My husband and I have been renovating our house for 4 and a half years and our most recent project is the main bathroom. We have gutted the room and borrowed space so now we have a large main bathroom, but in the process we lost our laundry chute. It was a great old laundry chute that went right from the bathroom to a holding area in the laundry room. It was the catchall for everyone’s laundry, clothes they didn’t want to put away, toys and lost neighborhood children. Every week (almost) we would do heaps of laundry and get the kids involved in separating, folding and putting away laundry. We carefully reviewed the separation of whites and colours, hot and cold, empty pockets etc. It was a great and often painstaking group effort.
What I have discovered in the elimination of the laundry chute is a huge reduction in my workload, less nagging (me), less groaning and complaining (kids and hubby) and a sense of real relief.
Here’s what we did:
- Made the kids responsible for their own laundry.
- Put a laundry hamper in each room to replace the main laundry chute.
- At the end of the day, have the kids decide if their clothes are dirty or still good for another wear. Underwear and socks are always considered dirty. Yes, surprisingly we do have to clarify this with boys. Clothes could be folded and put back in their dressers or put into the laundry hamper. The floor is not an option.
- The kids can decide when to do their laundry. Two of the kids alternate weeks because they share a room and a laundry hamper.
- The kids have to pick a time when they will be home to see the task through to the end. They have to load the washer and then dry the laundry and then it needs to be folded and returned to their rooms on the same day.
Here’s what the kids need to know.
- How to sort laundry. The boys wear coloured clothes mostly so this is easy. They usually just have one load each week.
- What temperatures to wash clothes in.
Coach them to remember always:
- Check pockets for forgotten items.
- Turn printed shirts (such as t-shirts) inside out to prevent wear on the printing
Teach kids how to use the washing machine.
- Show them a few functions to start a simple wash cycle.
- How to load the laundry evenly so the washer remains balanced
- When to use hot, warm, or cold water. The following items (most of my kids clothes fall under this category) can be machine washed in warm water; Polyester or polyester-blend items, Blue jeans, Cotton T-shirts and shirts, Sweatshirts and colored towels, Workout clothes
- Put the soap in before the laundry is loaded so the crystals don’t sit on the clothes.
- How to pre-treat stains. Keep a spray bottle of stain remover beside the washer and tell them to spray stains like food, grass etc.
- We find that if you use a 15-minute pre-soak that it gets out most stains.
Teach kids how to use the dryer.
- Which dryer cycle to use.
- How to examine the damp laundry and recognize items that shouldn’t go in the dryer.
- Check for stains that still remain and put the clothes aside for another wash. Once stained clothes go into the dryer, the stain will set and it will never come out.
- Remind your kids that if clothing is left to sit in the washer after it is washed it can actually mold. The faster clothing is removed from the dryer and then folded or hung up, the less wrinkles will develop.
Teach kids how to fold and put away the clean laundry.
- Match and fold socks together
- Turn clothing right-side-out
- Fold shirts, sweaters, and pants neatly
- Hang dresses, blouses, dress shirts and dress pants