Aug 8, 2013

5 Days of Housekeeping for Homeschool Families: Day Five The Laundry

I have a love/hate relationship with laundry. I love it because I can start a load and then walk away and let the machine to it's thing. But I hate it because I can start a load and then walk away and let the machine do it's thing, which means that I can easily forget about it and then it doesn't get done. One of the deep questions of housekeeping is: just how long can a load of laundry sit in the washer without needing to be re-washed?
Many and varied are the tips and tricks that I have tried to keep up with laundry. Google "tips for laundry" and you will find them. There are basket systems, there are schedules, there are organizing tips, there are ideas for alarms, laundry mats, farming out the work to your family, or even hiring someone to do it for you.
But for me, it was the simple solutions that worked best.
One: I do laundry every day. I gave up the idea that I would ever have this chore completely done. Because really? The only way to accomplish that is to make the kids go naked... it was tempting, but their dad said, "No!"
So we aim for a load or two a day. I start a load as early as I can in the morning (this is worked into our school schedule, so it is actually more likely to do get done during school than during vacation) and we try to keep up with it the rest of the day.
Two: I made laundry a family chore. We have a front loading washer and drier so all of my kids can load and unload. I do not yet trust any of them to wield the soap or maintain a vigilant eye for spots and stains, so I start every load washing. But they can certainly do the rest.
I often send three kids at a time to the laundry room. One to pull out the clean, wet clothes. One to pull out the dry clothes. One to reload and start the drier. The motivation here is, if they find loose change, they get to keep it.
Three: Putting away clean laundry is also a family chore. I fold everything and each kid is responsible for putting their own clothes away. They put parent clothes on our bed and we put them away at bedtime. Kaytie puts away bath towels and the other three work together to put away all the other towels and cloths. We prefer to let a couple of loads back up and fold and put them away in one go in the afternoon.

Four: We paired down our clothing allotment considerably. Each kid has roughly a week's worth of clothes with some extra "nice" clothes thrown in for church or parties. This alone cut our laundry mountain down by at least a third.
Five: I don't sort clothes. Our front loader doesn't have a lot of options, and I realized that the option I always chose was cold anyway. So I just grab off the top of the pile and throw them in. It saves time and energy and helps keep the laundry moving.
Six: And this one was the most brilliant and effective. I never, never, EVER go to bed with a load left in the washer. Never. I always make sure that last load is at least in the drier. This broke the cycle of washing the same load three or more times because I forgot about it and it went icky on me. This also means that I can start a fresh new load every morning. It seems like a good idea to throw in that one. last. load before you head to bed. But for me, at least, it was totally counterproductive. And I just don't do it anymore.
So there you go. One mom's simple method of keeping her family in nice-smelling clothes. I hope you have enjoyed reading about housework this week and I hope you have been checking out the other 89 bloggers as well! You can find them by clicking the banner below.
In case you missed them, here are the other four days:

Day 1: The Plan
Day 2: The Schedule
Day 3 The Help
Day 4: The Food

Thank you for reading!

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