Thursday, December 15, 2011

Feed the Machine Day...

If you walked into our home on any given Monday, this is what you would be greeted with!

My smiling face!

OK, and then this...

Monday is what we term "Feed the Machine Day" at The Cottage.  I have tried many different laundry routines over the years, but I always come back to doing it all on one day - all day - and then not thinking about it until the following week! {Of course there are a few exceptions, but not many!}

What you see in this picture is all of the kiddos baskets lined up and the white chair where the pile to be folded is dumped.

I can already hear you saying, "I only see 8 baskets?"  That is due to the fact that Brandon does his own laundry and Mama and Papa share a basket.

The routine goes a bit like this:

Big kiddos bring all laundry to the furnace room. {Stored in bedrooms during the week.}
Mama and little sort laundry.
Little stuffs machine full and helps Mama with the detergent. {Start}
Alarm sounds when wash is done - Mama calls to little {usually Sarah} to move laundry to dryer.
Mama meets little with next load ~ repeat!
When first load is dry - Mama calls to little to bring load to chair and move load from washer to dryer.
Mama meets little with next load ~ repeat!
Mama and helpers fold and sort each load as they come from the dryer!
Repeat! ~ Repeat! ~ Repeat!

{Our routine is a bit different in the summer, as I hang the clothes to dry.}

Monday is also our "Recoup from the Weekend" day, so I very rarely make any extra plans!  We spend this day hitting our home school hard, doing laundry and picking up the house so we have a calmer week.

OK - I know someones laundry routine is not the most fascinating post...but you would be surprised at how often I'm asked about it!  And, how many times I've searched to see how other large families manage this area.

Hopefully someone is inspired!  Has anyone else found a good system for laundry?

Thanks for stopping by! Be Refreshed!


  1. Little miss Kaylee has already started to help with laundry! She is really good at pulling the clothes out of the sorter, and giving them to me or putting them into the washer herself!
    We do our laundry on one day (Monday) as well, but I just have a 3-bin sorter (towels and whites in one, darks in another, and the girls clothes in the last one) plus a load of diapers, although diapers must be done twice a week, so Thursday the machine runs again...then ironing gets done on Thursdays during naptime!

  2. Every day is laundry day at our house. Every day, I start a load in the morning, and let it soak till Abby gets home from preschool @ lunchtime- then in go her painty/muddy/food-and-marker-stained clothes, and the load runs. I switch it to the dryer whenever I remember during the afternoon, and start the whole thing over again in the morning, usually with somebody's sheets from the night before. Sometimes there's an extra load on a given day, just depending on how many changes of clothes the kids have needed. Abby loves to help load the washer & switch the clothes to the dryer, and is learning to sort. Alex REALLY wants to learn to do laundry, so I need to get a PECS schedule up on the wall, with clear illustrations of each step, so that he can do it independently. This routine seems to work well for us, as we are still in the phase of occasional wet sheets at night/naptime, and I've got to catch the stains from preschool on Abby's clothes right away. It also ensures that Ryan always has at least one set of clean work clothes, and since I know I'm going to be doing daily loads, it is easy to think ahead about what everyone's going to be wearing the next day, and toss things in if needed. But you wanna know the best part? Our wonderful DDD Caregiver, Steffi, folds and often puts away the laundry each time she's here- about 3 times per week. She is an amazing blessing!

  3. Do you do by color or by family member? We remodeled our 1/2 bath laundry room shortly after moving in so we added a large laundry tub and a double mounted cabinet (two taller kitchen cabinets, the upper one is flipped, so there are two drawers in the middle and two doors, one on the top, one on the bottom. I have large kithen waste cans in each, one for darks, one for lights. Every time one is full (usually every day or every other day) I run the load. I also flip every time I go to the bathroom since there's a bathroom in ours! I also switched to having only two hampers, one in our room in my closet that my husband and I share and one pretty one in the hallway for all the children to share, no dirty laundry on the floor, when they take it off, it immediately goes in the hamper in the hallway. I bring laundry down daily or whenever I'm headed in that direction. I only have one laundry basket because I found with more than one, I'd let clean clothes finish. Now I'm forced to fold (I do it on my bed, which has to be made first, then pile by child, our dressers are at the end of my bed, so I put away as I fold for our stuff) or I can't unload the dryer! My 3 year old puts away the kitchen and bath towels, my 6 year old does his and his 3 year old brother's clothing and I do the baby's and my husband's and mine for putting away. Erin L

