Okay friend, are you doing the laundry every day?
If your answer is yes (or even almost), it is time to STOP wasting your valuable time and create a laundry schedule!
I only do clothes laundry ONCE a WEEK for SEVEN PEOPLE.
With my simple weekly system and this amazing eco-friendly laundry detergent, I don’t mind doing the clothes laundry like I used to.
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First, let’s talk about the bane of every mother’s existence everywhere.
We find it lurking in pile after stinky pile, overtaking our laundry rooms, and spilling out into the living room, taking up residence in the bedrooms and spreading faster than frosting on a still-cooling birthday cake.
The average American family does 8-10 loads of laundry a week, and each load takes an average of one hour and 27 minutes to complete.
Without overlapping the loads, that’s 12 hours of laundry every week! (But just in case you’re wondering, that’s NOTHING compared to how much laundry is done at Disney World every day, where they wash an astounding 285,000 pounds of clothes every single day.). But I digress.
I’m just gonna tell you that I haven’t always had a system. I have done laundry haphazardly throughout the majority of my mom life.
Why I Needed a Laundry Schedule
I knew I needed a laundry plan when I started to pull clean clothes straight out of the dryer because so much of my other stuff was either dirty or was clean but too wrinkly to wear.
And then there was that one time my daughter had to wear her hooded bath towel until lunch because she had no clean underwear. So. Yeah. System was needed.
(And speaking of schedules and running a home, check out my Ultimate Productivity Pack for Moms! It’s 20+ pages of menu planning printables, laundry and cleaning schedules, homemade cleaning recipes, habit trackers, and more!
Oh – and it’s free.)
I was also so blasted tired of the laundry basket full of clean clothes mocking me every time I walked past it. I had a habit of taking it around the house with me throughout the day, but I’d get distracted or decide I’d rather do other things than fold.
What did it say, you ask? Here’s a sampling that might sound familiar:
- “Jen, you’re a total mess. Why can’t you even find 10 minutes to fold these clothes?”
- “Dang, lady. If you had your life together you would have folded me two days ago.”
- “Are you just waiting for these clothes to fold themselves? Not gonna happen.”
- “The mess you see is just a reflection of the mess in your brain.”
Those days of desperately wishing for the Laundry Fairy to show up were oh so real.
It wasn’t long after baby number 5 that I realized if I could just come up with a system, my life would get so. much. better.
After all, I met a mom of NINE KIDS who did 7 loads of laundry everyday. Yes, 7 loads. That’s not something any mom should attempt lightly. I knew her daily laundry thing was her jam. I knew it would do me in.
Benefits of Time Blocking
Have you ever heard about time blocking?
It’s the idea that we do specific things that correlate with each other at the same time to save mental energy and streamline our lives.
Take meal prepping for example. Many mamas swear by a once-a-week meal prepping session where they make all of their meals for the week in one several-hour jam session in the kitchen.
They cook all their meat, prep noodles, soups, casseroles, and chop veggies in one go. They make one huge mess in the kitchen a week instead of 5 or 6 separate little messes. (I’m currently testing this out for myself … I’ll let you know how it goes!)
So I decided to try this time blocking idea with laundry.
And it has changed my life. Are you ready to know how I only do laundry once a week for 7 people?
Let’s do this!
How to Do the Laundry Only Once a Week
Here’s what it looks like:
Step 1. Choose a laundry day.
You want to dedicate the same day to do the laundry every week, if at all possible.
It’s best to choose the day that you are home the most.
For me this day is Friday.
I don’t schedule a lot of things outside of the house, especially in the morning. No appointments, no playdates, no grocery shopping, no field trips. Not only is it great for laundry, it’s seriously good for my soul.
Whatever day you choose, make your schedule as free as possible.
Step 2: Gather all the clothes laundry in one place
You may consider having your family deliver all of their laundry to the washing machine and dryer area the night before laundry day.
(You could also have your kids go through their pockets and turn everything right side out so all the clothes will be waiting for you like obedient laundry children the next morning! How cool would that be?!)
If you are looking for lightweight laundry hampers that kids can carry or push, check out these super inexpensive laundry hampers that I love! They are collapsible, fit a ton of clothes, and come in a pack of 2.
Step 3: Sort
Now you may have a tried and true method for sorting laundry that you swear by. If you do, stick with it!
Here are the 5 different piles that I sort our clothes into every week:
- darks for my husband and I
- whites and lights for everyone
- colors for my 2 girls
- pants, underwear, and socks for my 3 boys
- shirts and pajamas for the boys
However you choose to sort, be sure to move as quickly as possible!
I sort mine straight onto the laundry room floor and go through all the pockets and pull everything right side out (except for jeans, which I wash inside out).
