Laundry is one of my least favorite tasks. It’s one of those truly never completed chores that must get done regularly or it takes over your entire house.
And when it does take over, it feels completely paralyzing.
Nothing makes you feel like a complete failure like when you’re trying to get everyone out of the house only to have a child tell you they have no clean pants.
Multiply these feelings and clothes by 9 people and it seems like we are doomed to failure from the beginning.
I seriously need to live in the country so my kids can just run wild and free in their underwear all summer long.
Since that is probably not going to happen, finding a way to get a reasonable amount of laundry done on a regular basis is the the new plan.
If you’re drowning too, hopefully, some of these tips can help you gain control over the dreaded, never-ending laundry pile.
How to control the laundry pile
Do it every day.
I know, booooo. Who wants to do laundry every day? Not me. But I do it anyways because it keeps me from having to look at overflowing baskets, who I’m pretty sure mock me as I walk by.
I have figured out that if I do two loads every day, I can keep up on all the clothes plus fit in towels and sheets once a week. That will look different for you depending on how many people you have laundry for, how often you want your towels and sheets washed, etc.
So figure out how many loads you do per week, divide it by seven, and there is your magic number.
Since I am home all day my goal is to get a load in the washer first thing in the morning and try to have both loads washed and dried by early afternoon. The longer we drag it out during the day, the less likely it is that we will complete it.
This may be different for you if you are not home during the day.
Get the kids to help.
Since most of your laundry pile comes from your kids, it only makes sense that they should be helping.
After all, there are no magic cleaning fairies that deliver clean folded clothes to drawers.
There are obviously age appropriate things for them to do and if you start them young, it just grows into a pattern for daily life.
My 1-year-old thinks it’s a game to bring me clothes from the basket to fold. My two-year-old can tell which clothes belong to whom and is good at sorting.
All the older kids help fold and are responsible for putting them into their own drawers. My 14 and 10-year-old can run the washer and dryer ←—-Super helpful!
Having a place for all of your newly cleaned clothes is essential or they will just end up sitting on the floor or on the dresser, under the bed, or back in the dirty clothes basket (not that I would know).
Whether you have dressers, baskets, family clothes, hang everything up, etc….. find something that works for your family and is something in which children can easily help with.
If you have to do all the putting away yourself, it’s more unlikely it won’t happen (again, not that I would know).
Out of the box ideas
Sometimes you just have to take a step back and see what is working and what isn’t. Maybe you are out of the house all day and just can’t fit in the time to do two complete loads. Maybe having a huge laundry party once a week is how it has to work.
Come up with solutions that will work for your family.
Getting more appliances. Depending on how big your family is, this may be a good option. You will also need extra space to house the extra appliances. If you do laundry all day every day, this may be a good option.
Take away clothes. By having a smaller number of clothes available there will be fewer clothes to wash. You will have to stay on top of keeping everything washed because they run out of clean clothes faster. This helps cut down on those kids that like to change clothes in the middle of the day or who throw all their clothes on the floor and then deem them dirty.
Have kids responsible for their own clothes. Give your kids a day of the week for them to responsible for washing, drying, and folding their own clothes. The less you are in charge of the better. This is a great time to teach them this life skill before they are on their own.
I think it would be amazing if there was a hard and fast rule for controlling the laundry pile. With families being different sizes and having different needs, you have to experiment and find a routine that works best for you.
Some ideas will work well and some won’t. We set ourselves up for failure when we try to make someone else’s routine work for us.
By figuring out exactly how many loads a week you need to do, you can create a plan to attack it in small manageable pieces.
Getting control over this part of your life will free up more time (and space) for you to do other things with your day without feeling overwhelmed.