Large Family Helps: Dots

Welcome to my Large Family Helps series where I share with my readers some of my favorite tips for managing a household with lots of children. I don’t consider my own family “large,” but we have enough children (five) in our home that I have benefited greatly from utilizing these practices in our home.

When my older children were little I always dreaded laundry. You know the feeling~ all those little socks, all those little pairs of underwear, and all of them look so much the same. It took hours to get it all sorted, folded, and put into the correct drawers. The interruptions from those little people who wore the socks and underwear didn’t help speed the process along, either.

When my oldest three children were probably 4 and a half years old, 3 years old, and one year old, I read the most wonderful tip on MOMYS Digest. It was a tip to help with sorting out all those little socks. And it was simplicity at its best!

You simply get a tube of fabric paint or a fabric marker in a color that will show up on all your socks. (I like to use bright yellow.) Next, you put dots on the bottom of the socks. That’s right, dots.

Firstborn child gets one dot on the bottom of his socks, second child gets two dots on the bottom of his socks, third child gets three dots on the bottom of his socks, and so on. The beauty of this system is that if any of the tiny socks live through the first child, in order to pass them down to the second child you simply add another dot. Beautiful. Nothing to cross out. Just keep on adding dots.

We have used the dot system in our house for more than a decade now. (Wow. That makes me sound really old!) We use the dot system on socks, shirts, shorts, and pants. We just put our rows of dots in a place that is easy to see while doing laundry but impossible to see while being worn.

I have passed clothes down to my third daughter that now have five little dots all in a little group. It has saved so much heartache! As the children begin folding laundry, they immediately know whose item they are folding and where to put it. Sanity!

Best of all, when Hubby does laundry he knows whose shirt/ pair of pants/ sock he’s folding. I don’t have to tell him where to put every single item he folds. Genius!

4 thoughts on “Large Family Helps: Dots

  1. Connie, this is a good idea. Another one, that we've taken to is giving each child his/her own hamper and keeping all clothes separate all through the laundry process. Each child gets his/her laundry washed once per week: oldest on Monday, second on Tuesday, third on Wed, etc. and then we wash mine and my husband's together since we can tell the difference pretty easily in ours.

    This method has helped us tremendously. When I had my twins, this system helped make it simply for others who came in to help me out with laundry so they knew exactly whose clothes were being done and then could cycle them all the way through, even folding and keeping them in a single laundry basket and put back in the right person's room by the right dresser. Has saved a ton of time sorting. We also don't separate colors unless it is red or purple and/or new. I use color catchers when needed and we're all good to go.

    Nice tips you've shared.
    April (fellow local homeschooler)

  2. I am slowly trying to transition to the dot system. Had not heard of using paint, though! Thank you for sharing.

  3. This is brilliant! I only have 2 little boys who are 2 years apart but I still have trouble telling their clothes apart. As I'm writing this I'm staring down a mountain of little white socks. lol THANKS for the tip!

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