Laundry - how do you handle it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 01-21-2011, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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How do you organize and stay on top of all the family laundry?? OMG, I feel like I'm constantly under a huge pile of clothes.. they change from dirty to clean and vice versa, but still.. there's always a pile! We live in a small 1br, there's a small closet for the adults and a small closet for the baby, but no dressers...


I guess I just have to bite the bullet and deal with it more often, but ugh. 

K, H, and baby E (who is now three!!!)
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#2 of 29 Old 01-21-2011, 07:54 AM
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At our house, everyone has a basket in their room for dirty clothes. Dirty towels and rags go in a basket in the laundry room.


I do laundry on weekends and everything gets done in 1 day.  I'm not a fan of doing laundry and I don't want to do it everyday so I take one day and do it all.  Towels get done on the weekends too when I clean and put out new towels.  Sheets get done whenever I think about it. 


But when I do laundry, I do it all the way through.  I grew up picking my clothes out from a pile in the laundry room and hated it, so all clean clothes get folded and put away the same day.

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#3 of 29 Old 01-21-2011, 08:40 AM
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I have 5 dc and dh works construction. The 3 little boys (who share a room) have a laundry basket in their room, dd and ds#1 each have their own laundry basket, I have mine own, dh's is kept in the bathroom since he goes right into shower when he gets home due to the filth.He has 2 baskets, 1 for the jeans and sweatshirts/work T's and the other is for socks/underwear/ regular day clothes. I also have 2 more laundry baskets in the bathroom (where my washer/dryer are) 1 is for wet stuff ie wash cloths/rags,towels, dirty undies/clothes (toilet training time!) and the other for more little boy laundry (they sometimes get changed in the bathroom if it's shower/tub night or whatever. I also downsized their clothing, I think it helps tremendously!! I wash the 3 little guys laundry twice a week since it's obviously more. ds#1 and dd's gets done weekly and they do it themselves (almost 12-dd and  10 1/2 ds#1) I do mine weekly as well and dh's weekly with the exception of his work clothes which get washed as needed. That said I probably do at least 2 loads a day/4-5 days a week. I do try to have 2-3 days when I'm not doing laundry but sometimes it doesn't work out like that. My dc also re-wear their hoodies and jeans if not dirty. the 3 older dc wear their pj's 3 nights in a row but the 2 little guys (3 and 1) usually need a clean pair every night it seems. I also love that my washer/dryer is on my main floor bathroom. I don't have to lug laundry to a basement! Also I'll admit, I have a sickness.... I love folding warm laundry and putting it away. I always rotate ie put the clean laundry under the clothes that's in their drawers so they're not constantly rewearing the same things but they do have their favorites it seems, lol. I'll fold and put away as soon as it's done so it's not sitting around. CAN'T stand that!!!

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#4 of 29 Old 01-21-2011, 08:47 AM
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we also use laundry baskets.  They are pretty wickers, tall with cloth bag liners. I keep mine in the master bath, my husband's is next to his dresser and my son's is in his room. You can grab the cloth bag and throw it all in the wash. Both my husband and I try to stay on top it it during the week, throwing a load in in the am, drying in the PM and folding when catching up on the news or watching a movie.

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#5 of 29 Old 01-22-2011, 03:20 AM
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I think I have a different system compared to most houses I hear about and see.


When I was growing up, there were no hampers or baskets in rooms- everyone was expected to take dirty laundry right to the washer/dryer area.  I honestly didn't even know about hampers until I got older.  So I continue to do the same thing in my apartment now.  I can't imagine hampers taking up extra space just so people can store dirty laundry in their rooms.  So anyway, we take laundry straight to where the washer and dryer are (which is in a closet in a hallway).  There is room on top of the dryer for 1 basket for clothes/linens and a small bucket I throw diapers in.  If the laundry pile gets any bigger than that, it has to go on the floor in the hallway, and we'd have to step over it, so it's good motivation to go a load every time the basket is getting full.


Also, less clothes, towels, etc mean less can pile up.  So that is making a big difference for us.  If you have a lot of baskets or hampers, then that's just more room for dirty laundry storage.  I imagine feeling pretty overwhelmed thinking about multiple baskets waiting to be washed.


