Laundry is definitely one of those chores in life that will never end. Whether you enjoy the process or dread it, it’s here to stay. Getting kids involved in the process helps take some of the responsibility off mom and I call that a mom win for all you busy mommas out there! If you’re wondering how to streamline your laundry system and give some of the responsibility over to your children, read on for my best pro tips!
Gather Your Supplies
Every family member should have a laundry basket/bin/hamper in their closet. This is typically a given in most families. My tip, however, is to keep at least two laundry baskets in the laundry room. I use these baskets to transport clean clothes coming out of the dryer to a folding area. The basket is then used to carry the folded clothes to the family member’s bedroom. This system helps keep clean clothes clean and prevents a buildup of excess laundry baskets in the laundry room.
Pre-Sort Your Laundry
With our hectic family schedules, most of us are willing to try anything to shave a few minutes off of a chore. If you agree, try pre-sorting your laundry. Assuming you have the closet space, give each family member two laundry baskets for their bedroom closet. Each night, as mom/dad/kids get undressed, place white/lighter clothes into one basket and darker clothes into a separate basket.
Establish a Laundry Schedule
Laundry might pile up in every corner of your home now, but I’m here to tell you that you can avoid piles and piles of laundry by creating a laundry schedule. Assign a specific day of the week to each family member, plus an extra day for sheets and towels. For example, in our home, all towels get washed on Fridays, kids’ sheets on the Thursdays that our cleaning person comes, and the master bedroom sheets are washed on Fridays. If your kids make their own beds, remind them the night before and again in the morning (until the habit kicks in), to strip their sheets and, if old enough, carry them to the laundry room. Having a specific day of the week helps establish expectations, avoids family members running out of clothes such as underwear, and relieves mom and dad of the mental energy that comes with figuring out when to fit in a laundry cycle between work, activities, and other obligations.
Assign Age Appropriate Tasks
Even from a young age, kids can learn the steps of the laundry system and take on some responsibility. Younger children can help with sorting (it’s a great way to teach colors and counting) and matching socks. Older children can help with folding and putting clothes away. As children grow and can reach better they can also learn how to start the laundry, transfer clothes to the dryer, and start a dryer cycle. The key here is to also create a zone in your laundry room where children can access the supplies they need, such as detergent and dryer sheets. In our home, these items are stored on an organizer attached to the back of the door.
Turn Laundry into a Game
How many times have you completed the laundry cycle, folded clothes, returned them to the family member’s room only to find the clothes still sitting in the laundry basket days later? Or, do you procrastinate on putting laundry away and find yourself rummaging through the basket for clean clothes? No matter if we are young or old, turning chores into a game makes our competitive edge come out, and let’s admit it, it just makes these tasks more FUN! Set a timer and see how fast you can put your laundry away and then try to beat your time each week or tell your kids that the first one to put laundry away gets to pick the game for family game night or a dessert after dinner.
A Home for Every Piece of Clothing
If we are asking family members to put clothing away after folding, there needs to be an identified space for it to go to. Simply put, every item of clothing should have an assigned home. Clutter is a result of postponed decisions and if we don’t know where something goes, it tends to not go anywhere and pile up on dressers or floors. For children, picture or word labels work wonders for getting children to return items to the proper home. You can label the insides of drawers and use labeled dividers for hanging clothes. Always consider age, height, and your child’s ability to manipulate a hanger, when you determine the placement of your children’s clothes (dresser versus closet and upper versus lower rods).
We can create more efficient systems in our home by asking ourselves what is working, what isn’t working, and how can I improve upon this system. The laundry system is definitely one that can always use tweaking by asking ourselves these questions, implementing the above tips, and getting the whole family, including children, involved in the process. While I can’t come over to do your laundry each week, I can help you with setting up functional closets/dressers for every member of your family. Reach out to me here for more information on this service!