How To Stop Folding Laundry (And Keep Your Sanity!)
*This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #EverydaySharpie http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV.
A couple months back my husband, being the sweet man that he is, pitched in to help fold the baskets upon baskets of clean laundry that had been piling up. Folding laundry is one thing that I loathe. You never catch up, it’s always there and it takes so long to fold it all and put it away. I HATE it. Which is why it always gets pushed to the bottom of my to do list and ends up pilling up until it’s an all day job to complete it. After my husband folded everything and I put it away, he looked at me and said “You are crazy to do this every week!”. I laughed and agreed and turned to go on with my night. He grabbed the iPad and went and sat on the couch.
Little did I know he was busy googling “how to stop folding laundry” in a desperate search for something that could help ease my workload and alleviate me from my laundry folding duties. And thus, an idea was born! Stop folding the kids laundry. Yup, you read that right. Just stop folding it. Now of course I’m pretty Type A and I am all about organization, lists, perfection and doing things just so, but once you have four kids you learn to let go of some of that perfection. This wasn’t an excuse to just quit doing laundry but rather a new system to implement in an effort to work smarter, not harder.
I spend hours and hours each week folding all of our laundry. There are six of us in this household and with kids doing multiple outfit changes a day, that means there is a LOT of laundry to fold. After folding it and carefully tucking it into each child’s drawers I will come back the next day to find this ^. A drawer full of messed up clothes that my kids have riffled through and left a mess. Me being the Type A personality that I am will stand there and re-fold all that laundry again only to find the same scenario the next day or in the next room! It’s maddening. So this is where it ends! Read on and before you call me crazy, check out the new system I’ve instilled and how it’s working for us.
The first and most genius idea I had in this whole process (and the most simple) was to start washing each family member’s laundry separately. Do you have any idea how long it takes to sort the kids clothes when I fold and put them away?! My boys are similar in size so I can’t just eyeball whose clothes belong to who. I have to read the size on each tag and it takes forever! Not only that but it also takes extra time to go to each bedroom in the house to put a few things away.
Begin by assigning each family member their own laundry basket and don’t mix them. When you wash them go ahead and toss them all in the washing machine together. If you must sort them then opt for the smaller load setting but DON’T mix your clothes and then have to sort them later. By eliminating the sorting step you will save a ton of time! The only time I sort colors/whites is when I have a new piece of clothing that might bleed. Otherwise I find color catcher sheets to work amazingly well and I’ve been anti-laundry sorting for years without issue.
On my quest for organization (I’ve been bitten by the bug!) I headed to Walgreens where I knew I had spotted a huge Sharpie display the week prior. I stood there and doodled on the pad and tried them all out and settled on the Sharpie Stainless Steel Pen and the Sharpie four pack of colored pens.
They would be perfect for all of the household organization projects I had in mind and perfect for implementing my new laundry system. The biggest thing I was looking for was a Sharpie that didn’t bleed through paper and these don’t! Score! With four different colors I can organize and color code my projects! Plus you can refill the Sharpie stainless steel pen which I love. I always get attached to a favorite pen and then it dies. Now I can use it til my heart’s content and just refill it! I can’t wait to color code my calendar!
First get a stack of cardstock, a Sharpie stainless steel pen and a ruler and scissors or a paper cutter. Divide your 8.5″ x 11″ paper into 6 squares, making each one 3.6″ x 4.25″.
It should look like this when you are done! And your Sharpie won’t bleed so no need to protect the surface you are working on.
Then make labels for each of your child’s drawers. My kids can’t read yet so my labels consisted of words AND pictures. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination (my sister got those genes), but I managed to draw pictures of each drawer’s contents so my kids can easily find AND put away their own clothes. Yes, that’s the next part of the system. Include your kids in the laundry process. Not only will you be teaching them responsibility, but you will also take some of the workload off your shoulders. By labeling each drawer with easy to read labels that they can understand, they can assist in putting away their own laundry. I also color coded each child’s labels so they can easily recognize which color is theirs and find their clothes easily. Carson has red colored labels and Aiden has blue labels. This further helps with kids that can’t read.
Next laminate them and cut them along the lines you created. I was less than impressed with my drawings but when my six year old saw them she asked if I had drawn them myself. I smiled and said yes. She replied, “Those are the best drawings ever Mom!”, so now I feel better!
Then tape your labels to each of your child’s drawers. We use the Ikea cabinets and they work so well! My two boys (3 years and 4 years old) each have their own cabinet and ALL their clothes are in their cabinets. It makes it easy for them to get dressed on their own. This system also doubles as an excellent way for Dad to dress the kids easily without having to ask you where everything is!
If their clothes don’t fit in their drawers then you need to pair down and eliminate some of the clothes that don’t get worn. One thing I’ve learned is that less is more. Overstuffed drawers typically contain many items of clothing that do not get worn because the drawers are stuffed and you always grab from the top. Get rid of the excess and it will make the whole system run more smoothly. You will find that when your clothes aren’t folded they take up more space so eliminating excess is essential.
