This is the Chore That Never Ends

September 1, 2011

Washing Cloth Diapers

*~{insert tune to the song that never ends}~*… it just goes on and on my friend.

Can you guess what it is??


Tons and tons of laundry.

It never ends.  When I think I have some semblance of control over it, it grows exponentially for no logical reason.

Okay, so maybe the 2 adults and 5 children has something to do with this chore being an absolute beast.

I had laundry under control up till Sterling was born.  That’s when I began realizing that it was going to take major commitment to stay on top of it.

My friend Jillian does laundry every day then folds it ALL on Thursday.  She has 6 kids.  She also owns a major baby carrier store- PAXbaby.

The thought of doing ALL the folding on one day makes me nauseous.  I have to do a little everyday or I start to grow horns and turn green.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking.  My children should be helping.  They do…but, I’m not consistent.

Although I complain (usually just to myself) about laundry it is oddly relaxing.  Not relaxing like vacuuming but it sufficiently calms.

One aspect of laundry that cracks me up lately is the cloth diapers!  I swear I will do a load and the next day it seems like I have an overflowing wet bag screaming to be washed.

I really don’t change Camden that often so I must be deceiving myself.  I’m thinking that it’s the 3-day laundry cycle (prewash, wash, dry…sit in dryer for a day…move to a cozy basket…sit for a day….fold and sit neatly on fireplace or perhaps back in the cozy basket for a day…then by the time I place them in the bin there are only a handful remaining because I’ve picked from the pile)  that makes me think I just did a load.

I’m sure that routine sounds completely foreign to all of you.

Actually, what’s even funnier than the cloth diapers is towels and linens.  I don’t bathe my kids often and yet I wash more towels than anything! How is that possible?

When Haley labeled our 4-bin laundry basket – dark, light, towels, bedding- I thought how nice it would be to have one that is always empty.  That would be the bedding of course.

Um, no.  If someone isn’t peeing in their bed or my bed then I’m washing guest room linens.

Really I have no one to blame for the massive amounts of laundry but myself.  If I’d just stop buying my kids clothes then they wouldn’t have so many to change into!

I know there are many of you reading this who are much smarter than I.  You probably have 5 bottoms, 10 shirts, 10 socks, 7 underwear for each person.  They each have 1 towel.  And no one pees in the bed.

Wait.  I’m not sure I want to take all the blame.  I have a child that changes clothes a lot.  A lot.  This same child is a superb room cleaner, translation everything goes in the laundry basket.

I quickly scanned through my iPhone to find a picture of this child and this is the first I came to (why I have this pic on my phone is a funny kid story in itself).


 Phew. Now that I have that off my chest, I’ll go toss in a load of something and slip off into my dream world where all the laundry is always done and the meals are always made.



About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at

View all posts by Autumn Beck

38 Responses to “This is the Chore That Never Ends”

  1. Rebecca Thomas Says:

    I was noticing your comment about kids peeing in bed. I just wanted to suggest the cloth chucks pads like they use in hospitals and nursing homes. I’ve even seen some that have extra long sides so they can be tucked under the sides of a twin bed. They’re great because they’re waterproof on one side, soft and quilted on the other, and you only have to change the pad, not the whole bed. They’re usually around $25 new at CVS drugstores, or I’ve gotten them off ebay too.


  2. Audrey Smith Says:

    Ooooo….a laundry room…drool…..I have a nook in my garage. There is a door leading to the side yard that is next to the washer. We live in a desert so dust blows in under the door and coats the floor under the washer. Then if I drop anything it gets covered in dirt. I drop things often because the washer and dryer doors (Front loader) open into each other. Requirement for new house- a REAL laundry room.


