Nothing is sacred in my search to save time in my life. Even if I can only save one minute each day, that is still six whole hours in a year. Only six hours? Yes, six whole hours! I might even be able to get in a glass of wine once a month with that amount of time.
Since laundry for four people is a daily activity, of course I’m going to figure out ways to save time there. Since getting rid of all the clothing is not an option, I guess I have to figure out another way.
Since my children are all elementary age, they are old enough to take care of their own laundry. They are all tall enough to reach the buttons and only the youngest needs supervision to make sure he doesn’t put too much soap in.
The biggest hurdle to get over in order to allow my children to do their own laundry was my own expectations.
In my mind, I had a picture of a mom who did all of her children’s laundry, including folding them and sorting them into the proper places. Of course, they all stayed neat and orderly as well.
The first picture that had to go was the one that involved me doing all their laundry. That was a pretty easy one to erase as I actually did my own laundry for most of my childhood.
The only time I get twinges is when my children tell others that they do their own laundry. However, each time that has happened, the parents are actually really amazed by what my children are doing for themselves.
The second picture that had to go was the one that involved nicely folded clothing. With the kids doing their own laundry, I quickly realized that their standard of folding was much different than mine. For weeks, I tried to teach them the “proper” way to fold clothing and spent hours re-folding.
That is not very time saving at all!
Late one night, after re-folding and putting laundry away, I realized this was not working at all and I have to re-think this.
Then, I realized, 98% of the time, I could care less if the clothes my kids are wearing are wrinkled. And I could care even less if it is sorted and stored in the correct drawers. Most of the time, the kids were wearing the clothes to play or go to school. Everyday clothes – no need for worry about wrinkles.
This resulted in a trip to the store for some rolling bins that stacked. Each child got a 3-drawer bin for socks, pjs and underwear, as well as one stack of 4 half drawers for the rest of the clothes.
The focus is solely on the part that matters – washing their own clothes and putting them away so they are not on the floor. For the few times that the kids wear nicer clothing, I can handle one load of clothes that need to be cared for just by me.
Now, I save about 15-minutes each day. That is about 60 hours in a year!
No more arguing about how the clothes are folded. No more late nights of remembering there is a load in the wash that we need the next day. No more children yelling that they have nothing to wear.
The point is that I have children wearing clean clothes and I have found a bit of extra time – exactly what we need.