Laundry Folding Party

Laundry folding party!
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.

Laundry waiting to be folded

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.)

Laundry folding party!

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.

Playing with the clean bibs
Eliyahu put all the clean bibs on Channah before putting them away...

Being silly with the laundry
Another day, Eliyahu (8) tried on a bib and pretended to be a baby...

Yehoshua being silly
...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

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.


Hi Tammy! Love all the photos of the children! The baby gets prettier all the time! Looks like they actually have fun folding! And what an awesome reward! Seems like a good system for you. Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend! Blessings from Bama!

Thanks, Felicia! I think the kids have more fun goofing off than folding. ;)

Wow! The children are growing up so much, and I think Channah looks just like you!

Thanks! I'll take that as a compliment! :D

My children are now grown but when I had to wash for a family of 6 I did it daily. My dad is a gadget guy and recently asked me to purchase for him MiracleFold Laundry Folder. The price is high for what it is but I really think it would make folding clothes fun for the the children. And it really does a good job and they stack up so nice as the shirts are all folded to the same size. Your family is beautiful and you are truly blessed!

I looked up the laundry folder on Amazon. Neat! :) Yehoshua is a very particular folder and his stacks of clothes always look perfect. Unfortunately they don't stay that way as the kids rummage around in their drawers finding their favorite outfits to wear first. ;)

I try to wash/dry one load every day, but the folding waits until Friday nights. We have a large loft area and set up 3 baskets - when you take your clothes off you drop them into the corresponding basket (lights, brights, darks). This way everything is already sorted and I can just grab a basket to quickly start a load!

Sounds like a great system, Crystal! :)

My kids recently went to a birthday party where they were handing out some rocket type water shooters. She told me she picked them up at Dollar Tree. The kids have been having a blast with those on the hot days. We're already in the 100's here in Kansas.

I think I've seen those water rockets -- they are quick to re-load and shoot. :)

We only occasionally get 80+ degree days, even in the summer here... it's a nice treat when it does get truly hot for a few days! Most of our summer weather is 60's and low 70's which is great for doing things outside but not warm enough to get wet. :)

Tammy I am so glad to see you back to blogging. You and your family are such an inspiration. I hope you'll do an updated cloth diaper post.

When I looked at this I first thought...where's the baby?? but then I looked again and there's Channah so grown up!! All of the children have look at those handsome boys. My boys are the same ages as yours. And we have a new baby.

When you say you "all" work together on the laundry does your husband help too? How long does it usually take to fold all of the laundry at once?

Oooh, I should do an updated cloth diapering post! :)

Congrats on your new baby! Boy or girl? :)

We fold the laundry while Joshua is at work. I think it usually takes us about an hour to fold everything. It could drag on longer, but if I am working with all of the kids (I put away the towels, my clothes, Joshua's clothes, etc.) I think we usually have it all folded and put away within 1 hour. :)

...we got a girl this time :) All boys until now...

Love her so much

Wonderful! I bet she's beyond sweet. :)

Hi Tammy,
Great system and love the "folding party" idea.

Just wondering, how much time does it actually take you guys to do the laundry?
And fold the laundry?

Is it like your husband said?

Hi Gal,

I think I spend 20 minutes sorting/gathering the laundry and getting it ready to wash. Then it takes me most of the day to run the loads in the washer and dryer (usually 5 loads plus 1-2 loads of diapers or sheets). That isn't hands-on time though -- just remembering to run down to the basement/garage and put new loads in when the others are finished. Since it's already sorted, it only takes a few minutes to start a new load.

Folding a week's worth of laundry takes us about an hour (folding and putting it all away). :)

I do think it's easier for me to sort/wash/fold once a week like my husband had suggested. :)

I have a small family of 5: 3 boys (5,4,1). I was doing 1 load a laundry a day (except Sunday). My husband would always end up with something not cleaned. It struck me when you said it saved you mental energy & I realized I spend a lot of mental energy thinking about the load of laundry to do that day and the days of laundry in the baskets waiting to put away. So I tried washing, drying and folding all in the same day and I love it. I stay on track to remember to switch the loads by a timer and make it a "cleaning day". I am always looking for an excuse to stop cleaning, so it is easy to stay on target and switch out the laundry! :) It is so freeing the rest of the week to have the laundry done. We have a laundry basket for whites, colors, darks so the laundry is already sorted. I wash 6-7 loads a week. I honestly don't know how long it takes me to fold, and don't want to know! I fold as the laundry comes out of the dryer. My boys help with their laundry. Baby loves to help with the wash clothes and bibs.

so happy to see some new posts! you are the first and only blog i have ever really checked back with--back when both of us only had two or three children! your posts have always been "doable" because you are thrifty at my level, if that makes sense. :) anyway, i have six children, ages nine and under and we also have what we affectionately call "laundry party"! only difference with our party is that it takes place on our bedroom floor and that one child is assigned to pushing the baby around the upstairs in the laundry basket!

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