Don’t you just love doing laundry? Isn’t it your favorite household task? NOT!!!
We are a family of six with four busy children that play sports and we create a massive amount of laundry, constantly! A light week in our house can be 7 loads and a heavy week is 10 or more loads! Fortunately, we bought the largest capacity machine but I still hate doing laundry! Many household tasks are repetitive and never ending but laundry is, without a doubt, my least favorite!
There is no job in the house that I despise more than washing, drying, carrying, folding, and delivering the laundry.
The Early Days
When the kids were younger and I was folding little baby clothes, it was pleasant! Washing and folding cute little boy & girl twin outfits was relaxing while they played on the floor nearby. Even as they got a little bigger and became the laundry delivery workers, bringing the folded clothes to the correct bedrooms, we had fun! Now, after 12 years of doing more than 5000 loads of laundry for six people I have finally crumbled under the heavy load!! The novelty of adorable baby laundry, has most certainly worn off!
Endless Household Jobs
The bottomless sink full of dishes, that seems to magically refill itself when you walk in the other room, I don’t mind that. The constant food that disappears overnight or sometimes the same day it was purchased; I can handle that. The toothpaste that mysteriously splatters itself all over the sink and sometimes even the mirror, that is annoying but manageable. The rugs that were vacuumed yesterday but need another pass the next morning, I’m not surprised anymore. The stainless steel appliances that seem to grow fingerprints from the inside out because of course, no one touched them, I can polish that again. The list of endless household tasks is fairly infinite! It is just the damn laundry that piles up both dirty and clean in baskets all over the house, this is the mess I can’t deal with! So that’s it, I quit, I’m done!
New Laundry Reduction System
My laundry reduction system has enabled me to reduce my laundry to just 1-2 loads per week, sometimes even less. It is a very simple system; I only do MY laundry WHEN I feel like it! If someone needs some clothing washed, the machine is down in the basement! If I happen to be in an energetic mood, I may do a load of towels as well. On a special occasion, I may even fold those towels too! Basically, I quit the mom job of washing and folding everyone’s laundry, and its wonderful! This was not an overnight transformation; it happened in stages. It is now time for my children to fully manage and take responsibility for their own laundry!
How it Started
My husband actually gets much of the credit for the kids doing their laundry. A few years ago, When I was feeling extremely overwhelmed by working full time and part time and trying to keep up with the kids and house, I had a bit of a tantrum! I insisted that my husband needed to help more with the laundry. I could deal with the other stuff but the never-ending laundry was my breaking point! He agreed to help out more, without complaining, so I should have been a little suspicious! He brought my oldest son to the basement with his basket of dirty clothes and taught him how to do his own laundry! This was a few years ago. Over time, more of the kids have learned to do their laundry. At present, all four of my children know how to wash a load of laundry, and if they need clean clothes, they have to wash them!
It took me a while to take full advantage of this new skill that my children learned. If I wasn’t overly busy, I didn’t mind doing some laundry. So I would do as much of the laundry as I had time for and the rest was up to them. Then it finally hit me, why was I still washing their laundry, if they were completely capable of doing it? I could completely quit, forever! Woo-Hoo!My Laundry Reduction System has reduced my laundry to just 1-2 loads per week, sometimes even less. Click To Tweet
Then I expanded the laundry reduction idea a little more. There is more than one person in our house that takes 2-3 showers per day and uses a fresh towel each and every single time. This can mean an additional 10-30 towels a week! In summer, we have all the pool and beach towels added on so it is even more important to get some help! So I decided to stop washing towels too! The new towel rule is: if you take showers and use towels, you wash one load each month. This way, each person has their turn washing a load of towels and we aren’t running out anymore.
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There are certainly some finer points of washing laundry that my kids have yet to learn. The boys don’t have much of a problem with special washing instructions for their clothes. My daughter however, has definitely had an “oops” or two. It became necessary to put a “when in doubt, ask mom rule” in place for dressy clothing, sweaters or anything delicate or unusual. Dress clothes do not get thrown in the laundry, the kids are allowed to leave those for me. Speaking of dressy clothes, my son also has had to learn how to iron! If I know a day ahead of time that a shirt or pair of pants needs to be ironed, I will do it. If someone decides he needs something ironed 10 minutes before he is walking out the door for school, then someone, needs to learn how to iron! So he did!
Independence and Self Reliance
My children are now learning some important lessons to prepare them for their upcoming college days. Lesson #1 Mom and Dad won’t be there to do everything for you, so now is a good time to learn!
In truth, I fully believe in teaching my kids to be as independent as possible. They all have regular household chores including, garbage, recycling and feeding the cats but I know they are capable of doing much more. My children need to learn to do some basic cooking, so that they don’t think that ordering take out food is “making dinner”. They will understand this quickly once they start paying for their own food. My children are learning how to use a vacuum, a mop, a dust cloth and a broom or at the very least, a Dustbuster! They also know how to change the sheets on their bed and wash the dirty sheets too! My kids all know how to load and unload the dishwasher but I have a feeling none of them have really mastered washing a dish with real soap and water! That will be one of the next items on the list of important life lessons for my kids to accomplish.