Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This is How we Wash the Clothes...

Just in case your laundry isn't exciting enough...we thought we'd share ours with you!

A few friends have posted about laundry and so I thought I'd share my method. (All credit for this idea goes to, of course, the dispenser of all Mother Wisdom--Heather Daines. See here and here for further proof of her all-goodness).

1. Wash the Laundry

That would be me. (Jane's taking this great shot of me in my sweats). I am way too scared to give them potentially-destructive access to our thousands of dollars worth of clothes. I wash any old day/time I want to, because of the following system.


2. Get some empty cubby things.

If I wasn't me, I would have them cutely labeled. But since I am me, I just told the kids whose was whose and told them to remember. (The top six our the family's...the bottom 3 are holding place for towels).


3.Take dry laundry out of laundry and put into baskets.

This is theoretically where your work should end. Good luck with that.

4. Remind laundry-job-person to do his job...

which is to sort the clothes into their proper cubbies. As Ryan discussed in a previous Christmas letter, be prepared to find Strawberry Shortcake panties in your cubby. The laundry-job-person then puts his clothes away, folds and puts the towels/washrags away (ha!).



5. Call family members to empty their cubbies


Be prepared to hear them all admonish laundry-job-person about how he mis-sorted (even though they do the same thing themselves). Mother puts away her own and 2 year old's clothes (which he will pull out every day and wear on top of each other at VERY inconvenient times). My kids roll their shirts, because it's easier and makes it so they don't have to mess everything up to find one on the bottom of the pile.




Key Element: Do not care if your kids' drawers look like this (which I don't because those drawers are closed):


Those with OCD might not be able to handle this...but it has changed my laundry life. I never have huge piles to deal with and I never have to dig through laundry to find my sports bra if I haven't had time to get to it. (Of course I have to nag and, of course, certain sassy 4 year olds do a worse job than nice almost-9 year olds, but it is SO MUCH EASIER than doing it all myself.)

What great housework systems have you come up with...share in a comment or email or, better yet, POST about it!

35 comments:

Melinda said...

What a great idea! I hate putting away laundry and have a big pile in my room right now. This is a great way for your kids to help and be responsible for their own clothes!! I am seriously impressed!!

Ilene said...

Can I borrow that nice almost-9 year old? I have some laundry to be put away in drawers.

Dang it my kids are not of laundry-helping age yet. I could ask a certain fellow-adult in the house to help but, well, seeing that he has finally mastered hanging up the bath towel, it may be another six years before I can train him in helping sort laundry.

gab said...

I will finally be finished with my laundry in 20 minutes when the dryer buzzes and I fold the last batch. And after that I will instruct my family to go naked for three days so I can enjoy seeing empty laundry baskets in every room.

Laundry is my nemesis. I am working on "letting go". My older kids put theirs away, but I still am a control freak about folding everything. I don't know why since it turns into laundry soup in their hands.

Ahhh...like the ideas. Please post more.

Karen said...

Here's my laundry system: 1- my kids tell me when they're out of clean underwear (yes, they wait until they're all the way out). 2- they sort it...this is where their participation ends. 3- I stain treat, wash, dry, fold and put away (although I do make the kids put their own stuff away).

It's not such a great system...I don't recommend it.

Lauren said...

I loved this post. I have a question so I will e-mail you with that.

I love the cubby idea. It is genius!

Jane is a good little photographer :) You are pretty centered in the shot, and in good focus. Did she stand on something? Maybe she can teach Sol how to take a picture. (Remember the post with Paige in her new jammies from Celia where he cut her head off in most of the shots?)

day in the life of a prince said...

I love your idea, I'm going to have to try it out at our house.

crystal said...

That is AWESOME! Who cares if nothing's perfectly folded? It never stays folded anyway. And I LOVE that you're teaching them independence. The truly great thing about them doing this, though, is: BY THE TIME THEY'RE TEENAGERS, IT'LL BE SECOND NATURE!!! You seriously rock.

I, on the other hand, still do everyone's laundry. Maybe I'll get inspired by you and be an organized mom.

I do 2 loads every day, and I never have mountains o'clothes to fold.

But still. I'M the one folding everyone's clothes.

*sigh*

I do NOT rock.

crystal said...

Well, great. I just went to email you and I don't have your email any longer, so I don't have your address! Email me again so I can tell you all about what my cute SIL's been up to.

zeeny said...

What a great idea! Your lucky to have space in your laundry room. Our washer and dryer share space with our mudroom, shoes, coats, hats, etc. I might have to figure out a way to put this in place though! thanks!

Rochelleht said...

I hate laundry. I only do it once a week. I fold it all on my bed while I watch a movie. The only tv I see during the week. Every Wed. The girls put theirs away. The boys get pampered. But really, like Ethan could put a pile of clothes in his drawer with one hand. And I shudder to think what Derick would do to his.

Bridget said...

Right now my kids put dirty clothes in the basket in the laundry room. I put in laundry and the boys "help" by fighting over who gets to put the soap in and who pushes the button. Then I transfer to dryer, then to laundry room counter where I fold. If I had children tall enough to fold on the counter I would probably pawn that job off. The clothes go in neat stacks which get picked up by the kids at which point they shove them indiscriminately in their drawers.

I loved seeing your photos. Was Jane up on a ladder for that first one?? Or standing on something?

Meg said...

I love blogging! There is a plethera (sp?) of great mom tips out there. And this is a gem. Now I just have to figure out how to adapt it to the space available in my house. Love this idea! Very awesome.

