How To Move Mountains…Of Laundry

I’ve had another break-through. And I’ve literally moved a mountain in our home. Studying up on time management and self discipline is doing things to me! Tiny changes are revolutionizing the way I get my house chores done. I echo Crystal Paine  at when she said, “I can’t believe it’s taken me 9 years to figure this out!” Only in my case, I’ve been at it for just under 8 years- the laundry thing, that is.

I was raised on the term “laundry day.” And so into my marriage and family I carried (somehow, ’cause it was big!) “laundry day.”

Within the bounds of laundry day have been all sorts of trials and still more errors.

How on earth do I conquer Mount Laundry and keep it that way?!

Let’s try having one laundry day per week. Gather all of the laundry from the house and pile it in the laundry room. Do not sort. Wash two, three, four, five, six loads and be too exhausted to fold it. Have family begin pulling clean clothes out of baskets instead of drawers when they need something to wear.


Better idea: What if I washed each family members’ laundry on a separate day?  Monday- Mom. Tuesday- Dad. Wednesday- Small Son. Thursday- Tiny Daughter. If there was ever a way to create more work, this would be it.

Fail again.

Ok, I have another idea! How about if Handsome Husband does his own laundry? After all, he wears more clothes than anyone else due to dressing up every day and then dressing down when he comes home. He’ll even fold all of his own clothes and iron his shirts too. Oh, and the best part? He’ll sort and match those piles of socks! (Socks are like dust bunny families- they pop up everywhere and they just keep growing!)

Epic fail.

All right, let’s figure this out! I’ll choose two days of the week to do laundry on. Tuesday and Saturday. If you need something washed on Thursday, too bad! Wear it dirty or wait until…you guessed it- Tuesday or Saturday.

Doesn’t work.

I have tried all of the above mentioned methods…and probably more, if I took the time to recall. But I don’t want to. In every case, I ended up with piles and piles of clean, unfolded laundry that sat around the house in different rooms for several days, sometimes a week.

Eventually I began piling it all on our bed, with a scheming plan in mind: (a) We would be forced to fold the laundry if we wanted to go to bed, and (b) Handsome Husband would be home to help me fold it all. The problem? Often we were too tired to tackle it, so we shoved it off the bed and onto the floor. The other half of the time we folded it and put it into baskets, but the baskets never got delivered to the kids’ rooms. Yep, here we are again living out of baskets…and piles.

Well, I am several weeks into an epic discovery that I am sure all none of you have tried.

I’m doing laundry every day.

Don’t stop reading- hang with me here! Could it be that the very thing I’ve been avoiding for almost 8 years of familyhood is the very answer to my laundry conundrum?

Indeed, I have begun to do a small load of laundry every morning right before or after breakfast. Put it in the dryer immediately (during winter). Fold it right away. Put it in a basket. Carry it upstairs and distribute to each person their few items of clean clothes.

Sound complicated? It takes only 10-15 minutes total. The washer and dryer do most of the work!

I haven’t had piles of clean laundry sitting around for two weeks.  Beyond clean, I haven’t had dirty laundry sitting around for two weeks. No morning cries of “I don’t have any clean clothes!”

No heaps of guilt or frustration because I just can’t keep up.

Maybe you’re thinking what I thought for seven(ish) years- “Do laundry every day? Not practical. I work outside the home.” Ok, what if you threw the load in before you left for work, and folded it when you got home or right before bedtime? No matter how you work it in your schedule, you will be amazed at how freeing it is!

Another benefit for me has been the eye-opener of how many clothes we humans accumulate. When the laundry piles up, we constantly feel like we don’t have enough clothes. But when the clothes are always clean (except for yesterday’s outfit only), we realize just how many outfits we have…and don’t need. I believe Crystal Paine said that she has only 6 outfits to her name. Whaaat? A woman can do that?!