Stopping the laundry flow to sort clothes every time you switch the loads is a BIG time waster.
Try sorting it all in one 15-20 minute chunk first thing in the morning. Time blocking at its finest!
Now, you may be wondering about the color sorting, or lack thereof. Other than setting aside the whites and the super lights (like blush, cream, and powder blue), I just wash it everything together.
Don’t be upset, and please don’t tell the laundry gods who might get mad. But … it really does work out just fine. And I’ve never had any article of clothing bleed onto anything else. I do wash all denim inside out before its ever worn, and it’s been no trouble.
Step 4: Start the wash (and set the chime!)
Over the past few months, I’ve been using Tru Earth eco-friendly laundry strips. I can’t even tell you how much I loooveeee them!
They are free of added dyes, parabens, phosphates, and chlorine bleach, which makes them safe for your whole family AND the environment.
And because they come in strip form – they are super compact and take up virtually no space at all in your laundry room! What mom couldn’t use a little extra space in her cupboards, am I right?
Once you get the washing machine going, be sure to set the chime or a timer for when it is done!
As soon as you hear it, try to get yourself to the laundry room to switch it over to the dryer ASAP.
Once you have clean clothes fresh from the dryer, put them in fun laundry baskets like these until you can fold them (which we’ll talk about in a minute!). And bonus: these laundry baskets are also collapsible and come in nearly every color of the rainbow! Check them out!
Keep repeating this process until you’ve got all of your clothes washed and dried.
(I’m even such a nerd that I try to race myself every week to see if I can get through all 5 loads faster than I did the week before.)
And just to prove my nerdiness a bit further, I try to maintain super positive vibes flowing from me toward my washing machine.
I mean, I could have to use a washboard and the whole plunge and scrub method that Tom Cruise taught Nicole Kidman in Far and Away. Hmmm … actually if Tom Cruise would come and teach me how to properly plunge and scrub, maybe I don’t need that washing machine so much anyway.
Step 5: Fold as you go
This is a big one!
Every time a load completes in the dryer, I pull it out, put in a colorful laundry basket like this and drag it to wherever you are.
And just start folding. Don’t wait!
Typically, I bring my basket to our homeschool room. Let me just tell you, it is totally possible to read Peter Pan aloud and fold laundry. I can play Candy Land and fold. We can listen to a read aloud book or a podcast and I fold. I fold during bedtime story time. Basically, I fold like crazy throughout the day, knowing that I am earning myself 6 clothes-folding-free days.
As you fold, put the clothes into laundry baskets like these – one basket per bedroom – and then deliver the baskets to the room where they belong.
Better yet, you could have your kids “drive” the baskets to the proper room.
Step 6: Put it away
At the end of the day, put it all away. Don’t let yourself only do 80% of the work, okay?!
My husband and all kids who are over 8 years old put their own laundry away. My 6-year-old and 4-year-old still need a little help, but that’s okay.
Once the laundry is folded and in the basket, I don’t touch it again until I sort it the next Friday morning.
Voila! You can totally cut down to doing the laundry only once a week!
Final thoughts on doing the laundry once a week
A few more things have made doing laundry once a week work like a dream for me.
Involve your kids
At least one time on laundry day, I ask my older kids to transfer the laundry and start the next loads. I reason that if they are capable of operating an iPad with expert precision, they sure as heck can start a washing machine.
Set aside a day just for sheets and towels
For me, it’s Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, I have my kids strip down their beds and bring me their sheets and pillowcases.
And lest you be impressed, I only do one kids’ room a week and they switch off weeks. So yes, they go a full two weeks without having their sheets cleaned.
(But that’s WAY shorter than it was before I started my bomb dot com laundry system!)
I am a huge fan of Tru Earth laundry strips for our sheets and towels too! The linen-scented ones are absolutely divine for towels and sheets.
When sheets are done, they go straight back on their beds. No need to fold sheets EVER.
The towels are one quick load that I fold during story time. Easy peasy.
My kids own clothes for at least 8 days
This means at least 8 pairs of underwear and socks, and enough pants and shirts to make it that long. And honestly, they own way more than that.
My kids know that laundry happens every Friday and they are to plan accordingly. No late night loads for the random Frozen sweater for the Saturday birthday party.
Maybe this makes me a mean mom, but I had to draw my line in the sand and this is where it is. The ONLY time I’d do an extra load would be if someone wets the bed or gets sick during the night. Which does happen, but thankfully it’s almost never.
I focus on gaining 6 clothes-laundry-FREE days per week
Sure, doing it all in one day is a lot of work, but when my mental game is right, I feel like I’ve basically conquered the world every Friday!
I mean, for 6 days I don’t even look at the hampers, and I’m free from that mocking voice of the clean but unfolded laundry basket!