One thing I really like about the Ikea drawers is that the kids clothes easily fit in them without being folded and you can just stack them. Now when you put the clothes away in the nicely labeled drawers DON’T fold them. Let your kids put them away. My daughter likes folding so sometimes she will fold her laundry, while my boys just toss it in the drawers. I leave it up to them. It teaches them to put away their own laundry and gives them the choice to decide how to do it. Kids love choices. I put away my younger son’s clothing and I refrain from folding it. Kids clothing is small and I find that it really doesn’t wrinkle in the drawers.
I still fold my laundry and my husband’s laundry and that won’t change. I fold our bath towels so they fit nicely in the cupboard. I have added a basket in the pantry in which I toss our kitchen towels into so I don’t have to fold them anymore. I use an Ikea organizer under the sink that holds all my dish cloths so I don’t fold those anymore either.
This is all about working smarter not harder. I’ll be bringing you tons more on how I organize our house to run in the most efficient way with six people living here. I can’t wait to show you my playroom organization! It was quite the makeover. Now I’m taking my Sharpies and hitting the pantry next!
What area of your life could benefit from a new organization system? Would you ever quit folding your kids laundry?
That is a really neat idea. I actually think I am going to give this a try!
Great idea! I hang anything and everything that I can. I fold the dresser clothes for everyone until the kids start messing them up. Then I just tell them to do it lol
I have to fold the clothes (or rather have Hubs do them). Maybe when they are older this would be a great idea for us!
This is a great idea, and I am sure it saves a lot of time!
This is such a great idea!! And means the little ones can start helping putting their laundry away at a younger age! Ha can’t keep them folded with them around anyways!
I would LOVE to quit folding laundry. LOVE it. We don’t have room for anything like this right now but I will definitely do it in the future.
This is a great idea. I struggle with laundry everyday!
I love, love, love it… so super-simple and yet genius… I totally need to implement this
OMG! I spend wayyyyy to much time folding laundry. I need to start doing this.
What a great idea! With 5 kids I am lucky to even get the laundary done! What a great solution!
The title of the post seemed to good to be true, but this seems like a great idea and really easy to start! Sorting does take a while, especially with a lot of kids!
Sounds like a great plan!I hate folding and putting away 5 person laundry piles!
What a great idea! I love this! Folding clothes is the pits.
I LOVE THIS! Folding clothes is like the ninth circle of Hell. Blech.
This is the best idea I’ve ever seen. Folding laundry is terribly boring AND it’s a huge time suck. This is great!
Love this idea! It sure as heck would save a lot of time and space in the long run. Will have to give a try! 🙂
This has got to be the best idea I’ve read yet concerning laundry. OMG. So implementing this in our house!
I just saw this on Facebook. I would really really like you to come make me one. Please ? 😉
I hate folding laundry but I hate putting it away even more. I usually just leave the clothes in the baskets and sort through when I am looking for something to wear,
This might actually work for my family. FOUR of us…me and my three little girls. It takes me forever to sort their clothing.
I hate folding laundry, but I can’t stand looking at my baskets full lol. I think this would work for my kids though. Thanks for the idea.
This is such a fabulous idea for the younger kids! I need to get this system in my 2 younger kids’ rooms! Luckily, my teens do their own clothes.
I know the feeling there’s 5 of us in our home and laundry is a never ending battle. I absolutely love this! I need to go to ikea and get one for myself!
What a genius idea, i love the labeling, this can be extremely helpful to help the chaois when doing the laundry. Love this very much.
Such an amazing idea! I too LOATHE folding laundry! Do you have their drawers in their rooms or in the laundry room?
These are in their rooms. My daughter’s room will be next so I’ll be sure to update how we did hers (we aren’t using the Ikea cabinets in her room)!
Love this!! Do you have the link to the idea cabinets you use?
Love this. Ive been having my kids help for awhile but everything gets messed up after I’ve folded it all. This makes more sense.
Yes! It always gets messed up anyway and all of my hard work folding is down the drain. This has been working GREAT for us!
Love this! What Ikea cabinet are these? Thanks!
i have been doing this for almost 5 years. I got sooooo fed up with the carefully folded laundry being messed up within the hour that I just said, “forget it!” We have 8 people in our home and I can barely manage washing and drying the laundry, let alone folding it. I’ve gone a step farther and taken away the dressers in our home and have a “family dressing room” right in the laundry room. All my boys have a large drawer for their everyday clothes and a milk crate to hold their Sunday clothes/underwear/Jammie’s. When I’m unloading the dryer, I just toss the clothes into their respective drawers and I’m done. I also gave up with the socks (oh the socks! Argh), and bought 3 types of socks. Mommy and daddy socks, big kid socks and little kid socks. The adult socks are black, the big kid socks are white, and the little kid socks are grey. I buy the same ones every time. Same brand and size. I have a milk crate for each type of sock. No more pairing socks. I just toss them in the crate. They just grab two socks from the crate that goes with their age and they will always match, even if there are some missing socks.
The socks are such a pain! It is so freeing to stop matching socks!!!!!!!!!
