Dirty clothes are something that happens every single day. That means finding a way to keep it from getting out of hand is important when keeping a simplified home setup. Today we are going to look at a few things you can do to set up a laundry system that works for you and your family.
Doing laundry is one of those chores that is never-ending. Especially in a large family, and you can bet there is someone somewhere doing their part to fill your hamper.
And with such a routine source of clutter happening on a daily basis, finding a few tips and tricks to make this chore a bit easier to do is always on my radar. As a seasoned laundry washing vet of 30+ years, I can safely say that I now have a customized laundry system that keeps our clothes under control and makes this chore a bit easier to stay caught up on.
It is important to note that when I first wrote this article, I was a mom of 4 very active boys. They were in many sports, worked with me on our homestead, and spent many hours in the woods. This meant that dirty clothes were a constant.
Most of the tips today will be for that kind of family with that kind of activity.
But rest assured, you can use these tips for any size family, in fact, most of these ideas I still use today even though now I am an empty nester with just a fraction of the laundry we had before.
Time-Saving Laundry System Tips
Before we dive into our family laundry system, let’s go over a few tricks to make things a bit easier for you and your family.
Tip #1 Fix the sock dilemma
Nothing is more time-consuming than matching up socks, especially if you have more than a few kids at home. To help fix this, our kids each wear a different style or color of socks.
If you are on a budget, you can purchase a large collection of colored socks and separate them out by family member.
This tip has saved me mountains of time and cuts down on those single socks that tend to multiply yet never have a pair magically.
Tip #2 One towel per week rule
If you use a towel to dry a clean body and then hang it up to dry, it only makes sense that your towel is clean and not dirty.
In our home, towels last a week, meaning I only wash them weekly. This will at least keep your towel loads to a minimum.
You can also incorporate the color rule as we did in tip #1 above.
Have a towel that matches your child’s sock color, and let them know that is their towel only to use. When I was younger, my mom sewed my name on my towel, and this way, I always knew which one was mine. This will help turn this new idea into a useful habit.
Tip #3 Have a hamper in every room
This tip is so simple yet a complete game changer for any sized family.
When my boys were young, they each had their own hamper, which meant they were responsible for bringing clothes down when they needed to be done.
I love these hampers:
- Door Hanging Hamper – Great for rooms that are short on space.
- Canvas Bag Hamper – Affordable and super durable.
- Plastic Flexible Hamper – Another durable option.
Since I do not have a set laundry day, that meant they could bring their clothes down any day, and that at least saved me from having to gather up dirty clothes around our home.
If you have a set laundry day, you can remind your family so they all know today is the day to get their clothes into the laundry room.
Just announce to your family that it is laundry day, and in order to have clean clothes, they will need to bring their hampers or baskets to your laundry room.
Tip #4 Wash by hamper
I must confess this one tip completely overhauled our entire laundry system.
I found that you can safely wash misc clothes together without much issue. A few things to consider before adopting this tip.
What to wash separately.
- New clothes
- Anything red
- Delicate or hand wash only items
Washing clothes by the family member not only eliminates having to sort things out, it also saves time when I am folding.
This tip also eliminates giving the wrong clothes to the wrong person, which is earth-shattering, let me tell you. If only my youngest’s clothes go into the wash, I can guarantee only my youngest’s clothes are coming out.
This has cut my laundry time in half.
How to prevent color run in new clothes?
To keep colors from running in the wash onto other clothing, add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. The acid in the vinegar helps set the dye keeping it from staining other items in the wash.
You can also use color catcher sheets for additional protection.
Tip #5 Declutter the closet
Every new season our family does a clothes purge. This means that four times a year we streamline the clothes our boys wear.
How it works:
- Have your children go through their clothes.
- Instruct them to put anything they do not like or doesn’t fit into a box or basket.
- Be sure they go through their drawers and their closet as well.
- Once finished, they can bring their clothes to the kitchen.
- After everyone has sorted their clothes, your family can “shop” through what was collected.
- They can choose what they want to have being sure it fits.
- This is a great way to incorporate hand-me-downs without the usual drama it tends to bring.
Decluttering this way also cuts down on the number of outfits your family has.
If you find it hard to let go of your clothes, you can read some great tips here on how to make this chore a bit easier.
Clothes Decluttering Resources:
- Easy Ways to Declutter Your Closet
- Simplify Your Clothes Without Freaking Out
- How to Declutter a Messy Dresser
Tip #6 Let your family put things away
In our home, our laundry room is in the basement. To streamline my system, I prefer to fold clothes on a table we have set up nearby.
Since I wash all clothes by the person, I can easily fold things and put them right back into that person’s hamper. Our boys come down, grab their hamper taking it up to their rooms to be put away.
If there are
any hanging items, these clothes are hung up in our basement on colored hangers that match their color. This makes it easy for them to see what items are theirs.
Tip #7 Top priority clothes
If you have kids that play sports or wear a uniform to work, this tip will really help you out.
My family knows that if they have a stained shirt or a “need it now” item, it goes on top of the washer.
When I do laundry, I know these are the things that need my attention first. I will soak or spray any stains and wash those items first to ensure they are done on time.
If our kids do not get “need it now” clothes on the washer and instead allow them to stay buried in their hamper, they may not get washed in time. They will have to find a plan B if they forget.
Giving your kids more responsibility will not only help you, but it will teach them as well. A dirty uniform will not end the world but will instead be a reminder of how they need to take responsibility for their things.
Next, let’s look at our family laundry system. I hope you find a few helpful tips that will cut down on how much time you spend washing clothes.
Time-Saving Laundry System
My system is simple. I do laundry every single day. It’s part of my morning routine and it is just another way to keep the running of our home more streamlined and less stressful.
Whether your family is small or large, spreading laundry out rather than doing it all in one shot is a great way to turn a day-long chore into a few minute-long tasks.
The same is true with dirty dishes; by spending a few minutes to wash what is in your sink, you turn a huge job into a quick chore and save a ton of time.
Daily Washing Routine:
- Each morning, go into your laundry area.
- Move clothes from one area to the next.
- Take clothes out of the dryer and place them in your folding area.
- Move wet clothes to the dryer, sorting out any items that need to be hung dry.
- Push start on the dryer and hang up clothes.
- A new load is then started from what is waiting to be washed.
- If there are items on the washer, treat them as needed.
- My husband’s and my clothes are always washed first in our home.
- Once the washer is full and running, I will move to the clothes on my folding table.
- Clean clothes are folded and put into that person’s hamper.
- As a family member’s clothes are done, you can let them know they have clothes ready.
SLCG Pro Tip: if you have younger kids, use baskets in their rooms for quick put away. If they do not read yet, simply attach pictures to help them know what clothes go where. Don’t worry about good items getting wrinkled. Instead, keep those on hangars and up where they will stay neat.
From start to finish, this system takes about the same amount of time as it does to make a pot of coffee.
Over the years, as I have worked to declutter and simplify our home and life, I have found that small steps can bring life-changing results. This system is proof of that outlook.
Just a few minutes every morning, I can stay caught up on our laundry for a family of 6. Now, on the weekends, I only need to do a quick load of sheets or misc items, which is so much easier than doing laundry all weekend long.
Finding a system for chores and tasks can save time and energy. Breaking large things down into a short morning routine ensures you never get behind on things again.
Leave a small post-it note by your coffee maker or anywhere in the kitchen to remind you to do a morning load of laundry.
Before you know it, you will have a simple habit of your new laundry system added to your morning routine that will save you from spending a full day in the laundry room.