5 Minute Fridays HOME Homemaking Simplifying

How To Fall In Love With Doing Laundry

 
{5 Minutes of unedited, nonstop writing on the week’s given theme.}
 
GO.
 
Laundry and love are two words I never thought I would use together.  Laundry FAIL is more like it for most of my life.  I always said that if I ever have laundry caught up AND put away, then I will have arrived as a Mom.  Well, recently there have been many more days of caught up & put away laundry, but I so have not “arrived” as a Mom.  SO. NOT.
 
But I have grown.
I have become wiser over the years.  
More efficient.
 
I have learned that undone laundry does not define what kind of mother/housewife/woman I am.
I have learned that it is ok to do things imperfectly.
I have learned that it is ok to ask for help and allow kids to participate.
 
I have learned how to love laundry.
 
Love is a dramatic word, especially when it comes to laundry…but hear me out.
 
I have changed my thought patterns when it comes to laundry and now it does not control or define me.  
We are friends now. Not besties, but a friend that I don’t take for granted.

My new thought pattern? 

I love laundry because it shows God has provided.
~He has provided clothes for our family.
~He has provided water & a washing machine that works…a luxury many do not have.
~He has given me children who are healthy enough to play soccer and get dirty.
~He has given me girls that have such great fashion sense that some days it takes numerous outfit changes to find the exact one…which means more laundry…the  most challenging kind, clean laundry caught up in the dirty.  The kind that takes sacrifice to wash again without complaint. 
 
Isn’t that life, the clean and the dirty mixed up together on a regular basis?  
Not ideal, but real.
Signs of life, of living the beautiful imperfect.
Signs that we need Him.
 
He knows all about the washing of dirty laundry.
Of sacrifice.
Of loving that which can be as repulsive as a muddy soccer sock.
Of lovingly washing us, whiter than snow.
 
STOP.
 
 
Need some practical tips to help you love laundry?
 
~Kids 12 and older do their own.  This has changed my life and my relationship with laundry.  My two oldest do their own now.  It has saved my sanity and our relationship.  Now, if clean clothes are on the floor, it does not affect me or my sanity, as I am not the one who will have to rewash them.  They now take much better care of their clothes.  The occasional times I surprise them and do it for them…they are grateful. Kids who are grateful that their laundry is done = winning!
 
~If you have younger kids, have a dirty clothes bucket in their room and another for clean clothes that need hung up.  The goal is to keep clothes off the floor.  If they are old enough, teach them to hang up the clean clothes.  Give it as one of their 3 daily chores.
 
~Use hooks in closets for things like robes, coats, jackets.  These things are a pain to hang up on hangers and kids will struggle with that.  If an item is used almost daily, have a hook for it.
 
~Buy a laundry sorter. I have one like this one and I love it!  Do NOT sort according to color.  Sort according to person in the family.  Mark it clearly so everyone knows where to put their dirty clothes.  Keep in a central location where you can keep an eye on it, and where it is easy for everyone to bring their dirties when asked.
 
~When you see a part of the sorter get full, you know whose turn it is to do laundry.  I have a sorter that has 4 baskets hanging from it.  A full basket makes a perfect full load.  One for my 14 year old, one for my 12 year old, one for my 10 year old, and husband and I share one.  I only have to worry about 2 of the 4, as the older two girls do their own.  I keep our sorter on the main floor in the hallway.
 
~Don’t sort laundry.  Unless we have a new item of clothing that I know will bleed when first washed, I don’t sort.  I think it is a waste of time.  I like to do loads according to person, not according to color.  It makes the folding and putting away so much easier when loads are according to person.
 
~Use sturdy, pretty baskets.  The top picture was taken before I had my oldest 2 start doing their own laundry.  As you can see, I had 3 smaller baskets where I would fold and put each child’s clothes, and they would put their own clothes away.  I folded in the living room so the clothes would not sit.  If they are out and about in my way, I will remember to tell the littles to put their clothes away. This system worked well when they were younger.  The larger basket was for Todd and I.  The medium basket held all socks.
 
