I get a lot of questions about creating a laundry system and keeping laundry under control. I just received this question and I thought you might be able to relate. Thanks, Rachel, for letting me post your question.
I have a 7 yr old girl, 5 yr old girl, 6 yr old boy and a 4 yr old girl. My biggest problem in my home is clothes. My 4 yr old and 5 yr old like to dress up in their everyday clothes. I wash clothes every weekend and with them it’s like I’m doing 2 week’s worth.
And with a problem like that I seem to hate washing clothes so it’s seeming to never get done. Can you help please? ~ Rachel
3 girls and a boy can definitely produce a lot of laundry! I sympathize with you – I do not love laundry either.
Tips and ideas to help make doing laundry a little easier
1. Wash a little more often.
If you can, do laundry 3 times a week. I’ll bet the laundry pile is pretty big if you’re waiting until the weekend. If you only have to do 2 loads a on a laundry day, it might be a lot easier to face.
The backbone of my laundry system is that I always do separate loads per person (or bedroom). Somehow I don’t mind the washing – it’s the folding and putting away that always bugs me.
So if I don’t have 20 different piles of clothes, it seems like an easier job because I can bring one basket to one room and put everything away.
2. Teach the kids to put clothes away if they have only worn them for a short while.
Dress up is great, but they shouldn’t be making extra work for mom by throwing clothes into the laundry basket or leaving them on the floor. Have a quick time of pick up (maybe before bed?) where you guide them into putting things back if they’re not dirty.
Start using the printable bedroom cleaning checklist so they get used to knowing how to clean their rooms.
This should cut down immensely on the laundry! Maybe they could use some hooks where they can hang up dresses instead of having to fiddle with hangers.
Also, start telling them in a loving way that they’re making your job harder when they don’t put clean-ish clothes back where they belong.
3. Get the kids involved with doing laundry.
2 reasons for this – #1 – they can keep you company. Laundry is definitely more pleasant if you do it together. Sorting laundry and filling the washing machine are important jobs when you’re 4 or 5 – make them feel big by teaching them to help you.
My kids adore throwing the dirty laundry down the stairs! Sometimes they bring it right back up so they can do it again.
#2 – they can do their own laundry from start to finish in a couple years. My kids are responsible for their own laundry at about age 9 or 10, depending on maturity of course.
Chore training has huge payoffs, just like paying your mortgage. It just takes a while. This is a huge help!
4. Can you thin out the kids’ wardrobes at all?
Are there clothes the kids don’t need that are cramming the dressers and closets full? Fewer clothes means less to wash! I just went through a decluttering process of my own clothes and now I can actually see all the things I do love.
Since laundry is unavoidable, I try to make it as efficient as possible so it doesn’t sidetrack me from the things I enjoy doing.
What laundry tips do you have for Rachel to help make this less of a dreaded chore?
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7 thoughts on “Q&A: How can I make laundry easier with 4 young kids?”
I love all of these tips, and try to put them into practice. One thing that helps in the summers is have them wear sandals (no socks to wash!) and since we have an above-ground pool, they often just wear their swimsuits every day. I also have them wear their pants/shorts twice before washing unless they are really muddy. I discourage them from changing clothes several times a day and instead have some little ballet tutus for the 4 year old girl so she can change outfits with dress-ups, but not her regular clothes. I try to get them involved in the battle against laundry. I have 4 young ones too so it is HARD!
Hooray for no socks! Socks are such a pain, especially since my kids are so hard on them and I end up replacing them frequently. Love the swimsuit and tutu ideas!
I weeded out a lot of my kid’s clothes over the weekend. I’m not sure if it’ll result in less laundry, but it’s much easier for them to get dressed in the morning, and it’s much easier for them to put their clothes away.
While I really love the idea of washing everyone’s clothes separately, for me, laundry is more manageable if we throw in a load whenever there’s enough to make a full load. I think if we had a dedicated laundry day, my husband and I would both feel like it was drudgery; whereas, if we wash a load every couple of days, it doesn’t seem so bad. It only takes about 20 minutes of actual, hands-on-laundry time to get a load in the machine, hang it out to dry (we line dry everything), bring it in from outside, fold it, and put it away.
I love how you’ve figured out a laundry system that works for you, Becca. And 20 minutes really isn’t that bad, when you look at it that way.
Hi I have a laundry basket for each family member so it makes it easier to put the laundry away. I try to line dry all the clothes weather permitting placing each basket on the area under my line fold as I remove and place into the correct basket .
My mom liked doing everyone’s laundry together to save money. The laundry room had a sorting hamper or she lined the baskets up. Your older kids can probably sort their clothes into colors. My brother learned to fold washclothes at age 3, then hand towels etc. We were limited on TV and we earned 1 show for every load we folded..it motivated us us to help quite a lot. She never folded laundry during summer vacation because bored kids want to earn tv time.
Very smart of her! My big kids do their own laundry when they run out of clothes lol so they always fill up a load.