Ok, trophies to her, but I don’t think I can go that far. But it has made me re-evaluate my closet and I’ve done some purging so that I only have outfits that I LOVE and do actually wear. I also went through my sock drawer- you don’t want to know how many pairs I had.

If you already do this laundry every day method, you are way ahead of me!

If you haven’t tried it,  why not give it a chance? Just for one week? Let me know how it goes…see if you feel as not-overwhelmed-by-laundry-anymore as I do.

No more mountain climbing.  What’s to lose?

15 thoughts on “How To Move Mountains…Of Laundry

  1. I usually do a load every day. Read about doing that on another website (maybe TimeWarp Wife?) There’s maybe one day a week that I don’t (when the laundry basket doesn’t have a full load in it). But there are still weeks where I feel like I can’t keep up with it! Definitely not one of my favorite chores. I think partly because I have to pay for each load AND only do it between certain hours. Makes it frustrating, lol. But if I didn’t do it every day I’d hate to see what my hamper looked like at the end of a week!!!! Oh my. =)

    1. I’m sure it’s not very exciting to have to pay for each load. 🙁 In considering the cost of water with this method, it doesn’t actually raise it because I used to do 5-6 loads on ‘laundry day’ and I don’t do one on Sunday. So it works out the same. Someday you’ll have your own laundry room, and it will be easier! 🙂

  2. I think I’ve tried most if not all of your failed to epic failed laundry solutions too. I too landed on the do laundry every day model, eventually. I failed at it as well, by times – cause my lazy streak or love of reading would rear their ugly heads from time to time.

    However, my favourite laundry model kicks in when each of my children hit the age of 9. Yes, I know you have a little ways to go before Small Son and Tiny Daughter are there, but trust me it’s worth it.

    When each of my children hit 9 years old, I took the time to teach them how to care for their own clothes/laundry. I showed them how to read labels for care instructions, gather, sort, wash and toss in dryer. I love to fold warm from the dryer clothes so I would ‘bless’ them by folding for them. Then they had to put it away. We have a dearth of laundry baskets in my house – next guy would need it the next day so no living out of a laundry basket. Initially I did assign them a day for them to do their laundry. I also made sure they had enough clothes to last at least 8 – 10 days. They had a grace period if they missed their day, but that was tightened up as time went on. A couple of times a month I would have them include their bed sheets in their loads. (Well that was the plan, that one fell away at times). I was quite militant about it for a while … now not so much.

    Now my younger kids, who still live at home, (the rest have all moved on to their own place) still follow this model with one exception. I’m no longer militant about the day it’s done. I figure they’ve got a good grasp on the concept of wanting to look and smell clean, and so leave it up to them how often they do/or don’t do their laundry. It’s working well for us. Plus it is showing them the value of learning two simple tools in life – how to read labels, and how to tame the laundry monster. Mama isn’t always going to be there to do it with/for them so they are great skills to teach.

    I still do household laundry – towels, kitchen/dining linens, curtains, my own laundry etc.

    I’m very glad your new laundry model is working for you though, it is such a stress reliever to have this aspect of our home lives working efficiently. It makes everyone in the household, no matter the age, just that little bit more content with life. 🙂

  3. You could just have a perfect husband like mine who does the laundry, folds it and puts it away – all without being asked! 🙂 And no, I’m not joking. But…huge help that it is, it really makes me feel like a lousy wife! I still struggle with extreme fatigue, and on those days I leave it for him, but on my good days I do a load a day. If for some reason I have more than one load, I have a rule that I’m not allowed to put more clothes into the dryer until I’ve folded the ones that are coming out. (That’s the part I always used to get stuck on and end up with big piles of clean laundry!) Instead of folding them all in one place and delivering them to respective bedrooms, I carry the basket of unfolded clothes from room to room, pull out that person’s clothes and fold them while standing next to their dresser so I can put them directly in the drawer and only have to handle them once. Lest I make us out to be the perfect husband and wife laundry team, you could actually come over right now and easily disprove that theory! Despite a generally smooth routine, and a great plan, there always seems to be glitches – bedwetting, kids tents and forts, overnight guests, kids flooding the bathroom, etc. always seem to create extra laundry and throw me off kilter. Hats off to you for keeping it under control for 2 weeks! It’s definitely no easy task no matter how you approach it!

