Saturday, December 15, 2007

Laundry part 3: getting the kids invovled



The cute kid is not mine, but she could be with the blonde hair and all.  Today's discussion about laundry has to do with getting kids involved.  Going back to do this post for our general list, and here for the first post, we will see a long list starting with 1. Gather things from all over the house to make loads.  

I eliminate this altogether.  No more going from room to room gathering a sock here and towel there. 

This is how the organizing mommy does it.  Trust me, it's not sanctified or even the best system you've ever seen.  It's just a super easy way that works for my family.  

 Each child has a laundry basket.  Each child has an assigned day in which to do laundry. Sometimes two children will partner up on days or loads, but that is their business and does not concern me.  

The child is not responsible for doing anyone else's laundry other than their own. (This includes washing their towels and sheets periodically)  They can sort or they can throw it all in together.  I don't make a lot of stipulations.  During one week, they usually have two loads per child, but some only have one load.  Some of the kids are super picky about sorting, and other kids like to wear pink underwear.  Whatever!

The next thing they have to do is fold and put it away--on the same day that it is washed, preferably.  If a child has a crazy schedule and it sits for day, I ignore it.  If it slides for a few days, I start making threats.  (I'm not sure what I can threaten, but I try)  

The younger ones, obviously, need a lot of supervision and direction at the outset.  I may even go through and help them label the inside of their drawers and make sure they know where to put things, unless they want to do this themselves.  

It's not like I never help them at all.  If they are outside and dryer buzzes, I will open it and change loads for them occasionally.  But I can't recall the last time I actually folded their clothes and placed them in the drawer for them.  (Maybe when child #4 had a broken leg this summer?)  

Generally my boys get right on their ironing right away. I just leave the ironing board up in the craft room with a can of starch.  (My 11 year old is really picky about his clothes, you know)  My daughter (13) prefers to have things crumpled up in a ball until the last minute..  whatever!  As you can guess, our kids don't exactly look like something out of L.L. Bean catalog, but they don't look too horribly awful on most days.  

I never realized this system would be as effective as it has been.  I think we've been doing it for about 3 or 4 years now and the actual amount of laundry that gets washed is considerably less, since there is no advantage to throwing all the clean clothes right back into the laundry basket.  (Trust me, they tried it.  I started threatening to charge them to do their own laundry if it exceeded the limits.  Mean mommy!!!  It stopped.)  

So, now that you know the awful truth.  I do not do my children's laundry, and I threaten to charge them money if they exceed the limit.  Really.  Ingenious, I know.  That's why I had to tell ya.  More later.  The next post is on what I do with my own laundry.   


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