With five very active kids, I find myself doing about 20 loads of laundry a week, just in clothes. That doesn't include towels, sheets, and other extras that come along. As I verge on my 20th year of being a stay-at-home-mom, I thought I'd share some of my tips for getting laundry done quicker.
How to Get Laundry Done Quicker
- Pick one day a week to devote to laundry! I shoot for Mondays for my laundry day, and I'll be honest, I can't usually get it all done that day, but I'm usually close at the end of the day. If you work during the week, you might have to choose Saturdays.
- Everyone must submit their laundry to get it done and then pick it up after it's finished. If you don't put your laundry in the laundry room, you don't get laundry services for the week. (Sounds tough, but it works for the youngest to the oldest member of our family.)
- All stains should be removed by the person who makes the stain prior to going to the laundry room. If I don't know about the stain, I can't fix it.
- Start a load of laundry the night before, and change the load first thing in the morning. My laundry is in my bathroom, so this is easy for me. It gives me a head start on Monday, to have a load ready to go to the dryer in the morning.
- Never take clothes out of dryer without folding them. I don't like to touch things twice, so I fold clothes, standing next to the dryer and put them right into piles in my bathroom. My bathroom is long and narrow, so that long counter is on the right and the machines are on the left. I've lived in a house with no folding space and literally line the piles on top of the washer and dryer and put them away as I go. I also line baskets on the floor down the hallway if need be.
- Sort clothes as you go. If you can have a basket for each person to sort clothes into as you fold, you don't have to touch the clothes again.
- On laundry day, I go to the laundry room every 20-30 minutes no matter what! I change loads in the middle of homeschool, while I'm on the phone, before and after I run errands, etc.
- Everyone over the age of 10 get's to turn their clothes right side out for themselves. I would love to have the time to turn clothes right side out for everyone, but I don't. So, anyone who is capable of turning their clothes right side out, get their clothes just how they come out of the dryer. If they are half and half turned right, I turn them the right way before folding them. This probably saves me the most time.
- Socks are the most time consuming to match up, so I try to do them as I go. Trust me, whites take the longest to fold, but once it's done, I don't have a huge pile of unmatched socks.
- Have a basket of unmatched socks handy. When the next child needs an extra chore for bad behavior, this is the first job I dole out to naughty kids! It's a huge undertaking and they don't want be naughty again!
- Have a box of too small clothes handy. I usually have 2 boxes, one to sell, and one to give away. I sort them as I go. That way, clothes that need to be sorted out, never goes out to the kids' drawers.
- Each person in my family has to put their clothes away themselves. I call them to come get them, and they are responsible for putting them away. I've been known to take them away if they are still out the next day. I teach them that I go through the work of washing and folding, the least they can do is show respect by putting them away!
- I also have been known to charge a quarter (or a chore) per item that is either clean or doesn't belong in the dirty clothes. (I'm sure you don't have those kids that clean their rooms by way of putting it into the laundry basket instead of putting it away!
- I put towels from the bathrooms and kitchen in the child's basket that is responsible for that room. Then I don't have to put them away!
- Sports clothes, work clothes, sheets and towels are done 2-3 days after laundry day (Even I need a break!). At most, those take 4-5 loads, so it's not hard to get them done on another day. Four loads doesn't seem like much compared to 20 on Monday! lol I know, perspective is everything!
- I might have to do the sports uniforms 2-3 times a week, so I always try to get the work clothes into the same load. I sneak those loads in when I can!
I know this may seem like a lot of rules, but it works for me. I find if I can transfer some of the work load over to the rest of the family, I'm not caught in the business of getting clothes found and delivered throughout the house. I only focus on getting the clothes cleaned and folded. If I'm feeling overwhelmed by all the clothes, I try to pray for the person I'm folding clothes for at that moment. This gives me something to focus on instead of my own laundry frustrations. It also gives me a great chance to pray for my household, while I'm getting the mundane chores finished!