  3. Sommer Says:

    This was a good read, I had some laughs :) I did wonder what you meant when you said you don’t bathe your kids often–like, once every few days, once a week, once every couple of weeks? haha :) I don’t bathe mine every day, but more than every other day simply because they LOVE bath time. And our 7 year old daughter has very curly, long hair that becomes unruly if I don’t get it wet and comb out, but I don’t use shampoo every time. Anyway your laundry room looks awesome! Mine is little more than a closet…good incentive to keep the laundry under control! I surely don’t envy your laundry load, having only 2 children with only one in diapers keeps mine relatively meager. I get eager and willing help from our 7 and 2 year old. I fold the laundry and the kids come into the laundry room to take small piles off my hands and put them away. The only clothes I end up putting away myself these days are the ones that hang in closets and things that go in the linen closet, since these are difficult for Katie to reach. They will both take their own clothes off before bed or bathtime and put them in the hamper right away (of course I have to tell them each time, hoping it will eventually become habit!) and this eliminates most unwanted items in the laundry basket. I sort everything by color and fabrics (jeans all together, towels together, delicates together etc) and that is the biggest use of time. I do laundry every other day, usually 2 sometimes 3 loads depending, excepting diapers which I wash every day since I have a small stash and prefer to use certain dipes over others. I am certainly not one of those moms who has only 5 pairs of pants, 10 shirts, 7 underwear. My mom visited years ago and saw the amount of clothing I had for just our daughter and said it was more than me and my 4 siblings had when we were young, combined…ha! (At the time she was an only child!) Since our son was born I have pared down the load of clothing to a more manageable amount :) I feel lucky that my kids are both very interested in helping with laundry, dishes, yardwork etc and I’m certainly willing to let them help any way they can. It makes it less a chore, usually takes less time, and I’m still getting to spend time with them when I have things that need to be done.


  4. Tina Says:

    Yep!! I only have two kids, but I can sympathize (my DH is a resturaunt manager and his work clothes are for work only [they stink] which means 5 days a week he wears two sets of clothes). There may or may not be a clean wet bag full of clean cloth diapers sitting on my couch at this very moment….


  5. Janet Says:

    I have to say you have it pegged almost to a tee. I’m probably alone in this one but then there is the load you forgot you started and have to rewash because it was in the washing machine too long. Oh well, such is life.


    • Becky Says:

      Janet, I do that all the time too. I get so many things going and then I forget (sometimes for days) that I have load in the washer. That makes me so irritated with my crazy self.


    • Adreia Says:

      Way too often I have to rewash, because I forgot the load in the washer or in the dryer and not all the way dry. So frustrating


    • Janet Says:

      Thank you, you both made me feel much better. I thought I was the only one who had to rewash loads, sometimes multiple times.


  6. Marion Says:

    I make all four of my kids help me short and fold laundry every other day and I still have many loads of laundry. I currently have 2 in diapers, so that adds more to the laundry and wash 2-3 loads a day. Once a month or so I go through my kids clothing to make sure everything fits in the drawers. Let’s face it, their folding is much worse than mine. It is the one organization thing I have let go. But yes, laundry never seems to end and my laundry room always feels messy.


  7. Jill Says:

    ha, just added a newborn, so we’re adjusting to life with 4. should be fun to figure out. good luck with your laundry…


  8. Yara Says:

    You know what I just pulled out of my washing machine? A zhu zhu pet, a pencil, and a balloon (not inflated, but still).
    I spent days (not just one day, closer to a week) weeding out my kids clothes (I only have 3 kids) because there was just too much. And yet! The laundry is still out of control. I think part of it is that they seem to just pull stuff out of drawers or the closet (only the 8 year old uses the closet, the other two each have a dresser) and throw it on the floor. Then when they have to pick up, they throw everything, including pencils, zhu zhu pets, and clean clothes.
    Well, if they’ve been sitting in with dirty clothes, I don’t feel comfortable just putting it away, so I wash it even if I’m pretty sure they haven’t worn the item since I last washed it.
    It’s the putting away part that bothers me. Especially since we rent & my husband isn’t exactly willing to let me spend money fixing up the closet so it works for me.
    I’d love a shelf for each kid, and then… a lock on the closet door, so they can’t get into it to pull out clean clothes 5 times a day!


