Inside: Learn my exact daily laundry routine for staying on top of the laundry (for a family of 5). This simple laundry system will change your life.
I almost wish I could say I was being dramatic with that “life-changing” part, but I assure you – establishing a system for how you do laundry every day will seriously change your life.
But first, Hi! I’m Marla. I’m a full-time SAHM to 3 little girls + a dog.
I teach a course called the Ultimate Stay at Home Mom Course that will help you take your stay at home mom life from chaos to control. There’s an entire module dedicated to creating and maintaining simple Home Management Systems (like what we’re about to do with your laundry!).
The course breaks everything down into manageable steps anyone can do. Read here to see how the course has already helped so many mamas like you!
How do you stay on top of family laundry?
In every Because I Said So, Baby post I always sort of joke that there’s a million dollar question for whatever topic we’re discussing, and today, I’m pretty certain this is it!
We have 5 people in our family, plus a dog, and an uncle (my brother) who for the better part of 2.5 years did his laundry at our house, and there’s just no way any of this could have been accomplished without some kind of system.
Without oversimplifying things, the only way to stay on top of family laundry is to have a plan for how you’ll stay on top of it.
To be sure, I don’t think anyone enjoys folding laundry, treating stained clothing, or putting away the dreaded mountain of clothing after the dryer is done.
The fact is this: the laundry (like the dishes) will not take care of itself. The piles will not get smaller, and it will not just figure itself out.
Just like being at home with kids every day, you absolutely need to have a game plan. “Winging it” is almost always a recipe for disaster, or in this case, piles of laundry.
Do you need a Cleaning Schedule?
Of course it should be said that what works for me, may not translate exactly for you, however, our end goal still remains the same: to turn a never-ending household chore into a daily system.
Whether you’re a stay at home mom, or you work part or full-time outside of the home (or from home!) we can create a laundry routine that works for you. A routine that involves your family in the process, because why should mom have all the fun? 😉
You may be surprised (or relieved) to know that we won’t be using a checklist or an intense house cleaning schedule, instead, we’re going to integrate a system for laundry into your daily and weekly routine.
This schedule of sorts will work with your daily life and fit with your family’s weekly schedule.
Not sure where to get started with creating a daily routine?
Do you need to do laundry every day?
When it comes to laundry, the simple fact is this: a smaller load = less to put away.
Mentally for me, it’s MUCH easier to put away one-days worth of family laundry than 3 or 4 days worth of laundry.
You know that giant mountain of clean laundry that keeps growing and begging to be put away? I’ve found this can be avoided almost entirely by running a load of laundry every night, no matter how small, and then getting it put away the next day.
Kind of like “laundry in motion stays in motion” if you get what I mean 🙂
It’s when the hamper piles up for days with dirty clothes and you’re stuck running multiple cycles and then still need to put away a week’s worth of laundry that it’s easy just to give up on having any type of routine or system with it.
If this sounds like your life, trust me, we’re about to turn it all around!
Laundry Routine Tips
Before we dive in, these are a few essential tips that can make a big difference in your day-to-day laundry routine.
- Start with less. When is the last time you went through everyone’s clothes and donated or sold a few items? If it’s ripped, has holes, or someone hasn’t worn it in 3 months, get rid of it!
- Limit kid’s wardrobes. As a girl mom of 3 I know how hard it is to resist all the cute girl clothes, but the more clothes we have, the more clothes need to be washed and put away. And the more clothes available in my two big girls’ rooms (5 and 7 years), the more clothes they’ll wear as it seems they are constantly changing outfits 🙂
- Identify your pain points. Does the dirty laundry pile up on the floor of the laundry room? Do you struggle to get the kids to pitch in and help? Or is it getting everything put away in a reasonable amount of time that is your biggest struggle? It can be overwhelming to feel like you need to overhaul everything at once, but starting with a pain point and working from there can make things easier!
- It’s not about perfection. We all have days where we just can’t or we’re being pulled in too many directions. We get sick, the kids are all sick, it happens. Yes, the laundry can wait. However, it’s incredibly helpful to have a system to return to once things are back to normal.
