Saturday, January 16, 2010

Laundry Out of Control?

One night my friends and I were talking (I really mean griping!) about our household tasks. One task that we all had difficulty with was how hard it is to keep up with laundry...especially with children! We felt that is was too time consuming and never seemed to get put away once it was folded.

I am probably the odd ball here because laundry is one of my favorite chores! However, I don't enjoy all aspects of it. The part I don't like about laundry is ironing and putting away the clothes. I have come up with some suggestions to make it less time consuming, less of a headache to deal with, and less work for you!

1. Get LOTS of Laundry Baskets!
Go to the dollar store and stock up on laundry baskets. Simple plastic ones will do the trick, and make sure that you AND YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS can carry them easily. I typically do not like the fancy wicker ones because they are not easy to carry and tend to harbor ordors!

2. Divide and Conquer!
I have three baskets in the master bedroom closet (one for whites, colors, and jeans/heavy duty). I have one basket in each of the children's bedrooms. I have one basket in each bathroom where bathing takes place, and one basket in the laundry room.

3. Laundry Day
Pick a day(s) of the week that you will be doing laundry. Since the master bedroom will have three baskets (one for whites, colors, and jeans/heavy duty), TEACH your family members to sort the contents of their baskets from their bedrooms into your baskets. As for the baskets in the bathrooms, have your children alternate weeks and do the same thing with the contents of those baskets as they did with their laundry baskets. The laundry basket in the laundry room is for kitchen towels and other misc. items.

***TIP--by giving your family members and/or children some of this responsibility is equals less work for you and teaches them a valuable lesson about contributing to the family!

Also, please note that when teaching your family try not to be too critical or too much of a perfectionist or they are not going to want to participate with helping out!

***IMPORTANT--have a separate basket for delicates, items that need hand-washing, or cannot be put into the dryer! I would do that load myself to ensure that items do not get ruined!!

4. Washing/Drying
Decide on who will be putting laundry into washer and dryer. I for one, am a bit particular about laundry, my husband wouldn't even know how to turn the washer on, so I am the one that does it all. However, you may want to give older children/teenagers this responsibility. Afterall if it is all sorted now and brought to the laundry room/area, the easy part is loading the washer and dryer!

5. Fold and Put Away as a Family
In our house, we fold as a family in front of the TV. If you have children old enough to help fold, teach them how you want clothes and towels folded so you are not refolding items. Have a basket on hand for each person and/or bedroom. Load baskets with items for each bedroom and/or family member. Load one basket with linens to put away. Have members of the family bring their basket back to their bedroom, and again, if old enough put his/her OWN clothes away neatly! You may have to check their work a few times to ensure they are not just tossing things into drawers.

6. Ironing
This is my least favorite task! I typically tackle ironing once or twice a month. I do it in front of the TV usually when the kids are sleeping or napping. If you have teenagers that are capable of doing a good job with this, you could have them do this chore or do a portion of it.

Other Tips!
  • Start loads of laundry at night. Not only will you be saving energy (and money!), you will be one step ahead of the game!
  • Do not let items sit in the dryer. Otherwise, you are creating more work for yourself if they are all wrinkled when you go to iron. If you do put laundry in the dryer at night, fluff the load for a few minutes before folding in the morning.
  • Line drying (again for energy consumption) is something I take advantage of in the summer months! I love the feel of line-dried towels, and the smell of line-dried clothes! This is something that family members can help out with as well!!!
  • Do not put wet or damp items into laundry baskets! That just creates stinky laundry and often the mildew smell is hard to get out of clothes. Moreover, mold can grow on items, which is virtually impossible to get out except by using bleach. Teach children to dry items first by handing them on the tub or towel racks!!
I hope this helps you loathe laundry less! By getting your family involved, you are teaching them responsibility and the value of helping each other out. You will be giving yourself more time to be with your family instead of a bystander doing all the chores while they are having all the fun!!! Even very small children can help out too. Give the appropriate tasks to the appropriate age!
Good luck and happy laundry day!!

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