Laundry is one of my favorite chores! I know right? Most of you are probably rolling your eyes and thinking about how much you detest doing laundry.
Sorry folks I can't relate to you on that one. I LOVE laundry. The smell of fresh clean clothes. Folding those clean clothes. Putting them neatly in a drawer. It is a dream for me.
But let's be real for a moment. I don't always fold them and they definitely don't get put neatly into the drawers. Because that would take my life away from me and I want a life!
Instead I have learned to compromise. I still like the clean clothes part though.
I also have 4 children which means I have 4 little helpers everywhere.
Let your kids do the work! Once your kids are older you let your kids do the work for you. Our kids start doing laundry when they are around 2-3 years with simple tasks such as folding cloths, bringing clothes over to the washing machine. Once they are older, 5-7 years of age, they can complete almost all the tasks independently.
In our family helping with chores is mandatory. Most days I can sit back and watch as my children do dishes, fold laundry and sort laundry, clean up their bedrooms, tidy up the living room, sweep and vacuum. It is glorious!
In terms of laundry, we do laundry almost daily. We do our best to keep the loads full so that we are not wasting water or electricity, but let's be honest I have 4 kids and we own a farm. We have dirty kids and adults in our house daily. Which means we have enough for a load of laundry almost every. single. day.
Here is what our routine looks like:
* We have two laundry baskets. One for adults and one for kids. That's it. No sorting colors. Everything goes in together (except a few of my own shirts which I handwash separately).
How do we do this? Well we don't buy light colored clothes very often - they get too dirty too quickly around here. Therefore most of our clothes are dark and can all be washed together.
* Everything gets thrown into our washing machine on a cold cycle. We have a top load machine because they a) clean cloth diapers better which we have used for 10 years now and b) they clean everything better. We use hot water only for items that require sanitizing (cloth diapers, dirty napkins, etc).
* We add our favorite detergent - Bummis Laundry Detergent. We love that it has minimal ingredients which is important since the clothes are sitting our skin.
* Wait patiently for the washing machine to finish it's magic.
* Once the washing machine has completed it's task, I then hang my clothes to dry. Hanging my clothes saves the cost of electricity from the dryer and also helps our clothes last longer.
* The clothes usually dry just in time for my next cycle to get up on the line. My dry clothes get loaded into our bathtub (the kids conveniently take showers now) and wait until the end of the week. When we reach Sunday my children will then organize, "fold" and put away the clothes.
* Each piece of clothing gets distributed into their respective drawer in the children's room. Each child has essentially one drawer for their clothes (if you are wondering how we do this, check out our post on Minimizing the Clothes your Kids Own).
That's it. Nothing complicated. Nothing special. The key is letting go of the sorting, folding and putting things away neatly. If you are not there yet don't worry! It took me about 5 years and 3 kids to realize that I didn't want to spend my life folding clothes and neatly putting them away to only have them ramshackled the next morning while my 4 year old searches for her "favorite" shirt.