Lessening the Laundry Load

There are seven people in my family. That adds up to a lot of clothes. Throw in towels, diapers, sheets, kitchen cloths, and a few extras and that adds up to a lot of laundry. A mountain of it in fact!

So here’s a few ideas I’ve used along the way to help lessen the load!

Limit the amount of laundry. For us, this has meant lessening the amount of clothes, towels and sheets.

Two sets of sheets per bed. This might even be too much, but with some still in diapers, I need the extras. One set is on the bed, the second set is in the bedroom closet.

One week worth of kitchen cloths and towels (seven of each). If I need more, I need to do more wash. I also have seven hand towels for the bathroom.

One bath sheet, one bath towel, and one swimming towel per person. These are stored on towel racks in their bedrooms. Swimming towels are stored in the laundry room area. I actually have my towels colour coded. It makes it easy to know who’s leaving wet towels lying around.

We also limit the number of clothes each person owns. The following is my clothing list. This is what I aim for. Most of the children do not have everything, and I ruthlessly try to weed out the extras. We live in a extreme climate, so we really do have two sets of seasonal clothes. (More about how to deal with clothing storage tomorrow.)

Childrens Clothing Size Guide

Play Clothes

5 t-shirts, 5 long sleeved t-shirts, 3 sweatshirts, 3 pants for girls or 5 for boys (min:1 pair jeans), 3 long shorts, 1 pair sweats, 1 pair long johns, 5 dresses or jumpers and 5 tights or leggings (girls only), 4 pj’s, 1 housecoat, 10 underwear, 10 socks, 5 pair knee length shorts, 1 bathing suit

Good Clothes

4 complete outfits for summer and 4 for winter, 1 good sweater

Outdoor Clothes

1 light jacket, 1 winter jacket, 1 rain coat, 1 pair splash pants, 1 hat, 2 pair mitts and 1 scarf, 1 wide brim summer hat

Footwear

summer sandals, winter good shoes, running shoes, rubber boots, winter boots, slippers

Other Laundry Ideas:

My husband cut a hole in the floor of our ensuite which is right over the laundry area. Now it is easy to get clothes down to the laundry room. If we did not have this, I would give each person their own laundry hamper and it would be their responsibility to take their clothes down every night.

Down in the laundry room I have three baskets for sorting dirty clothes – lights, darks and others. This is a quick initial sort. When it’s time to do a load, I pick out a more specific load (like all the whites, or all the reds, or all the denims) and put it in the washing machine. Everything except sheets and towels is washed in cold water wash – it saves quite a bit on my natural gas bill.

Dried clothes are folded in the laundry area and sorted into personal dishpans – one per person. Each child is to fetch their clean laundry before breakfast and after supper and put it away. (My children start this, with help, at about 2.)

I try to put through four loads a day. (we call it a 4×4)

Truth be told, I never feel like I’m totally on top of laundry, but we generally have clean clothes and towels, and really that’s all I can ask for!