As winter takes hold it may seem as though the piles of laundry inside rival the piles of snow outside! If your laundry is piling up, you’re not just imagining things – cooler weather means more layers and different types of
clothing. So as the piles grow, how can you take control?
One of the best ways to lighten the load is to “share the care” and involve the whole family.
It may sound old-fashioned, but one way to cut down on laundry is for children to change their clothes when they come home from school. Hanging up an outfit and wearing it twice before it is washed can lengthen the life of the clothing and save unnecessary work. Besides, children will be more comfortable in casual clothes.
Sometimes tossing clothes into the hamper is no more than a habit. Children (and even we adults!) automatically throw their clothes on the floor or in the hamper whether they are dirty or not. Encourage them to hang and fold their clothes. Help them “share the care” starting with their own clothing. (But remember – they have to learn how to hang and fold. This is a learned skill!) Take time out to teach older children how to sort and fold. Even five, six, and seven-year-olds can learn to fold clothes and put them away in drawers. This is a great age to begin instilling these habits in children – they are old enough to understand ‘how to’ and still young enough to enjoy helping and imitating mom and dad. (They may not put them away exactly they way you would, but this is how they will learn.) It takes 21 days to build a new habit so be patient, but be persistent and you will be grateful for the time and energy it will save in the long run.
Here are some other practical laundry solutions:
- Have separate clothing baskets for each family member and have your child carry it to the laundry room on washday.
- Color code the baskets – each child can choose their favorite color – to make it easier for each child to return folded laundry to their rooms.
- Buy mesh zipper bags to separate each family member’s socks. The bags will make it easier to separate and sort and will save you time.