Maybe try catching up, then switch to less space for it to accumulate. Does that make any sense? lol maybe I'm just weird!

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#6 of 29 Old 01-22-2011, 10:42 AM
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We have a family closet and hang up most stuff. Each person has one drawer for socks and undies. I do have a dresser for baby stuff and cloth diapers. We have basket hampers in each room and the main bathroom. My third child has the job of dumping in the laundry room daily. There is a dark and light basket in their under the hanging rack. I have a sink with a cabinet and the diaper pail is under that. I do laundry daily because we don't usually have enough clothes to last a week. Plus, I do not want to spend my Saturday doing laundry. My kids do most of the putting away.

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#7 of 29 Old 01-22-2011, 03:20 PM
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My system is more of a "out of sight, out of mind" type deal.  lol  I have a hamper in the linen closet in the bathroom for clothing and a hanging wetbag in the bathroom.  Also we have a small diaper pail under the sink in the kitchen for wipes and kitchen cloth.  When the hamper is full or the diaper pail is full, we run a load.  There's a separater down in the basement with 3 sections for clothing.  2 are for clothing, because I don't separate colors and whites.  1 is for towels and sheets.  I run a load every day, either wipes/diapers or clothing.  Because we have no dryer and have to line dry on lines in the basement exclusively we have to keep on top of it.  I throw in a wash after getting home from walking to the bus stop and it's ready to hang at naptime so I don't have a 3 year old "helping."  I find that one load per day keeps me up on laundry and it's usually pretty manageable.  The laundry takes about 24hours or slightly less to dry so I typically take up the dry laundry when I hang the wet stuff.  That way I can put it away pretty quickly one load per day.

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#8 of 29 Old 01-22-2011, 03:30 PM
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I do laundry daily.  I keep a row of baskets in the laundry room - each basket is for a different type of load.  Everyone puts their dirty clothing in the appropriate basket.  As baskets fill I throw them in the wash.  Bedding is normally pulled from the beds, washed and put back on.  (I have many sheets and blankets so if needed, the beds can be made w/out the laundry completed.)


My biggest laundry 'issue' was putting clothing away.  I used to fold it and leave it on the dining table and leave hanging items in the laundry room.  Reducing the number of items in the closets helped a lot.  Also, I've stopped using the drying rod in the laundry room as a family closet and started putting the clothing away.  Folded items are put in piles by the stairs and taken up and put away the next trip upstairs.

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#9 of 29 Old 01-22-2011, 04:55 PM
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I do laundry daily as well. I put in a load at night after the kids go to bed. I mix everything together and wash on warm. The next morning, I throw that load into the dryer as soon as I wake up. When it's done, I drape the clothes over the couch so they don't get wrinkled. Then I have the whole day to get them folded and put away! This is the only way I can make sure it gets done.


On Sundays, I wash either our sheets or the kids sheets, so that each set gets done every two weeks. 


I wash a towel load as needed or put one towel a day in with my regular wash if there's room.


We have one laundry basket in our room, and everything goes in there. If something is super dirty it goes in the bathtub until I do my nightly wash.


Good luck finding a system that works for you!

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#10 of 29 Old 01-23-2011, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! It seems like i just need to do laundry more often.. We've always been the type to let it pile up and then do a huge amount at once, but that's just not cutting it with a little one around. We're keeping up really well and have found a pattern for the cloth diapers, I think we lucked into a diaper pail that fits exactly 2/3 of our diapers.. so when it's full, we wash, and we have enough still clean to make it through til the others are clean...  

But with the everyday clothes, it may be a long road until we find a system! So far we've shifted to where clothes of any sort are never allowed in the bedroom unless you are currently wearing them, or they are your pjs under your pillow (our closets are outside the bedroom, near the bathroom).  That seems to be helping the massive pileup of "semi-clean" laundry. We may not figure out the sweaters/hats/mittens/coats piles until spring though!  

