Doing laundry for 6 people is a lot — especially in the winter when we wear multiple layers to stay warmer inside and have ALLLLLLL our snow gear to stay warm outside!
Plus there are all the towels, bedding, PJ’s, special blankets, stuffed animals, etc. etc.
It definitely adds up after 3-4 days!
– an old picture of Nora, playing in the dirty clothes! –
I’m still committed to “only” doing laundry twice a week (a system that’s been working really well for me for over 2 years), and since I don’t want to do 10 loads of laundry on those 2 days, I’ve come up with a few different methods to deal with what I consider “half-dirty clothes” — clothes that have been worn but aren’t worthy of washing just yet!
I actually first broached this topic on my blog over 6 years ago with a reader question… at that time, my response was that I just tossed everything in the wash because I didn’t care about half-dirty clothing!
Now, 4 children later, I’ll save all the laundry I can!
If you’re looking for a system for half-dirty clothes, I’m sharing 3 ideas our family uses in today’s post… of course, if you have a system that works well for YOUR half-dirty clothes, I’d love for you to share it in the comments!
In general, almost everything the kids wear goes into the hamper every night at bath/shower time. They usually get pretty dirty and sweaty every day, and they usually spill something or get marker, pen, paint, or glue on something every day!
We have a designated hamper in their bathroom. They know to put their clothing in the hamper right before they hop in the bath or the shower — and I finally have them “trained” to put things in the hamper right-side-out! Hallelujah!
We also have a mesh laundry bag clipped to the hamper for their socks. This works REALLY well!
Usually, the only half-dirty clothing for the kids are the clothes they wear to church. In this case, we simply hang them back up in the closet and wash them every few weeks. The kids only have a couple items of “church clothing” so it’s really easy to know what needs to be washed eventually!
Also, they have a special shelf for pajamas and they wear those a few nights in a row until I wash them again.
Obviously, we’ll need to tweak this system as they get older, more independent with their clothing choices, and less messy! But for now, it seems that most of their clothes really do need to go straight into the wash!
Dave has a designated shelf at the bottom of our closet for the majority of his half-dirty clothing. Anything he will still wear again goes down there instead of in the hamper — and then, when it’s time for me to do laundry, I know I can wash anything on that shelf IF I have the room. Otherwise, I’ll save it for the next laundry day.
He has a slightly different system for the dress clothes he wears to school each day — and that’s simply to remember what shirts and pants he’s worn a few times and then I’ll do one large load of dress clothes for him every few weeks.
It’s not a perfect system, but it works for him and it saves me a bunch of laundry, so I’m not complaining!
– the bottom shelf is for his half-dirty clothes –
I am the QUEEN of half-dirty clothing because I often have to change my clothes a couple times each day for various activities and events.
Sometimes I’m playing with the kids outside so I’ll just wear leggings and a warm fleece, but then we head to church for Coffee Break and I put on nicer pants and a sweater, but then I want to be super comfy again later in the day, so I throw the leggings and fleece back on…. etc. etc.
I have many days like this where I change halfway through the day, so I can’t justify putting any of the clothes in the wash (unless they are actually soiled).
Instead, I have a 2-part system to remind me which clothes I’ve worn already… but aren’t quite ready to wash.
HANGING CLOTHES: I hang them backwards on the hanger — this works because I always hang everything else the “right way”. Another option would be to actually put the hanger backwards on the bar.
FOLDED CLOTHES: I fold them inside-out and put them right back into the drawer or on my shelf.
This method works SO well for me right now, and it assures that my hanging clothes don’t get wrinkled and my folded clothes don’t get stretched out or crumpled up.
So… that’s how WE deal with half-dirty clothes!
I’d love to know what systems or methods YOU use!