Help! I’m Buried in an Avalanche of Laundry!

Once upon a long time ago I thought I tamed the laundry monster.  I had a laundry routine. I had a method.  I was Queen of the floor ~ not mountain ~ because there was no mountain of laundry.  I even gave laundry advice.  It was simple.

Then gradually life changed. The Laundry Routine couldn’t keep up. Now, I’m buried in an avalanche of laundry. I’m still Queen Tess, but I’ve lost my kingdom of the floor. Or my kingdom of the couch.

Heaps of Laundry needing to be folded

Yes, it's all clean. At least 3 if not 4 loads worth!
I wish the only laundry piles were the clean clothes waiting to be folded but our lack of routine has caused a back up with bringing hanging clothes to closets and dirty laundry needs to be washed (and then dried and then more piles of folding which um is why I haven’t washed it yet because we need to fold the clean ones!)
A long time ago when when we lived in Germany and only had one child, I learned a secret about laundry. I didn’t necessarily heed that secret for a few more years but the beauty of the idea stuck with me:  instead of saving all the laundry to do for one day, try doing one or two loads every day.   That’s a beautiful idea when:
  • a) you don’t live in apartment and have to go down 3 flights of stairs with a newborn to wash laundry or take it to your mother-in-law’s house
  • b) have a washer and dryer in the basement of our military house and have toddlers that need to be supervised
  • c) have a complicated sorting system and a desire to only wash a full load of laundry to save on water and energy

So what’s the beautiful idea?  Do 1 or 2 loads of laundry everyday.  Complete loads as in wash, dry, fold, and put away.  I had to let go of the idea that laundry had to be sorted.  I still sort laundry; it’s just much more basic. Sheets, towels, lights/whites and darks.  I wash sheets and towels in warm/hot water and clothes in cold.  The KISS method right?

I stumbled upon my simplified sorting system and implemented the do 1 or 2 loads a day method which worked well for several years.  I had a routine for washing, drying, folding and putting away.  Then life happened.  The girls got bigger.  Their clothes got bigger.  More laundry had to be washed, dried, folded and put away.  I had to spend more time home schooling.  Laundry routine had to change.

We still kept the principle of daily laundry but now two days a week had to have 2-3 loads instead of 1-2.  That meant more laundry to fold.  But we came up with a new plan.  The girls folded laundry while I read aloud. Since we were using a literature based approach to learning I could multi-task! We could do school and chores at the same time!

Alas life’s seasons changed again and now I’m only reading aloud to the one child who really can’t fold all the laundry by herself while aloud to her. (and um I’m not as consistent reading aloud as I used to be).

We had  short season where one lovely daughter volunteered to fold ALL the laundry everyday. It gave her a chance to be alone to recharge her batteries and to listen to her MP3 player.  No one was allowed to disturb her and my laundry got folded.  Another multi-tasking win-win situation!

Life changed again. Now I have no routine and laundry gets washed when someone yells “I’m out of underwear.”  Or “I don’t have anything clean to wear.”  And folding? That happens when mom explodes like a volcano makes people fold clothes before they can watch Doctor Who. 

Life is complicated because we have a college commuter student. Yes, she’s my daughter but she’s almost like a stranger.  A stranger who wants to use the washing machine and eat my groceries. Open-mouthed smile  (Yes I am truly glad that she is able to live at home and attend classes, it just complicates life.)

We’ve tried, to assign laundry days to bedrooms and make each bedroom responsible for their own laundry but for a variety of reasons that just didn’t work.

I’m on a quest to find a new routine.  A new laundry habit.  One that keeps the mountains of dirty and clean clothes to just a little mole hill. Washing laundry isn’t a problem. It’s finding the time to fold it all and put it all away.

Do you have any suggestions? How do you do laundry at your house?  Do you have big people? Little people? College people? Please share with me your tips and suggestions! 


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