If you have more than 6 children, the laundry will start to swallow you up.
If you have more than eight children, many of whom play sports, wear school uniforms, find it amusing to change clothing several times a day, love to sneak snacks in their beds, and haven't learned how to keep clean clothes out of the dirty clothes basket, I feel for you.
If one of those eight children has autism and enjoys chewing on clothing, wiping her face on clothing, taking off clothing, and finding every possible opportunity to escape when you aren't watching, find a bed (any bed will do) and strip down and use the bathroom on the bed/sheets/blankets/pillows, then you are doomed. Realize that you will rarely look cute or trendy again, because you'll seldom find time to do your own laundry and will spend most of your days in your endless supply of grubbies. Make peace with it.
A few tricks I have learned:
Always, I repeat-- always, use a generous scoop of OxiClean stain remover in each load. I learned this from Mama Mary and it is up there in the best advice I've ever been given. I swear that it makes a huge difference. I hardly ever take the time to spot clothes before I put them in the washer, and with OxiClean, they still come out clean. I have had times where I'm out and have done a load and there really is a big difference. Go get some today.
Never, I repeat-- never, take time to iron your kids' clothes. Ever so rarely iron your own. Take the clothes out of the dryer right when the dryer is done and fold them or hang them up. If they have sat in the dryer for awhile and are wrinkled, put a small wet towel in with them and turn the dryer on high for 20 minutes, or use the steam setting for 15 minutes if you have a fancy dryer. It will fluff those wrinkles right out. Perfect.
Put the spin speed on low if you are washing clothes. It will make a big difference in wrinkles.
Liquid fabric softener, people. It does the job better. Took me half of my married life to figure that out. No more dryer sheets (unless you want to throw a couple in for an extra fresh scent.)
If you have a lot of people to do laundry for, consider getting a high efficiency washer and dryer. The biggest you can find. Go without food if you have to. You won't believe what you can fit in these things!
If you have an actual laundry room, however small, count your blessings. I myself have a "laundry closet." It opens up into the busiest hallway of the house. I have tried to make the best of it by telling myself that it forces me to hurry and put the clothes away, but what I would give for an actual laundry room!
Color coded towels. I think I have blogged about this before. Each person in the house gets their own color. If you can teach them to actually hang up their towel after using it, you can get away with washing towels once a week. Bonus points for you. Now come on over and teach my kids, because they won't listen to me.
Why am I blogging about laundry? Maybe because the laundry in my house is so piled up so high that I cannot stand to face it. I'll just write about it instead.
Any tips to share with me?
P.S. The surprise I blogged about will come Monday. (: