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Conquering the Mountain
HOME & Site Map / Latin Roots / Big Family Tips / What's for Lunch? / Boredom Busters / Travel With Children / Activities for Preschoolers / More
- Reduce the Mountain
- Motivate to Minimize
- No More Lugging Laundry
- Teach the Children
- Every Dirty Has Its Day
- Whose Socks Are These?
- Fold & Told
- Detergent Savings
- Clutter-Free House for $5 a Week
Reduce the Mountain
From: Kelly S.
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- IF IT DOESN'T HAVE VISIBLE DIRT AND DOESN'T SMELL BAD, IT ISN'T DIRTY!
The kids each have a hook on the back of their bedroom door, to hang their clothes when they take them off. I take a peek when I tuck them in at night and toss anything that needs washing in the laundry. Otherwise, they wear the same clothes the next day (the exception to this is underwear & socks). In summer, usually everything is dirty after one wearing, since they play outdoors. In the winter, though, we usually get at least two wearings out of each clothing item. Jeans are good for many wearings!
- I AM NOT A SLAVE TO YOUR SOCKS!
The children all have their own sock bag. This is a large lingerie bag that also hangs on the back of their bedroom door. On sock-washing day, I grab all the bags, throw them in the washer, and put an empty lingerie bag on their hooks. Then the socks go, bag and all, in the dryer. When dry, contents of the bag are dumped in the appropriate party's sock drawer. If they put socks in the bag inside out, that's how they get 'em back. If they put "sock donuts" in there, the socks don't come out very clean, so they quickly learn to unroll socks before putting them in the bag.
- PAJAMAS DON'T GET DIRTY.
Pajamas are stuck under your pillow when you make your bed, and are worn again the following night. I wash 'em when I wash your sheets.
- TOWELS ARE MULTI-USE ITEMS.
You have three towels in your own color. One towel is good for at least two days, since you are drying your own CLEAN body with it.
- LAUNDRY TAKES DAILY ATTENTION.
I have six laundry baskets in my laundry room and one hamper in the bathroom. Dirty clothes get tossed in the hamper. Once a day, I sort the contents of the hamper into my six laundry baskets. (Jeans, whites, brights, lights, delicates, linens.) Monday I wash, fold and put away jeans, Tuesday I do whites, etc. The key is to fold and put away the same day they are washed. I used to have clean clothes, waiting to be folded, in piles all over my house. This way, laundry takes almost no time at all.
Motivate to Minimize
From: No TV Mom
We are now 2 months into my new laundry plan. The child with the LEAST amount of clothes in the wash wins $1. This one dollar a week has transformed my wash. I do wash on only 1 DAY! We are a house of six. I am down to just 3 or 4 loads of laundry a week.
I bought cheapie laundry baskets for each child. As I wash and fold the dry clothes, I just place them in the appropriate basket. Then when the wash is all down, out comes the dollar and dad is the judge as to who has the least amount (not counting underthings and socks).
I don't have many towels to do, since we hang up our used towels after each use and they only get washed once a week. But the children's clothes have been cut WAY down! Even the 3 year old has won a couple times. I thought that the teenagers would be wearing ragged and dirty clothes, but they are now keeping themselves cleaner so that they can wear those clothes longer! ITS A MIRACLE! I AM ALMOST LAUNDRY FREE! Well, not quite, but almost.
We have never given out allowances or anything like that and the children have always been expected to do their part in the upkeep and running of the home. So this dollar is a big boon to them.Return to the top of this page
No More Lugging Laundry
From: Diane in VA
To minimize how much we carry laundry around, we've moved many items downstairs. We keep all the shoes in the closet by the front door, and we keep the socks in the laundry room. We usually put these things on/off downstairs anyway, so it saves time. We keep the kids' pajamas in a cabinet in the downstairs bathroom. So after baths they have their pajamas right there, and dirty clothes go into the laundry room right next door.
