How Molly Does Laundry
Last Christmas, my husband came up with a great idea. Santa brought each of the kids a really cute laundry hamper (somehow they were okay with this) and just like that, we were done with communal laundry. No more mountains of laundry. No more sorting by color. No more figuring out which pants go in whose pile. No more checking underwear sizes. We just do one kid’s laundry at a time. The older kids do their own. Oh, and we stopped folding the kids' clothes.
I do about a load a day, sometimes more if I need to wash towels or sheets. Older kids (my daughter, age 11, and son, age 9) do their own laundry when they’re running out of clothes. I don’t even have to supervise.
- As part of my morning routine, after I get everyone dressed, I grab whichever hamper is looking full, and bring it to the laundry room.
- I look for and treat stains on the way into the washing machine. If I’m doing my and my husband’s laundry, I sort into whites and colors, and do at least two loads.
- After the clothes are dry, I put them back in the hamper, and bring them back to the kid’s room (or mine).
- I hang school uniforms, and then the kids (3 and up) sort—or help me sort—socks and underwear. Then all the play clothes go into a drawer unfolded. They may be wrinkled, but they’re play clothes, and it’s more important to me that the kids are learning to be self-sufficient. My oldest daughter folds hers, but the rest don’t.
- I keep a hamper in the laundry room for the miscellaneous clothes I find around the house throughout the weeks. A lot of socks end up in this load. Those socks end up in a sock basket. I pay the kids $1 for 10 pairs to sort and put them away.
- Another way I keep laundry manageable is that my kids have five uniforms and five play outfits each, plus some church clothes.
- I have a capsule wardrobe. Each season, I have about 35 items of clothing that all coordinate (plus accessories). When seasons change I put the old clothes away and bring out the new, replacing items as necessary. I also follow Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” philosophy, so I'm constantly getting rid of things we don't need or want.
- I don’t iron. We use Downy spray, and my husband irons his own shirts, before work, as needed. He likes it when the weather gets cold, because he can wear a jacket or sweater and doesn’t have to iron much of the shirt.
- I straighten my laundry room on Thursdays.
- I’m lucky that my oldest kids are motivated to do their laundry. They don’t like wearing dirty clothes, and they know I’m not going to do it.
Molly Liggett is the mother of 6 children, ages 12, 10, 7, 5, 3, and 1.