Laundry Routines vary from family to family. One of the variables that determines how your routine will work is if you are a stay at home mom or one who works outside the home or works at a job while staying home.
Just in case you’re wondering, I’ve held all three positions.
I’m highlighting several examples of Laundry Routines here at Mama’s Laundry Talk. It is helpful to take a peek into another’s life to see how they manage different tasks. It helps you define what will work for your own family.
So what does the Laundry Routine look like for the stay at home mom?
There are moms who are ultra organized and have fairly strict schedules. And then there are moms who follow more of a routine than a schedule.
And mamas that homeschool throw a whole other variable into the mix.
Regardless of where you fall in this mix of stay at home motherhood, here are a few scenarios that will get some ideas forming if you’re trying to start a Laundry Routine.
First, take a few moments to ponder these laundry questions. Really think about what you want the Laundry Routine of your house to look like.
Next, read through these scenarios. Take from them the things that will help your routine run better and just leave the rest. If you’ve already got a great routine going, tell us all about it in the comments!
One idea is to set a time each day that your laundry must be completed. This is especially helpful if you fall more along the routine-type of stay at home mom.
If your goal is to complete 2 loads of laundry per day, you can declare that all laundry for the day must be completed by 12 noon. And that includes putting all folded clothes back in their drawers.
The logistics of when you actually roll the laundry can change from day to day, but the cut-off is 12 noon. If you choose to start folding everything at 11:30 and scurry to put it all away right before noon, that’s fine! As long as it is done by the deadline.
Why set a specific time as the deadline? Accountability. You know that deadline is quickly approaching. Make it a game. Don’t let the clock beat you.
Perhaps you are a mama who likes to do laundry only 2 days per week. Block out 2 days of your week as Laundry Days.
Let’s assume you choose Monday and Thursday as your Laundry Days. Keep in mind that if you choose to set aside specific days to wash laundry each week, you must be home to wash it. The days you choose to wash laundry should not be days that are filled with play dates or library trips or homeschool co-op. It might seem confining and restrictive, but the clothes won’t wash themselves!
If you choose to wash clothes only on certain days during the week, you’ll likely have many loads to complete. And you’ll likely need to start early in the day. Have the clothes sorted the night before so you can be ready to roll the next morning.
And to get a jump start on that Laundry Day, it is helpful to have a washing machine with a programmable timer. Simply load it the night before with detergent and clothes and set the time you’d like it to start. When you get up, your first load is already washed and waiting to be put in the dryer. It’s a great way to start Laundry Day!
If you’re a mom that leads a fairly scheduled day, then you’ll need to put laundry on that daily schedule. Regardless of whether you do a load or two a day or wash only on certain days of the week, make sure you write in times to roll the laundry.
Are you a mama that schedules in 30-minute time slots? Then your daily schedule could look something like this:
6:00 Wake up/Start 1st Load/Shower/Read Bible
7:00 Roll Laundry/Kids up and Dressed
7:30 Breakfast for everyone
8:00 Breakfast Clean-up/Roll Laundry
8:30 HomeSchool Day Starts
10:00 Break for Snacks/Regroup schoolwork/Roll Laundry
10:30 Finish last part of school for the morning
11:45 Roll Laundry/Lunch Prep
So by lunch time on this sample schedule, you could have 4 to 5 loads of laundry washed! You also need to make sure enough time is set aside to fold it and put away.
One idea for this type of scenario is to fold all laundry quickly as it comes from the dryer. You don’t want to spend a lot of time on it since you’re in the middle of a school morning. Leave all folded items in one spot – your folding table, the bed, etc. At the appointed time on the schedule, everyone finds their folded laundry and puts it away.
The key to this scenario is making sure you put laundry on the schedule. If it’s on the schedule, it is already built into your day.
Remember that the goal of any laundry routine is to move you out of crisis mode and into maintenance mode.