  9. abby Says:

    You sweetie are not alone. I do laundry almost everyday. There is always something else to wash. Its like dishes, they are ongoing. In my case though, we have 4 kids and share our home with my brother in law and his family. So even if i get ours under control… OH! and does anybody know why babies like to pull clean clothes out of the basket or drawer? my youngest just threw a bunch of clothes all over the living room floor, or put clean cloths back in with the dirty instead of putting them away? I swear, i end up washing more clean clothes then dirty sometimes. I dont have any speacial tricks either, just a hope that i dont accidently wash a red sock with my white tees. :)
    thank you for making my day with your post. i love it.


  10. Krysta Says:

    As a mom of 5 also, I can sure relate! I have picked up a couple of tips over the last year or so that have made the laundry beast much easier for me.

    First, all the kids have their own laundry basket for their dirty clothes. I wash all those clothes together…..I don’t separate out the colors or anything unless I have something new that may bleed. Now my sister says she can’t do this because the jeans always bleed, but this has never been a problem for me….I wash on cold. After their clothes are dry I fold them, match socks, etc and put them back into the laundry basket. The child then takes their laundry and puts it away. This is for the 4 to 9yo. My 11 yo does all her own laundry, but I usually still have to prompt her to switch the loads. Going to start my 9yo doing his own laundry soon. My 2yo laundry still goes in with hubby & I’s as her laundry is stored in our room and it would take a lot to make a load!

    Second tip, other than the adults and my 11yo, we hang up hardly anything and we don’t use dressers. We have put shelves in the closets…just those cheap freestanding plastic shelves. The kids each have one shelf for their clothes, which are stacked in outfits because I put them in their laundry baskets as outfits. Pants on the bottom, matching shirt on top. They have another shelf for underwear and PJ’s. On the back of the closet door I have a shoe organizer with their socks in it, and each child gets a row or two for their socks. The youngest always gets the lower shelves and the oldest gets the highest shelves. Dressers are a pain for adults to use and really hard for kids to use so just don’t. Kids just aren’t good at hanging up and taking off hangers until they are older. Plus it takes longer to hang than put on a shelf.

    Ok, last thing I do. I have two main laundry days a week for two reasons. Laundry for 7 people in one day is overwhelming and honestly many of us can’t make it a week with our limited wardrobes. So I do laundry on Wednesday and Saturday. I picked Wednesday so my hubby’s work clothes are washed mid week so he doesn’t run out. Now these are the days I do clothes. The other days of the week I do have to do diapers and towels, but I try not to wash these on laundry day. Also since I wash twice a week the kids clothes don’t usually make a full load so I fill it up with big adult items. The adult stuff is easy to pick out when folding and still keeps laundry sorting by kid to a minimum. I have three boys in a row and there clothing can be easily confused.

    Oh, and love those color coded socks and underwear! Those are the items that do get mixed up all the time!

    Hope some of these ideas help someone…none of them were my original ideas but they have sure helped me!


  11. Kate Says:

    We have a pact in this house, the husband does the dishes, I do the laundry. At least he’s got to his job everyday too, right? I only wish I had a laundry room that looked like yours! Our laundry room is in the dark unfinished basement of a 100+ year old house :( My savior is the summer when I can at least hang laundry on the line, unfortunately in Wisconsin, summer doesn’t last too long.
    Uh-oh, there’s the buzzer, time to hike down the stairs to my laundry cave again… hahaha!


  12. Tabitha Says:

    I thought I was the only one with that diaper cycle. I have 3 little ones, 7, 3, and 8 mo. I am also the only one in my home that washes the laundry. I tried letting my husband help a couple of times, but after he shrank my dry clean only dress, I decided it was best if I just did it myself. My kids try to help, and I’m sure they would do it for me, if only they could reach the controls. I honestly think my biggest problem is baby clothes. Every time I think it is under control and I have one load left she grows out of them. Then I have a load of dirty clothes no one can even wear.


