Thursday, August 3, 2017

How to Conquer the Laundry Monster

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Around four years ago, I conquered the laundry monster.  It was awesome.

Aaaand, then it came back to life.

Long story short, I had my fourth baby who ended up being medically complex, we moved to a new home, my two oldest kids, the baby and I were all diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and I've spent the last three years at doctors' offices and in hospitals.  My world was turned upside down, and I totally lost control of the laundry.

How to conquer the laundry monster

That baby is now three years old and doing amazingly well.  We're slowly getting past the newly diagnosed stage of having a genetic syndrome and moving on to the maintenance stage.  We've lived in our home for three years now and everything has been unpacked, spread all over the house, and multiplied x 2000.  (Seriously, where does all this junk come from?!?)

It's time to tackle the laundry.  *insert scary music here*

I'm going back to my tried and true system, and I'm even going to share it with you because I'm just that awesome.

The first step is to divide the laundry up into categories.  Here are mine...
  • Towels
  • Hubby's and my clothes
  • Katie and Anna's clothes
  • Nano and Davy's clothes
  • Hubby's farm clothes (which have to be washed separately because of the lovely hog smell.) 
The next step was to assign each category to a day of the week like this...

Monday: Wash Hubby's farm clothes
Tuesday: Wash the towels
Wednesday: Wash the girls' clothes
Thursday: Wash the boys' clothes
Friday: Wash Hubby's and my clothes

This gives me the whole weekend off from the pressure of doing laundry.  If we're gone all day and I don't get a chance to do that day's laundry, I can either double it up with another day or do it on Saturday.
The key to making this schedule work is folding and putting away the clothes right away instead of dumping it all out on the couch to worry about later.

I've found it's easier to stay caught up on folding and putting away laundry when I'm just doing one category a day.  I used to tackle 6-8 loads in one day, and it was completely overwhelming to stay on top of folding and putting it all away.  When you're not behind on the laundry already, folding and putting away one or two loads is not a big deal.

Here are a few other tips for making laundry easier at your house...
  • Get color coded laundry baskets for each child.  Their folded laundry can go in their basket, and then they can take it to their room to put away.  
  • Treat yourself to a episode or two of your favorite show on Netflix while you fold the laundry.
  • Throw all of the socks in one basket and have a sock matching party with the kids once a week.
  • Or, get each member of the family a mesh laundry bag for their socks.  That way, they can easily match their own socks.
  • Use divided laundry baskets to collect the laundry in bedrooms and the bathroom.  Teach the kids to throw the dark clothes on one side and light ones on the other.
  • Use laundry baskets that hang over the door if space is an issue.
  • Teach the kids to do laundry!  My 9 year old can fold and put away her own laundry, my 7 year old can fold his laundry with a little help and put it away, and my two youngest are learning to fold and put away.
  • Use dryer balls to cut down on drying time.
  • Hang a stain removal guide and/or laundry symbol guide next to the washing machine.  You can find some cute printable ones here.
How I conquered the laundry monster and you can too

Is laundry an ongoing issue for you or have you found any tricks to help you stay on top of it?  I'd love to hear how you handle laundry at your house!