1. Wear things more than once.
Yes, I’m giving you permission- you’re not a dirty person, you’re just being SMART!
Yes, it’s true- you CAN wear things more than once before you wash them. In fact, I usually wear most things twice before I wash them, with the exception of undies and socks, of course. Here’s my rule: If I didn’t spill on it or sweat in it, it can go back in the closet for another wear.
- Pajamas & Jeans- Wear 2-3 times
- Shirts/dress pants- 2 times
- Vests, blazers, cardigans- 3-4 times (these pieces rarely even touch your skin)
- Bras/Slips/Camisoles/tanks 2-3 times
- Sheets- Once a week or shortly after that.
- Towels- We change bath towels 2x a week
- Underwear/socks/workout clothes- Wash after every use
When I had 4 kids under the age of 9, I once calculated that I was doing around 25 loads of laundry a week. That number was simply OVERWHELMING to me! I woke up every day, dreading the laundry pile. Thankfully, Hubby was so sweet to help throw in a few loads on the weekends to help out.
As my journey in parenting has matured, I had an epiphany that the true purpose of parenting is to get our kids ready to leave our home and be ready for the real world. I decided that anyone over age 9 was totally capable of being taught how to do their own laundry. Over the years, this has made my life so much easier. Now, our 2 kids (ages 13 &16) that are still at home do their own laundry!! Our rule is that their laundry has to be done and put away once a week and I check their rooms on Sunday night at 9pm. In a typical week, I wash Hubby and my clothing, sheets, and towels. That’s only 5 loads a week! MUCH better than 25 loads!
3. Simplify your sorting
Let’s make this really easy…there are DARKS and there are WHITES. Darks are considered any clothing item that has a majority of color on it. Whites are clothes that are mostly white. We don’t do pinks separately or reds and everything turns out just fine. I will warn you to wash NEW clothes alone for the first few times. My college boys don’t even sort darks and lights, they just throw them ALL in together. (I was just thankful that they were doing their own laundry and that clothes were being washed!! ) While I haven’t acquired the habit of combining darks and lights in the same load, it might be an option for you!
Many friends of mine claim that when their kids wash their own laundry, they won’t have a “large” enough load to fill the washer (especially whites), so it wastes water, etc. Well, I teach them to find something else that is white to throw in, like a blanket or maybe their sheets to complete the load. Coats or jackets can always be thrown in to complete a dark load.
4. Wash 1 load a day
Now that I’m doing less laundry, I’ve developed a system where I wash one load a day first thing in the morning. After I get out of bed and head toward the kitchen in the morning, I roll my hamper out to the laundry room and start my load. As the kids are getting ready for school and I’m checking emails, the load is washing and is done and ready to switch before I know it. I make the switch and it dries without much effort. Later in the afternoon I fold it and put it away (a most dreaded task in my book.) For you working mamas, you can start your load early and switch it as you’re getting ready OR just switch it when you get home from work. The load can be folded and put away after dinner. One important thing I always remember is to NEVER leave your house with the dryer running!! Fires at the house are never a good thing.
I hope this post has helped in giving you permission to wear things more than once, and pushed you a little to slowly hand over the laundry duty to your kiddos. For those of you in the thick of it all with lots of little kids and not much help, I feel for you! Just know that it laundry WILL get easier as they get older! You can do this!
Let me know in the comments if you are interested in seeing more about how I taught my kids to do their laundry or go into more depth about my laundry schedule!! HAVE A GREAT WEEK!
See how I cleaned up and de-cluttered my laundry room HERE.
See how I clean my washer HERE.
Sue Mackey says
I am impressed how you have taught the kids to do their own laundry. I know that it has been an on-going project, but at last it is going well. Proud of you and of each one of them. Plus your husband is such a great help. You are blessed in so many ways. Plus you are a good Mama!
danette daliege says
I also taught my k, ids to wash, only in 5th grade. I was working and it was just one less thing to do, plus it taught them responsiblity., , . Love this tip. Thank you for posting this.