Our Shelf and Basket Laundry System

I’ve talked a bit about our laundry system before, but I’ve never really fully described the whole cycle (pun intended) for you and thought I’d take a moment to explain how we handle laundry baskets around here.

Next to my washer and dryer is a 3-tiered shelf.  On each level sits a laundry basket.  The top level is the basket I share with my husband.  It is the largest (for several reasons I’ll explain in a moment).  The second level is the basket that goes to the Boy’s Room and the 3rd level is the basket that goes to the Girl’s Room.  We labeled the bottom of each basket with the initials of each child who’s clothes go in that basket (and Emily’s “E” is still there).

Labeling this way  is particularly helpful if you don’t have a designated boys and girls room.

As part of morning chores, the older children grab their baskets and haul them upstairs.  Theoretically, the little kids are supposed to pitch in and help put away their own clothes; although I’m really not sure how often that actually happens.  I do know Micah is banned from helping because he does more “throwing” clothes than “putting away” clothes!

After they have put away their clothes, they get to toss their laundry baskets down the stairs.  Yes, I do allow this because I have to admit, there is something quite satisfying about throwing an empty laundry basket down the stairs!

Now, the quick why behind my basket being so much bigger. (and yes, I throw mine down the stairs too!)  Besides the obvious fact that my husband and I are bigger than the children, I also put towels and sheets in my basket.  I am the one who puts those away, but I suppose you could have yet another basket just for those items that don’t really belong to anyone, but still need to be put in their rightful places.

When I head out to climb Mt. Washmore, I simply grab the discarded laundry baskets at the foot of the stairs and put them back on their shelves.  Each shelf is labeled accordingly.

As each load comes out of the dryer, I pull the baskets out and fold the clothes right out of the dryer and into each basket…girls…boys…mine…etc.  I put the baskets back into the shelves and the cycle starts all over again.

This is the way we’ve been doing it ever since we moved to this particular house where the laundry is downstairs rather than on the main level.  It keeps the laundry room tidy and makes it easy for the children.  And hey, it Works For Me!

Oh, and in case you are wondering what that piece of paper taped to the wall next to the baskets is:

Sometimes we need to be reminded Who truly does the washing…
Catch me tomorrow at The Homeschool Classroom!
Yesterday I was at EcoBabySteps.com and totally missed it!  Head over there and read my first guest post:
Breastfeeding and the Fringe Benefits of Frugality

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27 Comments on Our Shelf and Basket Laundry System

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27 thoughts on “Our Shelf and Basket Laundry System

  1. What an awesome idea!! I have a very good system but I think I might “borrow” some ideas from you to tweak it to perfection. Thanks for sharing
    P.s. I wrote an interesting post on the Family Table if your interested 😉

  2. That is a really great system. Thanks for sharing. I love that you let everyone have a little fun and that you keep such an important reminder posted on your wall.

  3. Thankfully our laundry room is a good size. When all five of our kids were home, I had a basket for each of them and my hubby and I shared a large basket. As we washed dried and folded…this system enabled us to place each person’s items in their baskets. I still use this system and their are only 3 of us here.
    Blessings, andrea

  4. I like your system. I have a system for sorting dirty laundry- but not really a system for sorting the clean. Well, not until it’s put away anyway. I’m going to give it a try. Thanks!

  5. What an EXCELLENT post! LOVE that Scripture verse you have at the bottom too. This is a fabulous and organized idea. I’m excited to read about it…too funny about throwing your baskets down the stairs….my boys would love to live at your house.

  6. Sandpiper,
    I do a big laundry every Monday and then maintain w/ 2 loads a day the rest of the week (except Sunday). Everyone’s clothes are in the piles, so yes, I am doing everyone’s clothes (with the help of my older kids). I’ve tried doing certain people’s on certain days and it has never worked out.

  7. HI there, just a quick question: Does that mean that you do everybody’s laundry every single day?
    I like your system and I’m trying something similar, but I don’t have the basket space. Out laundry room is also the back door entrance. I have just switched this year to a laundry schedule. It works somewhat, but I have trouble getting it all folded and away again.