Are you a stay at home mama? What does your laundry routine look like? Do you have specific questions about how to start one? Ask away…
Nony (A Slob Comes Clean)
You’ve definitely inspired me in the area of laundry! I’ve made Mondays my laundry day for a month now, and it’s working very well. Even if my MOnday isn’t a normal one, I know that that’s the day to get the laundry done. Like you said, it’s so important to put it on the schedule, so it doesn’t just pile up.
.-= Nony (A Slob Comes Clean)´s last blog ..Bathrooms and Budgets =-.
Oh I’m glad you’ve been inspired with your laundry! (Now I need someone to help inspire me to mop my floors ).
Mondays (as you know) are a big laundry day for me too, so we rarely go anywhere on that day. It’s nice to have clean clothes for the week. 🙂
Angela @ Homegrown Mom
I have tried to work this into my schedule, but often I forget to keep it going. I like the idea of having 2 laundry days a week! I’m going to try that 🙂
.-= Angela @ Homegrown Mom´s last blog ..10 Signs That You May Need a Break =-.
Yes – 2 days a week is nice! Try it for awhile and see if it works for you 🙂
Rhoni at CKYBooks
I tend to do our boys’ laundry 2-3 times a week, usually Mondays and Thursdays with a Saturday thrown in a couple of times a month for sheets/cleaning rags/etc but admittedly don’t have a set schedule so much as “Oops the boys are almost out of uniforms again…” My husband tends to do ours whenever he wants something that has been laying half tucked under his side of the bed for a week.
.-= Rhoni at CKYBooks´s last blog ..Menu Planning Monday 03/15/2010 =-.
Crud. When I saw your post I knew you were going to say words like schedule and plan and routine. I fail miserably at this. We homeschool and yes you would think I’d have all the time in the world to run downstairs and throw some in but gosh darn it does my day filter away. I typically wait until everyone is walking around naked and then I wash and wash and wash. I like the idea of setting a goal time. Like 12 pm to get the loads washed/dried and put up. I might just try that out. Let me see if I can find a basket somewhere…
.-= kris´s last blog ..Where Hubby’s Paycheck Goes, AKA: Thrifty Finds =-.
Oh I’m so very sorry to disappoint.. 🙂
Try the finish by noon thing. Even for people that don’t like to plan it’s really helpful. Like I said, you can scurry like a crazy girl trying to get it all put away…just beat the clock!
Let me know how it goes…
Forgot to say the most important part: Homeschooling is a job in and of itself! Don’t beat yourself up. It’s much more important to interact and teach your little people than fret about getting laundry done.
If they’re sitting at your kitchen table doing their schoolwork without underwear b/c there’s none clean….well, just keep that your little family secret. 😉
I am not sure I can relate entirely to this post right now but I will tuck it away in the back of my brain for when I have kids! My husband and I just do 2-3 loads of laundry on Sunday afternoon and then fold and put away clothes on Sunday night! It works great! =) Now I just need to teach my husband where all my clothes go so he can be more helpful when putting the clothes away, hehe.
Ah, the days of three loads of laundry a week. Such a beautiful, but distant memory….
Yes, teach the hubby! It’s oh so helpful.
Crystal & Co
Amazing! Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in this struggle of laundry scheudle/routine/something better than what I am doing, needs.
.-= Crystal & Co´s last blog ..Excavating the Real You, Part 1 =-.
Another terrific post! And, you’re so right – there are a lot of variables and factors in a family’s laundry routine. Everyone’s will probably look a little different – you’ve given some great examples and tips.
I’m going to share this post w/ my readers, if you don’t mind.
.-= Kara´s last blog ..Small Steps, Big Changes: Developing a New Routine 15 Minutes at a Time =-.
Thanks, Kara! I appreciate your kind words. 🙂
And yes, I’d be honored for you to share it with your readers! Thanks…
Great post! I feel like I’ve tried all of these systems! I’ve finally found one that works for our family of six. (Four kids, ages 11, 5, 4, 2) We do 1-2 loads every morning. Everyone folds their own clothes (except the 2 year-old), and everyone (including the 2 year-old) puts their own clothes away. Once my husband convinced me that I could/should let go of their clothes being folded and put away perfectly (do they ever stay that way anyway?) it has made laundry so easy for us… with the exception of the “Aww, mom… do we have to fold clothes now???”