  13. Cindi Says:

    I’d love to tell you that it gets better the older the kids…but I cannot tell a lie. I’d love to tell you that the size of your piles decrease with less children at home…but I would be fibbing. I’d love to tell you that the kids will do actually do their own laundry someday…but that is simply a not the case. They will do it, but they rarely finish the cycle, you know…they put it in the washer and then disappear to unknown destinations. :) *wink* Then they grow up and move away (sniff) and for some reason I still have more laundry than I care to deal with “daily”! what’s up with that?


  14. Cecelia Says:

    You must live at my house! I laughed or smiled through the whole reading. I am glad to know I’m not the only one out there like this! Happy laundry doing:)


  15. Kathryn Says:

    Towels are what we go through the most. When each kid gets out of the tub they take their towel somewhere else in the house: their room, the couch, our bed. Then the next bath time there are no towels in the bathroom, and they get a new clean one. Then when I go around the house I don’t know what are still clean, or dirty. Some are musty because they never got hung up.


  16. Lauren Stair Says:

    Wow, I swear I wrote that minus the amount of children. We only have two right now (both in diapers, and I do wash every single day sometimes every other but I am very familiar with your diaper routine. I rarely get the chance to fold the diapers at all bc by the time I’ve picked through our stash a few times it really is time to wash again.) I keep telling my self we are going to pair down the boys clothes. Tho it seems like every time I do so some one else blesses me with more. I have over flowing blessings (I’m not complaining) so that does lead to overflowing laundry.


  17. Melissa Says:

    This post is great! Thanks for helping me start the day with a chuckle! :)


  18. Kerrie Says:

    I love your sense of humor, Autumn. I got a good laugh today, thank you!
    While I have my laundry room on the top floor of the house we rent and carrying little ones up and down the stairs-4 flights- (not to mention the dirty duds) is not how I would like to spend time and energy! , I will admit that at least part of the chaos is OUT OF SIGHT. So I dont have to look at how MUCH there still is to do. Every time I go up I take everything that needs washing. I also am the only one for now doing washing hanging up to dry and folding for the 5 of us. Anyone have any creative ideas on how to get 6 and 3 1/2 yr olds involved without having them put toys and clean clothes in there too? We have very limited space in our living area, so cant do huge laundry baskets for each color, etc…


  19. Jennifer Says:

    Your diaper laundry is better than mine. I thought once I only had 1 in diapers I woulsd do better, but no I have so many that clean ones just pile up before I get them folded and put away. Same with clothes. I get overflow on clean laundry. Hate folding hate having to put away even worse. Trying to find places fo reverything. And when hubby isn’t deployed he has the bad habit of just sitting anything in his way when he wants to go to bed right into the floor “i will put them away tomm”. Tomm never comes. I refold so many clothes. THe 3yr old and 19mth old love to help my trying every peice of clean clothing on. They just love to unfold the clothes :-) Or climb on the folded clothes, or anything else they can do to “help”.


  20. Michelle Says:

    Too funny! Your diaper laundry cycle sounds like mine. I love washing clothes but that’s as far as it goes. I hate folding and putting away (diaper laundry excluded).


  21. Lauren Says:

    :-) I can so totally relate to the laundry monster. Except for the diaper schedule. We are staying in my M-I-L home till our house is remodled. It was only supposed to be a “short” stay ( it’s been since April! :-( Anyway, with the thought that it would only be 6 weeks or so I bit the bullet and packed the cloth diapers, with very specific instructions to leave the bin of dipes in the front of storage for easy access. Just in case, the job took longer. Well, I go to get my dipes after once AGAIN running low on disposables for the umptenth time. And what do I find in the box I thought was my nice cloth dipes, but upholstry leather! I can’t wrap that around my little’s tooshie! Even without the cloth dipes I am still washing every day. With 2 adults and 3 littles ages 1,3,6 and living out of one suit case each you would think my monster would be a tad smaller but NO! If I go 1 day without washing, every towel goes on strike, every sock losses it’s mate and DH only HAS two types of socks. All underwear is hiding somewhere (and we each have at least a weeks worth!) and not a decent shirt to were to church! I just never say quit though and tuck in and prepare for battle on the morrow:-) Now who wants to talk about the DISHES? LOL


  22. Molly Says:

    I hear you! But I only have two small children so I don’t have much to complain about. My husband gets mad when I wash his clothes too often, fine with me, I won’t wash them. But the problem in my house is socks. They seem to multiply like rabbits. We have a total of 8 feet in my house, how can I find 10+ socks per day scattered around?!? I think a new task for my 3 year old will be finding socks and puting them in a basket. Maybe there could be a reward system, one jelly bean per sock or something.

