Keeping on top of the washing; how do you do it?

Doing laundry is a huge task within a large family ~ it is numerous, never ending and there is always lots of it.

Kids also tend to go though more clothes during holiday break and sometimes half of it is not even dirty, thrown into the laundry, on the bathroom floor or around their bedrooms in the hope that “mother” will pick them up.


From one time or another; everyone has a laundry that looks just like this regardless of one being organised or not:

The above laundry mess can be quite frequent as any mother would know.  We have babies and small children to look after, wet beds, bad weather (especially if one lives in Melbourne) and busy schedules etc; all of these factors and more can determine the outcome of your laundry.

Below are some ideas on how to keep on top of this mundane job that MUST be done:

Washing baskets are essential in a large family as these can help the children to place their dirty washing into the correct places.  A large one should be kept either in their bathroom or somewhere handy in the house.  

In each of the children’s bedrooms another wash basket or even a bucket is a good idea.  These then can be emptied into the main basket or carried directly to the laundry.

Sorting the dirty washing can be time wasting prior to doing the actually laundry.  On the other hand, if a simple system is set up it can make this tedious job so much easier.  The No Excuses laundry system can also be seen here.

Whether there is room in your laundry or not, separate baskets or even drawers (one for darks and one for lights) can really help with the washing process.  If you have a drawer system, make sure the children know which is the correct drawer:

If using baskets, different coloured baskets are a great idea such as a red basket for dark clothing and a white basket for the light clothing.

Towels are forever wet, left on floors and need constant washing in a large family.  Again having a separate washing basket for towels and sheets is another great idea which can also help with sorting the dirty washing. 

Each drawer or basket can then just be poured or placed straight into the washing machine if sorting is done prior to this; which of course saves a lot of time and effort.

Hanging out the washing can be a personal thing and each family/person does this differently.  Older children however can be taught to do this task which can be a great help, especially with the various loads of washing that needs to be hung out.  Perhaps you enjoy the “Hang out time” just like No Excuses does (taking off the line is the hard part) Wink

Sometimes another problem is having not enough room on the clothes line to hang out all the washing.  Extra portable clothes hangers could help or here is an way to create more space on your outside hills hoist!

Folding and sorting the washing again can be also done by the children too.  Stackable baskets are a good idea as they can be taken directly to each bedroom for those to put away their clean clothes.  Folding is quite easy in the No Excuses household and when it comes to folding and putting the kids clothes away, I don’t necessarily fold them, but place them flat into each child’s clean washing baskets. Each person then collects their basket and puts away their own clothes. 

Click here is you would like to see the No Excuses folding system!


Lost socks  happen in every single home, unfortunately there is no answer as to where they end up (read here), however as for storing and sorting these lost items; another bucket in the laundry is where lost socks end up.  My 7 year old boy has the job of matching these.


On the other hand when they are together in the same wash, they get hung together as a pair on my UNDERWEAR AND SOCK HANGERS and once dry, the socks are rolled up on the pegs prior to being taken off the line (in hopes they don’t go missing between the clothes line and the laundry).

Hang school dresses and even shirts on hangers on the clothes line, this will prevent having to iron them too.

Never be afraid to ask for help from family and friends if the your laundry looks like mine did in the first photo.

Train your children to pick up after themselves, hang out washing, fold and put away (nagging is ok).  Fathers can also lend a hand and do the washing too, so don’t be afraid to ask them to help as well (even if they do hang out the washing like a Tornado hit the line).

And if all else fails, try not to stress too much; it will get done eventually right?

Do you have any other simple hints to help with getting through the laundry/washing?

Please share and comment below if you do. 

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