One thing I've been asked is HOW we do our laundry with all these kids?!?
This makes me kind of chuckle, because I FIGHT structure and systems, but with 7 kids I've really been FORCED to get into some simple routines merely to SURVIVE! This is why I say having a lot of kids forces me to be a better mom... ONLY out of NECESSITY :)
So I am by nature a BINGE and PURGE type of a person... I will let things pile up, like laundry, until I have a GIGANTIC mountain and spend 2 whole days just WASHING, SORTING, FOLDING... and maybe putting away :) That's IF I don't get distracted and forget to switch a load of wet, then they get stinky and I have to wash them like 3 times to make them smell normal again. (Which, by the way, I've found that if I dump in a little baking soda and vinegar I can knock out the smell in one wash.)
So, I don't like spending 2 whole days doing laundry... so I finally resorted to the whole LOAD-A-DAY school of thought, and here's how we do it, and it seems to work.
For the KIDS LAUNDRY:
1. Every ROOM has it's own BASKET for dirty clothes. My kids all share rooms so between 2 or 3 kids, they fill up their basket about once a week. They get washed together and when done, they end up back in the same room, so less sorting needing to be done.
2. I DO NOT sort LIGHTS and DARKS for the kids clothes. (Occasionally I will pull out something really white and do it seperately, or if I have new darks, I'll wash them alone, but otherwise they ALL go in together.) I wash in COLD and really haven't had a problem.
3. I run a LOAD-A-DAY, roughly speaking. I follow loosely the FlyLady routines where you ask yourself morning and night, "Where's my Laundry?" Start a batch in the morning, switch it sometime during the day, and sort it... sometime.
4. I DO NOT FOLD or HANG UP the kids clothes. Each child has 2 drawers.... one that holds SOCKS, UNDERWEAR and PJ's; the other holds SHIRTS, PANTS, SKIRTS, PLAYDRESSES. (Sunday clothes do get hung up in the closet.) Sometimes we put PICTURE LABELS taped on the drawers so the littler ones know where to find things.
5. My KIDS have to help out, the amount is based on their age. The OLDER ones can wash, switch to dry, sort, fold, put away... you know, they do it all, and then they can decide how they want them put away (folded, rolled, piled). The YOUNGER ones can HELP loading the machines, HELP sort the clean, and then THEY put them in the drawers themselves. Sometimes when I want to speed up the process I only make them PUT it away.
Sometimes their clean laundry will wait in their room in a basket until they are in the MOOD to put it away, but they don't get their CHORE CHECK until it's done.
The ADULT LAUNDRY is fairly simple too.... 2 baskets in my closet, LIGHTS and DARKS... as the clothes come off they get sorted. Once the basket is FULL I wash it and make GREAT efforts to DRY, SORT, FOLD/HANG it all that same day.
Once you've got this down, it's easy to throw in that extra batch of TOWELS or BEDDING and our house runs smoothly.
Despite what I USED to think, doing a LITTLE each day really does work well, keeps us supplied with clean clothes, and makes me happy!