Cut Laundry Time An Astonishing Amount With These 6 Useful Tricks

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Once, while at my in-laws for the holidays, I stuck a load of laundry in the washer, then went about my business. I had to run to the store to grab a few things. When I got back, I unloaded everything, had a conversation with my husband, and then tried to get the kids to pick up some of the nine billion toys they’d strewn about.

When I walked back into the bedroom, I saw a perfectly folded piled of clothes that I recognized as my own. {Insert double-take when you’re sure you just witnessed something borderline creepy.} My MIL had gotten my load of laundry completely DONE before I had even fathomed that the stupid load needed to be transferred to the dryer!! Whaaaaaa…..?? Yeah.

I laughed while I told my MIL how fast she was, and she responded that of all the household chores that she actually enjoyed doing laundry. Laundry, my friends, is NOT one of my faves. In fact, it’s pretty low on the list. I’m sure it comes from having to Oxyclean, scrub, wash, transfer, fold, and put up approximately 975 billion baby and kid items in the last fifteen years, not counting the same amount of mismatched and lone socks that are in a giant basket in the laundry room as we speak. If I could cut laundry time out of my duties altogether, I totally would.

 

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I seriously used to put off doing the laundry as long as I could. And, as it goes with blaming our mothers for everything, I blame mine for not making me learn to do laundry correctly, nor learn the way to keep up with it. (Ha!)

In my distaste for the last several years of the fact that doing laundry had become the story of my life, I decided enough was enough. I have a ten-year old that can fold her own clothes and hang her own darn shirts in her closet. That alone cut laundry time for me a good bit every week. I’m absolutely sure that her annoyed sigh that I’m taking her away from her precious ‘craft’ time (which is a whole other series of posts, sigh…) is signal that she’ll do the bare minimum in getting her clothes put away. But guess what. I. Don’t. Care.

 

We needed a system, lest my head spin off.

And if you’re reading this, I bet you need a system to cut laundry time, too. Parenting these days is hard enough–we don’t need extra when we can easily set up systems that alleviate some of the responsibility and free up time for more important stuff, amIright?

 

So, here’s my list of our household’s Laundry Revolution that has made things IMMENSELY easier to keep up with! It has honestly cut laundry time exponentially around here! (Ps, please don’t think that as the person who literally has to do nearly everything in your household that you’re running a child labor camp by asking your kid to do chores. ūüėȬ† )

 

CUT LAUNDRY TIME TIP #1:

DON’T SEPARATE THE LAUNDRY

 

I realize some people are super quirky about separating the darks/colors from the lights. And if you seriously can’t get over it, I’m not judging. We, however, throw everything in one load if it’ll fit. If it won’t, I do separate. BUT–the only time I’ve ever had color bleeding was when a pair of new DARK jeans was put into a load that I didn’t catch in time. Normally I’ll go ahead and wash new clothes in a separate load in cold water first.

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The point, though, is to keep each kid’s laundry in its own load. No separating to get into the wash, no separating when it gets out. It goes into the basket straight from the dryer, and back to the kid’s room.

This tip was especially eye-opening to my sister, who has all boys, two of which are twins. The twins have very similar clothes, but one does wear a larger size, so she was super happy to cut laundry time with this time saver!

 

CUT LAUNDRY TIME TIP #2:

TEACH YOUR KIDS TO DO THEIR OWN LAUNDRY

 

A while back I came across a pin on Pinterest that was a chart detailing the age that kids can start learning certain life skills, mostly chores around the house. I rolled my eyes when I first saw it because I had imagined it was written by the mom of the 19 Kids and Counting family.

But when I really thought about it, I realized that I was probably being taught around that age to do certain chores. Both of my parents worked full time, and there were 4 of us kids, so I’m sure my mom had a need more than a want for us to pitch in around the house. Her need to cut laundry time AND other chores was probably pretty up there on priorities.

And when I realized that my ten year old (who happens to be one of the laziest humans on the planet) should already know how to properly vacuum, fix her own lunches, clean the bathroom, and even do her own laundry….OH, was I ready to put on my ‘teacher’ hat!

The truth is, though, my step-daughter’s mom had her mother do her laundry until she was in her 30’s, and the disgust that I felt at that made me know that I will never let my kids act like irresponsible children when they’re adults. These are LIFE SKILLS. And laundry (and cooking) are one of the very basics.

What I’ve found is that the kids have some sort of mental block when it comes to remembering settings on the washer (or where to put the detergent and softener even though the damn cups are labeled). So I made a chart that I stuck on the wall beside the washer. It tells how much to use, and where to put it, but also what settings to make sure everything’s on.

 

 

 

The ten year old still complains (she has this groan that sorta sounds like Chewbacca that’s like nails on a chalkboard to me…) but the eight year old actually likes feeling like she’s doing grown up stuff. She’s very proud. And I always make sure to tell her what a good job she’s done and how much she’s helping me cut laundry time down so I can get other stuff done around the house.

Btw–I use CLEAR page protectors¬†(the non-glare are a little hard to read with small colored words sometimes) instead of laminating so that if anything needs to be changed, I can just pop a revised sheet in quickly. And sometimes I’ll just print a template and write on top of the protector with dry erase markers. (I use dry erase instead of wet erase because any liquid that falls on the sheet will smudge it off. But dry erase requires dry wiping.) But I make sure to put the cheat sheets in the protectors because the laundry room is FULL of stuff that’ll smudge ink on exposed paper!