This is what I have been doing too and its been brilliant!!! My kids have to wash, hang and fold their own clothes once they turn 8 anyway but with baby 5 on the way I had to get on top of the rest of the washing. I also divided the washing into separate baskets, different colored one for each family member and one for towels and sheets. It has been such a saving grace for me. And like you I eliminated clothes. I culled down to about 1/3 of the clothes the kids have and have never looked back. I have so much less washing to do to now. Great article!
Thanks Michelle! Yes, cutting down on the amount of clothing they have is a huge help! It all fits nicely in their drawers and since doing laundry is so much faster and easier, they always have clothes clean and don’t need a huge amount of clothing.
I also would love to know which IKEA cabinet this is. Kids’ dresser is currently broken. We go through the exact routine of fold, put away, rifle through and mess everything up, repeat. I am going to stop folding the kids’ clothes!!
Honestly this system has changed my daily life! Laundry is so much less stressful and time consuming now. This is the Ikea STUVA line. It can be done with any closet though. We just finished re-doing my daughter’s closet. We installed a closet system with shelves and limited hanging space and then I used fabric bins on the shelves and got rid of her dressers. Her shirts and pants now each have a bin that is labeled so she can easily find her clothes.
thank you! I was trying to find the line…
Holy cow – this is revolutionary thinking!!
I seriously need to do this! My life would be so much easier…or at least laundry would be!
what a wonderful ideal,,im going to pass this on to my daughter,she has 4 kids too and works full time
4 kids and a full time job, this could help her out a lot.
Craziness! I just labeled all my kids drawers to aid them in the putting away process and told my husband I wanted to quite folding as well so I’m excited to see this is successfully being done! My concern with it has been if I am teaching my kids how to correctly care for their things by eliminating the folding process and letting them just haphazardly shove stuff in drawers…will they grow up not knowing how to fold and walking around a wrinkled mess!? I do like how your focus was on giving them the responsibility of sorting and putting away though. I’m thinking I might try this!
Thanks for the uh-mazing ideas here! These have been life-changing for me. So much so that I wrote a post on it called “2 Household Tips & Tricks That Will Totally Lighten Your Load” >> http://simplynatureplusnurture.com/2015/10/20/simple-living-lifestyle-tips-household-shortcuts/
I linked back to this awesome post! Thanks again!
Thank you. I’m so glad that you found somethings that were helpful.
I really would love to know the name of that ikea cabinet system please?! I absolutely HATE folding laundry.
Best peice of advice! I was also googling “how to not fold laundry” when i found this 😛 Now I don’t have kids, but I find it meaningless and boring to fold my own clothes. To have these baskets = amazing!
Thanks from Sweden
What cabinet is this?
They are from Ikea. The Algot wire baskets.
Which ikea products do you use?
They are the Algot wire baskets.
This does work I was just sorting my kids clothes into their own laundry hamper after they were washed it was way easier but then went back to folding because I need to find something to put the clothes in not just a laundry hamper! Also I need to get rid of clothes you have inspired me to start on this again!!!
I am going to implement this right away!! Is this the one you got? My son and daughter will share a bedroom, i wonder should i get two of these little wardrobes, they look really handy.
Oh my gosh! I have been wanting to stop folding laundry for so long now, having 3 boys under the age of 8 and multiple changes plus myself and a husband and the mountain of towels and rags and blankets…something has to give! My kids will get something out of the closet and not hang it back up, and they all 3 share a closet so its a messy situation…This article solidifies for me and gives me the courage that I can stop folding their laundry and hopefully not get judges for being lazy (not that I give a rat’s behind). Which Ikea cabinets are those exactly? I am trying to find them on the website but not having any luck!
Thanks again! I love life hacks!
nevermind! I read the other comments who had already found the cabinets 😉
Hey!!! What ikea cabinet is this please!!!!
This is the Ikea STUVA line.
When a small grandchild suddenly moved in I didn’t have a dresser in his room. I bought the wider deep sized plastic drawers in stacks of three from walmart ( white frame with clear drawer).. Bought two sets for a set of six drawers. Drilled holes in the plastic frame and used cable ties to stack and anchor together. Labeled front of drawers ( socks/panty, PJs , jeans, t- shirt, shorts etc. ). This worked fine for a number of years until we bought a dresser and labled those drawers. I did fold the jean and just rolled up tshirts .
I now use those those plastic drawers to store xmas decorations in.
That sounds great!
Okay so, I know you wrote this years ago but I’m hoping you still check this! haha!
I am wanting to give this a whirl for my kiddos but I cannot, for the life of me, find the right cabinets! I know I’ve seen them before, but I just can’t find them online [and we live a few hours away from a store so I need to check stock before we make the trip!] Do you happen to remember the exact configuration?
Thank you so much!
Oh wow, I guess I should’ve checked the other comments first – I did skim for a moment but didn’t check the last handful! lol Okay so the STUVA cabinets and the Algot wire baskets?? Was there anything extra you needed in order to use them together? Thank you again! 🙂
Nope you should be set with those! Enjoy