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My name is Bernice and I am a mom of 4 grown children, and nana to 8. Read more...

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Finding a laundry routine that works for you

Reading through the comments on my most popular post with almost 1.5 million views, 10 Habits for a Well-Run Home, I found there was a lot of talk about my suggestion of doing 1 load of laundry daily.  Many loved the idea, while others completely balked at it.

Those who did do a load a day found that this is what worked for them. In a larger household with 3+ children, it may very well be best that 1 load be done daily to stay on top of it and keep it from getting out of hand.

On the other hand, those who balked at the idea said they felt like a slave to their laundry and were never done. They chose to do laundry once or twice a week. This may be much more feasible for a smaller household.

I know that through the years, I have tried and worked a lot of different routines for doing laundry. I think the key word here is routine. Doing your laundry on a regular basis becomes a routine, you are less likely to fall behind and more likely to catch up quickly if you do. You have to figure what is right for you and your family and the season of life you are in.

If you have no laundry routine, and it just gets done whenever, that can be a recipe for disaster. It could be okay for a 1 or 2 person household, but you throw in kids and jobs and activities and laundry can very quickly pile up without a routine.

Looking for a greener alternative?

Different routines for different seasons

Below are some of the routines I have used throughout the years. Maybe you will find one that resonates with you and where your family is right now.

* When I only had 1 or 2 kids and worked out of the home 3 days a week, I would usually do laundry on my other 2 weekdays that I was off, leaving me laundry free over the weekend. At this point, I still did most of the work myself.

* When my kids grew and multiplied, I found that doing laundry Monday through Friday worked best for me. I still tried to keep the weekends laundry free. I began to utilize the extra hands in the house, having them help me sort, fold and put away as we went.

* Eventually, we became so busy with a full-time, yet seasonal, business, and homeschooling, that I went back to laundry 1 full day a week with a load of towels and jeans later in the week. As time went on, my upper elementary and middle school kids were put in charge of doing their own laundry. This lightened how much I had to do and made the once/twice a week much more feasible.

* As my kids became teens, I had no responsibility for their laundry whatsoever.  I decided I didn’t want to spend so much time in one day doing 3-4 loads of clothes, so I went back to daily, except I only had to do a load 3 or 4 days a week. It was fairly easy to dig through the hamper to pull out the whites, or darks or colors.

I think a lot of this has to do with mindset. We need to set our laundry schedule and then work it.

When I did laundry once a week, when I put away that last load that night, I knew that I was “done” until next week. Even though the laundry would begin piling up first thing next morning, I knew in my mind that I did not have to do anything with the dirty laundry except designate a place for it to be corralled until the next laundry day. (see bottom of post)

When I was doing laundry daily, again, when I put that load away, I was finished with laundry for that day. It didn’t matter that the hampers had clothes in them, I was done until the next day.

And only doing a few days a week, same thing, once I pull the load I am doing and get it done, I am finished until I choose to do the next load.

ALSO READ: 4 ways to do less laundry

A system for corralling dirty laundry

For you to feel “done” after doing your laundry, it is important that you have a good system for maintaining and corralling dirty clothes in your home. Figure out what works for you, teach it to your family, and make it stick. Whether they each have laundry baskets in their rooms, or their is a laundry basket in the bathroom, or you have a laundry sorter in the laundry room, find a way that works for you and then work it. Teach your kids to make it a habit to follow the system you set forth.

While I know it can be overwhelming, and sometimes just easier to do it all yourself, in the long run you will save yourself time and many headaches by teaching your kids a system and a routine. They need that routine and so do you.

While most of us do not have a gorgeous laundry room like the one pictured below, I encourage you to take some time to give yourself some tools to make your laundry easier.

pretty laundry room

One of the best things I ever did was install a hanging rack near the dryer. I am able to pull things out of the dryer and hang them right away, eliminating one step and also keeping them from wrinkling. A freestanding one can do the trick as well.

Make sure you have enough baskets and hangers to manage your laundry.

And, if your closets and drawers are causing you issues, you need to find time to work on those as well. See my posts on closets and on children’s clothes. 


2 comments to Finding a laundry routine that works for you

  • Before our youngest was born in November, I could keep up with laundry by doing 1 load a day…or 2 on Mondays after skipping the weekends. But now, between his diapers and burp rags and our regular laundry, I feel like we have the washer running 24/7. The people who owned our house before us painted the laundry room in a flat oatmeal color. I would love to repaint in a brighter color with an easier to clean finish. But I haven’t been able to convince hubs yet :)

  • J Laws

    I have 4 daughters and I found what works for me is a sorter like the one pictured above with 4 hanging laundry bags. We ironed their initials on them and allowed them to decorate their own with fabric markers. They each have their own dirty basket and are assigned a laundry day. (The oldest on Monday, the next on Tuesday, etc.) The morning of their laundry day they bring their dirty clothes bag to the washroom, empty it into the water and return the bag to it’s spot. I wash and put it in their clean basket (cheap folding mesh from Wal-Mart) and after school they put it away. Saves a ton of time on sorting setting as they are all girls and have similar clothes. Hubby and I wash ours on Fridays and weekend are for towels and sheets. I also put initials on their socks so I know who is leaving them lying around or in case pairs get separated. We all love this system and they especially like that their siblings don’t accidentally end up with each other’s clothes accidentally.