Oh laundry how I hate you! Let me tell you a bit what laundry was like in my household. Six people, 7 days in the week. That’s 12 feet. Do you know what 12×7 is? Thats 84 socks. EIGHTY FOUR SOCKS!!! I used to just do laundry as I got around to it. That meant no sorting, just throw as many clothes into the washing machine as will fit, throw in the soap and let er rip. A lot of life happens between starting a load of laundry and it getting finished in the dryer. I’m not going to lie, I used to just throw it all in a laundry basket in the laundry room and it would pile up, then over… then all over the floor and I would have to dig through a HUGE pile of laundry to get to the matching sock before I would get frustrated. About two weeks later I would then have to spend an entire day sorting and folding the laundry.
I looked all over the Internet for ways to make my laundry life easier. Homemade laundry soap. Do you know I actually spent as much on the stuff to make this as I do buying a big 188 load box of Arm & Hammer laundry soap? Then you add in the time of shredding the felz naptha or Ivory soap. No thanks, that doesn’t help me. It might you, but it’s not what I was looking for. I found a lot of neat little things to make on Pinterest for sorting and stuff, but my laundry room just isn’t big enough. I decided I needed to quit searching for things to do and find out where the problem began, and start from there.
Our biggest saving grace has also been one of the biggest pains in the house. We added a second cat. We already had Paula. Sweet, sweet fat Paula, who would only attack my legs as I walked by. She was lazy and she was perfect. Then one of my friends posted that they needed a home for their kitten. She was beautiful and already house broken. I wanted a cat who loved me and didn’t attack my feet. We now had a Susan. She was those things, but she was also a serial laundry basket urinator. I had to rewash so many clothes because she decided she liked to pee on clean clothes. So i started folding clothes as soon as they came out of the dryer… sometimes. Other times they sat in a laundry basket ON TOP of the dryer. Do you know how hard it is to get to the controls when an overflowing laundry basket is in front of them?
My husband had gotten so frustrated with this process that long ago, he started doing his own laundry. This helped a little, but not in the huge scheme of things. I realized, duh, I have four kids. Expecting them to do their own laundry isn’t asking much really. I went out and bought 4 laundry baskets. The reason this took me so long to do, is I’ve tried this before. With laundry bags. My method for this was different. I had a hook in the laundry room for each bag. As I was sorting laundry, I would sort it into the correct bag. Then divvy them up to the correct kid. The clothes stayed in the bags and got wrinkled. I can’t let my kids go to school looking like I grabbed clothes out of the bottom of a huge pile of crap. So that practice stopped and I went back to just doing it all myself.
So armed with these new laundry baskets and older and wiser kids, I put them in their rooms. Now the challenge of getting their laundry INTO the baskets. That part really hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Each person is supposed to have their own day of the week to do laundry. That hasn’t happened yet. Just yesterday I had the 9 and 5 year old both doing their laundry. Unsurprisingly Dax was the most eager to learn. He may be the biggest pain in the world, but he loves to help. This is a blessing and a curse let me tell you. But after just one lesson he has it down. He has to drag the big tin container he uses to climb up to everything into the laundry room and climb up and down to get all his laundry loaded and it takes forever, but he does it himself. He’s even the one who taught Ashton how to do it on his own. I still fold the younger two’s laundry. But the other two? Thirteen and fourteen, come on, they can do it.
Do you want to know the best part. When you do laundry once a week for each kid, and each load is washed seprately, you only have to match up 14 socks. That’s a lot less than 84 and you don’t have to sit there and go, geeze, these two look a little alike… are they a pair? I had a walmart sack full of lonely socks. I got all the laundry caught up last week and threw away anything that didn’t have a pair. It was liberating. You grab two socks and fold. Heaven. I keep a laundry basket in the laundry room for towels and that’s on me, unless Dax wants to do it then more power to him!
This little change has made me not hate laundry so much. It didn’t free up a whole lot of time, but it did free up stress. The hardest part is to come though when I have to make sure that it is followed through on. They say it takes 21 days to make something a habit. So I am here to make sure that my family is in the habit of putting clothes in the laundry basket. Washing, drying and folding.
This will even work if you don’t have older kids. I wish I had shown mine how to do laundry at a younger age, but I was a single mom with just mine and my daughter’s laundry to do, no big deal. Then I got married and gained two step sons, who at the time weren’t with us full time and I didn’t think it was fair for only Anastasia to have to do it. But now that they live with us full time, all bets are off. 🙂 (Chores are next.) If you’re a bit of a control freak like me, you have to bite your tongue and just let them do it, or you’ll be doing it forever and making yourself a martyr while grumbling that no one in the house does anything to help you. Teach them to fold young if you want to, or you can have them help out by folding socks and underwear while you fold other things until their folding skills improve. But you can’t expect kids to just help you because they want to. You have to teach them.
Do you guys have any tips on how to make laundry time easier? Do you sort? I mean, laundry soap these days is designed to make sure that colors don’t run, so why bother? 🙂