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The Daily Laundry Routine that Changed My Life as a SAHM
First, let’s prep your home for success.
In order for a system to work (and actually last), it’s crucial that the setup of your home supports your end goal, which in this case, is a predictable laundry schedule.
Step 1: Laundry Basket System
If you don’t already, it’s a good idea to have laundry hampers (for dirty clothes) in every “main” location. This can be where the kids mostly throw their dirty clothes (like before they get in the bath) or a mudroom or utility sink when they enter the house.
- Master bedroom/closet
- Kids bedrooms or bathroom
- Laundry room
These are all locations where dirty laundry will collect throughout the day. We don’t have hampers in the kids’ rooms because their rooms are adjacent to the laundry room. Even though the kids have a shared bathroom, they end up using our Master bathroom more often and this has turned into a major “drop” location for dirty laundry.
This is all to say, consider how your home operates and the layout of your home. These are factors that will determine your overall laundry routine.
I also have separate hampers for: clothes, kitchen towels/cleaning towels, and bath towels as this makes it easier to wash everything with the necessary setting.
Step 2: What to do with Stained Laundry
The only items I don’t throw directly into the hamper are stained clothes (and you know with 3 kids and a dog, we have more than enough stained clothes to go around).
Instead, I treat stained clothing items directly in my sink, with this spray that I’ve been using for years (pictured below in the giant refill size).
As a stay at home mom of little ones, I find myself tossing things in my sink sometimes multiple times a day: strawberry stain on a onesie, marker stains from school, potty accident or diaper blowout, etc. When I have a chance, I toss it in my sink, spray it, and let it sit (and if you follow me on IG, you know ALL about “what’s in my sink” updates)
Next I’ll explain how this all fits into my overall daily laundry routine.
- Donate clothes in good condition that aren’t worn often
- Set up laundry hampers in any major “drop” location
- Have a catchall location for treating stained clothing
Step 3: My simple laundry routine AKA how I do laundry every day:
- After dinner, the kids take a bath.
- Anything that’s stained, they throw right in my sink to be treated and the rest of their clothes go in the laundry hamper in our master closet. Note: if you have a utility sink or the bathroom is right next to the laundry room, you can easily treat stained clothes elsewhere, this is just what works with the layout of our home.
- After bathtime, I throw the stained clothes in the hamper, and then carry the hamper into the laundry room.
- While the kids are brushing their teeth and getting their PJs on, I start the wash (if my husband is home we usually get his work clothes in too, and this is where it’s easy to “divide & conquer” on the household chores and bedtime duties).
- At some point in the delicate dance of putting 3 kids to bed, one of us will transfer the wash to the dryer.
- The next morning I sort the clean clothes (one hamper for the adults, one for the kids – my toddler loves to “help” with this) and I typically get our clothes put away in the morning, and either me or my husband will put away the kids’ clothes at bedtime.
- As the day goes on, my sink will collect stained clothing, and later that night, the routine starts again with filling up the hamper and running the wash.
You can see this “day of laundry” in action on my Instagram. Just click the “cleaning day” highlight bubble.
Additional Thoughts & Tips:
- I prefer to run the wash at night, as for us, this is when everything is done being stained and worn for the day. You may prefer to start laundry in the morning, whatever works.
- It’s possible to also empty the dryer and sort the laundry in the same night, but with the layout of our home, I prefer not to make any more noise upstairs once the baby is asleep. So I wait until the next morning when I get her from her crib to sort the laundry. “Splitting” the task this way works for me.
- Typically once a week I’ll run a load of towels, and another day I’ll wash all the sheets. Since these items take longer to dry and sometimes need additional drying time, when I sort the clothes in the morning, I’ll throw in a load of towels or all the bed sheets and get them put away later in the day.
- You may find it helpful to have a designated “big” laundry day for towels and sheets such as every Sunday.
Find all of my Laundry favs in my Amazon shop
What to Read Next:
- My Simple Homeschool Room Setup
- Life-Changing Meal Planning Hacks
- 7 Ways to Make Being a Stay at Home Mom Easier
- Simple Home Management Systems for Busy Moms
- Back to School Organization Tips