Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Large Family Living, part 2, Laundry
I'm loving all the questions, both here and on Facebook!
First, let's talk about laundry. If you've been thinking of laundry as a one day a week chore, it may be time to change your thinking. Here's how it works in our house.
Clothes come off the body. They go on the floor somewhere. Paul and I toss ours on the bathroom floor by the tub. I wash little people in our tub, and for baths, their clothes go in that pile, as well. The upstairs kids (everybody except Josiah and Samuel) all toss theirs into a pile outside the girls' bedroom door. You know, reading that, I really ought to think about getting a couple hampers... But I'm not sure Hannah could reach to the bottom of a hamper, and honestly, this is working, so why spend the money, right?
Every morning after breakfast, Hannah brings the upstairs laundry (from those two locations, and she also checks the 2 upstairs kid bathrooms for any stray clothing) down to the laundry room.
After I get home from morning car pool, I throw a load of laundry in, and then we get started on schoolwork.
At lunchtime, I throw another load in. If I need to, I can throw a third load in after nap time.
As each load comes out of the dryer, I take it to what we affectionately refer to as The Secret Passageway. No joke. It was something my step mom said that stuck. It's actually the butler's pantry that runs between the kitchen and Paul's office (which is supposed to be a dining room, but is too small for our family).
I sort the laundry in The Secret Passageway by bedroom. Big boys, little boys, girls, babies, mom & dad. When I have a few loads sorted, I holler at passing urchins to take their baskets (which are mostly milk crates, way more durable than cheap laundry baskets) to their rooms. Everyone from Hannah up is responsible for putting away their own laundry.
Did you hear that? My "handicapped" (eyeroll) 6 year old puts her own laundry away. If you're doing it for your kids, stop! They can do it themselves! It may not be perfect, just like you would do it. You know what? It doesn't matter!
Hannah's set up is pretty simple. She puts all her shirts and dresses on hangars (which I hang for her, since she can't reach). She puts all her socks in the sock bucket, shoes in the shoe bucket, jackets in the jacket bucket (although they may also be downstairs, more on that later). Top drawer is panties, stump socks, camisoles, swim suits. Second drawer is shorts and skirts. Third drawer is pants, bottom drawer is pajamas. She does a great job.
This is the system that I've taught all the kids when they were little, but the boys don't hang their shirts. They usually "stuff" them, honestly. Every once in a while, I throw a fit over Jack's drawers and dump everything out and make him put them back in a similar order, but most of the time, he opens a drawer, throws the clothes in, and if I'm lucky, he closes it again. I can live with that.
I put away my laundry, Katie and Luke's laundry, and the cloth diaper load. Although, I don't put them away as promptly as I should, perhaps. I haven't seen the top of my hope chest in a while.
I usually fold towels while I am cooking, since they're just a few steps away from the kitchen. Sometimes I'll ask one of the kids to fold them or take them to where they go. Oh, and true confession? I don't fold fitted twin sheets. We sort of roll them in a ball and call it close enough. I got that from another mom, and I felt like I'd been given permission to do something scandalous.
My laundry room is nothing special, but I'm very grateful it's 1) in the house, and 2) not a hallway setup like our last house. One of the first things I did when we moved here was to stick adhesive backed hooks on the inside of the upper cupboard door, so I can hang up things that don't go in the drier. (Mostly bras and bibs, in our house.)
The important thing isn't making your system like my system. The important thing is to HAVE a system that works for you. I share mine, not to imply that I've got it all together (I'm sunk if I take 2 days off or we get hit with the flu!), but in the hopes that something I've said might inspire you to think about laundry differently, and possibly come up with a new idea that you can use.
Like last time, if you have any questions about being in charge of a big family, feel free to ask! I have a couple of other posts in the works for this series.
Thanks for clicking for us!