Laundry and the Large Family: How We Keep Up

Currently we have eight members in our immediate family (my husband, myself, and our six children.)  Housework has always been my Achilles heel, and over the past few years I have diligently searched for new methods that might help me better serve my family.  I believe that I have finally developed a laundry system that works for us, with not much effort on anyone’s part!  I would love to share this with you today.


Laundry must be done every day for this method to work efficiently.

First of all, the children’s laundry hampers stay in our laundry room.  Throughout the day, they collect their dirty clothing and towels and bring them directly to the laundry room.  For a time I kept hampers in their individual rooms, but it was very easy to wait several days before bringing them downstairs to the laundry room and then we would have a major back up!  No dirty clothing is allowed on floors.

As soon as I wake up I bring the master bedroom laundry hamper into the laundry room and begin a load of clothing from all of the laundry hampers combined.  My husband, myself, and our two youngest children all share the master bedroom laundry hamper.  Most days I only need to wash one load of clothing.   We only wash clothing that is dirty, and sometimes my children (or girls I should say) can get by wearing something twice prior to washing it.

During the morning hours I move the clothing from the washer to the dryer.  If I need to start another load, I do so at this time.

During the afternoon hours I dump the dry clothes into a clothes basket.  I quickly fold any towels.  I then separate my four oldest children’s clothing out, and throw them into a separate clothes basket unfolded and place the kids towels on top.  Alternating days between my two oldest daughters, I ask one of them to take the basket upstairs.  They then put their towels away, and fold/hang up the remaining clothing.  This consists of one outfit for each child since we wash every day, and it takes 5 minutes tops.

I then take the remaining clothing/towels basket into our master bedroom and put everything away into our master closet.  My two youngest children currently share the closet with my husband and I.  I use two additional laundry hampers in the closet to hold undershirts and the like.  This takes me 10 minutes tops.

If we washed more than one load, I then repeat the above steps.

This does not include ironing.  If I get the clothes out while still warm ironing usually isn’t necessary.  There has been many a time while I have scrambled the night before my husband’s job or church ironing items that I have neglected.  (I’m still a work in progress.)  If there is a stain, or mishap (like baby poo) I try to immediately rinse and soak the item with Oxyclean spray.  This usually works!

Again, this works well and requires very little effort if done daily.  I do miss some days unfortunately.  I usually even wash on Sunday.  Through my years of being a wife and mother I’ve come to the conclusion that caring for my family is a ministry.  Ministers do not take time off on Sunday.  When I begin to look at laundry as a terrible chore, I always remind myself that I am so blessed to be a mother, and if laundry comes along with the territory, I will gladly take it!

Do you have any laundry tips that you would like to share?



20 thoughts on “Laundry and the Large Family: How We Keep Up

  1. Brook L. says:

    If you don’t have a family closet maybe invest in a rolling laundry cart to help with getting all the laundry put away. Plus, the kids love to help when a rolling cart is involved.

    • Nicole says:

      Nope, I usually don’t. I stay away from purchasing white clothing as much as possible actually. ; )

      • Danielle B says:

        I used to have lights, darks, jeans and sheets. Dish rags were bleached. Then 2.5 yrs ago my sister told me to stop having all those loads! They weren’t necessary. And she was right, it isn’t necessary. My lights and darks are shed together. I refuse to wash my jeans in with the lights and darks because of the denim rubbing off on the other clothes.

        No dingy clothes either 🙂

  2. Kevin says:

    We use the washer as the dark clothes’ hamper. Whites go in a laundry basket, but dark clothes & towels go straight in the washing machine. When it is full, we run it. With 8 children, we crossed over to the new normal of 2 loads a day with sometimes a day with 1, and rarely a day with 3. Laundry gets hung up at our house, then folded onto the back of the couch, where it is not allowed to sit for long – a child is assigned to take the piles to the proper rooms.

  3. Tanya @ Kentucky Sketches says:

    Laundry pile-ups ALWAYS seem to be an issue in our house. And we have only FOUR children! I have an incredibly small laundry area which adds to the chaos of it, I’m afraid, but I want to be more consistent about starting every day with a load of laundry and making sure that load is taken care of before bed at night.

    One thing that does help us…my oldest two are girls and about once a week they’re allowed to stay up an hour later for a special snack and to help mom fold clothes. For them, folding becomes a treat!

  4. Life's Lemonade says:

    I have a small laundry room, but I have a small 4 drawer dresser in there for each one of my children’s pjs and undies. I also have hung large wooden dowels from the ceiling to hang up the children’s clothing there… There is no children’s clothing upstairs. Only mine and my husband’s clothes go upstairs. I also do one load a day… Which isnt a full load anymore since I got a new huge washer. Having all the children’s clothes in one area away from their rooms has helped drastically in keeping clean clothes out of the dirty clothes and cleaner rooms. Well its 8AM… time to put diapers in the dryer. 🙂

    • Tina says:

      You are the first person besides myself that I know that kept the clothes out of the kid’s rooms. My mother always said this was a bad idea because the kids never learn to maintain their clothes. But I’ve tried both ways and keeping them in the Laundry room was a Godsend when I was working full time. My kid’s would get their clothes in the morning from labeled buckets lined on easy to reach shelves. They put their dirty clothes in the hamper which was kept in the laundry room. I washed, dried, folded and put their clothes back in the buckets. So much easier. They only had toys to tackle during room clean-up.

