One of my biggest guilty pleasures is reading other Home/DIY blogs and browsing the Home and DIY categories on Pinterest. I try to convince myself it is work related, you know… inspiration. But since my job is to generate original content and DIY ideas, rarely do I directly replicate the things that inspire me. So, it is pretty rare for a blog post to immediately inspire me to action. But recently, I had such a strong reaction to something I was reading, I immediately put my phone down and went to work.
One of my new favorite reads, and another fabulous Minnesota blog, is An Inviting Home. I am mesmerized by Sarah’s story of going from two kids of her own to 5 kids almost overnight after adopting 3 siblings. As you can imagine, she has had to work through a lot to get her newly 7-person family running smoothly. She has been posting lately about how she does not fold laundry and her laundry process.
When I read the first post about not folding her kids laundry, I had a bit of a light bulb moment. I thought I could do that. I only have two kids and find myself overwhelmed with laundry. The idea of not spending my Saturday morning sitting on the laundry room floor folding the weeks loads sounded like a nice idea. But I did nothing. I just filed the idea away. Meanwhile, at least four loads of laundry sat piled on the floor in front of the dryer. My laundry room never looks like this:
I detest folding laundry so much, I procrastinate until the point that not having it put away becomes aggravating. Usually the frustration peaks about the second day of me digging through the pile to find the boys socks or underwear because their drawers are empty.
So the night before last, when I was reading Sarah’s post about how she sorts the laundry, I thought about the ridiculous pile in my laundry room. I only thought about it for two seconds before I was in there sorting the pile. I had two hampers at the ready and I tossed the unfolded clothes in each hamper according to whose it was. In less than 10 minutes the hampers were on their way upstairs. In less than 10 minutes more the unfolded clothes was tossed into the drawers. This is what it looks like in their drawers:
By the way, the cute DIY numbered dresser is my tip for helping little ones get dressed. My three year old isn’t a master of finding things, yet, but he can read numbers. When he is looking for socks, I tell him to check drawer number 1. Also, helpful when I ask big brother to grab something for his little brother. And, it’s a simple way to tell babysitters where things like pajamas are, too, so they don’t have to search in every drawer.
I admit, like Sarah, I am a bit of a Type A personality. But, you know what, unfolded clothes in the drawers is a million times better than the giant unruly pile in the laundry room. The only exception I made was my son’s school uniforms. Those need to be semi-decent looking. He only has 5 tops and 5 bottoms for school, so I think I can handle folding those.
Now I just need to work the boys into helping with this new system. I love how Sarah has all kids over the age of three carry up and put away their own clothes. The folding part always tripped me up before, because the kids weren’t good at folding. Now that the tricky step has been eliminated, I am going to hold them responsible for putting their laundry away
neatly messily. So long as it is put away.
I think Sarah’s laundry tips have changed my life. I may not have to keep the laundry room door closed when company comes over, which will definitely reduce some of the stress of having guests. I wanted to pass along Sarah’s ideas, in case they can change your laundry-folding life for the better, too.
So, are you pro or con folding kids clothes? Any other great time-saving tips for laundry day?
The Advicist says
Great post Jackie! This is not just the best tip for laundry, it’s the best tip for LIFE! Stop doing unnecessary chores.
I run my household like I run a business. If I don’t see a benefit in something that outweighs the ‘time cost’ of doing it, I don’t do it.
An example for me is ironing. I don’t iron. Pretty much ever. I make most of my own clothes, and I use fabrics with lycra, good stretch and recovery. I hang everything flat to dry (don’t own a dryer), so ironing those = unnecessary.
As for things like bedlinen, I just don’t care enough. I’m sure some people LOVE getting into freshly ironed sheets (and that makes it worth it to them). But I don’t get anything out of it, so why spend time on a chore that has no benefit to me?
(Aside: when I was selling a property, I wanted it to look it’s best, so I ironed the linen once it was ON the bed. So much quicker! Looked great!).
