The basic requirements of any home are food and clothing, and if you get these two functioning well, you just might cut yourself some slack elsewhere. However, the real trick is having your system running smoothly.
Most of us have been doing laundry for all of our adult years, and probably earlier. The key to successful laundry management is in adjustment as our living circumstances change: we move, families become bigger and kids grow. Whatever happens, there is one thing we can always count on, that laundry pile is never going away.
The only way to survive it (and retain sanity) is developing your own, customized system of efficient laundry management; here are some helpful tips to help you tackle the family laundry situation more efficiently:
Designate your laundry area
One of the most annoying things you can have in your home is dirty laundry all over the house! So, make sure you designate a specific laundry area that will only serve to clean clothes and not as a mud room, storage and whatnot. If you can’t have a separate room for it, a nook or a closet will suffice. If you set it up specifically as a laundry area, it will make your chore much easier and more bearable.
It’s also a very practical hack to have separate baskets for dirty and clean laundry, as well as keeping your hampers lidless so your kids could access more easily. You know how they like to just throw dirty clothes in hampers as if they are playing ball, so without lids, it’s a bigger chance they’ll score and you won’t find dirty clothes lying around. (Not to mention, it eliminates using the hamper top as a catchall, thus making it that much more difficult to get the dirty clothes in the hamper). It may not be a picture-perfect sight, but it works.
Invest in your equipment
When you have your laundry area figured out, it’s important to get good quality equipment that will deliver the service you desire. Now, with so many choices out there, it can be difficult to choose the right washer and dryer. You’ll need to consider their size, loading style, dryer vents, power, how many loads you typically wash, the features they have and how much your budget can stretch. It’s imperative you do the research and evaluate all the options, so you should examine this comprehensive laundry buying guide to make your decision-making process easier.
Establish a rhythm
As you go through the process of trial and error, you will discover which laundry rhythm works best for you and your family. Some people like to do big loads of laundry on one specific day, while others prefer smaller loads each day.
Also, one system might work when your kids are babies, but as they grow, you could include them into the folding and sorting part of the process. When they’re old enough, have them do their own laundry and don’t be afraid to experiment and change your routines.
Use detergents cleverly
For a larger family, doing laundry can also be quite costly. If you make the effort and read the labels carefully, you’ll notice, in fine print, that there is a certain amount of detergent specified for each load and that the measuring cups are usually much bigger than that. This clever little trick will save you both your detergent and money.
Involve the family
As mentioned above, it behooves you to get your kids involved in doing the laundry business as soon as possible. There’s no rule that specifies that only moms can do the laundry, and rarely would you find a mom who loves it so much that she would mind if someone(s) decided to share the load.
Do you have a not-to-be-messed-with system when it comes to the actual washing and drying of the clothes, but you absolutely hate folding or putting the clothes away? Divvy out the responsibilities, so you don’t run out of steam (or give-a-care) by the last load. And there’s always something that kids can help with: 2-year-olds can help load the machine, 3-year-olds can do some folding, sorting and putting away their clothes in drawers. Older kids can even learn how to use the machines and if you write them clear instructions and a schedule, they’ll have no problem in taking care of their own laundry.
As your family grows and their needs change, you’ll need to make tweaks in your already smooth laundry system. As pointed out before, don’t be afraid of experimenting. Enjoy the good periods while they last, but when the time comes, re-invent your laundry management. When the kids master their own laundry, or they leave for college, see if you can do the laundry weekly or even once in two weeks. If it’s too much and becomes overwhelming, go back to your old routine. If it works, you’ve got another skill mastered!
about the author…If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.