The Dirty Dozen: 12 Steps to a Clean Family

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Steps to a Clean Family

Every day is laundry day for big families.

Below you’ll find a step-by-step approach to keeping your family clean…one day at a time.

Doing Laundry

1.  Do at least one load of laundry each day.  I try to avoid doing laundry on at least one weekend day.  This leaves an extra day(s) if I do miss getting a load done during the week or if extra laundry needs to be done.

2.  Choose a laundry day for each member of your family.  It’s much easier to put away clothes when they all belong to one person (one closet, one room, etc.) and when you only have one or two loads to deal with.

3.  Choose a day for linens (towels, washcloths, rags, cloth napkins, sheets, etc.).

4.  If you use cloth diapers like I do, choose a day(s) to wash them.

5.  Label laundry baskets in a shared closet so each person knows where to put dirty clothes.

6.  Be sure to fold laundry and put it away ASAP.  Otherwise it’s too easy to get backed up.

7.  Attention all husbands:  if your dirty clothes aren’t actually in your laundry basket, they won’t be washed!  I’ve instituted that rule in our house, and so far so pretty good…some people are slow learners!

8.  While the kids are small (and therefore have small clothes), combine their clothes on one day if they share a room.  They can share a laundry basket, and their clothes will be put away in the same room.

9.  Make sure your laundry baskets are all the same size, even if they’re not the same shape.  My laundry baskets are all the same size so I know that when one is full, it makes a large load in the washer.  We’ve had problems overloading our washing machine, so this way, I know when I’ve got just the right amount of laundry to put in.  When you wash each person’s clothes once a week on the same day, it’s more likely that you’ll have full loads, which is the most efficient way to run your washer.

10.  Choose days you know are busier than others to do easier loads.  I do diapers and linens on busy days because neither requires much folding so I don’t to worry about things getting wrinkled if they sit in the dryer for a few hours while I’m out of the house.

11.  Keep a bottle of ammonia on hand in the laundry room.  Between my four kids and their poop, pee, and throw up, adding a cupful of ammonia to extra dirty loads helps to freshen up the laundry.  It gets rid of yucky odors and just helps to get things extra clean.

12.  Avoid ironing at ALL costs.  Make sure you get stuff that will wrinkle easily out of the dryer as soon as possible before it has a chance to wrinkle.  For stuff that wrinkles no matter what, iron it immediately and get it put away without letting it sit around.  I despise ironing and can usually get away with only ironing a few collars or shirt sleeves.  For Pete’s sake don’t waste your energy ironing the whole shirt if only the collar is wrinkled!

Because I’m using this system now, as my kids get older, they’ll be used to having a certain laundry day.  My oldest already knows his day is Tuesday, and if he wants a certain shirt he’ll have to wait until Wednesday to wear it. Eventually, the kids will be expected to do their own laundry on their days…yay!  That’s the goal, anyway.  With the youngest of four being only 4 months old, those days could be awfully far away still!  We’ll see how it goes…

Please share any laundry tips you have.  I’d love to read them!