Laundry is a never ending job in every home, but all the more so in a large family home. Our laundry and clothing management strategies have changed over the years, and there are so many ways to make it work. I'll share what is working for us right now, and I'd love to hear what you are doing too.
-Cutting back on the clothing is a great first step in keeping the laundry under control. We make sure everyone has 2-3 sets of every day clothes as well as an "errand day outfit" (which also works as a back up for Sundays) and a Sunday outfit. This is really all they need along with the basics of socks, underwear and 2-3 sets of PJs.
-Only wash what is dirty! Don't let your kids (or yourself) get in the habit of throwing clothes in the hamper just because they have been worn. Teach them to take a look at their clothes (and maybe a smell) to see if they really do need to be washed. Teach the kids to hang up their Sunday/Errand day clothes as soon as they get home so they don't dirty them (this not only makes the laundry pile smaller, but cuts back on the ironing too!).
-Schedule your laundry days. Using the above two steps you should have reduced the amount of laundry needing to be washed. Now just schedule two or three days to run a couple of loads of laundry. With everyone helping to start, move on, and then put away the laundry it will be a quick and easy job. You will still need to run some loads of sheets and towels (and maybe some cloth diapers too? We do!), but that should be about it!
-A family closet can help keep things organized and in one central location. I had always thought we would need a whole room for this, but with a little thought and creativity we've made this space in our laundry room work well for us. It also helps us remember not to bring too much into the home since we can see everyday that the space is limited. We may not do this long term, but for now it is working out well.
That is what works for us. What works for you right now?