A House of Order

Keeping Up On Laundry for A Big Family – With Minimal Time Spent

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manage laundry with a big family

As a family of six, we go through a lot of laundry in our home. I used to dread doing laundry because it was never done and it always took FOREVER!

I’m sure you can imagine how stressful it was. Laundry was one of the biggest time wasters in our home.

In the beginning, we weren’t just wasting time taking care of the clean laundry. We were wasting time finding clothes to wear every single morning. Wasting time trying to get ready only to find that one or more of the kids had nothing clean to wear.

By the end of the week, we’d usually spent up to 5 hours on laundry when it should have been less than one.

The amount of stress it created in our home was unbelievable until I finally found what works for us.

Now I spend about 30 min a week on laundry. 15-20 minutes on my kid’s clothes and 10 minutes on my own.

My kids spend no time at all in the mornings trying to find something to wear and we rarely have instances when there’s nothing clean for one of the kids to wear.

How did we cut out so much time? Well here are 5 things we do to manage laundry for everyone in our home.

5 Easy Ways to Manage Laundry for a Big Family Without Spending a Ton of Time!

1) Use a Small Laundry Basket and Wash a Load When It Gets Full

We used to have a tall laundry basket that held all the kid’s clothes.

It was big enough that, by the time it was full, it took up to 3 loads in the washer and dryer to get everything clean. (I’m sure you can imagine how the clothes smelled by then.)

When I saw the hamper half full, or anything but all the way full really, I felt like it wasn’t time to do laundry yet.

When I waited this long, the clothes at the bottom of the hamper sure didn’t smell very good when they finally got washed! They often needed to go through the washer twice before they smelled clean.

Recognizing that, in my mind, it wasn’t time to do laundry until the hamper was full, I got rid of all the tall laundry baskets and got a set of smaller ones instead.

When I got my smaller laundry baskets, I made sure to get plastic ones so that they’d be easy to clean when they needed to be.

This set is a great price and comes with six smaller baskets. I use one for each of the bedrooms and keep the rest in the laundry room to put the clothes in after they are clean.

We set a rule that anytime one of the baskets gets full, we wash a batch of clothes.

This way, we’re never too far behind on laundry.

2) Each Kid Should be Responsible for Their Own Clothes (You Can Start As Early As Age 2)

One of the biggest changes we made in our home is I no longer do the laundry by myself…ever.

As early as age two, each kid is in charge of their own clothes. When a batch comes out of the dryer, we sit together as a family and spend 5-10 minutes getting it sorted and put away.

I’m sure you’re probably wondering how in the world a two-year-old is supposed to take care of their own clothes.

They definitely need help but, if they have an older brother or sister, let them do most of the helping. You can jump in to make sure everything is neat and straight, but let them do most of the work.

child discipline

This will teach your kids to work together and be responsible for their own things.

In our home, when it’s time to do laundry, I get one or more of the baskets from above and put all the clean clothes in.

All the kids come together and sit in a different place in the room. I sort the clothes by putting each piece by the kid it belongs to.

As I sort them, the kids fold and take care of their own clothes.

If one of the older kids finishes before the younger ones, they help them with theirs.

This way, by the time I’m done sorting, 90% of the clothes are taken care of.

3) We Don’t Fold All the Clothes – Instead, We Roll Enough for a Week and Put them in a Small Box

I’ve always really loved these closet organizers that can hold enough clothes for the whole week.

However, the problem with these is they take up a lot of room!

With four boys, I don’t even have room for one right now. They’re also too tall for the younger kids anyway. They wouldn’t be able to reach most of their clothes.

Instead, each of my boys has a small box their clothes go in. I make sure each kid’s box is big enough to fit six pairs of rolled clothes in.

We used to fold all our clothes and it was really time-consuming.

A friend recommended rolling them instead.

What you do is, start with a pair of pants; fold them in half long ways and lay them on the floor.

Next get a shirt, fold it in half long ways and lay it on top of the pants.

Finally, get a pair of underwear/boxers and put it on top.

Start at the top of the pants and roll the clothes into a bundle.

Place the roll in the box and repeat until they have six pairs of clothes (enough for the week).

make laundry easy

This is so much easier for my boys (especially the younger ones) and takes half the time.

If any clothes are left over, my kids do fold them and put them in their drawer.

Once all the clothes are taken care of, there is a single shelf in the closet the boys keep their boxes on.

It takes up minimal room and their clothes are always ready to go when they need them.

My favorite thing about this is, when the kids get dressed in the morning, they just grab a roll from the box and it has everything they need for the day.

There’s no time wasted searching for clean clothes in the drawers, laundry basket, etc!

4) Each Kid Only Needs Enough Clothes for About a Week

Even after we started rolling our clothes, my older boys often got overwhelmed with how many clothes they had to take care of each time we did the laundry.

We had so many, the clothes were often spilling out of the drawer.

After a particularly rough session of doing laundry, I decided it was too much. There’s no reason to have so many clothes.

All you really need is enough for a week!

I sat down with my boys and let each of them pick 8-9 pairs of clothes that were their favorite. The rest we got rid of.

The difference this made was incredible! Minimalism is amazing. Having only what you need gets rids of unnecessary stress in every area!

Before, the drawers were spilling over with clothes. It was impossible to find anything in them and my boys often got overwhelmed.

Now the drawers are mostly empty (most of the clothes are rolled up in their box). My boys are ten times happier when it comes to doing the laundry!

5) Don’t Worry If the Clothes in the Drawers Aren’t as Straight As You’d Like

There are never very many clothes in my kids’ drawers, but I like to have the ones there as straight as possible.

I’ve shown my boys that each different type of item, pants, shirts, pajamas, etc, goes in its own place in the drawer.

When they put the clothes in, they should be in a neat pile. They should never be haphazardly thrown together.

However, especially for my younger boys, the drawers often get messed up.

Every once in awhile, I sit them down and show them how to straighten everything to look nice.

The older my kids get, the nicer their drawers look and the more I stress keeping it neat and clean.

For the younger ones, I do what I can, and don’t worry so much if the clothes aren’t as straight as I’d like them to be.

They’ll learn as they get older.

Laundry is No Longer a Big Cause of Stress in Our Home

Ever since we started doing laundry this way, it’s reduced so much stress in our home!

Instead of wasting time folding clothes, getting ready in the morning, and keeping things organized, we spend about half an hour a week on laundry.

My kids enjoy working together to get it all taken care of and even my two year old can roll all six pairs and get his box put away by himself.

He’s always so proud of himself for doing it all by himself. When his box is put away, his older brothers help with the leftover clothes.

It’s become a fun family activity that we all work together to finish in a very short amount of time!

Now if I could just get our sock situation figured out, things would be perfect!

I’d love to hear from you, how do you keep your kids socks from getting lost? How do you keep the mates together and organized? Let me know by leaving a comment below!


What tricks do you use to manage laundry in your home? Have you tried these tips or do you have any other suggestions?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Thank you for reading 🙂

-Julie

keeping up on laundry

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2 thoughts on “Keeping Up On Laundry for A Big Family – With Minimal Time Spent

  1. What a great way to take care of laundry. I wish I knew this trick when my kids were little. But you are right that the younger ones can help. Kids love having a little bit of responsibility and it makes them feel special. I think I’m going to share this idea with my stepdaughter. She is always stressing over laundry.

    1. Kids do love helping! Especially if you start including them when they’re younger. It’s new and exciting to them and they’re so proud of themselves when they accomplish it 🙂

      I always make sure to praise them and tell them how proud I am when they can do theirs all by themselves.

      Instead of seeming like an impossible chore, doing laundry has become a fun time for my kids and I! My older ones have even turned it into a contest to see who can get done first 🙂

      -Julie

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