laundry Stain Remover Spray– Tackles grass, ketchup & blood stains like magic. Truly a must have in a house with boys!
*Downy Liquid Fabric Softener– I know fabric softener is a matter of preference, but for me it’s a must 😊 I like my clothes soft, I hate static and I like them to smell good.
*Downy Fresh Protect Scent Beads– Again, a matter of preference that I won’t go without! These arrived on the market right around the time my middle crew started to stink like big guys. Having been through one stinky teenage boy was enough.
*Clorox Bleach– The original. The good stuff.
This combination of miracle workers keep my kiddos looking and smelling fresh whether they are on a ball field or snuggling on the couch in their pj’s. Sidenote- I have attempted ‘green’ laundry products over the years and I just want to be honest, they don’t work for me. I am all for green living but I have a take it or leave it approach to green products- they need to work.
PART #4: PUTTING IT AWAY: Probably the part of laundry we struggle with the most! Find a system that is easy to implement in your home and stick with it! Each of our kids have a small plastic basket in their mudroom locker. Since they only have one day’s worth of laundry at a time a mall basket works just fine. This is right next to our washer & dryer so I can sort right into their individual basket. I don’t even fold for my older kids, they mostly wear athletic wear that doesn’t wrinkle so their things are just tossed in their basket. I do fold for my 3 younger children and my husband. If I fold for them its easy for them to put it all away neatly so it’s a win-win for all of us.
This 4-Part system has been tried & tested and has come up foolproof for our family! Some parents may be asking, how will my children learn to do laundry?? Will I be acting like a servant by washing clothes for my teenagers?? Never fear, that’s under control. On our weekend & summer days I have one child as my “laundry manager” and I just walk them through the steps while I supervise. The bonus to being the main laundry manager is getting first dibs on all the loose change and bills inevitably stuffed into pockets 😊
If keeping up with your family’s laundry is overwhelming you, give this 4-Part FoolProof Family Laundry Routine a try. I’d love to hear how it works for you. Or if you have your own FoolProof plan that you’d like to share leave a comment or connect with me by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to hear from you.