Thought it was about time I get around to answering some of your very good questions!
Truth is, I have been busy DOING these things, hence the lack of time to WRITE about them.
Basically there were three groups of questions:
So let's start with laundry.
Years ago, my system was a basket in each bedroom closet. Laundry on Mondays and Thursdays. We'd bring it all downstairs, sort it on the floor of the laundry room, wash till it was done (tossing the clean clothes on the couch and folding as I went). Then a pile for each child in each basket and back upstairs where the kids would help put it away.
It worked great for a long time.
Until the Monday laundry started taking until Wednesday to finish.
One day I was communicating my frustration to my mother-in-law. Who has quite of bit of laundry experience, having raised 10 children.
At this point we had 7 kids.
She said that I was really beyond the two-day-a-week laundry system that I had used for so long. That if you wait three or four days the amount of laundry is too daunting.
She told me that when her kids were young, she did a load of laundry in the morning and a load at night. Folding it as soon as she could when it came out of the dryer.
This way, you aren't taking a whole day or two each week JUST for laundry, but you can spend five minutes here and there throughout your day. When you have eight (or ten) kids, it's rare to have a whole day to do anything. Pretty much everything has to be done in little blocks of time, as you go.
The beauty of this system (as much as you might hate doing laundry every day) is that you never have very much. It's never the entire laundry room floor covered in clothes like it used to be.
SO. . .
I start a load of laundry after breakfast in the morning after the kids are dressed. Sometimes I have to do two loads. With the exception of special items or delicates, I only separate colors if I have enough for two loads - otherwise it all goes in together. And no, I haven't ruined anything, yet.
As soon as it is done, we toss it in the living room chair where it is folded as soon as possible into piles for each person, which I line up along the hearth.
Before lunch (if it's Summer) I have the kids get their pile and put it on their bed. Before bedtime, they put their laundry away.
During school, I put the piles on their beds for them during the day.
Everyone down to the three year old does this.
The only laundry basket we use is the one in front of the washer where they put their dirty clothes at night and in the morning. No laundry baskets in the rooms or closets. No gathering laundry for me.
Since everyone puts their own clothes away, their drawers are a mess. But after years of therapy, I'm OK with that.
I also start a load of laundry at night. That goes into the dryer before I go to bed, or in the morning when I start the morning load.
After the morning load, I do towels once a week and sheets on a couple of other days.
Reality is, there is a lot of laundry with 10 people. I can't give you a magic formula that makes it "easy" or makes it go away.
But I've found that keeping up with it is so much easier than letting it pile up. Easier for the kids, too, as they only have a small pile each day to put away. Not as overwhelming for them.
And another plus to the daily laundry system is that they don't need very many clothes. My little ones often put on what came off the night before, after it's been washed - which is really nice!
Go forth and wash!