We’ve all been there: surrounded by piles and piles of clean kids’ clothes in baskets taking over the hallway, bedrooms, and maybe even the actual laundry room. My own clothing accounts for a portion, but the main culprit of most of the piles is all of my kids’ laundry. They have so many clothes.
I might be a professional organizer, but the laundry mountains were starting to even overwhelm me! So I had to get smarter. I called in reinforcements to get me back on track. Spoiler: these reinforcements happened to be my kids!
Read on to learn some tips and steps on how your very own kids can help you attack the piles of laundry, too! With a little bit of planning and teaching (and a bit of patience), kids’ laundry doesn’t have to take over your life anymore.
Step 1: Drawer Organization
While I love file-folding clothing to utilize the most space in drawers, this isn’t the best system for young children. Start by giving each drawer one type of clothing. For example, all t-shirts go into one drawer. All shorts go into a different drawer. Try not to overlap types of clothing in each drawer. This helps create an easy systems the kids can follow.
Not enough drawers? Try using bins in the closet for holding things, like off-season clothes!
Step 2: Laundry Labels
I strongly suggest adding picture labels to each drawer and/or bin. This visual helps the kids find what they are looking for, which makes putting away clothes go more quickly. Since their attention span is so short, it helps to keep them focused.
Step 3: Teach Them
Once the drawers are organized by specific type of clothes, teach the kids where things go. Play games with them to have them find a t-shirt, or pajamas. You can even use this initial teaching time to put away clothes that were in the laundry!
Step 4: Sort Kids’ Laundry
Now comes my kids favorite part-sorting. They love digging through the clothes to find their things. Sometimes we have to time for everyone to see who can sort the fastest. I usually lose because I do make sure all their shirts and pants are not inside out.
The kids love racing, because who doesn’t love to see who can find things the fastest? Plus it makes me happy once that part is over!
Step 5: Put it all Away
After all of the planning, sorting and fun, comes the pinnacle step. When I first asked them to put their laundry away a couple of months ago, my kids both looked at me with confusion. My daughter said, “I don’t know how to fold.” That’s when I realized that we needed to change our system.
Each kid takes their laundry basket and goes into their bedroom to put away clothes. I sit with my daughter (4) and we talk the entire process through as she is putting things away.
If she starts to get overwhelmed by the large pile, we start by having her pick up one thing. Then we put that one thing away. I ask her to find one more thing and put that away. This process helps reduce her anxiety when she sees all that needs to get put away. (This idea helps adults as well. Just pick up one thing and put it away, then move onto the next item. Slow and steady works every time)!
My son (5) is able to put all his clothes away independently. He organized all his clothes in bins and put them in his closet how he likes it. I don’t touch them, as he created his own system (I can’t help but check to make sure things aren’t misplaced, though).
When he puts his things away, he finds all his t-shirts, then puts them all away at once. This works for him, so I let him go with it.
Step 6: Maintain Kids’ Laundry Routine
Now that the foundation has been set, it’s getting easier and easier to maintain. We do laundry once each week and the kids are responsible for this entire process. Some weeks are tougher than others to get the job complete. So, to ensure the task gets done, I have some tricks up my sleeve.
I try to do laundry in the morning, before they get engaged in an activity/game/etc. This helps keep focus on the task at hand.
If I missed that opportunity, I try to do laundry time with my kids before an enjoyable activity, like TV time or special play time. This gets them motivated to get it done!
We have been doing this kids’ laundry routine for about two months now, and it has been such a game-changer. The kids know exactly where things go, so it makes getting ready in the morning more efficient for all of us. Plus I haven’t been getting as overwhelmed with laundry, which is a very important and appreciated plus!
I have set up a few clients with a similar system. Their kids have picture labels on drawers or in their closet and are responsible for putting away their own clothes. Some of the kiddos’ have even reorganized their spaces so their favorite clothes are easier for them to get to.
Hopefully these tips help you better manage your laundry routine for a happier and more organized household!