For any mom, laundry is a constant. For those of you who work full time at home or out of the home, or if you simply run a large family, figuring out a laundry system that works can be tricky. Laundry Duty and getting it done seems to be in continuous flux as children grow (their laundry gets larger!), as they begin to do more for themselves, and as they become more active and are harder on their clothing.
Here are the top 5 laundry hacks used in my home that really work.
Do each load to completion before starting another.
This is the only method that has really worked for me over the years, helping me to go through all four steps of the laundry process – wash, dry, fold, put away – every single time I throw in a load of laundry. It certainly takes discipline and planning. I must to watch the clock (setting a timer helps!) and be sure the laundry gets transferred to the dryer in a timely fashion so that I can actually do the job to completion each day.
Have your children do their own laundry as soon as feasible.
My eldest two children have been doing their own laundry since they were in kindergarten and second grade. At that time they were attending a private school and needed a uniform for each day of school. We were having a daily problem finding clean uniforms for both children. I soon learned that my children were taking their clean laundry that I had folded and throwing it back into the laundry hamper! My ‘fix’ for this was to tell them that they were going to start doing their own laundry. I had not intention of continuing to fold and rewash the same school uniforms.
To make this work you will need to supervise your children to be sure they are loading the machine properly, using enough (but not too much) detergent, and to ensure they knew how to do this household task safely. At this point in my life, all three of my older children are in charge of their own laundry and that takes a huge weight off of this mom of five’s shoulders!
Teach your children to fold laundry as early as possible.
Small children love to help around the house. They take joy in helping mommy put things away, prepare food, fold washcloths and towels, and sweep the floor. It is true that, when your children are very small, you may be able to get your household duties done more quickly if you simply do it yourself. By allowing your children to help with the laundry now, during these formative years, they will develop a natural ability to perform this task as well as an attitude that helping run the house, and do the laundry, is the norm. Start them out with easy items like dish towels and dish cloths. Show them how to do it once or twice at the beginning, and any time they ask for help after that, and then let them run with it. By the time your children are older, even as young as 5 or 6, they will be able to begin taking over the job of doing their own laundry, and you as mom will have a bit more time to focus on other tasks that only you can do.
Let their work be ‘good enough’.
A child’s desire to help with the household chores does not necessarily mean they will be good at every chore. Their ability may not meet your standard. Can I suggest possibly lowering your standards for a while? Don’t allow laziness or jobs to be half-way done, that’s not what I mean. You will be able to identify those attitudes in your own children if that is what is happening, and then you can address the heart issue going on. But, if you can see that your child truly does want to help, to obey, is doing her work with a good attitude, and you know in your mama heart that she is trying her best, let her work be good enough. Perhaps the folded towels are a wee bit lopsided. Let it be.
Your children will be encouraged by your acceptance of their help and any encouraging words you can offer them (be sure to tell them you appreciate their help!). Refrain from re-doing their work, as this will be discouraging to their sweet little helpful hearts.
Encourage good attitudes by displaying a good attitude yourself.
Do you find yourself lamenting your housework? Do you grumble, sigh, and complain? Do your children? Begin to take note of your attitudes. If, in fact, this does seem to be an issue in your lives, make necessary changes in your thinking and in your words, as well as in your children’s, to reflect the attitude that Christ tells us to have. Your children are always watching. They hear you complaining. Even when words don’t cross your lips they can see your negative countenance. Yet, they also witness your joyful attitude, so seek out more joy. Teach your children how to be joyful in all that they do.
Maybe these verses regarding our attitudes will help you as they have helped me.
Proverbs 12:11 A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
Ephesians 6:7 …..rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man.
Do you have any laundry hacks you would like to share that help you to get a handle on this daily household chore? Please share them in the comments.
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