Laundry, Help!

My focus for the month: Laundry

But, wait, you say. Wasn’t last month’s focus laundry? Yep. And I didn’t make much progress. Some, but I am not at all close to a routine. I have done a better job of thinking about it *almost* everyday. (I often like to ignore the fact that there are hampers full of dirty, smelly, sticky, stained pieces of clothing tucked away throughout the house. Out of sight, out of mind.)

I have ALWAYS been behind in laundry, even before we had kids. And, even if I do keep up with running the washer and dryer, the clothes rarely get folded and put away. Especially in our room. There is usually a basket (or two) of CLEAN clothes sitting on the floor.More and more I am realizing that this just might need to be a DAILY CHORE for me (especially when my five year old son likes to go through THREE outfits a day, and my three year old daughter has been reverting to accidents, and my almost ten month old eats all the time and GETS MORE FOOD ON HIS SHIRT THEN IN HIS MOUTH.)

It hit me this morning that I have not seen this task as MINE. Deep down, I have seen it as a shared and temporary responsibility- even with the kids. Something that I have to endure doing, until Chris has more available time to help with this area, and/or the kids get big enough to take over their own laundry. As a result I get extremely frustrated when the kids won’t help me put away their clothes. I do need to continue to train them in this task. But if they choose not to help (they are only 5 and 3!), or if they do a poor job, it is still my job.

I want to WANT to do laundry with excellence. Not just something I endure. Something that I get to do, to bless my family.

With this is mind, here are my goals for the month:

  1. Seek Solutions. This week I will search for some helpful methods, and get suggestions from others who seem to have this task some-what under control.
  2. Pray for Heart Change. By the end of the month I will have searched Scripture for verses that I can memorize, and be praying through. I will post these verses up where I can be reminded of my role at home. I will trust the Lord daily to give me a servants heart, so that I can count others as more significant than myself.  I will repent of my sin of selfishness on the days that I don’t.
  3. Establish a Routine. By the end of the month, I will have a time and a place in my day for each stage of laundry: gathering, sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting all these lovely pieces of clothes in their homes.

So there they are.

And I am going to start RIGHT AWAY with goal number 1. I need some laundry tips! What works for you? How do you keep laundry under control? What blogs should I go to for help in establishing a routine?
38 replies
  1. Ashley Pichea
    Ashley Pichea says:

    I love your focus for February. You're not only attempt to create a habit in action, but you're looking to change your heart!!

    Reply
  2. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hi I stopped by from 3in30. What a wonderful goal and if you discover any tips, blog about them. I stay behind with laundry all the time.

    Reply
  3. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    Sounds like we're long-lost twins, lol!! I have never been good with the laundry either…I feel like folding most things is a waste of time since we're just going to UNfold them to put them on!! 😉 However, my hubby feels differently and I am trying to honor him and set a good example for my children by joyfully caring for the clothes of my loved ones! My only tip is to do a load every day…I haven't quite gotten there myself, but I know doing a small load a day seems both manageable, and not too unpleasant when I know I just have to do a little bit. (And now I'll be heading downstairs to put a load in the dryer before it rots in the washer…)

    Reply
  4. Philippa
    Philippa says:

    Laundry the bane of my existence, or my husbands as he seems to be the one who is better at it than me. We have two small children (23months and 5 1/2 months). But in truth we manage their washing. Our kinda thing is we do separate bundles of importance. When we hang it we make sure its shaken out (prevents the need to iron everything after). We make sure we fold everything together, and pack it away. We have a small place and the minute we are behind, it looks like a bomb hit it. We've made the decision to be excellent stewards of all our existence, so we gotta get on top of this one. I'm really loving your blog.

    Reply
  5. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Laundy, the chore that keeps giving and giving (or, more accurately, taking and taking…of time!) The baskets of clean, unfolded clothes (or worse, the dryer full) that just can't seem to make their own way into drawers, neatly folded. Even with two of my five being teenagers, I still have times when it gets away from me. *blush* But here are a few things I've read from other moms that might work for you. Some of them I use, some not. See what you're comfortable with.
    1) Do one load every day. Make it part of your daily routine.
    2) Don't bother with separating. (Unless it's a new item that might bleed in the wash; keep those separate.)
    3) Multi-task. Have a favorite show you just *have* to watch? Fold laundry while indulging.