  4. Laundry, oh my. It is one trip after another to see if the complexes machines (2) are being used and most times they are. So sometimes I wash what I need by hand and hang all over the bathrooms and bedroom to dry. I am (as usual) a procastinator so I do many by hand. The clincher is the sheets. Did them once by hand and killed my back. Saves about $10 a month if I wash by hand. Call me crazy!!!

  5. @Erin - We sort by color and I love the idea of having the dressers all in one room! (If only I had one room big enough!)

    @Megan - I can see the benefit of catching those stains early!

    @Tristen - you are such a good mama starting early! The extra time now is SO worth it!

    @Everyone: Does anyone have suggestions for getting whites white in a frontload machine? How about that collar stain on baby clothes?

  6. We are not a large family by any means and the only system that seems to work for me is the 1 load a day rule. If I can get 1 load washed, dried and put away the Laundry Monster stays away. My dh on the other hand is just like you and does it all at one time.

    Thanks for the peek into your life!

  7. I do laundry on Mondays, too. And then a load or 2 on Fridays as well. And lately it seems like I'm always doing a load in between somewhere because my little guy's had yet another diaper blowout. Fun times. The 2 stain removal tricks I always use are a good long soak in Oxy Clean and a spot treatment with the Shout gel (with the scrubby bristles). That Shout gel is really the best I've found - gets the baby poo off white items, and helps with the collar stain, too. I try to let it sit at least a full day (you can wait a whole week) after treating it before I stick it in the wash.

  8. MAMA COOK- I have a front loader and I use a home made detergent of Fels Naptha, Borax and Washing Soda. My whites stay WHITE and I sometimes use bleach to kill germs. For those tough baby stains I spray with Resolve Spray N Wash and do a prewash with white vinegar instead of detergent.

    Mother of 5 (so far)

  9. We, too, have a front-loader and make our own detergent. I do need to do a whites-bleach load every once in a while, but the whites stay relatively white (enough for me!).

    We are blessed to have an extra bedroom in our house which we converted to a mega-laundry room about 5 years ago. We have a washer and dryer, a three-space laundry bin, and lots of shelving. We took out the closet and installed wall-to-wall, two-leveled white wire shelf racks. We hang up nearly EVERYTHING. Jeans, t-shirts, dresses, skirts, jackets...On the shelves we have baskets, in which are unmentionables, socks, shorts, and jammies, as well as the various rogue mittens, hats, etc that need a home.

    It's not always the tidiest room, but it works well. I hate laundry in the kids' rooms, so it's just not allowed anymore. They put their dirties in the laundry room, pull their clean clothes from the laundry room, and they're good to go.

    We do laundry daily. Our newest system (after trying so many different ones) seems to be working the best. On Mondays, Keilah gets things caught up with towels and sheets. Tuesdays the two middle-little boys (8 and 10) do their laundry (all the way through - wash, dry, and put away before dinner); Wednesdays are mine, to do Erik's, Gus', and mine; Thursdays are Bethie's, Fridays are the big boys, and Saturdays are catch-up and church prep (kind of a free-for-all, first come/first served type of day).

    We have a second, small washer/dryer set upstairs which is such a blessing. Keilah does hers and Abbie's laundry up there, anytime they want. And if there's a long vacation or major stomach flu that goes through the family, it's guaranteed that the upstairs washer will be doing overtime for the rest of us! :-)

    Laundry can be such a tough thing to keep up on...I have posed to the family that we each go down to four outfits and one church one, but that was met with such a lack of enthusiasm, I quickly shelved that one. For now.