Laundry was taking over my life. I’m a busy mom with three kids, a dog, a cat and a sweet husband. I needed to lighten my load- laundry load that is. Learn how I taught my crew to embrace laundry duty.
Over it. I was OVER. IT. Laundry that is. I was literally doing at least a load a day to be able to stay on top of it all. I would set my dryer to “wrinkle care” just so it would intermittently keep rotating for a while longer until I had a chance to get to it. Cause Lord knows one thing I hate is to go through sorting and washing only to end up with a giant wrinkled mess. This is the ultimate busy mom hack- teach your kids to do their own laundry!
There was an epiphany, a laundry epiphany…
My sweet hubby one day commented that he had no clean underwear. I could tell it was a perplexing dilemma for him, and I wondered how long he had been in this situation. Funny enough, his clean laundry had been sitting neatly folded just waiting for him in the laundry room- for at least two days! Yikes! 😉 A light bulb went off. Like a lot of you I’m sure, I’m a typical “busy mom” shuffling around three kids, making meals each night, doing all the shopping etc., and I work part-time. Yet, I realized I was the one doing all the laundry even though our house is filled with capable well-able bodies with above average intelligence. Why was I doing this to myself? I realized I needed to let go of some of my control issues, and enable these more than capable family members of mine!
If there was ever a busy mom hack I could share this is the one!
Fortunate for me my kids were actually excited to try this. I think they’re at the age where doing more “grown up” tasks is cool and important to them. Makes them feel older. My hubby is also very capable at doing his own laundry. Why? Because his parents taught him- specifically his dad! There ya go guys, teach em when they’re young and it will serve them in the future– and those they live with! Spread that goodness! So my advice would be to start young while the kids are still into it, then by the time they’re teens it will be just another expected contribution to the household and less of a fight. Just for reference, my kids are in 1st grade and 3rd grade. My youngest is still in preschool so she hasn’t graduated yet to laundry privileges. 😉
Check out our video starring our very own Violet Mae here!
Ok now for the good stuff. Busy mom hack laundry tip 1
Tip 1: Get pods! I’ve linked my favorites here! Kids have a hard time pouring laundry into those tiny drawers. Especially if you use giant laundry soap tubs and your machine is on a pedestal. We all know using too much soap can lead to BIG, BIG problems. Buy the pods, you can get them at Costco for a lot less, and teach them that two pods is perfect for a weeks load of laundry. Which for us is usually one big load.
Busy mom hack laundry tip 2- Keep it Simple!
Tip 2: Get them their own bag. If they are going to be in charge of THEIR own laundry then it absolutely must be kept separate. Asking them to sort will not only be extremely messy, but could make them confused and frustrate them. Amazon sells a three-pack of mesh laundry bags with a handle in three different colors. I bought these! My older daughter keeps hers in her closet. My middle hangs hers in the bathroom, and my husband keeps his in his closet. They’re all different colors so there’s no confusion on who’s is who’s.
Busy mom hack laundry tip 3- Stain seeker!
Tip 3: When they’re pulling out their laundry to put into the wash teach them to always look at their shirts specifically. Kids aren’t going to have the patience to look carefully through each item, but we all know that shirts are a haven for stains. You might not care about stains, but its a problem for me. It bugs the crap out of me. Now I know that giving them control of their laundry means I will have to let go of some of that, but any little bit helps. So I taught them to look at shirts, and if they see a stain to rub a little bit of Shout or Oxi-Clean on it before throwing it in.
Busy mom hack laundry tip 5- Keep the laundry settings the same.
Tip 5: If you wash on cold you can pretty much know that the colors won’t bleed. And if you wash on cold delicate any type of fabric will be fine. Again, we have to keep it pretty simple and straightforward if the kids are going to get it and stick with it. So I just taught my kids to turn the machine on, turn the dial to delicate and then hit start. Done. The dryer settings work the exact same way. Since I have girls we did need to review what items would probably need to be hung. In our case its dresses, swimsuits and leotards and some rompers. They wear the same things over and over so they know which ones need to be hung.
Busy mom hack laundry tip 6- they can also learn to fold their laundry!
Tip 6: Spend a little more time and go over how to fold. A lot of times kids like helping and want to learn to do the kinds of things you’re doing. I geeked out and went over the Marie Kondo method. It wasn’t hard for them and actually with their tiny drawers and the amount of clothes we need to stuff in, this method works wonders. Also, invest in some drawer dividers! I have a more type-A “oldest child” who has no problem putting things away neatly, and then I have a middle child who has no time for any of it and likes to shove and cram all her things. In this case, with drawers that are divided into compartments if she does decide to “dump and dash” she will still find her things easily and it keeps the drawers somewhat organized and cohesive at least.
Be a cool mom and give them some independence- teach your kids to do their own laundry!
If you’re kids are resistant you might need to implement a reward strategy until it becomes a habit. Like if they get allowance each week this could be a way for them to earn an extra dollar. Or if they want bonus screen time they get it once the laundry is done etc. We usually save ours for the weekend. They throw it in Saturday morning, and get around to folding it before bed on Sunday. This is a system that works for us. I realize every family and situation is different, but if you are drowning in laundry like I was and its really getting you down please try this. It’s good for everyone! It teaches responsibility and shows the kids that you are all a team. It takes an entire team to run a family. It can’t be left to just one person.
This busy mom hack of teaching kids to do their own laundry also does a lot for their self esteem because they know they are being trusted to do an important grown up task and that is very cool. At the end of the day you’re giving your kids a huge gift. Learning to be an independent adult doesn’t start when they’re seventeen. It starts when they’re young with the small things, and by the time they’re older they’re ready to handle even bigger things. In our home ya don’t get allowance for just breathing. You get allowance if you can show you contributed enough times that week. But that’s a whole other post. 😉 Teaching kids how to be independent and capable adults is a lifelong process that we get an opportunity to guide them through. Good luck and I hope your laundry woes become a thing of the past!