I am not a fan of laundry. I’ve always thought it was because it was never done. As soon as you wash the last load, someone has something dirty again. But I recently realized not only do I hate that it is never complete, I hate that there is always laundry all over the house…clean baskets of things to fold, piles of laundry to put away, or baskets of folded clothes waiting to be taken up to the kids room, or the WORST, clean folded laundry unfolded by kids looking through it for their favorite jeans. And then there was the laundry room where people would just throw in any laundry sitting around the main floor…socks, sweatshirts, towels…anything someone had left laying around when they had to clean a room. So, the laundry room was always a mess.
For the past couple years, I have been making my 11 and 10 year old sons do their own laundry. This happened as a punishment for me doing their laundry and asking them to put it away and me later finding clean folded clothes back in the dirty clothes, in a basket under the bathroom sink, or just sitting in their room for weeks. So, I told them I was not doing their laundry anymore and they would have to do it. My older son does ok with it, though usually he is doing laundry at the worst possible times when he realizes Sunday night has has nothing to wear to school the next day. Or they will start their laundry and then leave it in the washer until I advance it so that I can use the washer for my own laundry. My 10 year old will just wear EVERYTHING he owns until he has about 6 loads of laundry to do. Then, he will start wearing all dirty clothes. In other words, he will never do his laundry. I had had enough of this system! I was sick of not having the washer available and sick of my kids wearing wrinkled and/or dirty clothes.
I have FINALLY come up with and awesome laundry system that is totally working for us! Granted, there are still clothes all over the kids rooms, but since I don’t have to live in their rooms it isn’t bothering me too much. Here is what I did:
I got these three laundry hampers at Wal-Mart. I made tags for them with pictures so even my youngest can tell them apart. One is for lights, one for darks, and one for dry towels. I only have boys so we don’t have all the pinks/purples/yellows that those with girls have. If you have girls you may need another bin for coloreds. I then bought these 4 square baskets and put a name tag on each one. I made the name tags and then laminated them with Contact paper because I am too lazy to drive to the laminating place.
I told the kids I will now do their laundry but they have to bring it to the laundry room and sort it into the bins. They are also responsible for putting it away. I told them I will do the laundry on my own time so if they have something they want washed immediately that is their responsibility. I also told them that if their basket gets too full for me to put more clothes into or if their basket is missing, they will have to do their own laundry again.
It is working beautifully! I do about two loads a day. I still have to remind the younger ones to bring their clothes down. But they do it and they do a pretty good job of sorting. I hang up their shirts straight from the dryer and they go on this rack. I then stand there and fold the clothes and they go straight into the boys baskets. Takes about 5 minutes to fold a load. We help the two little boys put their hanging things away and in their baskets I try to sort the clothes so they have a stack of jammies separate from their pants and socks and underwear separate, too. The big boys I don’t worry so much about sorting since they are big enough to put their clothes away.
The laundry room has stayed clean! I have somewhere specific to throw the clothes I find around the house. The kids are wearing clean, unwrinkled clothes. Life is good and I feel like I might even be enjoying doing their laundry as an act of love and service to them!
I am selling downloads of the tags for the bins as well as blank name tags. There are 5 tags, including the three I used plus one for whites and one for brights. There are three different colors of blank tags, grey, orange, and light blue. You can write their names in with a marker or use a photo editing program to add them. Picmonkey.com is a super easy free one online.
How do you deal with laundry? If you implement this laundry system I’d love to hear about it!