A recent laundry folding party at the kitchen table
It's been quite a while since I blogged about laundry, so I wanted to share our current system (if I can even call it a system). I'm not a laundry genius -- I have plenty of other things I'd rather spend time doing! -- but we do manage to stay on top of the laundry.
I usually sort and wash laundry 1 day per week. Joshua suggested this system to me a few years ago. His words were something like, "I don't understand how laundry could be that big of a job. Just sort it, wash it, and put it away -- once a week. That sounds like a 2-hour job, max, not counting the time when the machines are doing all the work of washing and drying it for you."
I laughed! And used many words to explain why laundry was such a big job. And then I decided to try his idea.
At first it was hard for me to let the laundry pile get that big. A week's worth of dirty laundry for a family of 7 is quite a lot! But you know what? Wash day rolled around like clockwork and it all eventually got washed, and I found I was spending less time on the laundry than before and much less brain time thinking about the laundry.
We end up with 4-5 loads of clothes/socks/towels per week, plus extras like bedding. I am admittedly lazy about washing all the sheets and wait a month or more between washings for the kids' sheets. Channah is still in diapers, so I wash a couple loads of diapers per week as well.
I do still try to hang things to dry, but here in western Washington the weather doesn't always cooperate -- sometimes for months on end! If it gets warm enough in the summer, I hang some things outside on an indoor/outdoor drying rack similar to this drying rack which I purchased at Costco for $20 (normally $30) last year. In the colder winter months, I have been able to dry about 50-75% of our laundry indoors on that same rack. (When drying indoors instead of in the dryer, I wash a load every 2 days or whenever the last load is dry, but still sort and fold only once per week.)
After washing and drying comes the hard part: getting it all folded and put away! Folding Day is usually the day after Wash Day, so that every last load is dry and ready to be folded.
And for that, we have to have a folding party! I make sure the kitchen table is really clean (and dry) and everyone has to help. We listen to Adventures in Odyssey or audio books from the library while we fold. Everyone folds their own laundry, with older ones helping with the younger ones, and younger ones also folding washcloths.
Eliyahu put all the clean bibs on Channah before putting them away...
Another day, Eliyahu (8) tried on a bib and pretended to be a baby...
...while Yehoshua (9) made a "stink bomb" with his (clean!!) socks
and underwear and posed for a picture!
Of course, I have to be the "manager" who keeps everyone focused and make sure the job actually gets finished. Socks and underwear are the worst -- although I finally got smart and decided to try buying socks with designs or colors so it's easier for us to tell whose socks are whose. :)
This week's reward after the laundry folding party?
Playing outside in the beautiful, 80 degree (!!!) afternoon! Our weather this week has been perfect: sunny, clear, and highs in the upper 70's. The boys were thrilled that they could use squirt guns and play with the hose in the back yard. Unfortunately these kids all soaked their clothes before I dug out their swim suits, so when the day was done, I did an impromptu load of laundry with all the wet stuff.