*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?