The laundry, a mothers refuge or a prison?

Refuge or prison?

For me it’s my refuge.

Perhaps I am one of the few that actually don’t mind washing, hanging out the clothes and folding them into their designated piles.

I also find that my laundry is a great place to hide from the kids when all hell is breaking loose!

A few years ago, we put on a new extension, this included designing a kitchen and laundry for a large family. My old laundry was SO tiny that I only had room for the washing machine and single sink area (along one wall) and a small walk-way in front of these – about 60cm wide.  Thinking back to those days, it was like a prison.

Designing the new laundry was easy, it had to be large, have plenty of storage (and room for my other fridge), and an area to fold clothes, hence here is how my laundry is set out:

The bottom drawer is for all the DARKS, the top for the LIGHTS and DELICATES  (the children know which one is which and what goes where).

The cupboards to the right of the drawers store beach towels and all the swimming costumes.  The other on the right of that,  bits and pieces!  The top wire baskets is where I sort all my washing.  And the hanging rail for the ironed clothing.


In a previous post, (The Little Boys Bedroom) I mentioned that I don’t ‘fold’ my washing, but “I place them flat into each child’s folding basket “.   (I have also trained the older girls to do this job and each child must put their clothing away – apart from the little ones).

From left to right; they are sorted from youngest to oldest child, then ending with mine and hubbies.  Two children share a basket (except my eldest daughter, she has her own one).  At the very front bench space (of the baskets) is where I place oven mits, kitchen face washers, tea-towels and our odd socks (see the white ice cream container it’s FULL).

Here is another angle with the ironing above on the rail.

The right of my folding area is a large storage cupboard.  This is not for linen, (as the bedrooms are not near the laundry).  In the left side of the cupboard I store hubbies work and gardening clothes (in the boxes at the top). Lower down in the other black boxes, more bits and pieces   The red and blue boxes on the next row are from ALDI, the red has kids apron/smocks and the blue Coles Woolworths $2 bags.  Below that shelf is the craft box and items.

The right side; top shelf ~ steam vaporisers.  Next shelf down ~ some linen: doona covers, mattress and pillow protectors.  Below a steam cleaner.  The red box, boot polish equipment and spare shoe laces.  And the Over-locker box has old towels and rags.  To the right I store my Ironing board and Steam mop (both were in use and have not been put back).



The opposite side of the room; the double sink is the only way to go with a big family. One always has got something soaking in it.

The blue basket is for my dirty sheets, towels, bibs and tea-towels.  As you can I see I have an extra washing machine below too.  Very handy when one has a large family!


Going back to what I mentioned above about the laundry room; “For me it’s my refuge.  Perhaps I am one of the few that actually don’t mind washing, hanging out the clothes and folding them into their designated piles. I also find that my laundry is a great place to hide from the kids when all hell is breaking loose”.  I really enjoy going outside in the sunshine and warmth, it’s a time when I can ‘think’ and relax.  I listen to the birds chirping, watch my horse grazing (also put the mute button on to the noise inside) and in a way exercise too (bending up and down)!

In the winter I hang up my washing inside….I purchased this hanger from Mitre 10!


I also came up with clever way to hang underwear and socks, can u see the coat-hanger contraptions on the ends of the line?  Made with 2 wire coat-hangers, scoobies and pegs.

When I hang my socks up, I match the pair, and hang them together by the toes.  When they are dry I roll them into each other while still on the peg.  This way they ‘stay’ as a pair!  (but as we all know the washing machine still manages to eat a few and give them to the sock monster in the process).

To make, I twisted the two handles together with some pliers.  Used a scoobie to tie the middle hangers together, then looped some scoobies to pegs and then looped them onto the coat-hangers.

I hope some of these ideas help. Doing the washing for a large family can be daunting, (I have taught my older girls how to use the washing machine, they also hang out my washing, and take it down and fold) however, if you just have little ones….. 

It’s all about organisation and order in the home which are easy if you know how.  Just make things simple and “having a place for everything, and keeping everything in its place”, learning to stay on top of things, but always getting to the bottom of that pile. You can do it”!