How I Tamed the Laundry Monster....Minimalist Laundry Even With 6 Kids!

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Ahhhh laundry! Yes, I know it can be so overwhelming. If you were to stop by today, you would get a full tour of my little log home. It would only take a minute since it's 1400 sq feet, but you might ask where all the laundry is for these wild (often muddy) 6 children running around. That's a great question and I don't mind showing you the closet because for years I felt like the laundry monster was going to be the death of me. I want you to know that you can conquer this too! On your minimalist journey, your laundry system is key. It's going to look different for every family and every season of life, but you CAN have clean clothing without the laundry explosion.

First of all, full disclosure, I used to collect clothing. I seriously saved everything just in case. Hence, I used to have 8 overflowing laundry baskets plus the clothing in closets and dressers and off-season/sizes in the basement. That was when I only had 2 kids. Yikes! To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement. Closer to paralyzing.

Now, I have 2 laundry baskets for a household of 8. And I don't spend hours a day folding, sorting, not-finding-what-I wanted, laundering.  How did that happen?

WHERE DO I START?

I was there, covered in Mount Laundry, crying on the floor trying to sort through the mess and I truly didn't know where to start. So I started with me. I got rid of my fear of "what if I need that" or "I don't have anything to wear" which never was true on either fear. Then, I realized that I needed to trust and believe that I would have enough. I could be creative and use what I had wisely. Slowly and desperately, I peeled away layers. This might help you as well......

Layer 1 : Get rid of any stained, ripped, or non-fitting clothing for every family member. Seems easy right? That's what everything I read told me to do. It was HARD. I wanted to fix it, to sew it, to make it work again. I have this frugal, redemptive twitch that is hard to turn off. Maybe you feel that too. Here's what I did to be my authentic self. I DO save high quality clothing that needs sewn but then I schedule a sewing day just because I love to do it. Not because I HAVE to do it. And if it's a busy season, I simply don't sew until I can find joy in it again. I do cut off boys pants into shorts.  I only dress my boys in khaki's so it works out great. 

Layer 2: I worked with the children to choose their favorites. I realized that they were really only wearing the same 5 outfits anyway because those outfits were comfy. Go figure! So I saved those 5 outfits and donated the rest. 5 outfits for summer, 5 outfits for winter. Done. I also gave up on pajamas entirely. Never worked for us. Clean comfy clothing works best to sleep in at our house. Choose how you like, but for me that saves a ton of time and headache. 

Layer 3: I got rid of dressers. Little hands couldn't close the drawers anyway. I pulled a metal shelf from the barn. I'll admit, I was nervous that the "flinging" tendencies of the toddler would create a clothing explosion. I taught him one time and it hasn't happened since. He is a good citizen. (Don't be too impressed, though, as he did flood the house last week twice. He is still a toddler!). My point is that whatever physical arrangement you do, make it easy for you and your household to keep it neat. 

  This is not pristine but real life isn't. The children fold their own clothes so I call this a win. This is all 6 children's clothing for summer and winter ages 13 to newborn.

This is not pristine but real life isn't. The children fold their own clothes so I call this a win. This is all 6 children's clothing for summer and winter ages 13 to newborn.

 Socks are in little buckets placed in age-order by the door just below the shoes. This is a kitchen cupboard so it's not the normal usage but it works for us.  

Socks are in little buckets placed in age-order by the door just below the shoes. This is a kitchen cupboard so it's not the normal usage but it works for us.  

Next, I looked at our system. I put all the clothing in one closet in the boys room by the main floor bathroom. Socks go by the shoes at the entry door in the kitchen. Underpants for the kiddos go in the bathroom. That's it. Making it easy on myself and thinking through the pathway of laundry was supremely important to creating a minimalist system that worked for my household. 

 With the laundry close by, the younger children can even help!

With the laundry close by, the younger children can even help!

Finally, I took a hard look at our washer/dryer situation.  I just did this 3 months ago after my clothing system was under control for a several years. I realized that hauling laundry to the basement was a serious problem, so I moved our laundry hook up to our coat closet upstairs. It cost a little bit of money to do that, but the time and effort it saves....priceless! 

So whether you do laundry for one person or one hundred people, having a simple, intentional system for clothing relieves the overwhelm. And I found that I was more free to laugh and enjoy the muddy moments of childhood, without anger or tears towards my precious children.  

Blessings for your journey!