The next area to focus on are the bedrooms. Aside from kids keeping their toys picked-up, laundry seems to be the biggest problem for most families. Whether you have one or ten children (or somewhere in between), clothes and laundry are a hassle.
I feel I have battled laundry ever since we had our first baby, but with my children now being able to help more, things are starting to look up. We are trying to teach our kids that doing work is good. The rest of the world tells us otherwise, but when you raise your children to have a good work ethic, it will help them in all areas of their life. Ever notice how much your kids bicker when they have too much free time? Hmmm…
As far as clothes organization, everyone in our house has their own clothes in their bedroom, but get dressed in the bathroom. With children sharing rooms, and little ones wandering in and out, we felt the best way to establish proper modesty was to have everyone change in the bathroom. With a toddler in the house we always have the bathroom door closed, so this works well for us. When kids are done changing, they take anything that isn’t dirty back to their room, and anything that needs to be washed to a central laundry hamper in the laundry room. I got VERY tired of collecting all the dirty clothes before starting a load in the washer.
I have really tried to teach the kids to wear clothes more than once if they’re not dirty. (Yes, I did have to specify that undergarments are the exception.) This helps clothing to last a little longer, and produces less laundry. Since the kids are still young, I like to sort and start the loads. I have three tall, plastic hampers for sorting: light colored clothes, dark colored clothes, and delicates.
The ten and eight year olds can switch the loads for me, and rotate between who’s turn it is to fold the dreaded light colored load (with socks). Pretty much the five year old gets away with just folding the diaper load, and the two year old mostly just un-folds the laundry. With the help I get with the laundry, and not trying to wash it all on one day, I am not spending my whole day switching and folding loads. For our family of six, we probably have a load to wash five days a week. If there isn’t a full load worth, I don’t start a load.
I do want to mention one option that a lot of larger families are doing now: a family closet. It’s actually an interesting concept, and more and more moms are giving it a shot. Basically, one room holds the clothes of the entire family. It can be a spare room, large walk-in closet, laundry room, or even basement. The idea is that sorting and putting away laundry is simplified, with all family members’ clothing is in one central location.
One of the big advantages is it can reduce the amount of clothes getting pulled off the shelf by little ones. (I know this is one of my toddler’s favorite games!) If you don’t have an extra room though, this doesn’t work so well. We decided against this, for a few reasons:
- No extra bedrooms
- Not space in the laundry room
- I find my basement to be scary at night (don’t laugh, it’s true)
- I don’t want to give-up my craft/homeschool room
If you’re interested in this idea, there are several places you can see a family closet in action. Here are a few:
The only thing that I have centralized is our shoes. All the shoes go in the front closet. Each kid has a small shelf in the bottom of the closet. This prevents little ones from clomping around in too big of shoes, and tripping. It also keeps down on the dirt that is tracked into the house.