First off, I highly recommend visiting Antsy Pants for a Laundry Room Make Over!
Laundry basket for each kid. Train your kiddos to deposit their grungies in their laundry basket - if it's in the basket, it gets washed. If it's not in the basket, it doesn't. Stick to it. You will wind up with less on the floor and less around the house.
- Wash one (or two) kids baskets per day - depending on the amount of time you have. Once it come out of the dryer - move the clean clothes to that child's bed for folding. If you haven't yet taught your kids to fold their laundry, now's the time. I started training at age six - but it depends on the kid. If your kiddos aren't that old, then you fold the clothes on their bed and let them put their stuff away. Kids can do this by age five if (and only IF) there is room in the drawers. If the drawers are too full, everyone's frustrated.
- If you think you'll have less than full loads by doing this, add towels, sheets, bath rugs, etc. to your load. There's always something! However, I find this method (without adding extra) has actually helped me get the clothes cleaner. Yes, cleaner! I'm someone who crams the washer full and the clothes don't have room to move around. This method helps me from having too much laundry at one time, too.
Mesh bags. You can get an 11x17 mesh laundry bag for about a dollar and it's well worth it. They can be used for many things.
- Give one to each child for their socks. Socks are washed all together and dumped back into sock drawer all together. Let your child match their socks (or you can do it - at any rate, it gives you less quantity at one time to match up). They don't come out fluffy - but that may not matter to you.
- Give one to each child for their underwear. Wash them, dry them, and dump them back into the underwear drawer. Folding underwear is completely optional. Same non-fluffy issue.
- Use one for your bras. The straps won't twist around other clothes and stretch out. The hooks won't snag other clothing. Plus, you shouldn't toss your bra in the dryer - it shortens its elasticity.
- Use mesh bags for sports gear. Have your kids toss their soccer socks, jocks, etc. into a bag. They are easier to spot in the wash/dryer meaning less time looking for items gone astray.
Sock Basket. When I'm not using the mesh bag method for socks, I'm using the sock basket. We keep a basket in the hallway, near the dryer, with all the kids socks. Socks get matched up in the laundry and live here.
Basket on the stairs. I keep a small basket on the stairs for dirty duds. My family tends to take off socks, shirts, and what not, kind of ... well, everywhere. I find I yell less if there's a small basket on the stairs to toss stuff in so I can collect it and take it upstairs to the main laundry basket as needed. I also toss place mats, hand towels, dish rags, and pot holders into the basket when it's time to swap out.
Lonely socks. I keep a bin for odd socks by the dryer and the kids get some extra dough for sorting through it every so often, matching up pairs that have found their way together again. I got the name from the Laundry Room Make Over at Antsy Pants.
Stains. Get a good stain remover that really works and use it well. Don't skimp. I prefer one that can dry on the garment, so it can "set" for a while if necessary.
Simplify your Clothing Options. When all else fails, reduce your clothing options. Seriously. Ever wonder why laundry isn't so bad on vacation, even if you have to do it? There's a finite amount of it. One summer I packed everything into box except ten outfits for all of us (except my loving hubby, of course!). I needed no method - there wasn't that much laundry to do, so even doing it all in one night was a BREEZE!
I encourage you to leave your best tips here. Maybe soon, the Laundry Fairy will see this and come help us all out.