There always seems to be a lot of discussion on blogs, forums and facebook about the dreaded washing and how you handle it, especially for the large family.
I have to say it is something I used to struggle with. My parents both worked and so my mum would do all the washing on a weekend. When I moved out of home, it was only me and so I continued to only wash on a weekend and as I started a family this method continued.
The problem though is that with small children who have accidents or like to change outfits several times a day, this just doesn’t work.
In our current home, we have a very small laundry that is also our access to the back yard and so it just cannot contain a weeks worth of washing for a family of 8 and so I had to start washing more frequently.
I now have a pretty easy routine going that only gets messed up if I am ill. Here are my simple tips for tackling washing for a large family.
- I DON’T SORT COLOURS. Yep you read that right. I used to sort whites, lights, darks and colours which was easy to do with a weeks worth of washing, but as I like to get it all out of the way each day it no longer works. So I sort clothes and towels/linens and that’s it.
- At least 1 load of clothes a day. Depending on the season, weather and what we’ve had going on, I do at least 1 load of clothes each day and it all goes in together. I either spray stains with prewash stain remover or use dishwashing liquid directly on the stain and throw it straight in. If I have enough for a second full load, then I go ahead and do it otherwise it carries over to the next days load.
- If I have enough towels or linen for a load then I do it, otherwise it carries over to the next day also.
- I wash bed linen on a day where I only have 1 load of clothes to do as 7 beds worth takes up a fair amount of space on the washing line.
- Anything that requires soaking gets soaked for a full day and then added to the next days wash and hand washing (I don’t buy anything that requires hand washing) gets done quickly while a load is on.
- It gets hung out immediately and whatever is dry between loads gets brought in.
- I fold immediately into separate piles for the 3 younger kids (as it makes it easier to put away), a single pile for the teens (as they share most clothes) and a single pile for Mr Pete and I (since I’m the one who puts it all away anyway).
- Ironing is placed in the ironing basket and gets done a couple of times a week.
- Each child puts away their own washing and assists with towels and linen. One of the older kids helps Ollie with his so that it all ends up in the right place.
- All dirty washing goes straight in to our single laundry basket ready to be washed (lol what I really mean is I ask, yell and threaten until it’s either done or I do it myself).
And there you have it. I know that if I used a shorter spin cycle and hung shirts on a hanger I could reduce ironing, but honestly it’s not worth the effort and I can happily say that since I’m not the one who does the ironing.
I’m fortunate to have an undercover washing line, so this works through all seasons, but in very wet or cold weather I bring the harder to dry items inside by the heater. We’ve gone 4yrs without a clothes dryer and the only time we’ve missed it is when the girls have failed to put an item they need in the wash and we’ve had to do a quick hand wash and hang it overnight to dry.