Feel like your family laundry is a daunting, never-ending task? It doesn’t have to be! Here are my best tips to simplify family laundry. :)
How to Simplify Family Laundry
Laundry is an inevitable chore. But it doesn’t have to be one that overwhelms you. Allow me to share my 25+ years of homemaking, 23+ years of parenting, and 7 sons’ worth of experience to help you simplify!
1. Do not do it by yourself.
I cannot emphasize this enough. I know too many mamas who are constantly overwhelmed by laundry, but they don’t get their family members involved with helping! I learned long ago that it is important to get my sons involved in every single job that they are capable of doing, from laundry to cooking to cleaning. (And not to worry, my sons are led by my husband’s great example as he also pitches in every way that he can.)
The only people in the household who should get out of laundry duty are babies. And toddlers. Toddlers try to be helpful but they think that their job is to take clothes out of drawers and washing machines faster than you put them in. I should know. I have Toddlers x 2. They are doubly helpful:
They are so sweet though, and they are so proud of how well they ruin my laundry efforts.
But beyond babies and toddlers:
- As soon as a kid is old enough/able to drag a basket of dirty laundry over to a washing machine, that should become their job.
- As soon as a kid is old enough/able to put laundry into a washing machine, that should become their job.
- As soon as a kid is old enough/able to switch laundry from a washer to a dryer, that should become their job.
- As soon as a kid is old enough/able to fold and put away laundry, that should become their job. Start with washrags and towels, graduate to clothing items when they are ready.
And in my experience, somewhere around 3rd or 4th grade, a child is capable of being completely in charge of their own laundry. From start to finish. Their laundry basket is full? They wash their clothes. They dry their clothes. They put their clothes away. Your job here is done. :)
Teaching my older boys to do all of their laundry by themselves has been incredibly helpful! For years, I only needed to wash my laundry and Matt’s. Then God moved in our little boys and now I’m back to washing laundry for 5 people again! Not to worry – I’ve learned another great tip that helps me get through these loads more efficiently. So let’s move on to Tip #2.
2. Start folding the biggest items first
This may seem silly, but this tip helps me get through my laundry piles more easily every time!
Laundry piles for several people can look pretty big…because they are. :)
The pile you see here is just the result of washing/drying one load. Because we have 3 little ones, there are many tiny items of clothing within the load to fold and put away. Seeing it all together in a pile can make me feel like I have a big job ahead of me, especially if there are two or three loads that have piled up.
But I’ve found that if I start by pulling out and folding towels and baby blankets first, the pile very suddenly looks much smaller and less daunting.
The large items are easy to fold and make me feel like I’ve quickly completed half the pile! Once those are done, I move on to the little shirts and pants, which I pretty much just fold in half and stack. Easy peasy, laundry squeezy. Well, as long as my toddler helpers leave my pretty piles alone. :)
Review: Get your family involved. Fold big items first.
I will now reward your laundry efforts with two bonus tips!
Bonus Tip #1: I never fold underwear. Life is too short and wrinkled undies never hurt anyone.
I throw mine directly into my drawer, close it, and walk away without a second thought. I hand Brayden (age 6) his wad of his unfolded undies to put into his drawer and he stuffs them right in. And let’s be real – even if I would have folded them, they would have come unfolded by the time he made it to his dresser. You know I’m right.
Bonus Tip #2: I never sort laundry. And we are still clean and living to tell about it.
My apologies to everyone who is cringing over this admission. Some people are diligent laundry sorters. And some of us wash everything together in cold and don’t think twice.
The only time I care is if I have a nice white shirt that I don’t want to ruin. Otherwise, everything pretty much goes in at the same time. I kind of forgot sorting laundry was a thing.
The future wives of my sons may shake their heads at me for failing to teach their husbands to sort. But hey, I taught them to cook and clean toilets and so much more. They can take it from here. :)
And that’s how I simplify family laundry.
What are your best tips?