Tuesday's Answers: Taming the Laundry Monster

Our Tuesday Topic this week was from Nancy who asked for suggestions regarding “taming the laundry monster”. Here are portions of your answers, with complete answers found in the comments of this post.

This came from Beth, via email:

… Every Tuesday and Friday, my husband carries all of our laundry down to the basement for me. I used to sort everything before starting the washer, but I’ve found it saves time to pull out whites and put them into washer and sort out the rest of the laundry as I’m searching for whites… My daughter loves to drag the basket of wet clothes over to the dryer to put them in… One thing that helps me keep a steady perspective on laundry is this – I never do laundry on Sundays or Mondays, and I only rarely do laundry on Thursdays and Saturdays…
[Beth also included a recipe for a stain soak that is in the comments section.]

Blogger Laurel said…

First … buy a BIG front loader. wow! That has done wonders for our laundry piles.
Second … our kids begin doing their own laundry at about age 11-12. They are fully responsible for their own clothing.
Third … when a “big kid” shares a room with a little kid or two, this big kids gets to also share a laundry basket. Big kids keep the clothes clean, little ones keep the clothes folded and put away…
Fourth … as for the SOCK monster. ..Give each laundry basket their own “sweater bag”…
Fifth … dispersing duties as they grow. Our kids start folding their own clothes at about 5 years old…

OpenID gloryrevealed said…

… I generally try to wash clothes on Monday and Tuesday and get everything put away by Wednesday. I then wash towels and sheets on Thursday and then whatever needs it on Friday. It was harder when we did cloth diapers (finally done with that!). One thing that helps is our washer has a timer so I can put a load in at night and have it freshly washed when I get up in the morning or when I get home from school with the kids. That keeps me from rewashing moldy clothes. We also have a large capacity machine so I typically only have 3-4 loads of clothes a week.Delete

Blogger Staci said…

I am terrible at laundry. AWFUL. But one thing I do that helps me is to not combine peoples] clothing. Like if I do a load of me and hubby’s clothes, no kids stuff in there. That way, I am more likely to fold it, hang it put it away all at once. If I have multiple rooms to go into for this one load, I will never do it. I can’t wait to hear other comments.Delete

Blogger Life in Fitzville said…

Socks… I gave up a long time ago. I now only buy one type/brand. I am lucky that my younger 6 are all close in age/size. But we still have a couple different sizes in there. I have one hamper by the laundry area known as the “sock bin”. All clean socks get thrown in there. I do not sort them at all. When you need a pair of socks, you just go look in the ‘sock bin’…My husband also put up some big plastic shelves in our laundry area, and each child has a bin with their name on it…Full bins must be put away, and brought back with dirty laundry to throw in the pile.Delete

Blogger Cindy said…

..My husband tells me often that I need to delegate more work to our older
children, and he is right. Not long ago, I assigned the big kids each a laundry day… Once I showed them how to use the washer and dryer, and told them what I expect of them, they just do it on their own…I still do laundry for myself, my husband, and the two little ones, and all the towels. But now, it takes much less time. I find though, that it’s best to just keep the wash going all the time…Delete

Blogger Bonnie said…

Woohooo a question I actually can answer!… In our house once you are about 10 you do your own. .. So that leaves me laundry for my husband and I and the younger kids – the grade schoolers all put thier own clothes away with supervision… The best advice I have is to try and do laundry when you know you will be home to keep moving loads and anyone tall enough to reach the buttons gets to do their own.Delete

Blogger The Michel family said…

To tame the sock monster, try one of those laundry bags for delicates. It is a mesh bag and will keep all of the socks together. Each kid would have their own (underwear can be tossed in it too) and when the laundry is done, all of the socks in the bag will belong to one person and there won’t be any mis-matched or lost socks.Delete

Blogger Julie said…

… we are on an energy saving electricity plan which means that I can only do laundry after 7 pm or on the weekends. So it became the weekends. On Friday night we pull out all the dirty clothes and sort them. I do all of the kids clothes together (in loads by color) and when they are dry they are separated into baskets for each of them and then THEY fold them…I’ve also been trying to train them that just because you wear a shirt for 4 hours doesn’t mean it’s dirty and sometimes it can be worn again (my mother used to tell me the same thing). It has helped cut the laundry done somewhat.