You are so right – giving up on their drawers being perfectly folded is hard….but oh so necessary! I struggle with it!
Great post! Not sure if I’m the only person who does this, but I started to hang my laundry rather than dry it in our electric dryer. Originally I did this to decrease our electric use, but now I do it because it saves me time! I couldn’t believe it, but you don’t have to wait a whole hour for each load in the dryer. You can wash and hang 5 loads of laundry in a little over an hour and let it air dry for part of the day. Once it is mostly dry, I pop in the dryer for 5-10 min to fluff it up. Saves me time, wear and tear on our clothes, energy and money on our electric bill.
Good system! By not putting your clothes in the dryer, it really does save wear and tear on them. That dryer heat is brutal. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your method!
I’m one of those moms who has to do laundry on a daily basis. I do it first thing in the morning that way I feel like that’s one less thing that I need to worry about during the day. Funny how such a simple thing like laundry can become such an important part of our day!
.-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Spring Has Sprung And Patience Is A Virtue! =-.
That’s my method too! I try to get it over with first thing.
Thanks for sharing what you do 🙂
I’ve blogged about our laundry routine before (http://toniturbeville.typepad.com/tonis_treehouse/2010/01/the-laundry-quandary.html), but ours recently changed a little as we moved from disposable to cloth diapers. Now, I wash the family’s clothes when the hamper is full. And I wash one load of diapers once a day. It’s not bad, but you have to stay on top of it!!!
.-= Toni Turbeville´s last blog ..Meat Free Mondays =-.
Staying on top of it is key! Moving to cloth does change the routine, but it doesn’t have to be drastic. I’m sure you’ve already figured that out. 🙂
Thanks for the link! I’ll take a peek…
Thanks for the great info! I am a bit of a laundry freak. I don’t like it to pile up so I do it daily – at least one load sometimes 2. I will stand in the laundry room and fold it while catching up on a phone call or calling off spelling words. I fold and put away same day so that aspect doesn’t get backed up either.
I don’t like it to pile up either. It makes me feel overwhelmed. 🙂 You’ve got a good system going! Good work, Mama!
I am a military wife so the laundry adds up really fast. Not only do I have laundry from 3 kids and myself, but I also have my husbands uniforms, PT workout gear, normal clothes and then his running clothes. At our old house I always seemed to have 3-5 days a month when someone would be out of something. It was very frustrating. mY laundry room was at the back of the house away from everything, so it was easy to forget to do the laundry. In my new house my laundry room, well more like a closet, is in my kitchen. Not by choice mind you, and I hated the idea of having the laundry room in the kitchen. But now I LOVE IT!!! I stay on top of the laundry because I do not want piles of it in my kitchen. So now I always keep the washer lid open and as I get dirty laundry throughout the day I just throw it in the washer and when it is full later in the day I start the machine, switch it over to the dryer and fold after dinner while I am enjoying my favorite tv show! So easy!
Andrea, what a great plan! So glad you’ve got a method that works so well for you! 🙂
Just found your blog today, and I love all of the great advice! We do a pretty good job on keeping up with our laundry for now since it is just my husband, myself, and our 20 month old son. I am a SAHM and definitely have a lot more time to complete laundry now that I am not doing in-home daycare any longer. I know that once we have another baby it will definitely be a lot more challenging.
My laundry routine:
-I wash my husbands clothes and my clothes together (usually about 3 loads or so once a week).
-I wash our son’s clothes/towels/sheets/blankets etc. seperate from all other laundry so that all of his little socks, washcloths and such stay together. (Usually 1-2 loads once a week).
-Towels, sheets, blankets, washcloths, and etc. (1-2 loads once a week).