I’m amazed by how many household chores friends do because they ‘should’ be done, without assessing whether they are actually of value to *them*. Why do they go through the motions without considering whether they even want the end result?
As a wise person once said, ‘There is nothing so wasteful as a job done properly, which did not need to be done at all’.
Very well said. I stopped ironing when I got out of the military. Last year my husband started laundering his own business shirts and learned if he hangs the immediately after they wash, he can skip the ironing, too.
I just posted the same thing! [http://www.berryfreckles.com/2013/09/dealing-with-kids-laundry.html] Totally on the same page…not folding the kids laundry has changed my life! It always ends up messy in the drawers anyway, so why bother folding?
Chris, Hooray! We are starting a laundry revolution.
I am trying to let go of things like this that don’t matter as much! I recently re-did the clothing situation in my daughter’s rooms and I do not fold nearly as many clothes as I did before, it is much easier to have them help put things away and saves me a lot of time.
Now they just need to grow a little so they can help put away more dishes in the kitchen :)
I am not a folder, I gave it up 8 years ago. Everything except pj’s, underwear and socks come out of the dryer onto a hanger. It is much easier to hand a child a row of hangers on their arm which they can easily put on their closet rail, than to open and stuff a drawer. Best thing I ever did.
Good point Natalie. We actually don’t use either of our boys closets. They only have one rail up high, but as soon as their clothes gets too big to all fit in the drawers, I think we will go to the hanging system.
I am usually one to take the simplest path and usually don’t care if my kids look wrinkled or stained unless we are going someplace special. I had already stopped sorting their clothes – everything from each room’s hamper goes in together (unless something is especially dirty or could bleed). But I never even thought about not folding their clothes. This is an epiphany.
Their clothes are all shoved into drawers and get unfolded anyway. Now it won’t matter.
The only downside is that I won’t be able to tell when they put clean clothes into the hamper.
And the reverse, being able to tell when they out dirty clothes back in the drawers. I better be careful, I could totally see my boys doing that!
Michelle @ Hey Love Designs says
I hate folding my laundry. I didn’t even realize the mutual hatred was a thing! Most of the stuff in my drawers end up unfolded anyways when I’m digging around, so why bother folding. I love this!
The stuff that needs to stay wrinkle-free are hung anyway. It’s mostly workout clothes and underthings in my dresser.
Michelle, I am now planning to get everything important for the hubby and me, so we can stop folding our stuff, too :)
I have laundry room envy. Color wise. It’s so inviting!! Now I think I’m odd. I loved to fold. My towels all a certain way. All clothes hung up a certain direction. Kitchen towels folded in thirds. And I did it daily so it never got to me. Even in high school I’d call Fold time and the girls helped fold. But alas I can’t fold without head junk and I can’t mop or clean the bathroom like I’d like though I still do toilets daily. Ewww. My head. But isn’t it great you sort toto these totes you could number and easily sort in laundry room and dump upstairs? I think have hangers for the uniforms and hang right out of dryer and hang in laundry room. Walk upstairs and hang up. No wrinkles. No worry about being stuffed in a drawer. But oh your laundry room is a laundry delight. And I just ignore it doesn’t look like this all the time. Ill live in my fairy tale world and enjoy it all ready for company. I did love mating my kids socks. MMaybe you’ll mate the three year olds and just admire them still? It was my favorite part of laundry. Their feet growing. But myMIL bought all socks alike so no mating required for her boys!!!
Oh I love your diverse posts and fun postings. No one but you makes even laundry aesthetically pleasing AND organized!!!!
Oh. Laundry tips? Get the Bounce color catchers. I even use two if load is bigger. It works.
White vinegar. It takes away smell. Like if the socks, towels seem not really fresh. I’ve gotten a towel and thought hmmm this isn’t so great. So I douse that towel with white vinegar and add some to the whole load. I add a bit of baking soda too to the towels. Makes them soft. When all moved out (and I use dishcloths multiple a day and not paper) I hang on hooks in laundry room to air dry til I wash a load. I add vinegar to the load as it kills germs. It helps a lot! Especially if a pile of damp towels pile up. Pour vinegar on the pile and throw in the washer!
