It’s Laundry Time. Again.
While rock-hard abs don’t seem to be a payoff for climbing Laundry Mountain, here’s a few tips to at least keep the washing a little easier.
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Hack # 1: Purge & Simplify
Yes, you probably knew I was going to start here. But seriously, if you haven’t gone through clothes in a few months, chances are your children have grown three inches and it’s not snowing anymore. Hide the winter clothes in boxes so you don’t end up washing snow pants in July.
Tackle the closet when you have a full basket of dirty clothes. What is still hanging you clearly don’t reach for. One dirty laundry basket is enough. Donate what isn’t worn at least monthly. One or two special occasion outfits are fine. Don’t think too hard about this, you’re trying to make your life easier, remember?
Teach your children that if it’s on the ground, it’s probably not worth keeping. Everything should be in the basket, in the wash, or put away. If they choose to own it, they should take care of it. If they’re not willing to, then donate it. This helps with toy overload, too. Minimalism baby steps.
Done? Sweet! Your job just got easier.
Hack #2: One Basket Per Person
One basket each. That’s it. I get a basket. My big kids each get a basket and my husband gets a basket. There’s an extra basket for towels/wet bathroom stuff. My three year old puts her dirty clothes with ours.
Once the basket is full, the perpetrator takes the clothes down to the washer, washes them, dries them, puts them back into their basket and puts them away. One basket: many jobs. Yes, you are handing the laundry over to your children.
Note: This will require coaching. It will involve many reminders. Especially between Phase Drying and Phase Putting Away. That’s where the trouble happens: keep a hawk’s eye on that transition to ensure dirty clothes don’t pile up on the cleans before they are put away.
But once it’s a routine? Your child is now in charge of their own laundry. We started this around age eight and it’s been pretty successful. My twelve year old can do it with only a couple of reminders. I believe my son is now more mindful of putting clean clothes back in with the dirty clothes because ultimately, it’s his time he’s wasting now.
Hack #3: Keep it Simple
I’ll admit, I’m a domestic slacker. I use one type of soap. I don’t use fabric softener. Or bleach. Or dryer sheets or even dryer balls. I only own an iron because I sew. And the laundry is just fine. Really.
I wash everything together. As long as towels aren’t super gross, they get washed with our regular clothes on cold. If they are super gross, they generally get thrown right in the washer for a hot wash.
Otherwise, it all gets done together. No clothing color division around here, no ma’am. In fact, much of my laundr-ease probably stems from the fact that I avoid white clothing in general. It stains, discolors, and it requires bleach at times. Same goes for fancy fabrics. We own nothing that needs to be dry-cleaned, ironed, or treated like a breakable. What homeschool mom has time for that special laundry treatment?
Hack #4: Make it Fun!
Busy moms are always looking for independent activities for kids so they can do something important: like go to the bathroom alone. Enter: Laundry Mountain! It’s not always a bore, see. Start with a nicely made bed, add a big, warm heap of laundry and tell your young’ns they need to fold the clothes. Toddlers are the best at folding washcloths.
You will likely hear peals of laughter, soft swooshing sounds, and shrieks of delight. You also just bought yourself ten minutes, minimum.
Laundry throwing shenanigans are a key piece of childhood. They usually only result in a handful of clothes on the ground. And wasn’t that worth the free time you had to yourself?
Just watch for flying buttons, those things do hurt.