Ahh, laundry…a necessary part of life, but something that can easily overwhelm me if I’m not careful. You, too? Okay, I’m glad to know we’re in this together! Today, I’m sharing Our Family’s Laundry Routine which includes my favorite tips and tricks that have been the ticket to keeping this chore manageable here in our home. I’m going to give you a peek at our regular laundry routine: a quick step-by-step look at how we do things around here!
Now before you go thinking we have this all figured out, please understand that as I’m typing this post, there is a gigantic pile of unfolded sheets thrown over the back of my couch…there are discarded toddler pjs strewn across the kitchen floor…and I may or may not see a diaper hanging out over there…a diaper that need to be thrown away if you know what I’m sayin’…sooooooo, with that being said, know that everyone has messes and chaos – especially if you have little ones inhabiting your home, and that is perfectly normal.
You hear that? YOU.ARE.NORMAL. I wish someone would tell ME that everyone once in awhile. 😉
Okay, moving on – let’s get started with some tips that I think might encourage you if you’re like me and always trying to keep your family’s laundry under control:
#1 – Simplify the closet(s)! Sometimes I think one of the reasons laundry overwhelms us is because our closets get out of control! By reducing the number of clothing pieces your family owns and organizing what you decide to keep, you can cut down on some of the laundry room stress – especially when it comes to kid’s clothes.
Quick Tip: I have found that there is one simple question that has helped me simplify not only my closet – but my kids’ as well: If you’re interested in reading those thoughts, I’ve shared about that here.
2. Share the Load! Okay, get ready…you’re probably going to strip me of my “Wife of the Year” award, but I have to be honest with you…my hubby does his own laundry. Sure, there are times when I’m able to throw in a load or two for him (and I don’t mind doing so), but for the most part, he tackles his own clothes.
Quick Tip: Not sure your hubby would be willing to do his own laundry? Ask him – not in an ugly way – but with a sincere explanation that you would really appreciate his help~ His answer might just surprise you!
Disclaimer: You may have already settled in to a nice routine that works for your family, and if so, definitely stick with that – but if this is an area where you would like to see a little more teamwork, I would encourage you to have an open and honest conversation with your man. I know there have been times when I have found myself complaining about the “laundry list” [no pun intended] of things I need to get done when if I had simply asked my hubby for help, he would have helped me!
In addition to my hubby doing his own laundry, I start early training my kiddos to do their own as well! In those early preschool years, I begin teaching them how to put their laundry away: shirts in the shirt drawer, pants in the pants drawer, etc. At that age, they are excited about learning to help, and it is a great way to start building a foundation for working together to tackle chores together as a family. (The next section is going to include a little bit about how we build on this as our kids get older.)
3. Assign baskets! In our house, hubby and I each have our own laundry baskets that are kept in our master bathroom. The girls share a big pink laundry basket [from Home Goods] that’s kept in their bedroom, and the boys each of their own blue and white striped laundry basket [from Target] in their individual bedrooms.
When it’s time to do the laundry, the kids carry their baskets to the laundry room. (The boys take turns helping the girls with theirs!)
At this point with the boys, they have learned how to prep the washer for their load, toss in the clothes, and get things going!
When the washer finishes doing it’s thing, the boys are in charge of switching their load over to the dryer….
…and getting that going as well.
I still hang close by – overseeing and helping as needed – and if there are any specialty items like maybe a sweater they wore to their piano recital…or snowbibs…or something like that, I take care of those things for them.
When the dryer is finished, the boys grab a clean laundry basket from the laundry room and put their dry laundry in it!
Next up, it’s folding time! Yes, they help with that, too, and I love sharing the super simple technique we used to teach them how to fold!
Introducing The Official Hot Dog and Hamburger Method of Folding:
Here’s Isaac folding a pair of jeans. First, he folds them long ways…
like a hot dog….
and then folds them top-to-bottom – hamburger style.
See what I mean?
Here’s Caleb using the same method to fold his shorts.
See? Long ways like a hot dog in a hot dog bun…
Now for the hamburger bun!
Yes, you can do this with shirts, too! Get ready for the hot dog…
Now for the hamburger…
I’m starting to feel hungry.
For a few years now, the boys have been doing the Hot Dog/Hamburger Method, and as much as they enjoyed modeling for these photos for you, they also wanted you to know that they now have some of their own ideas about how things should be folded, and that’s fine with me – my only request is that their clothes not be wadded up and shoved in their drawers. ha!
Now it’s time to put the laundry away. This is where that training during the preschool years has really paid off – they know exactly where to put everything! Again, I handle any specialty items, church shirts are hung up in their closets, and then everything else has a specific home in their dresser.
They have a drawer that is home to their socks and underwear, a drawer for their pjs, and a drawer for their swim clothes.
They have a shirt drawer…
a shorts drawer…
and a jeans drawer.
No guesswork required!
The girls have a similar setup in their room, and as they get older and take on more responsibility with their laundry, I will update this post again with photos of them using The Official Hot Dog and Hamburger Method of Folding to tackle this chore.
Quick Tip: Involving little hands will probably slow you down a bit…or a lot…and things may not always be done exactly as you wish…but the training process is very much worth every second. Working together as a family gifts your family with things that go far beyond just having clean undies.
4. Brainstorm a plan…give it a try…and then be ready to adjust! We used to have a Laundry Day – it was Monday, but that’s not always how things go around here these days. Sometimes the kids and I still do our laundry on Monday – but sometimes we do it on Friday, kicking off the weekend with all of the laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away – that’s such a great feeling.
Is there a day when you have more time at home than another? Maybe that day would be a good fit for your family?
As we have walked through different seasons and stages with our kids, we have adjusted accordingly, and we will continue to do so as they grow. These days, I still tackle their towels and sheets as needed and then they help me put them back where they go, but we will eventually get to the point where they take on more of that. I’ll keep you posted!
Favorite Products from Our Laundry Room:
My Favorite Stain Removers:
- Grandma’s Spot Remover – These little squeeze bottles…not the spray.
- a homemade paste of vinegar & baking soda
My Favorite Laundry Bags:
I recently grabbed this 5-pack of Laundry Bags – five different sizes, and I have been consistently using all of them! I use them for my delicates (ahem..), the girls’ Matilda Jane clothes, and for socks. Yes, they help to keep socks contained so the washer isn’t able to eat as many of them! I got this idea from someone on Instagram, and it has made my life so much easier.
You’ll have to let me know if you try it, too!
My Favorite Wrinkle Release Spray:
For years, we used Downy Wrinkle Release Spray, but I started feeling like the smell was really overpowering – it almost started to bother me a little bit. So I was excited to find something that was a little less overwhelming.
This Citrus-Mint Wrinkle Release Spray is so light and fresh – and this size bottle seems to last forever!
Quick Tip: When it’s time to pack for a family vacation, I toss a few little detergent pacs down into a small plastic container. These are perfect to use when we are traveling with our little ones in tow! I’m not too picky about detergents, but I do try to go with something that is free and clear – especially as we have a couple of kiddos in the house whose skin is a little more sensitive than others.