Okay, so I have to confess that I actually like doing my family’s laundry. I know what you are thinking: she IS crazy – I knew it!
It’s true – I do like doing our laundry. But that wasn’t always the case. It used to be such a chaotic mess and so overwhelming that I would avoid doing it. But as we all know, you cannot just ignore the laundry. If you do, it will eventually take over the house.
So here is my system:
We built a shelf over the washer and dryer so that I’d have a place to fold the laundry right in the same room where it is being done. I do not like having clean, unfolded laundry all over the house! I have five bins sitting on top of that shelf. Each bin represents a bedroom in our house. I don’t have enough shelf space for every person to have their own bin! I wish I did, but I don’t. So that is why they share according to who is in the same bedroom. Those with their own bedroom get their own bin.
When a load of laundry is finished drying I pull out the clothes, set them on the shelf, and I fold each piece and put it into the bin that it belongs. Or sometimes I just pull piece by piece out of the dryer, fold it, put it into the bin. But that’s a lot of bending, and if I’m at the end of the day and getting tired, then I just pull the entire load out and set it onto the shelf. It’s harder that way, however, because the shelf isn’t all that big and if I have a big load it won’t always give me enough room to fold — but it does save my back!
The bins are shoved way to the back against the wall so that I will still have room to fold.
Where do I fold and sort? The laundry room is where I fold and sort, right there on the shelf above the washer and dryer!
How many loads do I do in a day? On average I do about 4 or 5 loads of laundry each day. This includes bath towels, dish towels, bed sheets, blankets, kids sporting uniforms, swimsuits, swim towels, cleaning rags, car towels (that we use to wash the cars with), my clothes, my husband clothes, and all of the kids’ clothes. If I skip a day (or two!) then I will be doing laundry pretty much nonstop for one entire day just to get caught up.
The bins eventually get full and need to be emptied. And I will admit that putting away the laundry into everyone’s drawers is my least favorite thing to do. Seriously, I’d rather clean out the toilets with a toothbrush. It just takes so much time because my kids’ drawers are always such a mess. I can’t put away clean clothes into a messy drawer! I just….can’t. So I always end up taking everything out of the drawer, folding it, and putting it all back again neatly.
out of my busy, busy day.
My solution? I just don’t put the laundry away. I put my blinders on, assign my kids to the task of putting away the laundry, and that’s that. Oh, it was so very hard to give up that control, let me tell you! But ever since I did, well, the laundry isn’t such a chore anymore. So the kids have messy drawers!! Really, is that so awful? Not if you don’t see it. I’m telling you, it works! Just stay away!
The two kids who have their own bins usually just grab their clothing out of it when they see some in there. Simple enough. But since some of the bins hold the clothing for two or more people who live in a shared bedroom, sometimes when I ask a child to take the clothes out of the bin and bring them to the bedroom, I will get the occasional complaint that goes something like this: But why do I have to put away her/his clothes!!! It’s not fair!!
- Ohhhh, they just hate doing “nice” things for each other. What is the deal with that? Are all siblings like that, or am I doing something wrong?
I got tired of the complaining. So the rule that I’ve put into play around here is that no matter WHO you are or WHERE your bedroom is, if I ask YOU to help ME with the laundry, you will take laundry UP to the bedroom to where it belongs and will put the clothes onto the bed of the person that they belong to. Each child is responsible for putting away his or her own clothes into their drawers when they find a pile of clean clothes on their bed.
- I do not have one child assigned to the bringing-up-the-laundry chore. It is whoever is free at the time, or even whoever is walking by at the time. Or sometimes I will just pull two or three kids out of the crowd and give them each a stack of clothes to put into bedrooms.
Another rule is that no bin is ever allowed to leave the laundry room! That is a BIG no-no. Children must grab the laundry OUT of the bin and leave the bin on the shelf. The reason for this? Well, it’s very aggravating to me when I am folding laundry and I notice that a bin is missing. It just throws a wrench into my whole system! Then I have to stop, yell for the children to whom the bin belongs: BRING ME YOUR BIN! and then if they are not home or cannot hear me, then I have to stop what I’m doing to go search for their bin. So I made the rule that the bin is not to leave the laundry room. That took care of that.
I think that the only glitch to my system is that kids tend to go “digging” in the bin for a favorite shirt or an item of clothing that they want to wear, take out what they are looking for, and then will just leave the rest behind. This makes me mad for two reasons: 1) they always make a mess of the neatly folded clothing, and 2) it’s just such a lazy thing to do! PUT THE CLOTHES AWAY if you see that the bin has clothes in it! Sheesh! This, to me, is the same thing as taking a clean cup out of the dishwasher. You know the dishwasher needs to be emptied if there are clean dishes inside it – so help out and do it! It only takes about 3 minutes!
Other than that, this system is what has been working well for us. It allows me to wash, dry, fold and sort all in the same room which helps to keep the rest of my house looking somewhat neat and orderly, and it keeps our laundry organized.
Laundry: it can be your friend or it can be your enemy. The secret to enjoying this household chore is to find a system that works for you… and be consistent with it!