One last way to help with laundry management is to limit the number of clothes that each person owns or has out at a given time. In our house this is managed when the seasons change, which for us (sorry to those up in the frigid north) is just about now.
This is a process that I find tedious, so if you have a better system, please feel free to share it.
We have our clothes sorted and stored in this manner. Gender, size and season, so I have a GIRLS box of SIZE 4 clothes for both SUMMER and WINTER. Got it?
I begin week one by pulling out the appropriate size, season, and gender bin for one or two children.
I have two sets of girls who are less than 18 months apart and I also have a set of boys who are close in age, so I will work through each of those pairs of children together. That way if anything doesn’t fit the larger child it can be passed down for the smaller one to try and vice-versa.
So each child tries on the clothes in their bin and I check for fit and style. Dividing into two piles, 1.fits and is cute OR 2.doesn’t fit or doesn’t look cute on this child.
Next I sort the “fits and is cute” pile into 4 categories: pajamas, Sunday clothes, nice going out clothes, and everyday clothes. Now the children get to “shop”. They love this part. I tell them how many from each category that they get to pick. Here are our current shopping guidelines:
- 2 pairs of pajamas
- 2 Sunday outfits for boys and 3 for girls
- 3 pairs of nice going out clothes
- 5 pairs of everyday clothes.
I try to be strict on these numbers, but sometimes a child has so many cute little things to choose from. However, I always regret letting them keep more than the above numbers because we simply don’t have room and they end up just wearing a few things anyway.
When I finish with a child or pair of children I make a list of their size and any things that they might need. I put their pile of “new” clothes aside (no they don’t get to wear them yet) and go to the next child or pair of children. I take my time with this step and it may take me a week to get through all 9 children.
After I finish getting out all of the “new” clothes for everyone in a room, the next step takes place on that rooms laundry day. When their day rolls around they get to put on one of their “new” outfits and I give special instructions in gathering all of the laundry from their room. Not only must they gather everything from the basket, under the dresser, beds, etc. they must also bring me everything out of their drawers including socks and underwear and everything (including shoes) out of the closets. I want their room to be clothing free.
Wash, wash, wash and sort, sort, sort by person.
After everything is washed, we get out the boxes that these clothes will go into and loads of empty trash bags to pack with things to give away. Since we have multiple children in each room this day is much messier than the previous week, but it will be worth it when it is all done. So, to continue our above example one of the boxes would be GIRLS, size 3, WINTER. I sort through all of this child’s “old” clothing. Since I don’t have another girl after this one, I won’t be keeping any of this. I put it in bags to pass on to my sister-in-law. If I do have another child who will wear these clothes in the future, I sort very carefully only keeping what is still in nice shape. The rest is given away. Also, if I have more than what will fit in the box, the excess is given away.
Now, we sort the underwear and socks. Each child keeps 10 pairs of underwear and during the summer 3 -4 pairs of socks and 1 pair of Sunday socks. (Boys keep 1 pair in each color blue, tan, and black.) I continue making my list of items that I need to purchase for each child.
Coats are put away along with any outgrown or out-of-season shoes.
Now we put their “new” clothes and shoes in the bedroom. Yes, we even have a shoe quota in our house. I know, I know I’m a clothes Nazi.
Put the boxes away, take the giveaway bags where they belong, and make a pile of socks that don’t match (we will match those up at the end of the week after switching all the bedrooms and then any that are still mate-less get tossed.)
OK, I promise this is my last laundry post and if you read all the way to the end of this one, you’re my hero. Thanks.
There is a lot more laundry info if you are interested. Now go hug your kids!