Ok, I know it sounds a bit retentive, but having a laundry schedule has actually freed up quite a bit of my time. I used to "do" Flylady and this is something that I devised out of necessity for my daily routine. I no longer follow Flylady like I used to, but I still use many of the methods I learned from her. I know for certain that when I actually have a plan for tasks such as meals and laundry, it cuts stress out of my life and I stop running around like a chicken. That is a good thing. And I must say, Flylady's methods really saved me when we were trying to sell our last house.
Laundry used to go like this in our house: (Yelling from room to room) "Hon! Where're my nice jeans?" "In the wash." "Are they clean?" "I don't know." "When did you wash them?" "I don't know if I did or if I just sorted them. Look in the dryer." "Nope, not there." "Look in the washer." "Eeeww. Smelly!" "Oh, shucks. Turn it on and add more soap and run it again..." "Now what am I going to wear?" "Umm...sorry, honey." This could've been dh and me, vice versa, or one of my kids and a parent.
This was not a method that provided satifactory results. It was especially bad on Sunday mornings getting ready for mass.
Now I have more of a plan, and when I actually stick to it it works like a dream.
The first thing I did was take the laundry as my task, solely. Now that my eldest is nearly 12 he does some of his own things, but having dh washing things always resulted in something getting dried in the dryer that wasn't supposed to. The next thing was to get rid of a lot of our clothes. This forces me to keep up with the laundry or go nekkid (haha). Actually, we all feel better wearing things we love, not just things we have. Next I realized that the worst part of laundry for me was on the clean end. I just hated sorting all the folded things into so many different toppling piles and then running around the whole house trying to deliver them to their destinations, or trying to get my kids to help with that task without undoing all the folding. Not an efficient system to my way of thinking. So I thought, "Why mix it all up just to unmix it and then mix it all up again?"
Without further ado, here's my current method:
I try to get things going first thing in the morning, and I try to fold things straight out of the dryer. I do a different person's/room's/type of laundry on each day. This usually means two loads = one dark + one light per day. It works out to be one or two more loads per week than if I combined everything together, but to me it is worth it . (It doesn't necessarily mean more water or soap, because I can adjust that to the load size.)
Monday: I wash, dry, fold and put away my things and my dh's
Tuesday: my two younger boys', they share a room and a hamper (iron today if I need to)
Weds: my eldest's, he has his own room and hamper (put to soak anything stained)
Thursday: my daughter's (and the soaking)
Friday: kitchen items and towels
In the summer I find my kitchen stuff gets a little funky if I don't do it more than once a week, so I'll often just toss in the washcloths and dishtowels with any load that has extra room. And I don't wash all the sheets every week, and I often wash the towels with the sheets. And yes, the ironing does pile up.
For me the beauty of this plan is that it is easier for me to spread out the laundry over the week rather than do it all at once and burn out. I hated spending my whole Saturday in the laundry room. The best thing is that if for some reason things don't get folded right away, at least each person can look through one basket and find a pair of their own socks with relative ease, because not everyone's socks are mixed up together. Less sorting and piling and fetching and carrying makes for a happier mom. Oh, and dh and I have two baskets in our closet - one for darks, one for lights. Then when our things are clean and folded, one basket holds his things, one holds mine until they get put away.
It sounds more complicated than it is. Anyway, it works for me! BTW, putting your sheets out on a line to dry makes them smell heavenly, especially if you use unscented detergent :)