When you have a big family, trying to keep up with laundry may feel like trying to win a losing battle. If you are feeling like it has been years since the last time you saw an empty laundry basket, you certainly aren’t alone. And if you have clean and dirty laundry spread throughout your entire home in various hampers, baskets or even piles, you aren’t alone there, either.
Winning the laundry game is tough when you have a big family, but don’t give up hope! Here are a few laundry tips and tricks for large households that just might enable you to experience the unbridled joy of actually being done with the laundry — for a few minutes anyway.
Develop a Routine
Facing a mountain of dirty laundry is undeniably overwhelming. If you don’t’ know where to start, it’s a good idea to develop a routine that makes the entire process a bit more manageable. Think about what you have and what your current strategy is for doing laundry. Do you have enough hampers or baskets? Is your laundry room set up in a functional way? How do you sort clothing before washing? When is the best time of day for you to do a load or two?
With the answers to these questions in mind, you can work toward getting organized and establishing a routine. If you have a bit of downtime between 1 and 4 each afternoon, make doing a load of laundry a habit. Make sure you have enough hampers for everyone to have their own, and tackle one person’s laundry each day. Breaking it down into smaller chunks and washing clothes every day is significantly less overwhelming than trying to tackle it all at once. Once you’re used to the routine, you’ll find that keeping up with your family’s clothes is easier than you ever imagined possible.
Make Sure You Have the Proper Supplies and Tools
When you’re managing a large family, sometimes it just isn’t possible to run to the store when you realize you are out of laundry detergent. By making sure you have everything you need on hand at all times, you can avoid the frustration of not having what you need when you have some spare time for washing clothes.
Stock up on detergent, fabric softener, stain removal products, bleach, etc. Try to stay at least one wash ahead on the essentials. As soon as you open a bottle of fabric softener, for example, pick up another. Staying one ahead means that when you empty one container, another is already waiting on the shelf. Also, make sure your laundry room is outfitted with useful tools and supplies like a small trash can for lint, a folding table, a clothesline or a closet rod, an ironing board and iron and extra laundry baskets. Having everything you need to successfully wash, dry and fold a load of laundry all in one place makes it a lot easier to keep up and not fall behind.
Get the Entire Family Involved
Being the mom or dad doesn’t mean you have to do it all. Even the youngest members of your family can help with tasks like doing laundry. Make doing their own laundry a part of your older kids’ chores. Doing so takes a lot of stress off you, and it helps teach them a valuable life skill. Your tweens and teens can also help with their younger siblings’ laundry. As a bonus, if your kids are doing their own laundry, they are way less likely to wear a shirt for five minutes than throw it in the hamper as “dirty”. This is especially helpful if you tend to purchase wholesale t-shirts for your entire family. Without each member of your family present to identify their own clothing, things could get quite confusing!
Kids who are too young to handle doing laundry on their own can still lend a hand with tasks like pairing socks, folding towels and putting things away. Start teaching them how to handle household chores young, and before you know it, they will be chipping in more and more.
Put It Away Immediately
As soon as a load of laundry comes out of the dryer, fold it and put it away. Do this prior to even throwing another load in the dryer. The sooner you do it, the less likely you are to put it off. Plus, putting one load away takes a lot less time than putting away the 10 loads you’ve probably let pile up on your couch at least once.
If you don’t put all the laundry away yourself, assign a clean basket for each member of the family. Place their clothes in their respective baskets, and take the baskets to their rooms immediately. If your kids are in school, make putting their clothes away their first chore upon returning home. The same goes for your spouse if he/she is at work when you finish up a load of their laundry. Eliminate procrastination from the process of putting laundry away, and you are way less likely to end up with mountains of clean clothes cluttering up your home.
Conquer Your Mountain of Laundry
When you have a large family, winning the laundry game is no easy task. By doing things like involving the entire family and establishing effective routines, though, you can make the process much easier. Very few people actually like doing laundry, but unless you can afford to buy the entire family a new outfit every day, it’s a necessity. We hope that the tips above make keeping up a bit easier and maybe even help make doing laundry somewhat enjoyable.