 
~Have a hook for each person in the family to keep their towel.  I only wash towels once or twice a week.  I just grab them from the hooks in the bathroom and throw them right into the washer.  Yes, I wash the white towels with the black towels.  It works fine, but make sure to wash separately when brand new a few times.  We only have one bathroom with a shower, so the girls towels are the three on the hooks…they know what color is theirs.  Todd and I use white towels on hooks behind the door.
 
~Wash sheets/bedding/blankets on the weekend.  I just rotate a bed each weekend.  Yes, each persons bedding only gets washed once a month, except for Todd and I, our bedding gets washed twice a month.  Good enough. 
 
~Keep a sock basket.  Keep the sock basket in a central location, where all mismatched or found socks go.  Occasionally grab the basket and have child match any socks as a chore.
 
~Make your own laundry detergent.  LOVE love easy liquid recipe.
 
What is your favorite tip?
  • Betty June 17, 2016 at 10:27 am

    2 years ago my 2 boys started doing their laundry. One puts in washer and dryer; one folds and puts away. Alternate which turn it is. Of course I would forget so they would argue. My new rule: they alternate by week who feeds 3 dogs. Now I have decided. The boy not feeding dog will do laundry duty.

    I don’t freak out about organization of clothes as long as doors are closed. They also know how to use steamer on new dryer so they can get wrinkles out of clothes.

    Betty

  • April June 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I do laundry for 9 of us and found that the best way to keep up on it is to do a load a day, they all put their own clothes away insted of our 2 1/2 and 1 year old. Hooks and baskets have been our live savers 🙂 but I can’t go more than a week without washing bedding, it’s an every weekend thing for us 🙂

    • AmyNewNostalgia June 5, 2014 at 11:25 am

      I like the load a day. I’m also finding myself washing bedding a lot more often during the summer!

  • Lisa-Jo Baker February 23, 2014 at 2:06 am

    Yup, me too. On all this 🙂

  • Kathi D. Denfeld February 22, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    It ends up being once a month here, too (except maybe for the blankets that the littles carry around the house). Too much else to worry about with an eight person family. We just started the basket-for-ever-person thing with the idea that we are building up to having the oldest do their own. I’m not sure why we did not think of this sooner! It has worked brilliantly.

  • Anonymous October 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    While I am totally on board with the baskets and older kids doing their own laundry, I have found that towels do not dry well or fully if hung from hooks while wet and once-a-month washing of bed linens in simply unsanitary….and potentially unhealthy if you have an infant or asthmatic in the home. Cutting corners like sorting is a personal choice, and if it works for you then, by all means, but some cut corners just equals poor family hygiene.

  • Tracy Collier October 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Great advice and tips! I read “The Practice of the Presence of God” often to remind me that I can worship God and bless my family, even in the mundane tasks of life. I also make my own laundry detergent to feel better about my impact on the environment, not to mention the huge savings!

  • Kimberly October 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Laundry is one of the few domestic chores I enjoy, but I haven’t made the switch over to pretty baskets. Might need to do that soon. Beauty makes everything better!

  • Molly . . . October 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I’m a non sorter as well :).

  • Anonymous October 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    I rarely sort laundry anymore. Sometimes you have to be careful b/c towels will make dark clothing fuzzy. My 19 year old likes to do his own laundry and has for several years so with just my husband and me, I do not have much laundry. Christi

  • Julie Griffin October 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    OK I would have never thought to NOT sort laundry… when my kid(s) is older I am going to revisit this idea of sorting by person. As a brand new SAHM, I am just now starting to think about doing things like laundry in a strategic and purposeful way, as opposed to just “keeping up” like I have done it when I was working outside the home. Thanks for all the tips! Stopping in from FMF, TGIF!

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