K, H, and baby E (who is now three!!!)
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#11 of 29 Old 01-23-2011, 07:47 PM
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We are a family of 5 and I often find myself doing 10 loads at a time. Then we have 5+ baskets sitting around the house for WEEKS!  All 3 kids are in school and DW wears office attire to work.  So, that is 4 outfits a day (sometimes more depending if spills happen! UGH!).  I'm not sure how I would even do a load a day because I separate the loads (whites get bleached, light colors, dark colors, kids clothes, towels/bed linens).  I bribed our cleaning lady to help me fold for an extra $10/week. ;)  At least I know she will come in and help me get it all folded so I don't have baskets of wrinkled messes!!

I don't have any advice...just sympathy! LOL!

An incredibly thankful SAH Mommy to 3 fiendishly enchanting girls 11/04,10/05, & 12/06. 
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#12 of 29 Old 01-23-2011, 10:07 PM
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I have a laundry basket that fits one load when it's full I wash everything together all on cold diapers I wash when I'm low and sheets and such get thrown in has needed I also have a bag of rags that gets washed either when it starts to smell or when im low on rags
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#13 of 29 Old 01-23-2011, 10:47 PM
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I do laundry (not counting diapers) at least every other day. I have to because our house is so small, and our only laundry hamper is in the hallway. Once that hamper is full it has to be washed or dirty clothes will pile up on to the floor heater grate which would be hella dangerous. I'd love to meet the genius who came up with floor heater hallways no less!

Its a pretty big hamper and fits about three loads of clothes: lights, darks and reds. DS goes through a ton of clothes since his diapers leak fairly frequently.

Once the clothes are dry there is no place to put them except onto the living room floor (did I mention my house is tiny) so they have to be folded and put away right away. And so on, over and over, week after week hang.gif.
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#14 of 29 Old 01-24-2011, 03:31 AM
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I have completely changed my laundry system.


1.  Get rid if excess clothes.  Come on, a 3 yr dd does not need 29 dresses and 20 pairs of pants!


2.  Do laundry whenever and never put it away.  I have just got to except that it wont get back to the drawers.  So in the laundry room, I have 4 baskets.  One for all towels, 1 for dh, 1 for me and 1 for the kids.  If the baskets get too full,  I may put stuff away.   But dh hates ging through his drawers making noise (kids are asleep in the same room) when he needs to get out the door in the morning.  This way, it is in a spot that he can get to.  I am even somsidering makig the laundry room one big closet and moving our dressers in there.  But I do like them in the bedroom for now.

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#15 of 29 Old 01-24-2011, 05:50 AM
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I do laundry every day. One day I do a load of mine and DH's clothes, the next day a load of the two kids' clothes. I usually do at least a second load each day, maybe whites, maybe towels, maybe bedsheets..... I try and do wash separately items the day after they make it into the laundry or else I end up with a big pile of things that need to be washed one at a time, and that's just overwhelming. 


I also TRY to fold and put away clothes as they come out of the laundry. I don't know how in the world you can manage without dressers, but more power to you! I wish DS2 had a bigger dresser, because it's always a challenge trying to fit his clothes into the one he has now. 

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#16 of 29 Old 01-24-2011, 06:51 AM
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In theory or in practice? lol.gif


In theory, everyone is supposed to take their dirty clothes to the laundry room at the end of the day. I have separate baskets for whites, darks, coloured and delicates. They are supposed to sort their own clothes. I gather up the dishcloths, bath and hand towels about twice a week. Then I run the washer whenever there is a full load in the basket. I try to fold clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. 


In practice, when I run out of socks or someone needs something washed, it's time for laundry. Then I will yell (in happy tones!!) that I am doing a couple of loads and would everyone please get their dirty clothes off the floor of their bedrooms and into the laundry room.  


Some weeks, I may wash a load every other day, and other weeks I may end up doing 5 or 6 loads in one day. 

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#17 of 29 Old 01-24-2011, 08:02 AM
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Like some others, I have a sort system in the basement that everyone is supposed to sort their own clothes into, and when a basket is full I wash it.  It hasn't worked out that way lately, because we have all been busy and I have gotten behind.  DD generally does her own wash now.  I have been keeping up with the clothing, but the sheets are now an almost insurmountable pile and I am considering going to the laundromat later this week and just getting it DONE! 