Audry said...

That is a great idea, but I have a hang up about how things look in the closed drawer so I fold. I know I need to get over it. But I do make my 7 year old put her laundry away.

Denae said...

I wish I had a bigger laundry room so I could try it. Mine is a walk through. But this is a good idea. I hate laundry very much.

TexasTwinsTwice said...

My husband is the OCD laundry man. If I don't get to it the day it gets dirty, then he does it. He's like his mom, and can't stand having anything dirty & waiting to be washed. Doesn't bother me a bit!

John Holly Levi & Faith said...

Laundry is the never-ending task. I like your method. I'm very behind on my method. I only recently discovered that it's easier to use a BASKET. Yup. I was carrying everything upstairs. My husband had to suggest a basket to me. DOY!

I wouldn't have room in my laundry room for your cubby system, but if I did have room, I'd totally be rockin' it. Because you're awesome.

Shally said...

I HATE HATE HATE laundry!! **Whew-- got a little excited there...**
My twins "help" me fold by putting clothes in little piles all over the house. I cannot wait until everyone is a little older to implement a system. Jax is five-- he does put away his own clothes, but mostly that just means throwing it randomly on shelves in his closet. But, like you, I just shut the door.

J'net said...

GREAT organization!!! We used to just have "folding parties" upstairs in the big house and after 8 loads or so, (me, washing/drying it all) it made for a good "family time" together---
Well, that's my memory of it... The kids all remember those parties and we just laugh! Jake's actually a "clean" freak now, AMAZING!! Jax's is more like you, it seems... creative! Jenna and Jesse seem to have VERY straight rooms now, SO maybe there IS hope with FORCING your kids to help?!?!
My girlfriend over here has 6 kids that I babysit every Thurs. night 6pm-10ish, SO the parents can go out and remember they are "bff's" SO they each have a bucket in an organizer like yours... They just have to empty those buckets EVERY day. Same "sorting" haranging tho.
I just have them all do "clean" floor check and "clean" plate check, and ALL 6 shower BEFORE they get to watch a DVD before bedtime. It's ok with me IF they someday have to go to counseling because of their MEAN babysitter!?!?!

Brigitta said...

I love it when I read someone's blog and I get a really great idea that I can use in my own home. Thanks. I've been trying to figure out a plan to include everyone in the awful task of laundry and now i've been inspired. Thanks!!!!

rachel said...

What a great system. I hate sorting and putting away laundry. my kids are too young for this but I will definitely keep this in mind for a few years down the road.

andrea said...

i like the rolling. easier than folding, probably produces better results. i may do a laundry post now so that i can actually discover what my "system" is.

Erin said...

I'm supposed to have some sort of system for this madness? Maybe that's my problem...? I love the rolling idea. Definitely implementing that one for the kids clothes.

Holly said...

You have a great laundry system--I guess with so ,from so many family members you HAVE to have one or you'd be lost under the piles and never heard from again.

I like how even the youngest have responsibilities too. Glad it's made your life easier!

Caroline said...

I don't know if I should share all my secrets.... It's frightening.

Holly said...

Whoops! I meant so much, from so many... sorry!

My daughter puts her dirty clothes in her hamper, usually helps me load the washer (she thinks that is cool), and helps put it away. She's 4, soon she be hauling down the bucket o' Tide :)

brooke romney said...

What a great idea. And, I've missed readin gyou blog. Been too busy latelu for any blooging. Maybe you can tell us all how many hours you sleep every night because I am convinced it must be none. How do you do it all?

Heidiram said...

This has absolutely nothing to do with your laundry post. But I do know you like chocolate. If by chance you are a fan of chocolate covered macadamias, Walgreens has a hot deal this week. The Mauna Loa chocolate covered macadamias are on sale 2 for $4.00 this week. The easy saver catalog has a coupon for $3.00 off the purchase of 2 packages of chocolate covered macadamias. 50 cents per package isn't too shabby. They are hidden either at the top shelves of the candy aisle, in the nut aisle, or on end caps . . .

Erika said...

nice. sometimes reading your blog makes me tired - like I've just done the laundry or something.

Paige said...

Jessica, this post is one of the huge reasons I love you. You are always working to make things easier and better as a mother, and you take the time to teach your children at the same time. THEN, you share it all!

Those drawers don't look really messy, but that's from the closet loser. I envy your upstairs laundry.

You have so many good comments I can't read them all. And Lauren is right, Sol needs to learn that heads must be in the picture.

Jill said...

Jessica, I can't find your email...so I will respond here. NOPE, no Tanner on the cruise! Landon and I like to do the cruising alone...they aren't really kid geared (don't ya think!?), except a disney cruise. So we go alone and LOVE it. We do a different vacation for our family one!
Just going for fun!!!!!!! It's the best way to vacation (we think!)

Adrianne said...

Will you please create file for me of all these ideas for when I need them?? Or I guess as each issue just comes up, I'll call you as I always do!

Carie said...

I could only post about what I SHOULD do for laundry. Because my laundry system as of late is chaos.

Lorena said...

We really should be blood-related. Maybe I should post my laundry techniques now. It has to do with hang-drying most clothes on hangers that can automatically transfer to the closet. For this reason Dane had to build extra shelves in our already small laundry room.

Kricket said...

I love this in a few years when my kids are old enough I think I will steal this idea. Thanks
Kricket

Mique said...

I LOVE this system. Since my laundry is my arch nemisis, I need a new plan. This one looks great!!! Do you think I can train my dog to pitch in too? Any tips on that?