    Personally, I just can't get into doing a load every day mostly because I can't bring myself to break the habit of separating the clothes (kind of a catch-22 there for me,lol) And we don't have cable/satellite anymore, so #3 is out, too. But here's what I do: I accept the fact that laundry will be a two-day process. Day #1 is for washing and drying. Day #2 is for folding and putting away. When it comes to day #2 (obviously the harder of the two) I work on it at two different times. First time is in the morning, when the big girls are cleaning their room and the little ones are playing in the nursery/playroom. I fold it on my bed, sorting it out by owner and dresser drawer, with the door open so I can keep an eye on the littles and the local Christian station on the radio so I can sing along while I'm working. (Chores with music is always nicer!) If I don't get it all done in the morning, I'll finish it later that evening after dinner while hubby and the kids are together in the living room downstairs. The nice part about doing it then is that, at the end of the day, I have a little quiet-time to myself while I do it.

    Sorry for the super-long comment, but maybe something in there will help. Oh, and for verses you might try Colossians 3:23. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Hope
    Hope says:

    (visiting via 3in30)

    Ah, the dreaded laundry task! Some weeks I do better than others on that. 😉 I've pretty much given my daughter (11) the task of being my laundry helper. She's great at helping me fold. Both kids definitely put their own clean clothes away; oldest also does her own hang-up clothes. We'll be having a sorting laundry lesson very soon with DD. She's old enough to learn this. And once I do that, I'll also teach her how to load the washer and dryer.

    I think it's important to teach the kiddos these kinds of household tasks, because they'll need to know how to do it as an adult. I recently also implemented a NO DIRTY DISH IN THE SINK rule in my house. So now everyone puts their dirty dishes in the dishwasher automatically (oh happy day!). It's all about working TOGETHER! 🙂

    Reply
  7. MommieKate
    MommieKate says:

    What is it about laundry? Yuck! It is a never ending task: the washing, the drying, then you're still not through! Folding and hanging and putting away- ENDLESS! It's not my favorite task either, can you tell? I like your idea about owning it and finding applicable scriptures. I don't have any tips to offer, sorry… f you find an easier way, please share it! (Maybe devote a whole day to it til you're caught up and then a load everyday to keep it under control.)

    Reply
  8. Alyssa
    Alyssa says:

    Oh my I see myself here, yet I don't claim the task. My husband actually does 90% of the laundry – washing part, then we tend to finally MAKE each other go in there (my bedroom) and have "clothes folding party" usually on Sunday nights so we can actually have something to wear the next week. I have found, if I take a load of laundry out and put it on my favorite chair in the living room, I tend to fold it faster. Hmmm motivation perhaps?

    Just know you're not alone.

    Reply
  9. tammigirl
    tammigirl says:

    Laundry is a challenge for me, too. I read one lady's blog and she keeps all the laundry separate. Kid #1 laundry all gets washed, dried, folded, put away, – no sorting this way! I'm going to try this and see if it helps me.

    Also? I realize we have way too many clothing items we don't wear. We need to go drop them off at a donation center.

    Reply
  10. {undeserving grace}
    {undeserving grace} says:

    Oh I hear ya on this one. I'll think I have a system and it will work til everyone gets busy and the piles appear overnight it seems! I have even thought maybe laundry is another thorn in my side cuz as bad as it is to get a handle on it God must be trying to teach me something and i'm too stubborn to figure it out!
    good luck w/ ur 3in30 i'm cheering for you!
    Tara from undeserving grace

    Reply
  11. aurie
    aurie says:

    Would you stop reading right now if I said I love doing laundry? I really do. I love that I can throw dirty clothes in the washer, add some soap and water and they come out clean and fresh. There must be something wrong with me, I'm sure 🙂

    I do 2 loads of laundry daily. I throw the first load in while the girls are eating breakfast so I don't have to worry about leaving the basement door opened, and then get the 2nd one in right after lunch. If I don't have time to fold during the day, I bring the baskets up to the living room, put on some music or tv and fold away. I don't combine my laundry, unless I'm looking for a bleach wash….and since the girls clothes dry faster than adult clothing, I do that load first so it dries faster, and then the dryer is already warm for the heavier weigh load. Does that make sense?

    If all else fails….I'll trade you laundry duty for kitchen duty 🙂

    Reply
  12. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    I used to feel the same way about making my bed- why make it, when it is just going to be messed up again. But, I love the feeling of walking into my bedroom with a made-up bed!