    I agree, your laundry room looks pretty awesome. Mine is nothing to complain about, but I would love to have a table for folding. We had one when I was a kid and it was awesome.


  23. Serena McPherson Says:

    Wow! I literally just walked in from the living room where I folded laundry I had put off for FOUR days, told my husband how much I HATE laundry (it is my worst chore) and sat down to read your blog. Ha!
    I’m guessing that most of us feel this way. However, my son does push ups when he cleans his room by putting it in his laundry basket. Highly recommended :)


  24. Trisha W. Says:

    I feel for you. I have 7 kids — 11 months to 13 years old. The older the kids get, the bigger their clothes and the quicker the laundry baskets fill up. I love doing laundry and folding everything just so. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more responsibilities in my life to just hang around the laundry room and sit on the couch folding it. LOL. By the way, it looks like you have an amazing laundry room. It looks huge!


  25. Amy b. Says:

    I feel you on the laundry!! It never ends. But I have to ask.. You don’t bathe your children often? Was that a typo? Like another word was autocorrected to bathe? Or you just really don’t make them take baths? Just wondering!


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      No, you read correctly ;) They bathe 2 maybe 3 times a week. They wash their feet every night though.


      • Melissa Says:

        Same here! Glad I’m not the only one… I find my girls get dry skin if they bathe more often and it’s eco-friendly… less water! :)


        • Texas Momma Says:

          So glad I’m not the only one too! My kids get baths every 2 or 3 days unless they REALLY get dirty! I know a friend of mine bathes all 3 of hers EVERY DAY! I can only imagine what my 2 girls skin would look like if I did that. They both have dry skin/eczema too. =(


      • Amy B. Says:

        Oh wow! I’ve not heard that before. I thought everyone bathed everyday, or most days anyway. Not trying to be judgmental or mean! Hope I don’t sound that way. I was just truly curious, I always like hearing about how other mamas do things, esp when it’s something very different from what I do. Even the small things, it let’s you reexamine what you’re doing. You learn something new everyday!! ;) Thanks for responding!


        • Candace Says:

          I have six chidlren and bathe them once or twice a week. My kids have dry skin/eczema and their skin would be on fire if I bathe them everyday and really, they DO NOT NEED baths everyday, none of us do. It removes the natural oils our bodies were intended to have, especially on our heads. I’m not saying our hair should be greasy, but you can actually train your hair to not need to be washed everyday. Anyway, WAY TO GO Autumn! You made me laugh out loud! This is my story exactly!! I had it all together before my last was born (nesting, I guess) but it can get the best of me if I don’t stay consistent! Especially the diapers!! Haha! Love this post!


        • Cyndel J Says:

          The only day my kids definately get a bath is Saturday…other wise they get baths when they get nasty, wet the bed, or we go swimming. sometimes as often as 4 times a week (not counting Saturday) other weeks just 1…a few weeks such as this past one we were all sick so Saturday was the only bath they got.


  26. amanda Says:

    I have one (7 years old) who throws everything clean or dirty into the laundry basket once a week. drives me crazy that i would be caught up and then a huge (2-3 loads) pile. So now he gets Sunday to do his laundry. Problem solved. For now anyway till the others follow or my husband returns from Afghanistan.


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      The guilty child above is 7. I’ll remember you in my prayers today! I can’t imagine parenting alone while dh is overseas. You are amazing.


  27. Thyme Says:

    That is exactly how I feel. With the added bonus of I’m the only one who does the laundry and knows what’s clean and what’s not. And when my husband tries to be helpful sometimes I end up rewashing some of the clothes! lol


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