Blogger darci said…

…Right now, and this seems like it’s working the best yet, I have just accepted that I will be putting laundry in every day, including Sunday. First thing in the morning, in goes a load, and I just continue cycling laundry til it is all washed. My kids fold it, deliver it, and put it away… We also have a front-load washer, which makes a big difference.

sandi said…

…I have 5 kids 7 years and under… they make a LOT of laundry!!! I especially hate socks, so what I do is maybe going to sound dumb, but it saves SO much time. No one in the house wears matching socks, not even me! I throw all the socks into a drawer and I just get them to pick 2 random ones in the morning. Seriously, I can’t sit there for an hour and match socks… plus what do you do with all the mismatches?? No problem now! It certainly is a conversation starter at your massage therapist/doctor/chiro etc when you are walking around with one purple bunny sock and one red Christmas sock… and yes I’m talking about my socks. lol

Blogger Mark and Wendy said…

I by no means have the laundry monster tackled…but on the days I follow o
ur routine (more or less!), we keep on top of it. I have 3 kids (7, 5, and 2 1/2 yrs). Each week its one of the older two’s turn to be the laundry helper. They put the load in the washer and start it as part of their morning chores, transfer it to the dryer before luncyh, and take the load out of the dryer to my laundry-folding station (my bed!)… I get a load folded while doing math facts or spelling words with my 2nd grader, and if it’s a crazy day then my husband and I fold it together and use the time to talk right before bed. ..

My system for laundry is simple. First of all, a little over a year ago we got a large front loader and it is a huge help. I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but if you have a large family, and the means to purchase one, I highly recommend it. I start every Monday morning by carrying down the six youngest kids’ laundry. I sort the clothes into darks and lights, tossing the darks in the washer as I go. Ladybug and Honeybee are learning how to do the laundry and in time I plan to pass more of it off to them. We cycle the loads through until we are done and I try to have the girls fold as we go. Then I set a stack of each girl’s laundry in front of their dresser for them to put away. I put the little boys’ laundry away or have the bigger girls do it for me.

Usually we are done with the younger kids’ laundry on Monday and I do mine and Russ’ on Tuesday. Wednesdays and Thursday we wash towels, sheets, tablecloths, delicate clothing, and all of the unusual things. Mimi does her laundry on Thursday evenings, which gives me an incentive to get my laundry out of the laundry room. The big boys do their laundry on Friday and Saturday. Most Sundays, even our washer and dryer have a day of rest.

My biggest challenge is getting the laundry put away. I actually like washing, drying, and folding, but putting it all away can stump me. On a bad week I’ll even get it all upstairs, but won’t get it sorted into piles for the kids to put away…that seems to have happened recently…last Saturday, in fact.

For more ideas you can read this earlier post on cleaning your home.

Thank you one and all for your great comments. This week’s Tuesday Topic will be up tonight!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Ann
    November 17, 2009

    Oh dear, I'm late again. I did post on this last year and here is the link http://crazyforkids.blogspot.com/2008/02/laundry-tips-from-pro.html

  2. Acceptance with Joy
    November 17, 2009

    It's all very interesting to me… we haven't adopted YET! We are working on that. As I read the blogs about big adoptive families I am struck by the fact that everyone mentions laundry… the piles and piles of it.

    I already have trouble keeping up with the laundry… but at least we don't have to do it by hand! We did that last year while we were in Africa for 2 months. Makes one very grateful for electric appliances.

    Anyway, nations around our table http://nationsaroundourtable.blogspot.com/ showed pics yesterday of their laundry system. I thought it was fabulous and since my laundryroom is in the process of being remodeled to make it more efficient I was pleased to SEE a good idea. Anybody else willing to show their pics?

  3. Anonymous
    November 17, 2009

    I am far from an expert, laundry is one of my biggest frustrations. I have run across a couple of things in the last few months that make my life easier with a large family.
    1. is the new bounce fabric softener bar that sticks in your dryer. it is cheaper then liquid lasts a long time and I only have to change it when empty. No more dryer sheets to through away, no more big jugs to do something with.
    2. I package my youngest 4 kids clothes in outfits. I put them in gallon size zip locks. I mark then play or good. I package underwear in it to. as soon as all the socks are mated I will be adding these also. It makes a world of difference the girls just grab an outfit. No more mom what can I wear. Also when ask the bigger kids to help with my little boys they do not have to search. I keep the bags in laundry baskets in the laundry room.(I do this because my 3 year old likes to change his clothes and would dump all the bags.) This idea came from a friend with 5 adopted kids under 5.
    I am excite to see all the advice

  4. Ranch Hand
    November 18, 2009

    I have started doing laundry every day, first thing in the morning. Younger children put ALL dirty clothes into washer (I quit sorting.) They then move it to the dryer, Older child folds and puts them away. With front loaders, all I have to do is put the detergent and fabric softener in for the younger kids!
    ~Ranch Hand


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