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{Get your printable Laundry cheat sheets by clicking the image below!} includes day of the week chart for laundry,  and washer/dryer settings cheat sheet to post for kids to refer to.

 

 

And the last point on this one is to assign a day for each kid’s laundry. If they have a chore chart already, or you have a family calendar or command central, this is a great place to post it. If you feel yours are still too small to do their own laundry, at least have them bring their laundry to the washer and dryer on those days. My four year old has been happily doing that for over a year now. {The FREEBIE above includes this printable as well:}

 

 

Also, if your kids have phones or ipads, confiscate those things and add in reminders or calendar events to set off an alarm to remind them. I’ve discovered the ‘restrictions’ feature on iphones and ipads where you can allow them or restrict them from turning stuff like that on and off.

 

CUT LAUNDRY TIME TIP #3:

WORK WITH EVERYONE’S HABITS (for your own sanity)

 

Whew, this one’s a biggie! I don’t mean ‘let your child continue to throw their dirty clothes on the floor 6 inches away from the laundry basket’ (which is what my ten year old actually does… and is probably why my blood pressure hovers around the ‘borderline elevated’ level, as my PC calls it.) What I mean is that, if they undress in their bedroom at their closets first thing in the morning, put a basket there. And if they undress in the bathroom at bath-time, put another basket in there.

My kids each have their own baskets, and they know to NOT mix the clothes. The four year old actually showers with me (it’s just easier and eliminates she and the eight year old from their regular bath-time fight in which one ends up hurting the other…also on my list for blood pressure contributors…) so we have a dirty clothes basket in our bathroom for her AND I have little drawers in a cedar chest in our room for her PJ’s.

When you work WITH habits instead of against them it’s sooo much easier! I’m not saying any bad habits don’t need to be nixed, but the ones that won’t derail your kid’s life–just work with them, for Heaven’s sake–especially if it’s gonna cut laundry time for you!

 

CUT LAUNDRY TIME TIP #4:

 TEACH LAUNDRY SKILLS YOUNG AND ENCOURAGE THEM EARLY

 

When the four year old comes in while I’m doing laundry and tries to ‘help’ fold, I usually start out annoyed. But I realized 2 things recently:

1-She doesn’t care that it’s a chore, she just wants to be near Mama and help. That’s a really good opp to spend some quality time chatting even though it’s during a household chore.

And, 2- Her learning how to properly fold from a young age, especially if she associates it with pleasant memories, may actually help her to not avoid it when she’s older. My nephew apparently folds like he works at the Gap, and has for several years. I’d be darn ecstatic if one of my kids folded like that!! (Note to self: Ask nephew if he’d be interested in starting a summer camp for folding…)

I’m trying to teach the eight and ten year old that they really need to actually fold the clothes before they shove them into the drawers, and hang the shirts before they get all wrinkled. They’re approaching the age where kids start to actually give a crap what they look like, so I’m teetering on whether to continue trying to explain or let them learn the hard way. Ie-one of their friends commenting on their clothes. I still have to fight the ten year old on clothing choice most of the time. Honestly some days she literally looks like she climbed out of the dumpster right before heading to school.

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But I digress.

 

CUT LAUNDRY TIME TIP #5:

 AT LEAST ONE LOAD A DAY

 

I’ve learned that taking advantage of technology can be one of my best friends lately. (Unless it involves relying on our internet/Wifi at home to actually work as advertised.)

So I use a timer at night to remind me to put a load in the washer. And then I use the timer function on the washer to set it to start first thing in the morning. (Ours can delay up to 13 hours.)

The load is done by the time the kids head to school. Then I see the ‘Done’ message when I walk back inside. (I walk in through the garage and the laundry room.) This reminds me to switch it to the dryer. Then, even if I don’t have time to fold when it’s done, at least it’s clean and not sitting in the washer souring.

I do try to listen for the chimes when it’s done, and if I hear it I’ll go ahead and put in on my bed so that I HAVE to fold it and put it away to be able to settle in at bed time. (Did I mention I have ADD and have to engineer things like this so I don’t forget?? lol)

 

CUT LAUNDRY TIME TIP #6:

 HAVE A DONATE BIN IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM

 

I’ve eliminated a lot of arguments about clothes being too small or ratty simply by having a ‘donate’ bag in the laundry room. When I find clothes that are too small that they insist on still wearing, I toss them in the bag. I swear my kids have the shortest attention spans ever. I’ve never heard a single word about missing a shirt or pair of pants that I snuck out of their laundry and into that bag.

But it keeps me from having to do a GIANT cleanout at the start of every new season. Which saves me a tonnnn of time! And also–it’s one less thing to fold, and thereby has cut laundry time a little more for Mama.

 

And here are some bonuses that I’ve heard but not yet implemented:

 

*Don’t buy pj’s for girls, buy nightgowns–that’s 1 less thing to fold per day’s worth of clothes!

*Let kids sleep in whatever they’re wearing to school the next day. (Eliminates laundering a pair of pj’s per night).

*Don’t bother making kids fold their clothes. Because the wrinkles don’t even matter. (Iffy on this one, but wrinkles haven’t caused any nuclear meltdowns thus far. So I may give it a try soon.)

 

So there ya go! 6+ easy rules for our Laundry Revolution to cut laundry time! Comment below if you have any more!!

Don’t forget to grab your free Laundry Day schedule and Cheat Sheet!

 

 

Know someone that could use help with  cutting their laundry time down ? Please SHARE this post!

 

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