I have a little secret for you…I haven’t had to put away the kids’ laundry in a few years! Want to know how I make this happen? Well, I have the kids put away their own laundry. They sort and fold all their clothing on their own! Yes, I will sometimes have to sit with them, but they are the ones who do these tasks. Yes, I will help fold things like sweatshirts with hoods, but they can do most of these tasks themselves.
Want to know how we got to this place? Have your kids watch The Organized Kids video then read my tips for how to get your kids to put away their laundry below.
Teaching Kids To Sort
I think this step is the easiest when it comes to having your kids put away their laundry. Kids as young as 2 can start to sort clothing. Why have them help? Well for many reasons, but the main one is that it is developmentally appropriate for them to want to help with “grown up” tasks. When you have a 2 year old who is frustrated because they cannot do something themselves, it is because it is in their nature to want to start to gain independence. So have them start with laundry. Dump a basket over and start sorting. All t-shirts go together. All pants go together. This was my daughter’s favorite activity. She loved sorting.
It is also developmentally appropriate for kids to begin sorting at this age. They do this with toys like the blocks going into the different pegs, so why not do some real-life applications to the sorting as well!
We sort into categories to make folding easier. Once you get in the habit of folding all the tops, you can just fold everything at once.
Getting Kids To Fold
Now folding can be tough for some kiddos, so I suggest finding a way to fold that works for your child. My kiddos have been file-folding since they were young so it works for them. If you find this is too challenging, move to another way of folding. And if you have multiple kids, they all don’t have to fold the same either! Find what works for your child.
My kids enjoy file-folding because it is the same technique for every shirt or pant. And they can see everything in their drawers.
I have folding tutorials and more helpful articles on laundry with kids below:
Putting It Away
Once the laundry is folded, you can start to put it away. Teach the kids how to store in the drawers or hang on hangers. My biggest suggestion is to make it as easy as possible for the kids to put things away.
My kids have Elfa closets with drawers. Inside each drawer, I have 2 drawer dividers to keep the clothing separate. I noticed that without the separation, the clothes would get all mixed up and my daughter would get overwhelmed when it came time to pick out her clothing. So we added the dividers and now everything stays neat in the drawers.
My Favorite Laundry Organizing Items:
Kids Doing Laundry
Another question I have been asked is when can I expect my child to put the laundry into the machine? You know, actually do the laundry, not just put it away. And I think there are many factors that go into that question. The first being what type of washer do you have? Because if you have a top-loading washer, your child might not be able to reach everything in order to start the wash. Or even take things out to put in the dryer.
One of my organizing clients started making her kids do laundry once they were in high school, while another was middle school. If you start with your kids putting away their own clothes, then having them start their own laundry shouldn’t be much more of a responsibility for them. Which is why starting early is key.
Now it is your turn to get your kiddos to start doing their own laundry. Make sure you teach them how to sort clothes. Find a folding technique that they like. Remember it doesn’t have to be the same for every child! Then put it away so that it is as easy as possible. And boom, you don’t have to do laundry for the kids any more!