And now a word about socks . . . and other dirty laundry

We wash a lot of socks around here. We fold a lot of socks. Socks have the potential to be the bane of our existence. Luckily, I have a method that has worked great in our family. Except for mom and dad, no one owns any! Oh sure, we have a lot of socks and my kids wear them, but they don't OWN them. Nope. We don't wear shoes or socks in our house. Our mud room is set up with slots to hold both shoes and socks (This is an old picture; trust me, our mudroom never looks this clean and the tiny basket of socks on top is not big enough for all of our socks, so we moved them to the bottom bin on the far right in the picture), and after the socks are all folded, they get put away in that bin. When the kids need a pair, they pull out the bin and find a pair that's about the right size. I try to buy lots of socks in the same size and color so its easy to find matches when we're folding. We keep a big basket of lonely socks in the laundry room and it grows from week to week until I get ambitious and go through it finding mates.

Laundry can be a pain in a large family. I've heard lots of good ideas about it. One good friend does one load every day. Around here, I have one designated day to wash all of it and another day to fold it. In a typical week, we do between 12 and 15 loads. I designed our house myself, so I'm a bit spoiled in the laundry facilities here. We have our main laundry room on the same floor as all of our bedrooms, and we put in hook-ups for two sets of washers and dryers there, though we only use one set right now. We also have a stacked set in our mud room on the main floor, so laundry created in the kitchen nearby or from the guest bedroom or outside gets washed right there. We typically do 1 or 2 loads a week in the mud room and the rest in the laundry room. My friend Allison saves time by not sorting any of her five boys' clothes. She's found they still get clean. I've taken a page from her book and I don't sort the clothes from my boys room. They are simply so dirty most weeks I don't want to taint the rest of our clothes with them! The rest of the clothes get sorted, washed, and folded.

I'll leave you with a picture of a typical week's worth of laundry at our house:

Anyone else got good laundry or clothes tips?


~W E N D Y ~ said…
I like the idea that no-one owns any!! That way they can use all the same ones. GREAT IDEA!! I'm still trying to get a laundry system going for me. So far, I only do it on an as needed basis but that isn't as often as I need it. Thanks for the tips.
Chris said…
We have a laundry basket that holds all of our socks. We don't even fold them, just toss them in! I always buy the same brand, so the younger two boys just have to grab the socks with green stitching, while the older boys (and dad) grab the socks with the blue stitching. All of us girls, of course, have different socks.

Most people freak out, but I don't sort either. About once a month I will gather up all of the white stuff and bleach it, but other than that everything is washed in warm water, regular cycle.
Aislinn said…
Great post, Christina! I like the idea of no-one owning any socks, too! We sort of do that...the girls have a drawer of socks, the two little boys have a drawer, and Patrick gets his own drawer. We also have an "odd sock" box full of mismatched socks. It's handy when children misbehave...I just assign them to find 5 pairs of socks out of the box as an "extra chore". Saves me time and sorts our poor mismatched socks regularly, LOL.

As far as laundry, we do it on a regular basis...a couple of loads a day. We rotate who is in charge of changing the laundry and sorting the loads between the three older kids.

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