After 10 years of laundry with kids, I think I have something figured out what works at least for our family. I wanted to show you my system, in hopes to make this daily, never ending chore maybe a little easier.
I have a darks and lights basket. This is sorting right from the git go. The kids are doing it. We have a laundry basket in the girls room and ours~that needs to be brought over to the laundry room, but all others come in the laundry to sort their own. When the basket is full...I know that's a load. After it's washed and dried. I have a basket where all socks, hand-towels, washcloth's, & underwear go into. Which is more than 1/2 of our loads. That basket waits by the washer for children to come home from school. I have learned not to be so picky with nice and tidy stacks. This was hard to let go of at first. In the beginning I had eager helpers, who felt validated, cheerful and excited to help. After a while~it becomes a chore and sloppy sets in. I think there is a big difference between sloppy and "I'm doing the best I can" kinda thing. Attitude is a huge part. So right now Suzy sorts socks, can fold them and put them into cubbies. Sometimes I have William work on that and fold wash cloths but not often. Isabella does the rest of the folding. Although I really should be teaching the boys to do this independently. They require far more patience on mama hen...so lets move on.
I might add that we pay for this chore. Not all chores are paid on to have them done. Some jobs the kids do because they are part of the family. period. Some things we pay for~when done with a good attitude. Bad tude-no pay. This was Isabella's basket today before she got home to fold it. I usually give 25 cents a load. But wow~this was 2 loads and was full and running over with socks. I had her do it all, because the other kids were working on other chores, and paid her $1. Don't tell her but I think this is a steal.
O.k. So there's the laundry that the Isabella and Suzy can sort and fold then I do the bigger things like jeans and bath towels. Every family member has a cubbie and I put the persons laundry right into their slot. The towels go up on the shelf until I'm going that direction. I used to set folded items on the washer and that would really cramp my style when folding on top of the washer & drier...so Donovan made the shelf that you see on the above picture. Have loved it! The basket on the top of the washer is tomorrow's laundry for Isabella :) I literally spend about 10 minutes total on laundry per day which is amazing! I would encourage you if you have younger kids...start small. Like this week you can teach folding socks. When that becomes a breeze add wash cloths, etc. I started young with Isabella and she enjoyed getting privileges (like watching a movie, etc.) after her "job" was done.
The top shelves on the left and right are clothes that the kids have outgrown waiting for me to take the piles down to basement storage or to the resale. Then it's 6 cubicles for each member of our tribe, one cubical with a basket for mis-matched socks, one for extra boxes of Kleenex and paper towels, storage for clothespins and bleach, and the last cubical with the bucket is for trash. Donovan built these shelves about 5 years ago, but if you are limited on space or handyman capabilities you could easy use a plastic version or storage crates.
I take the shirts and usually put them over the ironing board if they are dry. That is Jack's job to hang them up. But today's laundry shirts all went on hangers to dry or on the drying rack.
And then there is a handy closet that is in the laundry room that has a girl section, one for the boys, and on the top and to the right is me and Donovan's clothes. Clean, dry and ready to take to the rooms. This usually happens when it's jammed pack and there is no more room. I also wait until the kids are home from school to do this. If you do not have a closet in the laundry I think a free standing rack would be a great addition to a laundry room.
O.k. So the last part of the post was done while in and out of the bathroom, bedroom, and (shock) the laundry room. So I hope it made sense. William was projectile vomiting, as in--- the walls, top bunk, sheets, & comforter all had to be washed. SICK! He now is in a little floor nest on our floor, in our room. Had no idea he was sick. He said his tummy hurt before bed, but that's a given in our family when it rolls around to 7:30/8:00. It translates to "I really want to stay up and snuggle so I'm just going to have a tummy ache" which doesn't work...I'm not sure why they keep trying that line. I guess this time he wasn't crying wolf! :( Kinda makes me feel bad for making him finish his supper. Sure hope he doesn't "toss the poor mans steak" on my carpet next.
Quote of the day:
Suzy last night at supper. She was pointing to the pop bottle and asking what the words said. We read "Caffeine Free Diet Coke".
Suzy: "Dad, Can I have some more caffeine?"
Suzy: "Because it is free!"