I always, always end with my towels so I can leave them to sit overnight. I start with my most delicate, need to hang up clothes and my friend even has a rack in her laundry room so she can dry for a bit and quickly take out to air dry.
You’ll be a laundry lady in no time
Thanks, Gwen. Love the vinegar trip. We have a drawer full of flour sack dish towels we use in the kitchen instead of paper towels. So, I always have a pile of them waiting to be washed.
And here I thought I was the only one that left clothes in a pile on the laundry room floor! It’s nice to know I’m not alone. When we do put things away, I actually hang almost everything, that way my five year old can help put her stuff on hangers and then in the closet. Only pjs, pants and underwear go in the drawer.
Deena, You are not alone. The piles are inevitable, but I am hoping the new no-folding tips and hanging clothes will eliminate most of it. Matching socks remains my biggest challenge…thinking about getting all the same kind and throwing them in the drawer for each boy.
Sarah @ An Inviting Home says
Love this Jackie, you are too sweet! This totally made my day. I’m glad the “I don’t fold my kids clothes” revolution is a thing! :-)
p.s. I bought the boys each their own giant pack of socks that all look the same. This is great for matching purposes and because if one gets a hole I can just save the other sock until I need it down the road to pair up with another sock.
Sarah, I was totally thinking of doing that. They have a crazy amount of colored and different socks now. I think all the same brand and size would be so much easier.
Thanks for inspiring my personal laundry-folding revolt!
My secret is that I don’t fold ANYTHING! We hang almost everything up! T-shirts, jeans, dress clothes, all of it. Anything else (pajama pants, underwear, socks) gets tossed in a drawer. We love it and I can’t imagine how much time it has saved us.
I have heard of this before, I can’t even wrap my head around it. It’s not even just putting it in the drawers unfolded, but even letting it sit in a pile for a while & folding (or not). I don’t get how everything avoids being wrinkled? Do you then iron it? If there’s a load I don’t fold immediately, I put it back in the dryer on the “dewrinkle cycle” and fold right away. Perhaps it’s the OCD talking:)
Ashley, I live with wrinkles. I gave up ironing a long time ago. I blame it on my military days, which involved lots of ironing. Personally, I wear a lot of blouses that are wrinkle-resistant and I “dry-clean” with Dryel and hang right away. For pants, I am a jeans girl. My husband launders his shirts and hangs them right away, and otherwise wears suits or jeans. For the kids, I have never cared about wrinkles unless it is a special event…even then it is hit or miss for me.
If you prefer wrinkle-free, it sounds like other readers suggestion of hanging everything straight away would be good for you. It would allow you to skip the folding and the wrinkles. Of course, you might need more hanging space.
I love that you’ve taken a non traditional approach though to a dreaded chore:)
I love the idea of posting about and sharing household tips!
As far as laundry, here is our system:
1- Load and unload washing machine
2- Tumble dry anything that stands up to that kind of abuse (e.g. towels); hang dry the rest
3- Place clean items in a specific “for clean clothes” laundry basket (we use a colored “crunch can” from The Container Store)
4- Separate clothes by owner into piles (e.g. socks, undershirts, t-shirts)
5- Putting items away – fold larger items in order to save space in the drawer – folding takes me no time at all because I have a simple way of doing it that I learned by watching salespersons at clothing stores fold
6- Running out of time – anything I can’t finish putting away goes back into the “clean clothes” basket
7- For men’s dress shirts, we found a drycleaner that will do each shirt for $1.25 – compared to the time it was taking us to do them ourselves, and the money we were spending on starch, it was better for us to hire this chore out
8- For items that are expensive to dry clean (e.g. suits), we have a portable steamer (similar to this one: http://www.amazon.com/Conair-GS7RXF-Compact-Upright-1600-Watt/dp/B00063QMIA/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1379682472&sr=8-12&keywords=clothes+steamer) that we use a couple times a month – it gets out the wrinkles and I prefer it to Dryell
For #5, I suppose that using drawer organizers would be another way to save space inside drawers without folding
Jess, I love the idea of a special designated basket for the clean clothes, so it does not get mixed up for dirty clothes. Thanks for sharing your process.
