Today I’m welcoming my amazing, crazy-talented, rock star assistant, Lindsey Feldpausch, as a regular contributor to #LoveYourLifeFriday! She has an Extreme Laundry Makeover to share with you!
This laundry system is for those who are done with the crazy. This probably isn’t going to work if you are slightly interested in solving your laundry woes. This is for those who want all-out freedom from frenzied mornings and frantic rifling through piles when it was time to go ten minutes ago.
I am not kidding, this has brought SO much peace to my life and I want to share this system with you!
Again, this isn’t for the faint at heart, but if you commit to it, you will feel the weight of ten laundry piles of clothes lifted off your shoulders.
Ready for this?!
We are a family of 6. It is me, my husband, 3 daughters and 1 son. My kids are ages 5, 7, 9, 11.
- I was running laundry whenever I could and fending off large piles stacking up. I was folding things some times and other times just hoping it made it to their drawers.
I have been a full time stay-at-home mom, a homeschool mom, but also, I am now in a season of working part-time and being a public school mom. This system will work in any of these scenarios.
Things I hate about laundry:
- When my kids have a mismatched outfit – The shirt is clean, but the pants are in the dirty laundry.
- My kids make crazy clothing choices (not weather appropriate) when we were supposed to leave 10 minutes ago.
- When one of my sweet kiddos can never find her socks.
- When I can’t even figure out which child needed the new leggings and what color I should buy.
This laundry system has solved all of these issues.
Here is the cost, so that you can decide if it’s worth it for you:
- You will need to invest 1-3 days up front to purge each person’s clothing situation.
- You will need to commit to spending about 15 minutes a day on laundry (this will be less if your family is smaller than mine or more if you have a bigger family.)
Here’s what you’ll need:
One 18 gallon tote for each family member and two laundry baskets of your choice for each family member. (You can use whatever you have on hand and can adapt it as you look down and see how we use these.) You will also need several boxes of 2 gallon plastic bags. (You can decide how many you need based on the information below.)
Here is the plan:
Step 1: You need to get to the bottom of your laundry pile. YOU CAN DO THIS! Wash and dry everything. (This might take a day or two depending on where you are at.)
Step 2: Find an open space in your home where you can gather ALL of everyone’s clothes. Split up the areas of this room for different family member’s items. Put their 18 gallon tote in each family member’s area of the room. This tote will be for clothes that will fit within the year OR are for out of season clothes. More on this later.
Step 3: Match all the bottoms and tops that go together. With each of these outfits, add a pair of underwear and socks on top. So it looks like this:
Step 4: Toss out items that are stained, ripped, or stretched out. Designate a box for donation. Anything that is in good shape but doesn’t fit, should go into that box, unless you want to use that clothing item as a hand-me-down for another child. If you do, then put that item in the proper child’s tote.
Step 5: Count the outfits! This is key. This all depends on how much time a day you want to spend on laundry. Less outfits equals less time and less confusion. This is the secret ingredient to all of this working. This was the hardest step for me. We decided as a family that each child would get 8 regular outfits for the current season, 3 church outfits, 1 fancy outfit (for wedding or holidays) and 2 pairs of pjs.
NOTE: We’ve tried 3 regular outfits, 5 regular outfits, and 12 regular outfits per person during different seasons and 8 outfits seems to be perfect for us right now. But we have experimented!
So here’s the hardest part of this step – the part that might make you wince… You need to donate extra outfits that are over the outfit count you’ve predetermined. I know. Hard. I’d suggest keeping the ones that are the very cutest, made of the best material or the ones that grandma purchased because… well you know why :)
Step 6: Okay, so now that you have 3 church outfits, 1 fancy outfit, 2 pairs of pjs and 8 regular outfits for each family member. (As I said, please customize this to your needs, but this works well for us, so I’ll continue to use this as an example.) Now you need to put everything in bags. The best bags are 2 gallon Hefty bags. 2 Gallon bags are hard to find, but they are the BEST size. The Hefty bags have a slider closure that is SO MUCH EASIER for kids to use. We’ve bought all kinds of 2 gallon bags, but the Hefty ones have withstood the test of time. Put each pile in the bags. Grace has done this here:
Step 7: Make sure each kid gets in the habit of doing this on their own. They will begin to see which outfits go together and as time passes, they get quicker and quicker. My kids like to have a little competition to see who can finish their packs the fastest and then right when they are about to erupt in a squabble over who finished first, I tell them, “go help someone who isn’t done or help me fold towels.” Problem solved.
Step 8: Store away all the out of season clothes or clothes that will fit soon. Your other basket or 18 gallon tote (whatever you are using) is for them to keep up in their room for dirty laundry and to use in transporting their finished packs.
Step 9: They carry their baskets filled with finished outfits and put them in their drawer.
Step 10: When it is morning time, they can choose whatever pack they want because everything they need is in the pack and is weather appropriate. (We purposely have one short-sleeve shirt pack with a pullover fleece if we have a warm winter day and vice versa for summer.) I have the kids just throw the empty plastic bags in their dirty laundry basket. When they bring their dirty laundry downstairs to sort, we collect the bags in a mesh bag that we hang on the wall. I am 100% certain someone could do this SO MUCH cuter than I am doing, but this is the basic idea.
- When our kids get new clothing items for their birthday or Christmas, we usually know exactly what to swap out.
- When I see holes in something, I make a note and know exactly what kind of item needs to be replaced.
- Their drawers don’t get messed up. Everything is in a bag so the outfits don’t get (in the words of my mother) “mish-moshed.”
- You won’t get in a laundry disaster that seems insurmountable.
Here’s the thing, you will get behind on laundry again. It happens all the time, but when you all own less clothes, you are forced to keep up on it. You have to. So you do. And when you do get behind, even if everyone’s clothes became dirty at the same time, you really wouldn’t be in that bad of shape because at least you know that everyone has matching outfits in there somewhere. Run some loads, start making some packs and always keep that donate basket close by. You’ll be out of the cotton jungle before you know it!
Lindsey Feldpausch is the Content Coordinator and Ministry Manager for Proverbs 31 Ministries’ author & speaker Karen Ehman and the reviewer for family products & services at TheBetterMom.com. She is a spokeswoman for Jonathan Park Audio Adventures and social media manager at The Glorious Table. Her family lives just west of Grand Rapids, Michigan where her husband is a youth pastor and worship leader.