There are still 7 children living at home. Laundry continues to be a never ending cycle, along with dishes, these the few things I can get a little snarky about when I hear someone complain about their laundry situation and I think 'oh, you had to do 3 whole loads today - how cute', I do 3 loads every day and that isn't if I wash bedding...3 would be the minimum....but I keep those comments to myself because I did sign up for this after all and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.
*I just reread this and gosh it does sound snarky, I'm so sorry! I really do have to keep my 'woe is me' in check over laundry. Sad but true.*
*I'd rather have full laundry baskets than an empty house, and it will be empty all too soon*
I should write a blog post about all the laundry systems that don't work, because I've tried everything under the sun to figure out this beast. The only thing that realistically worked and worked well was having a family closet/laundry room combination. In our last home we had the space for 2 washers and 2 dryers. I lined 2 walls with closet organizers and then arranged clothes based on size. I washed, dried, folded or hung up all in the same room. This also kept bedrooms free of clothes all over the floor because only Pete and I kept clothes in our room. It worked consistently and brilliantly, I loved it. Then we moved and I lost the dream laundry room/family closet and traded it for what I refer to now as The Dursleys because my washer and dryer are in a closet under the stairs with no laundry room to speak of, what an adjustment.
I usually like for a system to have been in place for years or at least a good 6 months before sharing 'what works for us', but I'm hopeful that what I've recently implemented will continue and in that spirit I'm going to go ahead and share that this works for us. If it changes, I will update as I have in other blog posts about what we are up to, or at least updated with what is working now.
*and no, this isn't my solution*
*or this*I have tried assigning days for older kids to do there own clothes, this often results in the laundry I need to get done piling up as I push and cajole them to finish the process. They all have jobs, school and a social life so leaving clothes in either the washer or the dryer would leave me throwing up my hands and completing the cycle for them just so that I could also use the machines or dumping the clothes on their beds for them to finish. I would wonder if I was teaching them anything at all and become frustrated with the whole process. It never went well.
I believe in helping older kids become independent adults, and getting them in the mindset of taking care of their own laundry + respecting that others need to as well, is important. I've recently stopped washing their clothes again (a few weeks ago). I still wash their bedding. I do the household laundry during the day, at 4 pm, I'm done and I make sure the washer/dryer are empty. They take turns each evening doing their own laundry and when I shut the house down at 10 pm I make sure both washer/dryer are empty. This is working.
It is also keeping me from the frustration of finishing the laundry only to have an older child come dump all their clothes into the hampers spoiling the sense of accomplishment. It is actually this habit that helped me come up with our new system. The older boys don't seem to mind either, and they seem to appreciate the independence of doing it themselves - no one wants to frustrate Mom. This is a win/win.
The new system is:
I do household laundry during the day.
(this includes Pete & I, kitchen, bathroom, younger kids clothes plus bedding)
Washer/Dryer empty at 4pm
High school aged and above take turns using the washer and dryer at night.
Washer/Dryer empty at 10pm
It works for us.