    I know it will be the same rewarding feeling if I can get this monster under control!

    Thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  13. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    I like the idea of this 2-day approach! I might have 3 days a week that look the same…part of why I have struggled finding a routine. But dedicating 2 days might work…I might try it both ways, a week at a time.

    THANK YOU for leaving a verse! I totally meant to ask for that in the post! I see another post in the near future…

    Colossians 3:23
    Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

    Reply
  14. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    I have contemplated having Kenneth start helping with the loading. The kids help me fold, (when I do it!) and put away, occasionally. But I would really like it to be part of our day, somehow.

    Is your 11 YO at home, or away for school? I feel a bit hindered, as Kenneth is gone most of the day, and I like to try to get it done before he is home.

    Reply
  15. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    I have been putting a pile in the middle of the living room, and that way I have to fold it. It has worked some, but then it sits in the basket, folded, and doesn't make it to the bedrooms. 🙂

    Reply
  16. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    It is so hard to purge! I would love to. Although, my 5 YO seems to have an attachment to the clothes that I would like to get rid of, and doesn't wear the clothes that I like. Ha!

    Reply
  17. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Laundry is a challenge at our house too, & I have some pretty good little helpers! The things that work best for me are… not sorting the laundry by colors, but by person/room (this saves a little time on getting the right clothes in the right place, & the only time I sort by color is if something might bleed- if it's new)… getting washing & drying done usually each day, but only fold & put away clothes once a week (I know we have wrinkly clothes, but that's just something that takes a little of the stress out for me)… & having my kids help (once they turn 4- they put away their own clothes & are able to help fold towels & by 5 or 6 they can fold pretty much all the other clothes). But, like I said, laundry is a struggle here too, & gets piled up way too quickly! 🙂 We do like to sing songs of Col.3:23 & Phil. 2:14- which makes the time go much faster. 🙂
    Jessica

    Reply
  18. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    What a wonderful post! I struggled with laundry also. So I understand what you are feeling. You have it right on the money! The heart needs to change first! Then from there things get easier! To know that washing and folding and even putting the clothes away is a blessing!
    Something else that helped me was realizing that I am being that example to my kids. Why would they want to put their clothes away when I didn't We teach them to "obey" by doing things, RIGHT AWAY,, ALL THE WAY, and WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE. IF all 3 of those are not done then they did not obey! So are we obey our Lord in our roles if we don't have all 3 also?
    I will be praying for you! You are on the right track! keep up the good work! 🙂

    Stephanie from 3 in 30 🙂

    Reply
  19. Patti
    Patti says:

    The one thing that I am pretty consistent with is starting a load in the morning when I first get up. It goes… get up, start water for tea, put load of laundry in, pour water, sit down with bible (except Sundays… no laundry on Sundays). By the time I get up from my quiet time, the laundry is ready to go to the dryer. My big problem is remembering to get it out and having the self-discipline to fold and put away immediately. My husband doesn't really like the dryer buzzer sound (and I eventually tune it out), so sometimes I set the stove timer. That helps. But if I'm in the middle of homeschooling I don't want to break it up for laundry. Another thing that really helps me involves that timer again. I do this for clean-ups too. We work together and we race as fast as we can. So as a team we fold and deliver clothes. I have to drop my standards a bit, but as they get older they get better. My youngest is 4 and he can do a lot (even your Anna could fold and put away washcloths). Bleh, this is getting long. Well, I did want to say how wonderful I think it is that you have discerned the underlying issue of not seeing it as your job. It amazes me how often we have hidden ideas underlying our thought processes. I distinctly remember deciding I was just going to go ahead and put my husband's clothes away for him, even though he could do it himself. I had been feeling grumpy about it (not my job!) then I realized what a small thing it was and how much it could bless him. I'm sorry to say it took YEARS for me to figure this out. You go girl!

    Reply
  20. Janet
    Janet says:

    My husband and I see the laundry issue as a location issue…the laundry room is always seemingly on the other side of the house from the bedrooms or on another floor. In our dream house one day the laundry room will be located in the heart of the rooms where the clothes are needed and stored. 🙂 Until then, I do my best at keeping my head above water right along with you. Hoping you find peace with your laundry next month!

    Reply
  21. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    Wow! Two loads A DAY! Other's have suggested keeping the kids clothes separate from adult, so that there is less sorting. Sensing a theme…I am going to try this! Thanks!