My next project is to build clothes cubby's in my laundry room. I will take them out of the dryer, fold them, and put them in each child's cubby. My children can either dress in the laundry room or take their piles to their rooms. I'm hoping this will keep the clothes neat and accessible until they get them put away. We also have a rack for hangers in the laundry room.
I wish I had a laundry room with drawers in every wall and lots of hanging space - a dressing room of sorts! It isn't big enough, but I can dream, can't I?Return to the top of this page
Teach the Children
From: Cathi in Hawaii
With six children at home, this is how our system works:
All children over six do their own laundry. Each child under six is assigned an older partner who is responsible for the laundry of the younger one, and on the same day. This way loads of two children can be combined, but the age difference is usually such that nothing is accidentally put in the wrong drawer. When you turn six, you begin, under the tutelage of the older partner, to sort and put away your own clothes (sometimes this even happens at four or five) and later that year, to operate the washer and the dryer. By age seven, this is pretty much an independent process but is still supervised by an older child.
My husband does his own laundry, many times adding mine in. One of my daughters is responsible for towels, one for kitchen linens, and I do sheets.
The trick about putting pajamas under the pillow wouldn't work at our house. My children usually eat breakfast in their pj's because I would rather have them dribble milk or cereal on them, than on their school clothes. But since they all prefer to sleep in oversize T-shirts and we have hundreds, this is not a problem.
And to answer the obvious question: Yes, we have occasionally lost an item or two due to a too-hot dryer, improper sorting, mildew, etc. But I consider it a VERY small price to pay for spreading out the work load and building responsibility in the children.Return to the top of this page
Every Dirty Has Its Day
I have 4 boys & 4 girls. Wednesday is Boys' Day and Thursday is Girls' Day. On their day they bring in their laundry and sort it, and they fold and put away. On these days I have one load of whites, two of play clothes, and two of jeans.
I also have a Towels Day, Sheets & PJ's Day, and Dress Clothes Day. This way I am not going about through the house collecting clothes and sorting every day.Return to the top of this page
Whose Socks Are These??
From: Paula H
With a laundry marker, put one dot on all of your oldest child's clothes, to identify what belongs to whom. I'd suggest marking all similar items at the same place; e.g. put one dot above the center toe on each sock. Mark your second child's clothes with two dots, and so forth down the line. That way, when your oldest outgrows his jeans, simply add a second dot, and they are marked for little brother. If you have a large family, you may want to use dots for the boys and dashes for the girls, so your ninth child doesn't start to think that polka dots are in fashion.Return to the top of this page
Fold & Told
I once heard a suggestion to read aloud to your children while they fold clothes. I have been doing this for about a month now and it works!!!!! If I am too tired and need my nap, they set the timer for 30 minutes and listen to a story tape while they fold.Return to the top of this page
From: Paula H
You probably know that the detergent measuring cup is too big. There's a dim, hard-to-read line for how much you need for a normal load. The cup holds about three times that amount. The more people who don't notice that line, the more people use too much, and the more detergent they sell.
You know that. But do you always follow it? Does everyone who does laundry in your house follow it? Or do they just fill the cup in a hurry? I cut the cup at the "normal load" line, so it can only hold that amount. Now I just fill this reduced-capacity cup, and no one in my family mistakenly wastes detergent. When I open a new box, I discard the cup in there and use my modified cup instead.Return to the top of this page
Clutter-Free House for $5 a Week
From: Tiffany, Cheryl & Tulsa World
We started with a clean house. I posted everyone's name on the refrigerator. Now when anyone finds something that someone else left out they put a tally mark by that person's name. If I leave an item out and my ds puts it away, I get a mark by my name. The person who gets the fewest marks wins $5.
So far it is working great! My dc are putting their own things away and their siblings' things! And mine too sometimes! I figure even if I don't win the $5, I do win a clutter free house!Return to the top of this page
Check Laundry Systems Analysis on OrganizedHome.Com, for a thorough approach to managing laundry.
If you have any ideas to share, e-mail me, Paula H