Laundry is the never ending job. No matter what, dirty clothes need to be washed. Even though my boys try to wear the same shirt 4 days in a row I still end up with baskets full of laundry every couple of days.
If laundry is causing you stress it is time to take control of the beast! First create your laundry priorities. Is it important to you (or your husband) that your sheets are washed weekly, ever other week, monthly? Do you need a clean towel every day or can you go a few days before replacing your towels? Does your husband have work clothes that need to be washed every night? Knowing what the expectations are in your home is half the battle. Okay, maybe 1/4 of the battle… but it is important.
Next involve your family in the laundry fun. We are a family of nine so I have lots of little helpers. Here is the laundry breakdown for my kids.
I usually do one to two loads of laundry a day, depending on if everyone is able to stay dry all night. On Saturdays sheets and towels are washed, although not everyone’s sheets are washed every Saturday. I have a gigantic washer and dryer so I can usually keep up with the laundry only doing a load a day.
I like to include my children under 5 in the laundry sorting in order for them to learn their colors.
The key to being able to have your little ones help with the laundry is to keep it simple. We have two baskets upstairs that get dumped into a big basket downstairs. They can do this without any help because it is easy. We color sort later on while I am supervising.
In order for your kids to put their own clothes away you need to create a system that they can use. If all of their clothes are on hangers and the rod is 5 feet high a three year old cannot put their laundry away. I am currently using bins and cubbies for my kids clothes so they can put their own clothes away with little or no help.
As you can see from the above picture each boy has a bin for socks and underwear. They are all labeled with their name or initial so there is no confusion as to where things go.
Above their bins are cubbies for their pants or shorts. This makes folding and putting away a breeze even for little boys. In this picture my oldest boy didn’t have a cubby for pants because he had extra room in his drawer. Finally we have a bin for pjs. These are rarely folded but rather thrown into the bin.
My girls have a similar system, but it is in the closet so it was harder to get a good picture.
As far as making time for the laundry my washer has a timer. I like to put in a load before I go to bed and then set the timer so that the laundry is just finishing up when I wake up. I can throw it into the dryer before I jump in the shower and then we can put it away during our morning chores. If I forget, we take care of it after lunch during our afternoon chores.
I cannot stress the importance of involving even your littlest helpers. Both my 11 and 13 yo can do laundry on their own, so days when I am running late or taking dh to medical appointments they can keep up with the laundry so I don’t fall too far behind.
Finally, give up on perfect. If your little kids are helping you every shirt may not be perfectly hung, the towels might not be facing the same way in the closet, and the shorts might be wadded up in the drawer. That’s okay. The important thing is that your children are learning and eventually they will be able to do the laundry for you. That is unless you are one of those rare people who love laundry like my friend Lauren. Getting the family involved makes laundry easier in the long run, so start today!