    Reply
  22. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    Love this intentionality, in singing Scripture with the kids, to help them (and me!) understand why and how we are to do our chores!

    Reply
  23. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    Right away
    All the way
    With a good attitude.

    Love this! I have heard this before, but have not put it into practice with my kids.
    You are SO right, in that they will follow our example.

    Reply
  24. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    I tried this a bit last month- putting a load in the wash in the morning. When do you collect the laundry? I think about it in the am, but then realize that the clothes are in with the kids, and I don't want to wake them!

    So, really, step 1 comes the night before?

    Reply
  25. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    Great idea! Makes me think of the Duggars, and how they have this huge closet with clothes in it, and the kids just go to the big closet to find clothes to wear!

    Reply
  26. becomingjoyful
    becomingjoyful says:

    I have a 3-compartment sorting thingie (I have no idea what it is called) in my laundry room. I bring in dirty laundry (and have kids bring it too) when I see hampers getting full, and just sort dirties into that, so a bunch of the dirty laundry ends up being in the laundry room for a while. Sometimes in the early morning I do towels/sheets if there aren't enough clothes for a full load and I don't want to check hampers. I also keep a special basket on the machine for delicates and woolens and can pull something from there. Honestly we have a ridiculous amount of laundry. Bedding really gets me.

    Reply
  27. becomingjoyful
    becomingjoyful says:

    We have friends who don't use hampers. They have taught their kids to put the dirty clothes right into the open washing machine. When it gets full, one of the boys (they are 8 and 11) starts it! Obviously the mom chooses clothes for everyone that can withstand this. She says she does have a little basket for special things that she keeps in her room to wash carefully, but other than that it ALL goes together, and the load is run when the machine is full. Pretty clever idea.

    Reply
  28. marinecorpsnomads
    marinecorpsnomads says:

    I definitely don't have this one down myself, but what I do is dump the clean laundry out on the bed. Why? Because then I have to address it before I can go to sleep at night. I cannot leave it in the basket as it just doesn't get done if I do that. I fold laundry in the evening (obviously before bed) while watching a show that I enjoy (usually taped on the dvr).

    I'm getting ready to make my laundry room a place that is more inviting, and I plan on putting some scripture up to keep my heart attitude in the right place. Wishing you the best as you tackle your goals this month.

    Reply
  29. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    Love this idea! I started doing that this week with the kids, when they have accidents. I had been sending them to the bathroom, to leave their clothes in the tub. Why not go straight for the washer?!

    Reply
  30. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    Love this idea: "I'm getting ready to make my laundry room a place that is more inviting, and I plan on putting some scripture up to keep my heart attitude in the right place." Thanks!

    Reply
  31. Audra Marie
    Audra Marie says:

    My biggest struggle with laundry is remembering to do it. I think I need to put notes around the house to remind me. I think doing one or two each day helps plus listening to music. My dream would be to have a family closet / laundry room combo. 🙂 Making it a goal is such a good idea. Might have to try that at some point. 🙂

    Reply
  32. meaganashley
    meaganashley says:

    Presort system for me!
    2 hampers in kid room, one dark colored the other white. Teach children to sort their clothes as they take them off.
    3 hampers in our bedroom-one each for darks, lights and whites…I bleach our whites because my husband always wears white undershirts and the sweat stains are impossible.

    Whenever one gets full, just wash that load. One load a day is best.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply
  33. Bec Touzel
    Bec Touzel says:

    Hi Katie, just been reading your blog and getting encouraged!
    I am another crazy who loves the laundry. I love hanging it all wet outside in the cool mornings and taking it off in the heat of the afternoons. And that smell is amazing! For me, if the washing and folding is done at the end of the day then I kind of feel like I've achieved something, even if my daughter had a velcro day (where she stays in the ergo carrier pretty much all day). I like the reminder that God washes us (except he does an even better job than my washing machine) like those dirty clothes – we come through grace all shiny white and sparkly new.
    Would you think I'm insane if I told you we cloth nappy too?

    Reply
  34. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    No, you are not crazy- what a blessing to be able to enjoy it so much!

    "I like the reminder that God washes us (except he does an even better job than my washing machine) like those dirty clothes – we come through grace all shiny white and sparkly new. "

    What a great perspective! Thanks for visiting, and for sharing!

    Reply

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