how we do: our laundry routine.

Oh, laundry.  It's been on my mind a lot lately, since I'm super behind on it, what with changing seasons and the resulting changing wardrobes and bedding.  While I admit that I do like being clothed, I hate actually having to deal with the responsibilities that come with being clothed, and clothing my children.  I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry right now, and admittedly, I like cussing at the laundry like it's somehow the sheets' fault that stuff is piling up.

If it was just a matter washing and drying, I'd be fine.  I'm usually a load or two away from everything being clean.  It's just the folding and sorting and putting away that I'm terrible at.

That being said, I've found a few things that make large-family laundry a little easier, and I thought I'd share.  Because I've been a terrible blogger lately and am trying to stretch out my material so I can blog a little more often this week, AND because I've spent nearly ten years trying to perfect a laundry routine that doesn't make me want to throw in the towel and become a nudist, I'm going to space this out over a couple of days. Thrilling idea for a series, isn't it?

Anyway, here we go.  Let's talk laundry routine today.

Our routine:  
Our Cedar Falls house had a laundry chute on both floors that would just drop laundry right in front of the washer, which was DELIGHTFUL.  Sadly, I don't have that luxury here, so I've had to set up hampers in most rooms - one in the girls' room, one in the boys' room, one in the nursery, and one under the kitchen sink.  Bathroom and adult laundry get dumped into the girls' hamper.  Once a day, it is Atticus' job to haul all the laundry to the laundry room.  Normal laundry gets dumped into a pile; nasty kitchen laundry gets dumped into its own separate container to stew - ahem, I mean, in order to get washed first and to not mildew everything else.

I don't really have a set day to run all the laundry through the washer.  It just kind of happens whenever it occurs to me, but I try to get caught up with everything by Monday or Tuesday.  I am not of the mentality that laundry is something that should happen everyday.  Oh my word, I'd kill myself if I had to think about laundry every day.  Blech.  Instead, I just let stuff pile up in the laundry room through the week, trying my best to keep the clean laundry baskets separate from the dirty laundry baskets.

I only sort into Hot, Cold, and Jeans.  I mean, if there's like a pair of red socks or something hanging around, I might do a small load of darks, just in case, but honestly, I'm probably more likely to just throw the red socks away so I don't have to ever think that hard about laundry again.  "Hot" items are those with smells, germs, or (pre-treated) stains.  That's it.  White Tshirts get washed in cold because anything and everything that doesn't have smells, germs or stains gets the cold water treatment.  Why? Because cold water is cheaper than hot water and it doesn't steal precious hot water from my molten-lava showers.  Rock-solid reasoning right there.

I'm uppity about jeans belonging to me and Todd, otherwise I'd just throw them in with a regular cold water load.  We like spending a little more money on nicer jeans (but having fewer pairs of them, so it evens out), so I like to treat them as well as possible.  We try to go as long as possible between washes, but when they do need to be washed, I button the waist, turn them inside out, wash them on cold, and line-dry them.  Our jeans get more special treatment than our kids.  Don't judge.

Now, once everything's washed and dried, you're probably wondering when I fold it.  Because you're intensely interested in the details of my laundry routine.  See?  I knew it.  On Wednesday afternoons, before the big kids get the special privilege of doing their scheduled 'Arts and Crafts' time for the week, they sit and fold laundry with me.  They're responsible for folding all socks, underwear and washcloths for the whole family, as well as all kids' clothing.  They are also then responsible for putting away their own laundry.  We listen to audiobooks or Adventures in Odyssey while we fold, and an entire week's worth of laundry usually takes us about 45 minutes.   The kids earn double stickers for this.

And those are the details of our weekly routine - how we keep the laundry from piling up and consuming us.  You may have noticed that I didn't detail how I stay on top of actually putting away all the folded clothes, so I'll tell you.  My method basically consists of letting it sit around in laundry baskets in our room for a month, while I pull out towels and underwear as needed, until the basket is basically empty again.  Is it efficient?  Absolutely not.  But as I can't seem to break the habit, I guess I should just embrace it.

In case I drop the ball and miss a day or six of posting this week, and you're getting desperate to read about more Van Voorst laundry, you can pop to this past post of my laundry room and routine from waaaaay back when we lived in Story City.


todd said...

thank you for taking care of things like this for our family

Amanda Cushman said...

I'm so glad you posted this and linked your old post! I saw your BioKleen laundry detergent and already placed an order on Amazon. I have been looking for something safe and gentle like this. Do you still use it?

paige said...

I do still use it! I'm almost on my fourth 5-gallon bucket and still totally in love. It washes out without residue, and doesn't leave a smell. It doesn't build up in our clothes, and a tiny bit goes a long way. I really love it - but I've never met a Biokleen product I haven't liked!