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Organising Laundry - Please Help

(13 Posts)
Valsoldknickers Tue 25-Nov-14 10:46:10

I have a dilemma regarding the laundry in our home.

There are five of us here (3 children including baby) so we have the usual amount of laundry to contend with (I think). I try to wear anything that's not directly next to my skin a few times to save on the amount of clothing to be washed. Big kids get clean school shirts and underwear every day, try to get week out of school jumpers, trousers and tracksuits. DH wears a suit to work, he changes shirt and underwear everyday too. Why is there always such a mountain of laundry to be done / drying on line / two clotheshorses / backs of doors on hangers / tumbledrier / ironing pile?

I feel permanently swamped and overwhelmed. My DH is a firm believer in not allowing a backlog of washing to build up in laundry baskets at the starting point regardless of the weather forecast or other things that should be getting done. Lever Brothers will never go out of business while we are alive!

If anyone can tell me if they have a laundry system that works with a similar sized family I would be very grateful for your advice. TIA.

misscph1973 Tue 25-Nov-14 12:03:33

My friend has 2 washing machines and 2 trumble driers. They are a family of 5. It works for them. Not a cheap solution, obviously, but in the long run probably cheaper and easier than getting it all done at a serviced launderette.

For my kids, I try to get 2 days out of a school shirt. I change bedding/towels every 2 weeks. But I think monthly would be fine.

AgentAlice Tue 25-Nov-14 12:24:00

Do you have a dryer Valsoldknickers? I think you can be a believer in not letting washing build up if you have a tumbler dryer, if not then you can end up with wet washing and no where to put it.

We wash for 6 here, 1 of the DC's of potty training so the washing machine has been on a lot this week.

I buy x6 white polo shirts for each DC and do 1 white wash a week on a Friday, the polo shirts go straight on hangers and get put away over the weekend.

Other than that I do 2 loads a day minimum, I separate towels (all go in together, whites/coloured/whatever) and do them at 60'. I do a pink wash, dark wash and once a week a delicate/wool wash.

I tumble everything that I can (I buy p.j's a bit too big in case they shrink), the rest goes on the clothes horse next to the dehumidifier.

I keep linen baskets in each of the childrens bedroom for clean washing, I dump in there once it is dry and they are learning to put it away (oldest is 7 so she can do it, I am training the others).

Ironing only gets done for weddings, funerals and job interviews.

AMumInScotland Tue 25-Nov-14 13:10:29

Not having a backlog in the laundry basket doesn't work if the backlog is further down the process!
It sounds like drying is more of your problem? Have you got nice modern airers? - I've got lovely ones with fold-out bits on the corners that take hangers. All shirts go onto hangers, which reduces ironing and means you don't have to 'handle' them more than once.

Putting things in an ironing pile is 'double handling', plus it adds more creases. Could you iron straight from the rack? Children can also fold simple things and pair up socks straight off the rack if you can schedule it. If the big ones each do their own stuff, that reduces what you have to do for them. Or as AgentAlice says, put their things into a basket each and they can do it later, but that still takes your time picking their stuff off the rack and separating them out.

Valsoldknickers Tue 25-Nov-14 13:38:57

Hi AgentAlice, yes I do have a tumbledryer but am wary of the amount of energy it uses and the cost involved in using it to dry things from scratch. My DH was away for work last week and our bedwetter had accidents two nights in a row. The weather was also rubbish so I did put some wet towels in to dry. I was a bit mortified at how long they took to dry although they were lovely and soft afterwards! We usually just use it to air things.

I think about the backlog/glut of laundry the same way as you do AMumInScotland. I would dearly love to clear the clotheshorses, pile of ironing etc before the next load hits. I wouldn't care if the wash baskets were overflowing.

The crux of it is I would dearly love to start at the beginning for once! IYKWIM.

strongandlong Tue 25-Nov-14 13:49:01

Tumble drying costs 25-30p/load (very roughly!). Could you use the tumble dryer to help you through the current backlog so you can start from scratch?

Not ironing stuff helps a lot!

