I love clean laundry, the sight, smell, feel. Note, I said “I love clean laundry” and not “I love doing laundry”. But where there are children, there is laundry. I do a lot, and I bet you do, too. Here are some ways to make the process go smoothly!
- Start with the basics nearby: clean flat space for folding, hangers and a hanging rod, clean empty baskets, bins for donations or items for repair / dry cleaning.
- Enlist aid:
- 2-4 year olds can: Place dirty clothes in the hamper; Select clothes from choices, and put on loose-fitting clothes; Pick out simple outfits (4 years) like shorts, shirt and underwear.
- 4-5 year olds can: Sort laundry by color; Help put clean clothes away in drawers or on shelves.
- 6-7 year olds can: Sort clean laundry and socks by person; Drag dirty hamper to laundry room.
- 8-10 year olds can: Fold Laundry; Strip and make bed; Load washer and dryer; Bring clean clothes to room and put them away.
- 11 + can do all laundry duties, as instructed.
3. Abandon perfectionism (in some areas):
- Realize laundry is a process, not an event. There is no start, nor finish, it just is.
- Don’t fold more than necessary: with my first child, I carefully folded every baby item and gently stacked it in the drawer. By child #3, I realized that sleepers can be piled laid flat and retrieved just as easily. Same goes for burp clothes, onesies, outfits and washcloths. My kids’ underwear is still un-folded, stacked flat in their drawer.
4. But get a little more detailed (in other areas):
- Keep a stain stick in your hamper, and treat stains right away.
- Set a timer. To stay on task, I set and re-set the timer for 30 minutes to remind me to check on the washing machine or dryer.
- Hang up your hanging clothes immediately upon removing from the dryer, to decrease folding time and wrinkles!
- Color-code your laundry baskets and hangers by person or destination. Each of us has a different hanger color, and school or work clothes get hung up right out of the dryer. Then we grab the correct color hangers, and haul our clothes to our closet.
- Finishing the job means actually putting everything AWAY.
5. Too much or not enough?
- You probably have too many clothes. Helping a client many years ago, I assumed the pile of unfolded teenager t-shirts was on a table. She admitted the pile was actually THAT tall, with no table underneath. We purged dozens of t-shirts that day! If there is not enough room to put your clothes away, you have too many. But…
- Invest in extras of important and regularly worn items like (the right color!) soccer socks or uniform shirts, or essentials that need washed after every wearing, like underwear and socks.
- Purge Regularly. Keep baskets in the laundry room for Dry Cleaning, or Donations for outgrown clothes. Once the bin is full of “too-smalls”, it gets labeled and put in storage to wait for the next child to grow into, or sent to our little cousin.
I hope you have found an idea or 2 that will help you in your personal pursuit of clean laundry. Me? I’ve got to go fold some towels…