We used to have a “laundry couch.” It was the love seat in our living room that was the catch-all place for clean and folded laundry that somehow didn’t make it to the closets. To be honest, it was embarrassing.
Each morning the kids would dig through the pile of clean stuff to find something clean to wear. I thought my refusal to put away the clothes for them would eventually teach them to put away their stuff. Instead, I felt like I was in a vicious cycle of never-ending laundry.
ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH! I implemented 5 simple rules that made a huge difference. And yes, in case you’re wondering, the couch is now clothes-free and can actually be used for its intended purpose.
These tips keep laundry from overwhelming me!
#1 – Do Less Laundry!
I know…it’s easier said than done, but you really can do less laundry. The first thing to do is to stop having everyone use the dirty cloth hamper as a catchup pile for clothes that are laying around. Before something is dropped in there, ask yourself:
- Is it really dirty?
- Can you air it out and wear it again?
- Teach the rest of the family to do the same.
- We also find that we’re less tempted to dump a bunch of stuff in the laundry when there’s less to wear to begin with. Consider going through all closets and dressers and cut down on the clothing your family owns. It sounds counterintuitive, but you’ll actually end up doing less laundry overall. Do this at least twice a year.
#2 – Divide And Conquer!
While you’re teaching your family to add less to the dirty laundry pile, put them to work. Getting everyone involved in doing laundry not only helps them think twice about if that pair of jeans really needs washing, it will also make your life easier and more importantly your kids will start to learn a crucial life skill.
- Each person is responsible for bringing their dirty clothes to the cloth hamper. Even a toddler can do this. Depending on age, have them decide what needs washing and what needs to be hung back up.
- Teach them to empty pockets, zip zippers and the likes and sort the laundry according to color. That way you can just grab each load and toss it in the washer. Look for stickers on clothes, too.
- Get everyone into the habit of putting away their clean clothes once they are done. This simple tip will help!
#3 – Follow Through Start To Finish
One of the reasons I ended up with a perpetual laundry couch was that I would wait too long and then do 5 or 6 loads of laundry in a row. No wonder none of it got put away.
What’s been working for us is to only do as much as we can get done from start to finish in a day. I start one or two loads and make sure every single thing gets washed, dried and put away before starting more. “A load a day keeps the laundry at bay”
#4 – Make It Fun
Yes, doing laundry is a chore, but there’s no reason you have to be miserable doing it. Turn on some music, listen to an audio book or turn on the TV while you’re folding and putting away clothes.
Don’t forget to get plenty of help from the family. With the kids it sometimes helps to turn it into a game or race. Get the little ones matching socks or folding towels. Every bit of help counts and you are teaching them.
#5 – From the Dryer Straight to The Hanger
One of my least favorite parts about the whole laundry thing is ironing. I detest it with a passion, which is why I’ve found a great way around it for most of our clothes.
~ Hang all tops, t-shirts possibly even pants and skirts.
~ Get them warm, right out of the dryer and hang the up right away. No need to iron and it saves a bunch of time.
~ I keep a cloth rack in the laundry room to hang stuff. As I hang them up, I sort them by family member and again each person is responsible for grabbing their clothes and taking them to their closet.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful and give them a try. Not everything may work for your family, but I’m sure you can implement at least 2 or 3 of them.
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Tracy Roberts is the Co-founder of www.HomemakersHutch.com – a digital magazine jam packed with the best homemaking advice, tools, recipes and resources. She’s a homeschooling mom of 4 who strives to find a balance between keeping a home, raising her kids, running her online business and having some fun along the way. Find her on Facebook, too!