Bloomington / Normal, IL

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Loads of Fun With Laundry


By Karen Tucker

What is your most hated household chore? Cleaning the bathroom? Washing dishes? Picking up dog poop? While it may be hard to pick just one, doing the laundry is at the top of most people’s list. Throwing clothes into the washer and dryer is easy. It’s the folding, putting away, hauling up and down stairs — and the fact that it is never ending — that makes it such a disliked chore. But, if you and your family get dressed each day, you will have dirty laundry. However, there are lots of ways to make laundry less exhausting. In fact, with a few creative tweaks, you might even find it fun!

First thing is to evaluate your laundry area and make it as pleasant and functional as possible. Paint the walls, add some laminate flooring or low-pile carpet, and install some good lighting, especially if the washer is in a dingy basement. Be sure there is a table, some shelves, and a place to hang things right as they come out of the dryer.

Some people prefer to throw a load in every day or so, while others prefer to have a designated “laundry day.” The advantage of a laundry day is that you feel like it is done and you don’t have to think about it for another week, rather than having laundry evidence all over the house all the time. The disadvantage is that it builds up over the week and takes a bigger hunk of time to get it done. Try it both ways and see what works best for your situation. Following are a couple other suggestions to consider.

Radical laundry idea #1
Consider eliminating (or greatly reducing) the amount of folding. Most kids (and adults) wear the same clothes every week. Why waste time and energy folding and putting clothes in a drawer over and over? Does underwear really need to be folded? How often do the folded clothes from the basket even make it back into the drawer? Just have each family member work out of two baskets — one for clean and one for dirty. When the dirty basket is full, then you have a load of wash. Clothes worn straight out of the laundry basket won’t be wrinkled if you lay them in the basket as you take them out of the dryer.

Radical laundry idea #2
There is no reason why mom (or dad) should be doing everyone’s laundry. By the time a child is in 5th grade, they are more than capable of doing it themselves. This not only lightens your load, but teaches them responsibility. Most clothing today can all be washed together on the same setting in cold water — whites and darks alike — with the exception of new jeans and anything red or bright pink.

Radical laundry idea #3
Are you washing things that don’t really need to be washed? Do sheets need to be washed every week? Are jeans dirty after wearing them one time? Socks seem to pose a particular challenge — I think they truly do vanish. Designate a smallish basket for all socks without a mate. You know it will show up eventually! For young children, purchase all white socks so they are easy to match.

Radical laundry idea #4
Make the laundry process fun! Put on some upbeat music and sing and dance while folding and sorting. Let the kids throw socks at each other, or make up a game of “clothes basketball.” The point is that laundry and other household tasks have to be done, so we might as well find a way to make them fun!