I am realizing that I want to create a more managable routine by doing laundry 2+ days a week or more. I tend to also have clean clothes filling the basket in my son’s room more often than I would like to admit! =) Up until he was 1 yr old that NEVER HAPPENED! I was so good at organizing and packing away the clothes he was “growing out of”. Time to get back into that mode.
The biggest frustration for me is that I can’t get my kid’s clothes put away. We have to bring all the laundry to our bedroom to separate and fold, which I do when my kids are napping. (Our laundry is in the back corner of our unfinished basement and the bedrooms are on the upper floor.) But, once they wake up, I’m never on my upper level until bath time. My kids are 7, 5 2 and 1. I can’t get the laundry put away while they are napping because they will wake up. I can’t put it away when they go to bed because they will wake up. Once they wake up, I’m feeding them, changing diapers, cleaning up breakfast…and then cleaning up the mess they made while I was cleaning up breakfast. I am usually distracted by and busy with the going-on of life on our main level that I completely forget that I have clothes to put away upstairs. Any suggestions?
Oh yes – I totally understand, as I am there!
Often, I’m able to fold a load of clothes but not get them put away due to someone needing to be fed, the baby needs to be picked up, etc.
I fold on our master bed, most days. I wont’ allow myself to get into bed until all of the clothes are put away in the drawers they go in. I put them away while my kiddos are getting baths or I have them put them away right after their baths and before bed (if they’re old enough).
It’s a harder season of life. I’m not sure there is a great solution. 😉
Incredible how you get many people to comment on your posts and to think that you’re all doing laundry. I am a grandma of four and I was browsing for tide coupons which led me to this site.
Enjoy your youth and your babies and your laundry. It is nature’s great design that we can’t have any more babies at <50. I get tired just reading you young girls talking about all that washing and running after toddlers. Cheers and enjoy your hard work. I miss it, but I don't have the energy for it anymore.
Thank goodness for the internet, we old birds can browse and read up and interact. When we were young, all we can do is watch birds and bees and putter in the garden.
I am a SAHHomeschoolingM of 6. This is what has been (kinda) working for us: We have 3 bedrooms (girls, boys, parents). Each bedroom is assigned 2 days a week for laundry. First room gets Mon and Thurs, second gets Tue and Fri, third gets Wed and Sat. (We take Sunday off for church and family time!) They can split it any way they want, as long as their sheets are not disgusting and they have clothes to wear all week! The oldest child in each room is responsible to get their laundry together ~ with their roommates assistance. They usually get the laundry out, sorted, and started, but almost never get it folded and put away on their laundry day. I am hoping that setting a time to have it done by will be motivation for them to get it done! Thanks for the tips!
Becca, thanks for leaving your method! I love reading how other mamas do things.
I bought a small laundry sorter a few years ago. Our laundry is generally sorted into whites, lights & darks, with bathroom towels generally going in with the whites, especially since I have recently decided I’d rather have strangely colored towels, from them not being bleach safe, than having strangely SMELLING towels from not using bleach at all. My biggest issue is washing my kitchen towels. I go through a ton of them a day, but not enough for a whole load by themselves, but I have a strong aversion to washing my kitchen towels (which I also bleach) with anything that has touched the unmentionable parts of our bodies. Any suggestions? My thought is just to invest in more kitchen towels, so I don’t have to wash them so often and have a bigger load at the same time.
I think my worst problem with laundry is organization for clean and dirty clothes .. i do it then i fold it then it sits in a basket or on the bed or dresser ,then clean and dirty get mixed and i have to sort those i have a really hard time focusing on housework these days so when i get overloaded i just shut down.. feeling so overwhelmed because i cant help but think about everything that needs cleaned ..i clean and my daughter goes behind me and defeats the purpose but it is my fault because she see’s a mess somewhere all the time… i feel like nothing is organized the way i want it to be but if i try to organize it how i want it to be its still not right and puts me back into the same routine which is none … how can i organize my laundry to make me feel less overwhelmed ? in a way that i can look at it and breathe and think I CAN DO THIS!
Wow! You made laundry seem fun and doable. Thanks for sharing this great post. Carol