How to Do Laundry (for 8 People) in One Day
Washing all your laundry in one day creates a simple, effective routine to help keep laundry in check.
Laundry is one of my least favourite chores, so the last thing I want to do is drag it out all week long. I plan to stick to the all-in-one day method when we have children, if at all possible.
With just my husband and I for now, I’m not a laundry expert. Not yet.
But my mom? She is. She raised six kids and became (among other things) the Master of the Once-a-Week Laundry Method. So this post is her wisdom, not mine.
Here’s how to get all of your laundry done in one day:
1. First thing after breakfast on Monday morning, gather all the dirty laundry and bring it to the laundry room. Growing up, my parents had a hamper in their room, and the kids shared a hamper in the hall closet.
Note: If there are a lot of people in your family, don’t bother with sorting, line drying, or folding socks and underwear. Give each child a large mesh garment bag to collect their dirty socks and underwear in throughout the week. Tie a different-colored shoelace to the zipper of each bag for easy identification. On wash day, zip the bags and toss them in the washer. Dry in the dryer and then distribute to each owner to be put away.
Another note: To cut down on the amount of laundry, we didn’t wash sheets and towels every week.
2. Check pockets and turn clothes inside-out (to preserve the colours and protect the fabric).
3. Quickly sort everything into three piles: Whites, Colors, and Darks. Put the first load in and set a timer that you’ll hear (or you can take with you).
4. The key is to keep things moving, so as soon as you hear that timer go off, go switch out the loads, set the timer again, and hang clean clothes on the line (if it’s a nice day!)
5. Dump clean, dry clothes on the master bed or guest bed. Lay out any clothes that need to be kept wrinkle-free, like dress shirts.
6. After all the laundry is done, fold all the clothes in one fell swoop.
7. Pile clean, folded clothes into laundry baskets (linen closet items in one, kids’ clothes in another, etc.) and ferry them around the house until everything is put away.
Children can help at every stage of the process! Younger kids can learn how to measure out detergent, clean the lint screen, and deliver clean laundry around the house. Older kids can hang clothes on the line and fold clean laundry.
That’s the gist of Mom’s once-a-week method. I love it because it seems simpler to me. You may have to do an emergency load later in the week, but usually, you’re done. You’ve got clean clothes to wear all week, and you avoid the looming threat of a pileup if you miss a day. Laundry day becomes part of the family routine, and everyone knows what to expect and how to help.
If laundry is your nemesis, you might be interested in getting more help in the eBook Taming the Laundry Monster by Angi Schneider. This nifty book helps you plan and implement a laundry system that works for your family’s needs.
If you’d like to give the one load per day method a try, check out these posts from blogs I love:
Conquering the Laundry Pile: Catch Up and Create a System That Works in Just One Week
How to Stop Being Overwhelmed By Laundry
How a $15 Craigslist Find Revolutionized My Laundry Routine
And here’s a classic from Passionate Homemaking on the once-per-week method:
I love your laundry idea! Although I usually do a couple of loads a week, and it (sort of) works for me.
Speaking of clothes… this week’s post is on why we LOVE our school uniforms! 🙂
Love the idea of using the mesh bag for socks and undies for each child! I’ll be picking up some zippered mesh bags this week!
Laundry seems to be the arch nemesis of many mom’s! I just in fact had a conversation about coping strategies with some women who felt their laundry rooms were on the brink of explosion! I appear to follow many of the tactics that your mother did/does i.e. doing ALL laundry once per week, unless of course there is an accident mid-week that you would rather not ferment in the laundry room; folding all at once and sorting into piles that makes for easier put-away; and enlisting my kiddies to put in the detergent, press the button and clean the lint screen…chores at their young ages are fun although early training from where I’m sitting 😉
That’s so cool that you use a similar system! And having kids help with chores is definitely the way to go! I may have grumbled about it when I was little, but I know that I learned SO much through Mom’s training!
I agree that it’s easier to do laundry all at once (except diapers; I do those 2x/week). I’ve found it helpful to keep a bottle of stain remover (I love OxiClean) next to each hamper to pretreat stains right away before they go in the hamper. Also, as each load comes out of the dryer, I spread out any clothes that might wrinkle (dress shirts, etc) on the footboard of the master bed, so they don’t get crumpled. After the last load, everything gets sorted into a pile for each person, plus one for linens and cleaning cloths; then each pile is folded. This initial step saves several minutes!
Thanks Emma! I remember that we did used to spread out Dad’s dress shirts, or other items that need to be wrinkle-free, so I updated the post to say that! I love OxiClean, too!
And I really like your idea of sorting items before folding. That makes a lot of sense; you can work through the piles faster, rather than switching gears between towels, T-shirts, etc.
I was too young to remember when Mom used cloth diapers. I bet that cloth dipes would necessitate doing laundry on other days of the week, too.
Hang anything going on the clothes line on plastic hangers….hang the hangers on the line. Save a step and potentially ironing, get more items on the clothes line at once.
Love that idea! Thanks!
Love this, Elsie! Thanks for the link love!
Thank you, Erin!
I do laundry once a week as well! Although, the kids each have their own hampers and instead of washing everyone’s clothes together, I wash them separately. This means more smaller loads (since my kids are smaller), but saves me a huge amount of sorting time, and sorting is my least favorite part! And the kids (ages 6, 4, 2, and 4 months) are expected to do as much as possible. My 4 year old can do every step of the laundry. Skipping the sorting step also means I can fold and put away one load at a time as they come out of the dryer, which isn’t as overwhelming for me. I also have mesh bags for the kids socks, they hang on command his that are attached to that child’s hamper! 🙂
Audrey, I never thought of eliminating the sorting by washing each person’s clothes separately! That is a really good idea!
That’s command HOOKS, not his!
I do laundry every Friday. I feel like even one load takes up the whole day with washing, drying, hanging, sorting. So I might as well just do it all at once rather than taking up multiple days. I’ve also found that my kids wear whatever’s on top, so this keeps them rotating through their clothes.
I feel the same way, about one load feeling like it takes up the whole day!
This is very helpful for people who have big families! I have 2 brothers and 3 sisters! We always had to do the laundry at once in turns (we the girls) so I know what it is! These tips are very helpful! Thanks!
My 3 sisters and I usually got stuck doing the laundry, too, since we were older than my 2 brothers!
This is precious information! I live with my husband, his brother and out 3 three boys! you can imagine how much laundry this is!
I have a family of four. My husband laughs at me because I tend to be a laundry nut. I have one laundry basket upstairs which is not used often. I put dirty laundry directly into the washer and when there is enough for a load I add soap and wash. I don’t sort, but carefully when I have something new. I have a large clothes line where I hang one load and the take one in. I often hang clothes in the late afternoon or evening to dry the next day.
Great post! I always try to do laundry all on one day as well because it is so much less stressful the rest of the week! Definitely worth it!
Thank you! Yes, I don’t like to feel that it’s a never-ending chore. Which it would, for me, if I didn’t do it in one fell swoop.