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#18 of 29 Old 01-26-2011, 05:29 AM
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I really don't sort laundry anymore unless I have new dark colored or red items going in that could bleed onto the rest.  I do a load a day and catch up on weekends, and make sure as soon as it's dry it's folded, and as soon as it's folded it's put away.  Otherwise it does get so overwhelming, I hear you!

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#19 of 29 Old 01-26-2011, 05:55 AM
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I do a load a load about every other day, and will do sheets on the weekends as needed.  I have DH and 2 DCs.  We all put our laundry in one laundry basket in our master bedroom closet.  Any dish towels get put in the laundry room.  My newest rule is that we don't start getting ready for bed until all the laundry is put away.  This has really been helping, as has the every other day method.  Before we would do it all on the weekend and it just got to be too much.

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#20 of 29 Old 01-26-2011, 10:57 AM
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We have hampers in the bedrooms and another on the main floor for rags/napkins/dish towels. I do not sort colours. Instead, I drag a basket down to the laundry room, dump it in the wash, then fold and put away once that's done. I try to do about a load a day, or at least every couple days. (It is way more manageable if I just start one load each morning.) Sheets and towels are washed together each week or so.

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#21 of 29 Old 01-26-2011, 06:39 PM
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Here's another great thread, too:

I have retired from administration work, so if you have a question about anything MDC-related, please contact Cynthia Mosher. Thanks!
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#22 of 29 Old 01-28-2011, 08:18 AM
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In order to stay on top of clothing I need to be running the washer almost daily.  My laundry is in the kids bathroom so when they brush their teeth and so forth I put in a load of dirty to wash, fold the dry and put away.  The next morning I run through and put the wet into the dryer.  If I do not do this it gets backed up and turns into a large pile of clothing that I do not want to deal with.  


My problem is my lack of anywhere to put my clothing.  But that's a whole other post about what to do without a closet in an old house.

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#23 of 29 Old 01-30-2011, 08:41 PM
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I can't wait until I can have a sig and don't have to keep listing my stats. winky.gif
I have 7 children, one on the way, 5 living at home currently. So yea, crazy amounts of laundry and some uniforms and most of my husband's work clothing goes to the cleaners so that's another errand on top of it all. I keep my laundry room extremely organized and well stocked, I'm diligent about it, otherwise I would feel really overwhelmed by it all. Clutter and I don't get along very well. I will say that I have housekeepers twice a week, so that helps. I do our laundry myself, but not worrying about other tasks on those days makes it easier and that's when I do the big stuff, like linens etc.
Each child has a hamper in their room and they are expected to pick up their room each night or morning (their choice), make their bed and leave their hamper outside their door before they leave for school or start their day. Obviously I guide the really little ones in this task. When everyone has gotten off to start their day I will do a quick sweep of the house and part of that is collecting the laundry, putting it into a larger hamper and getting it down to the laundry room. 
I settle any little one(s) that are home with me into some task in the laundry room. Helping with sorting if they are old enough but even if they are not I still call out colors and items of clothing as I sort, hoping it sinks in. lol.gifI usually have 2-4 loads . We have two washers and two dryers which was the best investment ever - I wish I had done that years ago, it saves me (and my sanity) from being chained in the laundry room all day. 
I am back and forth most of the morning, moving loads from washer to dryer and hanging/folding/ironing. Then I sort everyone's clothing and place it into their respective cubby. I run errands in the early afternoon, so dry cleaning gets dropped off and picked up and then added to its owner's cubby. 
When the children get home I collect bags/papers and they collect their clothing from the laundry room and head upstairs to change before homework. Again, I help the little ones do this. 
After dinner I will do one final load of anything that accumulated during the day and any towels or baby stuff. 
The weekends are pretty much the same routine, only its a family affair, when a washer or dryer buzzes someone will run in and take care of it. 
Keeping on top of it, staying organized and doing it daily works in my household and keeps the overwhelming mountain o'laundry at bay.
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#24 of 29 Old 01-30-2011, 08:55 PM
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my husband is a carpenter(read:very dirty clothing), and i have 5 kids plus i'm raising my niece and nephew.  9 people is a lot of laundry...i do one load every morning, and before bed i do one little load of hubby's work clothes(wash then throw in the dryer before bed).  in the morning i take out his clean clothes, do one load of the day's laundry, and fold/put away right away.  we have a very VERY small house and our washer/dryer is in our extremely tiny kitchen.  there is absolutely NO room for clothing to build up.  once a month i do all of the sheets/blankets.  sorry if anyone thinks that's too long to go without washing them, but i'm realistic.  we all--kids included--bathe/shower before bed.  so unless there is an accident or unexpected illness that would require washing right away(thanks to God that this is very rare), the blankets and sheets really aren't getting too dirty.  i will add, that my kids love to help with laundry :)

