MegaMom Interviews: Laundry and rooms

July 6, 2007 | 10 comments

For the latest installment of my series of interviews with moms of large families, I had some questions about the details of day-to-day life. Ouiz, mom of (almost) seven and blogger at Chez Ouiz, was once again kind enough to answer my questions.

I asked:

Q: How on earth do you handle all the laundry?! I can barely keep up with our load, and I only have two children so far. Any tips for how to handle it as our family grows?

She replied:

Anyone who says they’ve got it all together and never get behind on the laundry are either supermoms or lying. Laundry is a never-ending, mind numbing task that makes me want to scream some days! When I am able to stay on schedule, here’s how I’ve had to break it down:

Monday: our (my husband and I) laundry, the baby’s laundry
Tuesday: our and the baby’s bedding
Wednesday: girls’ laundry
Thursday: girls’ sheets/bedspreads
Friday: boys’ laundry
Saturday: boys’ sheets/bedspreads

That way, I’m not sorting through 8 people’s socks and underwear and trying to figure out what belongs to each child.

Each clothing hamper takes about two loads. I fold as soon as the dryer goes off, whenever possible. I hang up dressy clothing, and fold and hand the rest of the clothes to the appropriate child to put away.

Now the “dirty little secrets”:

I don’t believe in ironing… ever! That’s what the fluff cycle is for. If it’s still kinda wrinkly, I hang it up in the bathroom so the shower steam will smooth it out.

I don’t bother to separate into the appropriate “whites/colors/darks” categories (unless it’s extremely delicate or new). I wash everything in hot water and, surprisingly, have had very few “disasters” with colors that have bled.

Bathtimes are rough, because by the end of it all I’ve got 3 wet towels and washcloths, plus all the dirty clothing from 6 little kids who managed to get them awfully wet on the bathroom floor. I use said wet clothes to wipe down the bathroom floor, and then dump the whole mess into the washing machine for an evening load.

*IF* I keep to this schedule, I’m able to keep everything going efficiently.

I asked:

Q: What about rooms — I assume each child doesn’t have his/her own room? Do the kids who share rooms get along pretty well? Sometimes I worry that our growing family will bee too cramped until we can somehow afford some sprawling McMansion!

She replied:

Three boys in one room (10×12′), three girls in another (same size). My husband built bunk beds with a trundle bed underneath, so the littlest one in each room gets that one.

While *I* tend to worry that they don’t have enough space, to them it is a non-issue. More often than not, they want to sleep in the same twin beds together! For them it is much safer, and less scary, to have someone else with them in their rooms at night.

Thanks again to Ouiz for taking the time to answer all my questions about life in a big family!


  1. Jeron

    Don’t forget about time spent ironing. My mom had 8 kids & ironed all our shirts & trousers, often staying up till 2am to get it all done. Our parochial school uniforms were always immaculate – with starch, to boot! Sometimes she even ironed the pillowcases.

  2. Ouiz

    Well, like I said, I don’t believe in ironing EVER. I hate doing it, and I refuse to do so!

    Gotta keep my sanity somehow! *wink*

  3. Sarah

    Amen! I own an iron (I think I could still find it), but haven’t used it in over a year. If you have a dryer, you don’t need an iron, and I use the bathroom steam too, especially right before church. I hang everyone’s clothes in the bathroom, and use it as an excuse to take a really hot (and long whenever possible) shower;).

    Thank you so much for your suggestion on breaking up different clothes for different days!! I hate sorting socks!

    I wash everything together too, but haven’t ever been bold enough to use hot water (except when I’m bleaching a load of whites). I guess I’ve always used cold water to save on the bills too.

    Anyway, thanks so much for this post, Jen, and for your answers Quiz. I think this one was written just for me today (it’s been a slow going week).

  4. Lynne

    Great point about sharing bedrooms too. I don’t have any sisters but one of my aunts lived with us for awhile. I enjoyed having her with us (she let me use her sewing machine till I got one of my own).

  5. Kathy/Lessons from the Laundry

    Laundry is my nemisis! I only have four children, but I have learned a lot standing over those machines! (Thus the title of my blog.) I am not nearly as efficient as your interviewee, but I do keep up with the piles so they don’t overwhelm. Cute idea.

  6. Anonymous


    I buy FruitoftheLoom socks.

    The infant does not wear socks.
    In the winter she wears sleepers.
    In the summer she goes barefoot.

    The 2 year old wears solid white socks.

    The 5 and 7 yo girls wear the same size socks — FotL with purple heels and toes.

    The 9 yo boy wears socks with grey heels and toes.

    I wear white socks with a green stripe on the toes.

    Dad — Technically, they have the grey h/t, but they are too big to confuse with son’s.

    Socks are easy to match each other and easy to match their owners!


  7. anonyslob

    Oh boy, this better be anonymous.

    The way I deal with laundry, being pregnant with my seventh kid under the age of ten, is:

    -When the clothes come out of the dryer, I pull out socks, underwear, and stuff that will get wrinkled. Everything else stays in the baskets until I get around to folding it and putting it away, which usually happens once a week. My kids have so many clothes that they never run out before folding day comes around.

    -Socks –everyone’s– go into a crate on top of the dryer. Underwear –everyone’s but my husband’s– goes into another crate on top of the dryer. Since the kids need new socks and underwear more often than other clothes, it makes sense to keep them downstairs anyway, and it doesn’t kill them to hunt for their own stuff.

    -Pajamas of kids old enough to dress themselves go into one big plastic crate in my room. I don’t really see the point of folding pajamas.

    -Ironing is for weddings and job interviews.

    -I have special sheets that don’t need to be changed at all. They don’t smell funny, it’s not unsanitary, and it doesn’t make me feel guilty in the slightest.

    Really, the only disadvantage so far is that I feel kind of bad for my kids’ future spouses, who will have to teach them how to maintain a normal household.

    In the ten years I’ve been married, I’ve tried every system for keeping everything clean and orderly, and I’m just too busy/lazy to stick with it. This is something I can do, and it more or less works, so, there you go.

  8. Courageous Grace

    Nice. I have two comments.

    Ironing – I so agree, although if it is a special occasion I will iron hubby’s nice dress shirt.

    Water temp – I never wash in hot water, always cold/cold. I rarely have a problem with bleeding (but I do separate colors from whites), and it saves a bit on electricity to not use hot water.

    I have a hard enough time keeping up with laundry with just hubby and me…we’re expecting our first in January. How on earth am I going to manage laundry (my nemesis) with children? LOL

  9. Milehimama

    I only iron Perler beads. And only on rainy days at that!

    My laundry tip for a big family – buy sandals and wear them as long as possible. No socks!

    And, for those dreaded winters/school days, I buy all the boys the same socks (age 9,8,and 5) and the girls the same socks. Fold and put in one drawer.

    I always use cold/cold. I do separate things, as husband is in construction and his work clothes REALLY need to be washed on a heavy cycle and not with the littlies things. Otherwise, I sort out whites/dishtowels, Heavy darks (husband) and other.

    I just need someone to invent a vat of Shout! instead of the spray so I can just dip the toddlers clothes in. That would save so much time!

  10. Gloria @ White Wicker Hamper

    I truly is a never ending battle. I follow the same pattern but sometimes it doesn’t always follow and when that happens, all hell breaks lose! All I can say is that dedication and perseverance is the key!

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