Less Time and Stress on Laundry


It seems lately that laundry is the topic of discussion in a lot of my coaching calls with moms.  The never ending heap is exhausting to just look at, let alone tackle.  I shared on my audio blog on BlogTalk Radio a couple weeks ago about finding a system that will allow you to do the laundry with less time and less thought.  Setting up a Standard Operating Procedures your entire family is aware of is helpful.  So I thought I would expand on what I have found helpful in my home with regard to the laundry.

Have a System

Find a system that works for you and your family and one that requires little effort.  It seems the common way for most families to approach laundry is to wait until the weekend and then tackle the tremendous pile.  That just does not work for me – too time consuming and exhausting.  So I have been encouraging the moms I’m working with to break that BIG jog into smaller jobs.  For example:  We are a family of 5.  I have broken up my week so my kids know if they want their laundry done it needs to be in the laundry room Monday and Thursday before 9 AM.  Those are the days I do two loads – a light and dark load.  If for some reason they miss a day, they either do their own laundry or wait until the next day scheduled where I do it.

This works great at our house – all my kids know how to run the washer/dryer and are capable of doing so, but rarely do they opt for that solution if they miss a day.  I wash my husband and my clothes on Tuesday and Friday, and will do sheets on Saturday or Sunday, depending on our weekend schedule.  Once again I let the kids know they need to bring their sheets down before 9 AM.  If they aren’t brought down they end up doing their own sheets because it is not an option to keep dirty sheets on your bed just because you forgot!  When they are clean, they are placed in their baskets in the laundry room and the kids are left to put them on their beds.  I am taken nearly out of the equation.  Even with younger children you can have them strip their own beds and even help you make them.  Start this early and they will be capable of doing it on their own sooner than later.

I have time during the day to do a few loads, but if you do not, then make it a habit to throw in a load before dinner and then set a timer so you don’t forget and get distracted, toss them in the dryer and then have the family help you sort and fold.  This works especially well if you watch a TV show in the evening with your family – no fold the laundry – no tv watching!  (Aren’t you glad you don’t live at my house!)

No Fuss Color coding

Now this little tip started as just a laundry tip but has expanded to more areas of our home.  My three kids each have a laundry basket where clean clothes are placed in the laundry room and they are responsible for putting them away each day.  Each of these baskets are a different color, “their” color.  Also coordinating are the hangars which their clothes are hung on.  When they come into the laundry room they don’t have to search through the hanging clothes, rather they look for their color hangers, take their basket and are on their way.  In addition, for my younger son I have put blue painters tape around a few hangars which indicate those items are appropriate to wear to school or church, all other clothes are everyday items.  This eliminates him coming down for school wearing a t-shirt that has a hole or stain in it and the extra drama that could ensue with me getting him to change.

This color coding system expanded further now into the bathroom.  Ever go into the bathroom to find a towel on the floor and not know who’s it is?  Of course no one ever claims it and because you want to have a nice color coordinated bathroom – all your towels are the same color!  I have decided to ditch that idea and now we have colored towels for each child.  No problem figuring out who left theirs on the floor now!  I am considering doing this with drinking glasses too!  We have a terrible person living in our house whom we do not know and who keeps drinking and leaving their glass on the coffee table or end table or even outside!  If I had colored plastic glasses that the kids had to use in between meals, I think my problem would be solved.

I know some moms who have gone even to color coded toothbrushes too.  We don’t seem to have that problem, but when another child comes into our home it may – so I will be prepared.  I don’t need to waste my time wondering around trying to clean up the bathroom and finding out who left their toothbrush out.

What other tips do you have for moms?  Do you have a system for laundry that works?  At what age did you teach your children to do laundry and are they required to do it themselves?  Please chime in and share, I would love to add to the list.

If managing your home has got you overwhelmed and you are feeling unequipped, check out the Family Manager Makeover I offer.  This personalized Action Plan will get you on the road to a more peaceful home and more time to spend doing the things you want to be doing!

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