martha barnett says
I think this is a lazy way to do things, I want the kids cloths to look nice not all wadded and wrinkled folding laundry don’t take that long! I dont think this is a time saving tip, its a disgrace to mothers who do take the time. I work full time plus and I still fold clothes! next your gonna wanna buy new clothes instead of washing them or hiding dirty dishes in the oven! my question is do you hang and fold your clothes or throw them wadded in a drawer too? if you hang and fold yours don’t you think your kids deserve the same?
Martha, I totally respect your opinion and that you are making the right choice for you and your family. My husband and I each do our own laundry, including folding and hanging. We also both work full time. Not folding our 6 and 3 year olds clothes (underwear, pajamas, jeans, and t-shirts), with the exception of school uniforms, is what works best for us right now. Instead of folding laundry, I would rather be reading or playing legos with them. When they are older and care about the state of their clothes, we will encourage them to fold their own laundry.
Martha barnett says
But thats part of being a parent it was your choice to have children not theirs how your children looks directly onto you if your kids wear wrikled clothes and look like slobs then you look like a slobbish parent Iam sorry but people need to grow up and take care of their kids! They will grow up thinking they dont have to fold their cloths because mommy and daddy dont! I want you to wad your clothes up and then wear them out see how that makes you feel!
Wow, Martha…simmer down. Jackie DOES hang her kids’ school clothes so they look nice at school. If she wants to put her clean laundry away unfolded, that is her choice and does not make her a bad or neglectful parent. As an elementary school teacher, I have SEEN bad and neglectful parents and this FAR from qualifies. You need a reality check.
WHAT?! Are you saying it’s okay to not fold laundry and just put them in the drawer? If that is true, then I think this is the answer to all my laundry woes. It is either this, or move to a nudist colony.
In all seriousness, I’m a full-time working mother and will take any short cuts I can get. If this means not folding pajamas or play clothes, I’m good with that.
Gracielle, I think all moms have to prioritize their workload and do what works best for them. I am not sure I will go forever without folding their clothes, but right now there are more important thins we want to focus on.
Just keep being the amazing mother you already are (and take all the short-cuts you want)!
Unlike most people, I actually like to fold laundry. I have 5 kids and a husband and I do all the laundry. I used to do all the laundry in one day, but that’s just not reasonable anymore. I do a load each day and at the end of the evening after all my other “night-time chores” are done I sit in front of the TV and put on my current show on Netflix and fold the load and put clothes on hangers.
I find it relaxing at the end of a long day.
Putting away is the hardest part for me, only because I take forever to do it! LOL. I don’t think I could handle all those unfolded clothes anyway. I get the heebie-jeebies just looking at the messy drawer. :)
Sarah, any chore you find relaxing, you should definitely continue doing. If you run out of clothes to fold at your house, you can come over to mine :). My relaxing chore is vacuuming. I love how methodical it is and with a black dog that sheds a lot, I love seeing the immediate difference with each pass of the vacuum.
I love sweeping and vacuuming too! If the floor is clean, the whole room feels clean. That’s about it for my love of chores though. Somebody else can do the rest. :)
Tarah Duncan says
I am seriously type A, but as there are a couple of unfolded loads sitting in my living room right now, this concept sounds relieving.
The only hang up for me, we travel with my husband for his job living in an rv with our four kids. I’ve minimized our clothes to somewhere around 7 sets each (due to space–or lack thereof) but we cannot afford to leave things unfolded. It just wouldn’t fit.
I absolutely love your laundry room though. And I’m a big fan of simple and easy.