    1. Wow, you have an unusual husband! 🙂 And yes, I have already had some “bumps” come up, like a wet bed…but I just added it to that day’s laundry. I have a limit that I won’t do more than 2 loads per day (most days it’s only 1 anyway) unless absolutely necessary. I either do 2 loads or put some of it in the next day’s load. The main goal for me is not how much I wash, but getting it all folded and put away! So far so good. I fold it all at the couch and put each person’s pile in the same basket- carry it up and distribute it. Small Son is old enough to put his away and even to help fold a bit…so it can only get better, right?! 🙂

      1. I have never understood the idea of “laundry day” and my mom didn’t raise me that way. She was more of a laundry every day person too. It’s like dishes. You eat every day, you wash dishes every day. You wear clothes every day, you WASH clothes every day.

        I never try to “finish the laundry” just like I never try to “finish” the dishes. I have two goals for both. 1) make sure we have clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat off of today. 2) Make sure I’m working on dishes and laundry every day. Even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes, like you said.

        I agree with Mary Ellen’s approach…I never fold and then put away. I fold right into the dressers. I need to adopt her rule though because I have NO PROBLEM washing and drying clothes, but very often I have 2-5 baskets of clean laundry sitting in the corner of my kitchen when I get behind.

        As I have been attempting to be more organized and disciplined, I try to put “wash, dry, fold and put away 1 load of clean laundry” on my list every day. The thing is that I give myself freedom. It’s not the same load. I’m washing a different load then I’m drying, and putting away. So in reality I have 3 loads “live” at any given moment. Is this making any sense?

        Anyway…GREAT POST!!

        1. Yes, that makes sense! And on occasional days when I’ve been gone all day and the load doesn’t get washed or dried until evening, it IS a different load that gets dried and put away the next day. But it still keeps me on track! See, you’ve been way ahead of me. 🙂

  4. We usually try to do about two loads of laundry every day. Like MaryEllen mentioned, my Hubs was the laundry man and the bathroom janitor. {Yes, I am blessed.} However, when he began his master’s degree last May and even more recently when he became the youth pastor at our church, I took back both of those tasks. He was faithful with them for years and I love him for it…and for many other reasons. =)
    I don’t do laundry on Tuesdays or Sundays which makes it necessary to do two loads a day coupled with those extras that people have mentioned: bedding, accidents, spills, guests, trips, etc.
    I’ve also come to realize that my house will never totally be clean nor will the laundry or dishes ever be totally finished. Even as I may be loading the last of the dirty dishes into the machine, I turn around to see my hubby pouring a glass of water and my oldest daughter wolfing down a bowl of cereal. (She’s never full. Growth spurts.) So I turn back around and smile at my shiny-clean, empty sink while I can. The laundry is the same. I can be totally caught up on the laundry and even giddily tell Hubs about it (probably my downfall -never speak of an empty laundry basket). Half an hour later at bedtime, it is overflowing with bedding, wet towels and dirty play clothes. {shakes head in disbelief}
    Empty sinks and baskets are rare moments. Rare moments indeed. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why? While a full home creates a host of chores, my heart is even more full by the presence of all those wiggling, warm, little bodies. They make standing in front of our laundry “closet” worth every load. Enjoyed your post, Leah. <3

    1. Yes, the chores are so worth doing for our families! I just needed for them to be more manageable. I was completely overwhelmed by laundry- dishes I actually like to wash, but folding laundry is the bane of housekeeping for me. I found that it was constantly stressing me out, so in praying and thinking “there has to be a better way” I am so relieved that there IS. You gals that have husbands that like to do laundry are just…unusual. And blessed! 🙂

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