Laundry overwhelms me. I love the little farmhands, but they sure go through a lot of clothes! One time I counted that in only 3 days, Little Messy Farmboy went through 48 different items of clothes (pants, shirts and underwear). And that’s just one child. There never seems to be an end to it… No hope in sight… Poor me… Poor me… All this laundry… This is my life… Poor me… Ever felt like that? Then I met my friend Pam. She has 6 children. SIX. Count them: 1 – 2- 3- 4- 5- 6! The amazing thing is, there is never any dirty laundry at her house. It turns out, she has a great laundry system that actually works! She has even learned to enjoy her laundry time! Someone who enjoys doing laundry for a family of 8? I’m pretty sure I can learn something from someone like that, so I asked her to share her system. If you’ve been looking for a way to organize your laundry, this post is for you! Even if you don’t have 6 children, this post is definitely worth taking the time to read! Here it is, in her own words:
“The system is pretty simple, but like most things it requires consistency and discipline. I'm a pretty organized and neat person by nature, but I used to have a major laundry problem. Very simply, I hated it!!
My first step was to weed out clothes and really keep only the things we really loved/enjoyed. I was blessed with lots of hand-me-downs, and a great thrift store. I realized that having so many items for each child was allowing me to use them as a crutch. I had a hamper in each closet and they were always full & overflowing and it didn't matter. There were plenty of other clothes! So, I got rid of all the hampers in the house. Now we use the washer as a hamper:
In the evening when everybody changes into pjs we all bring our clothes down and put them in a clean, dry washing machine. First thing in the morning I open my washer and it is full of the previous day’s dirty clothes.
I sort the clothes into basic darks, colors and lights, then and begin the wash. This is a pretty light day, but I usually do 3-4 loads a day. Sometimes not so much. Then, as soon as the laundry is dry, I fold it right there:
Any ironing gets hung up until Monday. That’s when I do ironing and sheets and towels. I do sheets on rotation: Mine one week, Girls’ the next week and Boys’ the following week.
By the washer & dryer I have a small wicker basket for each child. When the clothes come out of the dryer, they are immediately folded and put into the appropriate basket:
My goal is for all laundry to be done by 4. When I say “done” it must be put away, too. The final step is that all my happy helpers scamper off to put their fresh, clean laundry away. Now my washer is empty and dry and it’s ready for them to put their dirty clothes in in the evening.
I said the first thing I did was weed out clothes, but actually the first thing that I had to do was change my attitude. I have actually come to love laundry. I'm thankful for my houseful that requires all these duds! I pray over the items as I'm washing/drying/folding. It's actually become a ministry for me. It's the first thing I offer to someone who's going through a rough patch, new baby, etc. If you'd have told me that years ago I would have laughed like a crazy woman! Learn to love it and it changes things. Hope this helps!”
I have implemented Pam’s system in my home and I love it! The one minor change I have made is instead of using the washing machine as a hamper, we have 2 hampers side-by-side in the bathroom. One is for colors and one is for whites. Everyone is trained to put their laundry in the correct hamper, so it is like the laundry automatically sorts itself! I also have one lingerie bag for each member of the family. Everyone puts their socks into their own bag and then the entire bag gets thrown into the washing machine. This makes matching up socks so much easier!
For me, the keys to making this system work have been: 1 – weeding out the clothes so that we have just what fits and what we like, 2 – changing my attitude and praying for the people whose clothes I am folding. If I have a lot of laundry to put away, I will put a ladies retreat CD on to listen to while I work. Then, my body is folding laundry but my mind is communing with God!
Are you inspired by Pam’s Laundry system? Ready to make some changes at your house? To help you get started, we are hosting a laundry-related giveaway: Dryerballs! Click here to be taken to the Dryerball giveaway!