  5. Belinda says:

    I have 4 boys and they are close in ages and sizes, and I don’t like to spend the time looking at every tag every time I do laundry, so I have a small basket in each of their closets, and only wash one boy’s clothes at a time. That way, folding excludes sorting (except for removing seasonal wear).
    I also have small mesh bags in each of their closets, each with a different color tab, for their socks. This is still a work in progress, but the idea is to keep socks together, and not get them mixed into a huge mass to put off sorting until its necessary.
    I’ve assigned a day of the week for each boy, plus parents and household (some days require doing more than one person), and (hopefully) that way, the laundry is kept up. Also, this allows me to have Sunday free from this task. Mother’s cannot take a full “day of rest” from some duties, but some things can be rearranged so time can be given to rest, reading, etc. on the Lord’s day.

  6. Tessa W says:

    We wear dirty clothes unless we are going out and reuse our towels all week. It significantly reduces the amount of laundry that I need to do. This week I only had two loads to do! One load was mostly my very messy toddler’s clothes, which have been extra dirty due to the rain and mud puddles 😉 I currently have two littles and a farming hubby so I know that laundry will increase as the family size increases but I do believe that, by following these two things, we’ll still manage to keep our laundry load significantly lighter than many other families.

    I actually just wrote a guest post on laundry here that you’re welcome to read:

  7. Steph says:

    Wow, sounds like I have some work to do! lol We are a family of 5-2 adults, 2 toddlers and an infant. On average, I do AT LEAST 2 loads of laundry/day minimum-eek!!! I actually do not mind doing laundry, and I am squeamish about wearing dirty clothing or reusing towels (no judgment for those who do, I was raised in a house where my mom liked doing laundry too and was constantly doing laundry so that is what I’m used to!). I wash everything separately (whites/darks/towels, reds etc. etc. —again, learned from my mom!!) I guess I never thought anything of doing laundry every day!! I like hearing these tips though, as my family grows if I need to cut back on laundry I have some ideas to fall back on!

  8. Adrienne says:

    With six children 10 and under (and a seventh due next year) we also do a load a day. I don’t buy anything white if I can help it, but those we do have get thrown in with colors. I finally bought six small laundry baskets and labeled them with kids names. I fold into those baskets and each child takes theirs and their “buddy” if the buddy is too young to do it themselves. (In our case, the two and one year olds.) I use the clothesline in the summer, so this slows the process down a bit, but most days we get everything washed and folded and put away by the end of the day. Someday… a family closet for all the kids clothes. No clothes in the bedroom sounds like a winner!

  9. Abbey says:

    I too have a very small laundry room and two children under 6 years of age.. I feel that now is the time to introduce them to helping around the house. They are doing well keeping their room and toys picked up. I am now involving them in the kitchen and the laundry room. They were not a bit interested, lol. Until, my oldest and dearest friend bought them a book called windy and whirly. They love to try and I say try to help do laundry these days. Now, if I can find a book to make them want to take naps, Im doing good.

  10. Amanda says:

    We have 5 kiddos. Each of them has their own assigned laundry day. Monday is the baby and linens, Tuesday is the 3 year old, Wednesday the 5 year old, etc. I wash my clothes and my husband’s on Saturday. I take Sundays off from laundry. So on their assigned laundry day, that child is responsible for bringing me their basket of dirty clothes (except the baby – I do all the work for him!). I run the clothes through the washer and dryer and then the child is responsible for putting their clothes away (I do help the 3 year old with folding). I don’t sort into lights and darks. This has saved me and the kiddos HOURS of sorting since we implemented this system a year ago. The kids share rooms, but they each have their own laundry basket and dresser. This requires each kid to have a week’s worth of clothes, but we are blessed by many hand-me-downs, so it works for us.

  11. Crystal says:

    I have enjoyed reading all the laundry tips from all you ladies! Nicole, I love your blog, I stumbled upon it somehow last night and its so refreshing to find someone that has the same values I share! We are also from around the same area as your family, love northwest GA! On the laundry topic, I have 4 children and honestly I think it contributes the most stress and chaos for my house! I do laundry everyday and I’m a “sorter” so that may be hindering me too, but our issues is the putting away part. It seems to just pile up. I too have a small laundry room and our closets are not the most sufficient when it comes to space. I do not want to have an ungrateful attitude regarding what I have been blessed with so I am diligently seeking other avenues and systems for the laundry blessing and making it all work! Lol~ 🙂 I may try and implement several of these ideas.. loved the rolling cart idea.

  12. mom of 9 says:

    Just wondering what washer and dryer you use. My maytag konked after 18 months it was a front loader. Our repair man said with as much laundry as we do to go for a top loader. Suggestions?

    • Nicole says:

      Hi, we have a GE top loader without an agitator, and I would not recommend it. I usually have to run an extra rinse cycle in order to get the clothes clean of suds. I think a top loader with an agitator is the way to go. 🙂

  13. Rebecca says:

    We have two large washers. THAT is the secret to getting laundry done for my large family of nine ranchers efficiently, TWO washing machines. Thanking God for a mother-in-love who insisted we have two. I didn’t think we needed it, but God knew we did. Sunday and days we have guests are the only days off.

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