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Taking care of sorting clothes, doing laundry, drying the garments, folding and sorting them again can be tedious and time-consuming for people who live by themselves, let alone for big families. Whether you need to do laundry once or twice a week, you probably already have a system in place that helps you cope with the entire family’s laundry. But did you know these tips? Drawing inspiration from our own experience, from books and fellow writers, we’ve compiled a list of laundry tips for big families that aims to make laundry go smoother.
Label the Clothes of Every Child Differently
In big families, mismatched socks are a very common thing. If you want to keep track of your kids’ socks, underwear, t-shirts and pants, there are two easy ways to achieve this. The first method implies labelling the garments with a permanent black marker. This will stay put during washing and drying so you’ll be able to easily identify the garments’ owner at a glance. For socks and underwear, you will have to draw on the bottom, while pants and t-shirts are easier to mark straight on the labels.
The second method involves sewing an X on each item of clothing, using a different color for each child. This will be more time consuming than the marker method, but some might prefer it because it’s reversible.
Wash and Dry by Room Rather Than by Color
The traditional way of doing laundry involves gathering all the dirty clothes, sorting them into whites, colored and darks, washing the items and then sorting them again by owner. While this method might work for families with one or two kids, larger families are better off using the “sort by room” method.
This implies washing and drying the clothes of a single owner at a time. The technique will completely eliminate the need to sort the clean clothes and identify the owner.
Send Delicate Garments to Dry Cleaning
Delicate items of clothing or hard-to-iron pieces can take hours to deal with, especially if you have to hand wash, air dry and then iron them to perfection. The amount of time and effort you end up putting into this is not worth it. A quick and convenient alternative is to rely on a dry cleaning company that picks up the clothes from your home address and delivers them back to your doorstep the second day.
Most dry cleaning services nowadays are easy to access via an app and are budget-friendly. The personal pick-up and delivery can free up your time and save you a lot of headaches when you’re having a hectic week and laundry is not your first priority.
Assign Tasks to Each of Your Kids
It’s never too early for your kids to start helping around the house. Sorting and folding their own clothes is a simple task they can quickly learn just by watching you. Some families prefer to hang all of the clothes instead of folding them because they find it much faster. Indeed, small kids will have an easier time putting a shirt on a hanger than folding it.
Other families forego both folding and hanging and embrace piles. This applies to families with small children who can’t yet fold their garments but love to rummage through closets and drawers, unfolding everything.
Tackle All Stains on the Spot
Whether it’s purée on muslin cloths, mud on school uniforms or wine on your own blouses, make it a habit to clean all types of stains immediately. You might be tempted to toss all stained clothes into the laundry basket to wait for the next laundry day, but you would be doing yourself a disservice. Dealing with a stain as soon as it happens only takes a couple of minutes. You can soak the item of clothing in your sink and use detergent or bleach to eliminate the stain rapidly.
Only Wash Something after Multiple Uses
If you want to minimize the amount of laundry you have to do on a weekly basis, you will have to be more frugal with single uses and insist on not washing what’s not dirty. For instance, if your family members us a towel once and then take it straight to the laundry bin, then it’s high time you made a new rule. By encouraging your kids to wear clothes twice or thrice before tossing them into the hamper, you can significantly cut down on laundry and save time, effort and money.
Ditch the Laundry Basket
When we think of doing laundry what immediately comes to mind is a laundry basket brimming with dirty clothes that need to be sorted. Sorting can take a long time, especially when you have to gather several hampers from all over the house and go up and down the stairs. If you want to skip sorting altogether, ask your kids to put dirty clothes straight into the washer. Everybody should know where white and dark clothing items go so sorting can be done on the spot, saving you all the hassle.
Buy Everyone the Same Type of Socks
If you’re tired of figuring out where socks disappear or if you’re bored with pairing socks, there’s a simple solution you can implement that will make matching socks seem like a faraway nightmare. Simply buy all of your kids the same kind of socks (size and color). Putting the clean socks away will be a breeze and an easy task for any kid to fulfill.
Create a Schedule and Prioritize Your Loads
You don’t have to do all the laundry at once since it might take you an entire day to sort through the towels, bedding, underwear, shirts and pants of your whole family. Instead, create a schedule and prioritize the clothes you need to wash according to your family’s needs. Are you running out of clean towels? Then add “wash towels” to your schedule for Monday morning and then focus on other important matters. You can continue doing laundry on Tuesday and Wednesday, washing the items that you and your kids need most.
This technique will keep you from sorting, washing, drying and folding piles of clothes all day long. And since you break down the loads and schedule them for different days, you can actually save time and assign tasks to different members of the family each time.