Large Family Laundry Solution – Too Many Clothes

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Ah yes. My old arch enemy. Laundry. We meet again.
As one might imagine, laundry with five untidy little boys, one untidy big man, and not the most type A mom, is an absolute certifiable nightmare.

I hate doing laundry, and I particularly despise putting it away only to have the little  heathens darlings dump it all out of their drawers onto the floor with the rest of their smorgasbord of shtuff.

To add insult to injury, we are a veritable haven for hand me downs and used clothing by the garbage bag full. We love the hand me downs, they are amazing, but I’ve learned that I have to have a plan in place to tackle them or they will CONSUME ME.

Hand me down baby girl clothes. She might already be a fashion junkie!

Now, my wonderful, dear husband truly does not understand the amount of physical and mental energy that is required for this task. Not only to manage the ridiculous masses of clothing that pile up, but to switch seasonal clothing out, and keep all the kids in clothes that actually fit. Honestly, it’s practically a full time job.

After we moved into the farmhouse, I immediately began gestating our beautiful daughter and was so ill with nausea and vomiting that I could only lay on my couch and dream about what our laundry system could be.

How could I possibly tackle this gargantuan monster?

So, like any mom with a dream, I went to Pinterest and started drooling over gorgeous laundry rooms that we could never afford.

There were so many great ideas, but what would fit our lifestyle?

I decided that before we settled on a design, I needed to tackle the really hard part first. Reducing the amount of clothes.

Between the mounds in the laundry room and the mounds on the bedroom floor, there was no way all the clothes actually fit into the dressers if everything was clean at one time. Which it never ever was. (Except when I was so stressed out and overwhelmed that I got fifty dollars worth of quarters and headed to the laundromat. That my friends, is true desperation.)

How had we let this get so out of control!?

So it was finally time to take top to bottom action.

The first thing was to start with a mostly clean slate. I had darling husband pull out every single tub of clothing we had stored. Every. One. And we brought down every last piece of clothing in the bedrooms we could find.

Then he put a child gate around the ‘work zone’, in a futile attempt to keep destructive hands out.

Meanwhile, I caught up on as much laundering as I could as quickly as possible. In my experience, if High-speed and perseverance aren’t maintained,  everything falls apart quicker than you can say  “dirty undies”.

Dirty Undies!” –You

This was the beginning of a multiple day process of sorting through every tub from newborn size up. Stained, holey, stretched out and de-elasticised things were tossed. Then I was left with the good condition clothing.

This naturally led to the next question.. How much clothing do they really need?

I managed to get my kids down to three laundry baskets each of designated clothes.

  • One basket for socks, underwear, belts, hats, swimsuits, and pajamas.
  • One basket for play clothes.
  • One basket for nice clothes

At the same time, I was pulling out new sizes if needed and making sure everything was seasonally appropriate.

It was massive.

When it was all said and done I threw away three packed bags of clothes that were no good, and brought nine full bags to our local thrift shop. It felt better than eating an entire pan of brownies in one sitting!

Stay tuned for… Large Family Laundry Solution- Part 2: How I finally tamed the laundry  monster.

You may also like: Surviving the First Six Weeks with Six Kids

Or How about: Easy Lemon Pepper Tilapia

 

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Comments

  1. Traci says:

    I love it! I can’t wait to follow all of your great ideas!! And giggle along with your witty writing!

  2. Andrea says:

    I am so with you! I NEVER say no to hand me downs, but I need to go through them immediately or we drown!! I have decided that my laundry will never have a system. Unless its hired help 😛

    1. Brit says:

      People are incredibly generous, I love the hand-me-downs and that they even think of us in the first place!! But I disagree, you’re totally going to want a laundry system after part two… 😉 xoxo

  3. Jen says:

    Looking forward to reading and seeing first hand all the adventures!!

  4. Blended Hope says:

    Ahhhh the dreaded laundry pile. I hate doing all of the towels, bedding, etc….nightmare!

    1. Brit says:

      It really is a nightmare. Some of these laundry piles actually haunt me. Thank you for the follow!

  5. Samantha says:

    I desperately need a laundry system. I am drowning it it, with just one child (and a filthy dog and cat and a messy husband, but still. It probably shouldn’t be taking over my life until I at least have TWO kids, right???).

    My current system is: wait until at least 12 loads have piled up in the horrifying room where the cat litter, bikes and baby clothes are stored. Get husband to watch baby monitor while baby naps. Hike down the 4 flights of stairs in our apartment building to reach the lone washer and dryer in the basement. Discover machine is being used. Hike back up, literally tip-toeing through the house in fear of waking baby from nap. Try again in 30 minutes. Machine is open. Realize I have no loonies (that’s the one dollar coin here in Canada; it’s shiny, gold and has a picture of a loon on it. What fun!) or quarters. Hike back up to apartment. Search in every coat pocket, backpack and purse until I scrounge up enough for a single load. Hike back down. Throw in a load of baby’s clothes and a single towel and pair of my underwear. Return triumphantly to my apartment. Hike back down 30 minutes later to discover the machine has broken and the clothes are soaked and weigh 60 pounds. Cry in laundry room. Vow to never do laundry again. Abandon all clothes in building’s laundry room and begin to dress family in bed sheets, towels, dish rags and pillow cases.

    …and that’s what I currently have for our laundry system. There are a few kinks, sure, but all in all, I find it’s great for burning calories! Not so great with the washing of clothes, though. I may need to implement your plan…

    1. dirtnoisejoys says:

      I cried reading this. I mean there were streams of laugh induced tears rolling down my face. You know it’s gotten out of control when you’re down to your last dishtowel/loincloth. My mom is still pretty horrified when she comes over, I try to keep the door shut but it never works.

I love reading your comments you beautiful people

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