Almost every client that I visit (and household, ever) has a hard time keeping up with the laundry. I would say that a good 90% of the jobs I do are centered around laundry, clothing, and clothing storage.
No matter how many times you majorly bust butt to get it all caught up, reach that beautiful moment where all the baskets are empty and clothes are put away, finally basking in the finished laundry glory… it all comes crashing back down around you in the form of an overwhelming mountain of clothing.
Over the years, through working with clients and battling my own looming laundry basket demons, I’ve found that there are a few key elements to keeping the laundry train a movin’.
How-To Implement a Family Laundry System
A laundry system is the single most important factor to stayin’ on your laundry game. Here’s how to start:
Use Small Collection Baskets
Once there’s a mountain of laundry accumulated, it’s so tempting to just shove as much as possible into that washer and push start. But the reality of doing so means that there’s a ton of laundry to PUT AWAY when it’s all dry… if it ever actually gets dry.
Usually huge loads take twice as long to dry and then its way more overwhelming to put away when there’s an overflowing basket of clean, dry clothes. These huuuge baskets of clean clothes tend to linger around, getting moved from location to location as family members rifle through layers upon layers of clean wrinkled clothes.
Minimize Amount of Collection Baskets
If possible, use the least amount of dirty laundry baskets in your home. In my house, we have TWO dirty laundry baskets, one in the kids’ (4 and 1) room and one in Mom and Dad’s.
The more baskets you have all over your house, the more the laundry gets scattered around. The more places the dirty laundry ends up, the harder it is to get a big picture view of how much laundry needs to be done.
Do Laundry Often – 15 mins of Laundry-related Work per day
Doing the laundry must be a regular occurrence. Sometimes (ok, usually…) once a week is just not enough. If you have a big household, you especially need to be doing some laundry-related work every day or every other day.
This doesn’t mean that you need to spend hours each day doing an entire load of laundry from start to finish. Often 15 mins every day can keep you on track if that just means putting in a load, switching loads, or doing a few minutes of putting away or tidying up drawers/closets for clothes to go into.
Don’t think you’ll stick to it? Put an alarm in your phone, perhaps a fun song or jingle that the kids like and will let them know that it’s time for them to help, too. (More about this further down!)
Keep Wardrobes Small and Simple
Not everyone is going to want to get on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon but that doesn’t mean you can’t implement some of it’s key elements:
- Have Wardrobe for *Actual* Life not Ideal Life
Keep clothing that you actually wear on the regular. Do not fill your closet with clothes that you wish you wore, but don’t… It just takes up space and contributes to subconscious stressors. Be true to your style. Keep clothing that you love to wear and makes you feel GOOD in.
- Basic, Interchangeable Outfits
Pick clothing that can easily be mixed and matched with other items.
- Minimize Duplicate Items
How many pairs of the same type/style/color of pants do you need? Pick your 3 favorite to wear and go with those!
- Keep it Simple
Shoot for keeping less than 15 days of clothing. It takes up less space and it physically forces you to stay on top of the laundry situation. Yes, 15 pairs of the best, most comfortable underwear is more than enough.
- Have Wardrobe for *Actual* Life not Ideal Life
Home for Each Type of Clothing
We all have different clothing for different seasons, activities, events, etc. Keep the different types of clothing with their like-items. Formal clothes with formal clothes… gym clothes with gym clothes, and on and on…
They will be a lot easier to find and put away if this is the case.
Everyone is Responsible for their OWN Clothing
This one may be the hardest part to implement, especially in households with those strong-willed teenagers/three-nagers who think that doing laundry is so not “cool” or fun.
Having a family meeting where *all* family members contribute to making a family schedule (including chores) will be a life saver. Kids (and spouses!) are all a lot more likely to help out with a plan that they’ve taken part in creating. Even the smallest family members should be included, you would be surprised what even the littlest kiddos can accomplish if given the opportunity.
- Use Small Collection Baskets
- Use *FEW* Small Collection Baskets
- Do laundry-work often. Must be a weekly (at least) practice. Create the routine. Stick to it.
- Keep wardrobes simple and interchangeable. Capsule wardrobe-ish. LESS is more.
- Specific home for each different kind of clothing: seasons, activities, formal, etc.
- Everyone takes responsibility for their own items. (an all-family involved chore schedule will help!)
If you feel overwhelmed just thinking about implementing a Laundry System/Routine or think that your family members might need a little extra help convincing, let’s BOOK A SESSION, I’d love to help.
Often it helps to have a neutral party that comes in, facilitates a family meeting and encourages each family member to get on board!
I have helped many families with just this! If you’re wondering how to integrate a laundry system to help improve your Household Flow, hit me up!