CQ Tue 25-Nov-14 13:57:28

Have you room for a ceiling mounted pulley thing? Mine's fab - only a short one as no space, but it gets stuff up out of the way and uses all the warm air at the top of the room. I can put a load on it overnight and it's mostly all dry by the morning so I don't have to look at it. Everything that can goes on hangers which slot into the metal brackets, and pants, socks etc go over the rails.

I hang towels up there overnight so nearly dry, then finish them off for 5 mins in the tumble dryer to make them soft and fluffy.

AgentAlice Tue 25-Nov-14 17:03:36

When you have a bet wetter it feels relentless (luckily DC2 has stopped wetting the bed in time for DC3 to potty train other wise I think that I may have drowned under washing).

Once we got to 3DC's I decided to take the hit with using the dryer, I did faff about on the money saving expert website though and managed to reduce my bill by just under £40 per month. We have an internet only/fixed payment for a year account.

Funnily enough once I am on top of it all I use the dryer a bit less, I still tumble dry all the towels though. The dehumidifier was also quite expensive but the difference it has made is amazing, I wouldn't be without it now.

Superlovely Tue 25-Nov-14 17:24:33

I buy detergents from local cash n carry. It so much cheaper for a huge bottle.
New tumble dryers are cheaper to run and I would guess cheaper than ironing, or at least that's what I tell myself.
School clothes get aired and spot washed a lot.
If you have a timer on your washing machine you can load it in the evening to come on at 6am and get one load done, this us the only way I keep up.

wowfudge Wed 26-Nov-14 07:14:13

You can process so much laundry quickly using the tumble dryer. Take load out of machine, put in dryer minus anything that can't go in there, which gets hung up to dry. Next load in washing machine and repeat.

We are only a small family, but I get all the laundry done in one day. I don't spend lots of time hanging stuff out or putting it on airers. I would rather pay to run the dryer than spend my time doing that!

pileoflaundry Wed 26-Nov-14 13:36:57

I get unreasonably annoyed by clothes horses cluttering up the floor and falling over and second the ceiling airers, especially the light plastic ones. I've tried wall mounted airers too (Ikea have some), but found them to be less useful and rust-prone.

My DH is a firm believer in not allowing a backlog of washing to build up in laundry baskets

Do you have a futility room, garage or somewhere else where the laundry can build up? We have small laundry baskets, which get emptied into piles in the futility/garage every morning. Keeps the bathrooms tidy and stops me looking at the mess the whole time.

Do you run full loads every time? I keep getting caught out by not having enough clothes (3 bras that fit, 1 spare cot sheet for a possetting baby...), and end up doing endless small loads to try to keep up. This thread has made me realise just how much time, never mind electricity and water, I waste on this.

VeryStressedMum Wed 26-Nov-14 16:11:15

Does your dh do any washing/drying?? If it's you that does the washing then really you should be able to wash as much or as little as you want..anyway, the only real way to get on top of your washing is to use the tumble dryer, otherwise you may get it washed but have no where to dry it.
If it's dry and breezy out I'll hang it out and finish off in the tumble dryer but if it's not good drying weather it goes in the tumble.

erin99 Fri 28-Nov-14 19:54:47

I'm a firm believer in letting the washing build up. I wash on Friday, into Saturday. All dry by end of Sunday, when we do the minimum ironing required. All put away by bedtime on Sun. That's the theory anyway! We have been using this syatem for years now, but I must admit it's much less onerous now we are routinely using a tumble dryer.

It only works if I hold my nerve and don't start washing early. If I do, somehow we end up back at "needing" daily washes.

Bedwetting completely scuppers this though - on those days I inevitably feel that we are drowning in washing. But I wash just the bedding and pjs, and whatever else fits in to make up the wash(es). The rest is left until Friday. What helps with the wet bed washing is having duvet cover, sheets and pjs all a similar colour so they can share a wash, and using a sleeping bag opened out as a quilt instead of a duvet. Fleece blankets would be even better but DD feels this is a punishment so we try not to.

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