The undeniable fact is, eleven people generate a large, consistent amount of washing. To ensure the laundry is maintained, a workable system needs to be implemented. Family dynamics impact dramatically on what is needed and how it is carried out. The number and ages of family members, family lifestyles and the seasons create variation. Over the years our methods have been organic, changing and expanding with our family. Babies, toilet training, winter, summer, sports, farming, building etc all have created variation.
Washing is a task I enjoy, an effortless way to change the dirty to clean, and time in the sunshine hanging the wash is always refreshing. Whilst folding is a little more mundane, I have good resolutions but often fall behind and it then quickly becomes overwhelming. Ironing is maintained by Anna Maria, who keeps us wrinkle free, (we keep her in book money;)
On average our weekly wash tally of (large) loads consists of; 4 nappy, 5+ linen and 11+ clothes loads.
Until recently our system was to wash clothes daily, nappies and tableclothes every second day, towels and sheets on weekends, this averaged in 3 to 4 loads per day. Our work team of the ‘Mighty Men’ and the “Three Cinderellas’ rotated on a weekly basis to help me with the wash. The folding was my task and I would ask for help from all when needed. However the system needed tweaking.
Changes were needed for the week of the ‘Three Cinders’. Jelly Bean can only reach the clothesline via a stool, Princess was often ‘absent’ and so the hanging was often falling onto Anna Maria’s shoulders alone. I had plans to change the roster to make the method more fair and equitable, when Anna Maria started Tafe and thus was absent most days. Time for an overhaul.
This time we are trialling something very different, something that we couldn’t have done when all our children were young. Each child has been assigned their own wash day, a day in which they do their own washing, hanging and folding. For clarity I’ll explain thus:
Sunday Day of Rest
Monday Anna Maria & Carpenter
Tuesday Jack Jack & Jem, Linen, Nappies
Wednesday Einstein & Michelangelo
Thursday Princess & Jelly Bean, Nappies & Linen
Friday Mum & Dad, Bass
Saturday Nappies, Towels, Half household sheets(alt. fortnightly)
When contemplating this system we had to consider a few factors;
What containers would we use? Wheelie bins.
Where would we store them? In bedrooms.
What would we do with wet clothes? (I was worried about mildew) I hang over the edge of the bin/tub to dry or I throw in with a load going.
We are three weeks into this system, how is it going?
The setting up seemed a little strange the first week, as we needed to take the dirty washing back to bedrooms to put into wheelie bins. The younger children aren’t taking their washing back to their bins, so I have undertaken to do this. When we have a bigger laundry with individual hampers this will not be an issue.
An extra linen day has been added onto my original plans.
Having to be vigilant about washing only every second day is pleasant, as the older four children (12-18yrs) are most diligent about doing their load on the correct day. Although some days they are a little late in hanging, we need to tweak here as it impacts the next days wash. They are very keen for this method to succeed as it means they only have to wash/hang once a week.
The younger girls need assistance, particularly Jelly Bean (7), and I’m washing/hanging the three youngest boys’, my own and PC’s clothes. The older children help if asked but I’m enjoying giving them this time off.
We no longer have baskets of washing in the dining room waiting for folding, a task I seemed to be consistently behind in. However the baskets tend to sit in the children’s bedrooms for a few days before they make it into the cupboards. This needs some thought given to correct. I’m not certain that my teenage boys fold either, I think their method is push and shove, however I turn a blind eye.
We’re happy to continue with this system as it working well, just needing a few adjustments. The older children are particularly happy with doing their own wash:)