Does laundry day strike fear in your heart? Here are 10 simple ways to help make laundry day stress-free for both you and your kids!
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1. Have a laundry basket and zippered lingerie bag for each child.
Just use clothes pins to hang the lingerie bag on the outside of the laundry basket and have the kids put all their socks in their bag. No more sorting whose is whose. They are all together in their own bags.
2. DIY laundry basket that matches the room decor.
Martha Stewart’s fabulous idea for a laundry basket made from a pillowcase and large embroidery hoop. It can hang on the closet door handle or doorknob on the back of their bedroom door, off the floor and discreetly hidden.
3. Have dresser drawers labeled so even non-readers can help put their clothes away.
Preschoolers love to be helpers. Make it as easy as possible for them to be big kids and help put their clothes away. There are so many resources to find free printable labels out there! Search Pinterest for more, but here are two I really like.
These black and white labels have big pictures to help non-readers know where to put their clothes, from a blog done by two dads.
This set of labels has such sweet graphics, and I also like the idea of putting labels INSIDE the drawers like she does, as well.
4. Add a lower rod so smaller children can hang up their own clothes.
Use a piece of PVC pipe or a thick cardboard tube and some rope.
Keep current season’s clothes on lower rod and out of season clothes on upper rod.
5. Invest in a clothes cubby.
These saved us from frustrated meltdowns all through preschool and elementary school. Each Sunday, my kids and I would put together an entire outfit (shirt, pants, undies, and socks) for each school day and sort them into the cubbies. The kids got to help choose the outfits, so there was minimal fuss in the morning over deciding what to wear, since THEY had already put the outfit together. The ones above are from Ikea (I took this photo recently while shopping there), but we had ones that had the days of the week already printed on them, like this:
6. Storing “hand-me-ups.”
If you have more than 1 child or are lucky enough to get “hand me ups” that are still a bit big for your child, invest in some clear storage containers, and sort the clothes by size. If you have a lot of clothes, it really makes it easier to sort them by season, too. All 3T summer clothes in one bin and all 3T winter clothes in another, for example. Then as your child grows, you can simply remove all the too-small items and replace them with the next size.
7. The dot system. A brilliant way to sort clothes from oldest to youngest.
I wish I had known this smart tip when my kids were small! This is something you can start at any time, though. For your oldest child, use a Sharpie and put 1 dot on the labels of all their clothes. For the next child, put 2 dots on all of their clothes, for the third child put 3 dots, etc. Then, when the oldest outgrows an item, add a second dot to the label. Now it has 2 dots and you (and your kids) know it now belongs to the 2nd child, and so on as each child outgrows the size they are currently wearing. How cool is that? (It also makes it much easier to see which items can then be donated when everyone has outgrown them.)
8. For older kids, upper elementary and beyond, teach them how to do their own laundry.
I showed all 3 of my kids how to run the washer and dryer, how to clean the lint trap, how to wipe out the washer, and how to properly (well okay, satisfactorily) fold and hang up clothes. Now, I must admit, I am a perfectionist and I really do like doing laundry. Yeah, I know, I’m weird… I like to iron, too…but, I realized I was doing my kids a dis-service by not teaching them how to do laundry themselves. It’s a life lesson you want to teach them before they get to college and turn everything they own pink 🙂 And with a household of 5 people I was doing 5 loads of laundry twice a week (5 on Wednesday and 5 on Saturday), which took a LONG time.
Once I taught them, I found it freed up A LOT of time in my schedule. My kids were 15, 13, and 10 when I taught them, but I really think I should have started with my girls a little earlier. But you know your own kids’ personalities best, so do what works for you (and them). My older girls got it right away.
9. Make a detailed how-to list for your ADHD kid.
My son, however, has ADHD, and he works best with detailed lists of steps, so I created a list that hangs in my laundry room so he can follow each step. The photo below shows my sign hanging right next to the dryer. It is from an earlier post : 7 ways to make your laundry room better!.
Here is a close up of my sign to give you an idea, if you want to create your own.
10. For older kids and teens, invest in a sort-able laundry hamper.
This helps them sort laundry as they take items off, and saves time for them on laundry day. And, best of all, it gives them a specific place to aim instead of anywhere on the bedroom floor…
This is my daughter’s hamper:
But this one is really cute, too:
And to give you more help, here are 7 ways to make your laundry room better!
So, I hope these ideas help you and your kids have a better laundry experience. I’d love to hear any tips you have to make doing your family’s laundry easier.
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