Tired of spending loads of time on folding laundry only to find the piles shoved into dresser drawers? Find the solution that will save you time and sanity!
Every family needs a good laundry system. When you have a family of 6 little kids though, a flawless laundry system is essential, unless you want to be thinking about laundry all the time!
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I’ve written before about my laundry system which includes how the clothes are washed, sorted, the homemade laundry soap recipe we use, and how we keep our whites white. You might wonder what else there could possibly be to this process. I’ll let you know: the folding!
Folding clothes is one of those things that I think we do culturally. This is just my opinion, but if you think about it, do your clothes really need to be folded? Let me give you some examples as to why I think that clothes DON’T need to be folded.
It Takes a Long Time
If you have a full dryer load of laundry to fold that may take maybe 10-15 minutes. In my house, I am going to guess it is more like 20 because of interruptions and chasing the baby around to get back the clothes that were just folded. For ease of math, we will stick with 15 minutes per load of laundry. On average, we wash two loads of wash per day between clothes, rags, towels, sheets, diapers, etc. So, 2 loads per day, 7 days a week, 15 minutes of folding each load would equal a whopping 3 and a half hours a week that you would spend folding laundry. I can think of a million other things I would rather do with 3 and a half hours a week than fold laundry.
It is Already Wrinkled Anyway
Unless you sit outside your laundry room door like a hostage waiting for the dryer to be done, your clothes will be wrinkled anyway. I usually put a load in to wash in the morning, switch it at nap time to provide some great white noise for the kids during naps, and then it sits in the dryer until evening. I sort the clean laundry (not fold) while the kids are managing their showers and start a new load as soon as showers are done. The second load is moved to the dryer before I go to bed, and sits in the dryer until morning. By the time I get around to folding, everything has already sat in wrinkles for hours.
Once You Fold the Clothes, Kids Either Wear Them, or Shove Them
When was the last time your kids had perfectly organized drawers? If you are thinking about the last time you organized and folded all their clothes for them, that doesn’t count. I don’t think it is just my kids that open the drawer and shove their clothes in, making sure that nothing is sticking out so mom won’t check the state of the dresser interior.
The Alternative to Folding Clothes: Sorting
Sorting instead of folding has changed the way I view laundry. It is no longer a daunting task. I no longer nag my kids as to why their clothes are crumpled up after I just folded them. I no longer have piles of clean, folded laundry in the dirty clothes bin. (Do I still get clean clothes put in the dirty hamper? Probably, but it’s not folded, so I’m none the wiser! Another win!)
Like every good system that starts in my brain, I don’t want to invest a bunch of money into a system that may or may not work. I got 6 of these bins from the Dollar Tree. Yep, $6 was my up front cost. These are the same bins I use to organize my pantry, so if things didn’t work out, I had another use for them already.
These baskets are the perfect size. If a kid goes more than a day without emptying their basket, the basket overflows. If the baskets were much bigger, we might as well just get a big dresser in the hallway to house all of the kids clothes. Hmmm…
While I was trying the system out, I started off by lining the hallway with the baskets labeled with each child’s name. After I realized how great this system really was, I upgraded to the Avdala shelf from IKEA to house all the baskets. At $17 for the bookcase, the total cost was $23 for my most favorite and most used system in the house!
How it Works
When the clothes are all clean and ready to be sorted, all I do is put each child’s clothes in their basket. Super easy. Each child is responsible to check and empty their basket every morning. How they put their clothes away is completely up to them. I encourage them to hang up their shirts and fold their pants, but I know full well that most of those clothes are shoved. But that’s their thing. They are free to organize their drawers however they want. They are free to not fold if they don’t want to. It gives them freedom, reduces nagging, frees up my time, and still provides them with clean clothes.
So there you have it! I still hang up my shirts and neatly fold my clothes and have taught my kids to do the same. We’ll see what happens as they get older!
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