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#25 of 29 Old 01-30-2011, 09:22 PM
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Laundry is really like including fibre in your diet, if you don't do it, you end up with piles!


I also do a load or two every day, definitely at least every other day, but if for some reason I am having a very busy week and don't get anything washed for a couple of days, things get out of hand very quickly...  


With five of us in the family there are always a heap of clothes, towels and sheets to wash....basically it never ends....SIGH!!


SAHM to three
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#26 of 29 Old 01-31-2011, 02:52 AM
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I am odd man out.  I really don't mind the laundry.  I mean, I shove clothes and take them out clean.  Not like I am scrubbing them by hand. 


We have less clothes than most households and that helps a lot.  I have a basket in the hallway and everyone is expected to put their dirties in the basket.  I was a load or two a day...I hang some things and dry the rest.  I fold while taking things out of the dryer and dh helps me put them away.  


Now mowing the lawn, washing the floors, and cleaning the bathrooms?  Those are the big chores that wear me out.  

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#27 of 29 Old 01-31-2011, 03:17 AM
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I have finally found a system that works for us. I will say that DH and I drastically down-sized our wardrobes and we keep this in mind when buying new clothes for the children, too (i.e. we don't over-buy). We have a two-bedroom house with only two closets (one in each br) and 3 DC (#4 on the way). 


I keep one square laundry basket on the floor in a nook in the hall (can be moved to my bedroom if people are coming over). Dirty clothes go here along with dirty kitchen rags (I go through 4-5/day as we don't use paper towels). Every morning, I take the basket to the basement - there's usually 1.5 loads there. I dump this basket into another basket on the laundry room floor and start a load. I take the load(s) from the previous day upstairs in my little square laundry basket and quickly sort/put away. We have a 4-tier shelf in the closet of the kids' room - each kid has his/her own laundry basket. I don't fold kids' clothes but I do put socks and undies in a little basket that sits next to each laundry basket on each shelf. 


It takes about 5 min to put away one basket of laundry. I do fold mine and DH's stuff and hang up stuff as needed. 


The ticket is staying on top of things. It's amazing how little you need when you know that your clothes will only spend one day in the laundry (and will then be back in your drawer/closet).

"So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton

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#28 of 29 Old 02-01-2011, 10:43 AM
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i agree with the pp, limiting clothes is the best way to prevent piles.  if there is a pile that means we are naked!  i probably do laundry at least every other day.  i do minimal sorting.  dh's dress clothes from work go in one load at the end of the week.

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#29 of 29 Old 02-01-2011, 09:59 PM
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We are 2 teens and 2 adults. We have a hamper in one of the bathrooms and a bucket in a cabinet in the kitchen. Everyone puts their clothes in either location when they are dirty.


We have a 6 kg washer and usually do 1 or two small loads a day. We will run a load in the evening and hang it up in the morning. Someone (usually me or DH) brings it down in the evening (usually after supper) and then everyone folds their own clothes. That means I end up folding the napkins and towels ;)

The kids' school uniforms do not require ironing; DH and I are both office workers, so many of our work clothes can be worn again after airing before needing to be washed. If it's too rainy or foggy for drying sheets and quilt covers, we can send those out to be washed.

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