    • We don’t have room for baskets either so I have a “set” of cloth bags from a local drug store and everyone knows that store’s bags are for clean laundry only. Then I sort from the dryer into a separate bag for each person. Sometimes I put all socks in one bag and let kids help match and sort the socks. I either prop the bags on the floor or use a hanger to hook them overhead from a white wire shelve above the washer and dryer.
      The bags make it easier to carry upstairs for me and for the children

  8. We do the same thing! Except since I have a front loading washer and dryer my three baskets are on top of them. One for boys, one for girls and one for Mom and dad. Extra laundry sorta gets its own basket on the floor. The only thing is that I will keep up with laundry all week and NOT put it away..We NEED to add this to the morning chore routine. But so much of it needs my attention. My boys are not good at putting away laundry.. Thanks for posting!

  9. If something is stained I have them put it on top of the washer so I don’t miss it. I use good old spray n wash and scrub w/ a toothbrush. The key is to let it set w/ the spray on it a bit and then wash as hot as you can. Sometimes it takes more than one go at it too.

  10. We have a laundry system like this too and it works!! I bought some wooden craft letters last time they were on sale at Hobby Lobby and let the kids paint their initial and then put a hole in the dried letters and hung them with a ribbon to the outsides of their baskets. Just a little craft for the kids and something to “dress up” the room at bit too. Since my mother not only separated our clothes, but also made t-shirt, pant, underwear, etc. piles it took A LOT for me to just dump everything into one basket (folded, of course) but not “organized” into piles — ha!

  11. I love to read about how others organize their homes. We now have a laundry room, but that doesn’t matter much since we are moving!
    : /

    I used to write out Scriptures on index cards and place them all over our home too. We need to do that again….

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Interesting. My laundry system works well for now, but probably isn’t sustainable when I have more children (as we are also hoping to have a big family). Right now there are three baskets in my room, one in each of my children’s rooms, one in the kitchen, and one in the upstairs bathroom. I wash all the bedroom baskets each Wednesday, and the others as needed. I like it because, as in your system, everyone’s clothes are separated through the whole cycle. But eventually I’ll probably have to combine the kids’ clothes or something, and do laundry more often. At this point, with only two kids (and the oldest not quite 2, so she is limited help) who have their own rooms (though my son is still in my room), having separate baskets works. I’ll consider your system more because I feel like I always have clothes around my house. What do you do with stained clothes? I had a basket of those and so far nothing I’ve tried has gotten the stains out, so they’re now sitting in a pile in my room…sigh.

  13. SleepyKnitter,
    We started implementing “large family ideas” long before we had a large family. It really does streamline things!

  14. Great idea! Thank you! As we are hoping to build a large family, if the Lord allows, I am constantly looking for the “tips of the trade” that will help life run a little more smoothly. Thanks for sharing your good system!

  15. I have Scripture in several rooms of my home. The bathroom, beside my bed, over my daughter’s bed, etc. It was an idea I borrowed from Doorposts (who sells actual prints of scripture for this purpose), but made my own by choosing my own verses that applied to our lives and the things we needed to be reminded of.

  16. I like this! My system isn’t anything close to that, but I like it anyway :)
    We live in an appartment, and the common laundry room for the whole building is in the basement. I do it the “old-fashioned” way and just toss everything into two large bags that are behind our bedroom door. Every Monday I sit down and sort two piles; normal and hot, on with the loads, line dry in the common drying room and on Wednesday; folded and put away (well, sort of folded anyway…:)). I don’t enlist help….yet….YIC, Mette (a reader from Denmark)

  17. You’ve got a great system for managing the laundry!

    I love that everybody gets to toss the empty basket down the stairs:-) I’m going to try that!


  18. Sounds like a great system Amy! What a sweet reminder of your little Emily each time you do the wash. God is good and does give the daily grace needed. May the Lord bless you today!

    In Him,

  19. Pingback: Homemade Laundry Detergent | Raising Arrows

  20. we do a similar system (altho i have implimented your daily laundry in and out chore) I have bought smaller baskets from the dollar store and they sit on my steps going up stairs. the small baskets work well each kids has their own (my clothes, husband & babies clothes go in a stack which i put away) also i dont have room in my laundry so i fold and sort in the living room