Do you feel like your laundry is out of control? Babies and toddlers go through so many clothes, and as you have more children, the dirty laundry seems to multiply exponentially. You might feel accomplished when you finally get a load of laundry washed and dried, but then you still have to sort it, fold it, and put it away. By the time you’re done, it’s all piled up again. But you don’t have to feel so overwhelmed! With these laundry tips and tricks, you will be able to save time and hopefully feel more in control of your laundry.
Implement a laundry routine.
For a long time, I had no routine when it came to laundry. We would wash clothes when someone ran out of underwear, when a hamper was overflowing, or when we thought of it. Recently, I implemented a laundry routine, and I can now say with confidence that I feel like I have a handle on laundry for our family of six!
Here is my routine: Each person has a day assigned to them, leaving one day “off.” In the morning, I put that person’s laundry in. Before I go to bed, I will have folded the load I started in the morning. The next morning, I put that load away and then start the next one. I recently learned I am supposed to be washing towels separately from the other laundry, so I might have to assign our extra day to towels or do two loads on a lighter day.
I do not always follow this routine to the letter, but it has helped me to have an order of operations and stay on task so that I do not feel completely overwhelmed by the laundry. Doing the smaller loads more frequently has helped the folding and putting away seem like less of a monumental task. Plus, we are no longer throwing in emergency loads of laundry or digging in the dryer at bedtime for pajamas when we find a drawer is empty. I also think, in time, it will help us to become more minimalist with our clothes. We don’t need so many clothes if our laundry is clean most of the time!
It doesn’t matter what your routine looks like. Just make sure it’s reasonable and something you will feel comfortable sticking to. It would also probably be wise to build in a little bit of flexibility in case you get behind.
Invest in kids’ laundry hampers.
You can save time by separating laundry by person. If you have a catch-all load or are dumping everything into one central laundry chute, doesn’t it take extra time and energy to separate everything by person and bring the folded laundry to the appropriate rooms? When everything that you’ve washed belongs to the same person, you just have to sort by type of clothes and go to one room to put everything away.
We put a kids’ laundry hamper in each of their bedrooms so it’s easy to wash an individual person’s clothes. If your kids are older and you want to have them do or help with their own laundry, it will be easier to have them use their own hamper rather than sorting through a large pile to find their own clothes.
Here are some kids’ laundry hampers you can get on Amazon:
- Shark kids hamper: Toss the clothes right into the shark’s mouth!
- Basketball kids hamper: Hang this over the back of the door and shoot your clothes in like a basketball
- Pop-up hamper: This highly-rated hamper is lightweight, easy to transport, and great for small spaces.
Go monotone when it comes to socks.
What is it with socks? How do they always manage to get separated? I once shared a picture on Facebook where I was sitting in my living room, surrounded by mismatched socks, trying to sort them out. A friend responded with one of her best laundry tips: buy only white socks that all match one another. This means she no longer has to worry about matching different colors or patterns together when she does laundry. I got my son a bunch of white socks, and it’s been really nice to just be able to pair two of those socks together instead of having to chase down an exact match.
Use mesh bags in the laundry.
Another way to keep your socks from getting separated is to wash them in mesh bags such as these. Get your kids and yourself into the habit of putting dirty socks directly in a mesh bag in their hampers rather than tossing them in with the rest of the clothes. Mesh bags can also be used for washing delicates, or for keeping different types of laundry separate in the wash so that sorting goes easier.
I recently asked in my mom group, Maternal Reality, if people could teach me how to fold a shirt because I am a terrible folder! Nothing is ever lined up and it gets all wrinkly. I don’t know if I don’t have the patience or the spatial reasoning skills or both. Anyway, lots of moms said they don’t even bother trying to fold their kids clothes! Whatever belongs in drawers instead of on hangers just gets sorted and tossed in. The kids will end up rummaging around and messing things up anyway. So, you have my permission – skip the folding. But if you want to fold neatly anyway and save time, try this nifty folding apparatus.
Steam instead of ironing.
Don’t have time to iron your wrinkly clothes? Not to worry. A handheld steamer is quicker. The HiLife steamer is small, quick to heat up, and effective at smoothing out your wrinkly clothes that have been sitting in your dryer, basket, or drawer too long. Check out all the five-star reviews on Amazon, including this one that mentions it can — bonus! — get sticky fingerprints off the wall.
If you don’t want to get a steamer, you can always use the age-old trick of throwing the wrinkly clothes back into the dryer with a damp towel.
Cut down drying time.
Does your dryer take too long to get your clothes dry? Maybe you want to get the load quickly through so that you can fold it before bed. If you want to cut down on time in the dryer, try wool dryer balls. These reusable balls cut down drying time to save you time. They’re also environmentally friendly, will save you money on electricity, soften clothes, and are a natural alternative to dryer sheets (which, by the way, you’ll no longer have to buy!). These Smart Sheep wool dryer balls come highly recommended on Amazon.
Have your kids help.
Another of my best laundry tips is not to get caught in the trap of thinking the adults in the house are solely responsible for doing the laundry. Little kids can fold towels, sort clothes, and match socks. Bigger kids can put their laundry away. According to the Spruce, by ten or eleven years old, responsible kids are fully capable of taking care of all their laundry from start to finish.
Wear things more than once.
Do you rewear any of your clothes? Maybe bras get a few uses but everything else goes into the wash? If you are in the habit of washing everything after the first wear, rethinking this procedure can slow down your laundry accumulation. This article from the American Cleaning Institute outlines how often you can wear each type of clothing before washing. For example, you and your kids can rewear pajamas three or four times before washing and jeans three times.
Have pajama days.
There are days when my kids do not change out of their pajamas. My littlest two often don’t have anywhere to be, other than in the car for school pickups and dropoffs, so there’s no harm in keeping them in their pajamas. On weekends, my kids will sometimes spend a whole day in their pajamas if we don’t have plans outside the house. And why not? They’re comfortable, and it saves us from having to wash another outfit.
Figure out the best time and place to fold for you.
If the folding part of laundry is the real thorn in your side, the last of my laundry tips is to find the best time and place that works for you. You might like to leave it for after bedtime while you are vegging in front of the television. On the other hand, if you are too tired by the end of the day and folding laundry sounds terrible, you may put it off. In that case, you might tackle it first thing in the morning or, if you are home, maybe during naptime or quiet time for your kids.
Folding while your little ones are awake does not have to result in the dreaded laundry unfolding-and-redistribution that might happen if they try to “help.” Perhaps folding on a high surface like a table or counter would allow you to get the folding done while watching them play.
I hope some of these tips and tricks help you feel more in control of your laundry! What other advice do you have for fellow moms?
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