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.
The bane of every mom's existence must be socks. Whether you have one child or nineteen, socks will make you a little insane. I have written before about how we mark clothing and socks so that we know which child they belong to. However, the socks and underwear still seem to multiply in the hamper or disappear in the dryer. If a mom is to keep her sanity, she must have a plan.
I have tried a few different plans before I finally settled on one plan that really works well for us.
Here's how it works:
I bought a lingerie bag for each person in the family. Then I marked each bag so that we could tell whose bag was whose. I tried putting dots on the bag– just like our dot system— but it was too hard to see to be effective. So I put a different ribbon on the zipper pull of each bag. This way, each person has their own color or design.
Instead of throwing them in the dirty clothes hamper, dirty socks and underwear go into your own lingerie bag. (We call them sock bags.) No mixing of socks. Each person's undergarments go into his own bag.
When we first started this system, I would throw all the bags into the washing machine with the clothes inside them, and wash them altogether. The problem was that the sock bags grew holes in the wash. The package stated that they were intended for use in the wash, but they lied to me!
So we initiated a better system. We no longer wash the socks and underwear inside the bags. Each person's bag is washed along with another load of clothing. So I may dump Teeny's sock bag in to wash along with the towels and Zarah's into the load of reds/pinks. When each load comes out of the dryer, it only has one person's socks and underwear in it. We call that person to fetch their undergarments from the load, then they fold them and put away their own socks and underwear. If they don't fetch their clothes right away, they will get mixed with socks that belong to someone else. The irritation of sorting and separating the socks is normally enough to motivate them to take care of their socks right away!
The only question was where to keep the bags. I tied a long piece of ribbon to the corner of each sock bag with a knot on the end so that it formed a loop. This way the bag could be hung up. Some of us have chosen to hang the bags on the hinges of our bedroom closet door~ on the inside of the closet. Others keep them in a small drawer. (I wouldn't recommend putting them into a drawer with other clothing. Phew!) Judah had two small drawers for socks and underwear. One was for socks and the other for underwear. He has changed the system now~ one drawer for clean socks and underwear, the other for the dirty ones.
This system has worked very well. The added bonus is that Colleen is no longer spending an hour or two on the loveseat separating and folding a mountain of socks and underwear. Laundry-doers at my house now have sanity!
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