Monday, March 30, 2009

Laundry Detail

Laundry used to be a constant burden on the whole household - me because I couldn't get it all washed, folded, and put away before the next big heave-ho, my husband because he never knew the location of his socks (he's not allowed to do the laundry - I'm way too picky on how it has to be done), and the children because they never had clean underwear and they could not walk 5 feet before tripping over dirty or clean stacks of laundry. Oh, how times have changed. The kids and I (almost 2, 4, 7) now sort and wash all the laundry on Monday, and then sort, fold, and put away all the laundry on Tuesday. It's a miracle and still continues to amaze me.

Our best strategy has been to sort the clean laundry into piles on the floor. One stack for Daddy, one for Mommy, one for Daddy socks, one for Mommy socks, etc. Whatever makes sense to your system. If you're a clean and tidy person, you could lay a sheet or blanket on the floor. Then we divide up the piles and get to work.

Note we do get a little complaining once the skills have been acquired, but during the training process the kiddos really enjoyed these practical life activities (when I was not being critical mommy over their shoulder). My 7-year-old literally sings the whole time she sorts or folds, so it must not be too bad.

Toddler Jobs
- throw items in specified stack (clean or dirty)
- stretch out washcloths or socks or anything else
- hang small items on racks
- carry small stacks to drawers
- pour clothes detergent, etc.
- push buttons on laundry machines
- put clothes in washer, dryer, basket

Toddler Graduate Jobs
- sort clean clothes (even 2 year olds know which socks are Daddy's)
- stack matched socks
- fold socks
- roll/fold washcloths

- put specified clothes into waasher, dryer, basket independently
- fold their own clothes (don't be too picky) on the floor
- put away their own clothes
- fold towels
- hang their shirts on the floor
- match socks
- fold socks inside one another

- sort most of the family's clean clothes
- sort most of the family's dirty clothes
- fold any type of clothing
- change setting on washer or dryer

School Age
- all of it

- play texture game (match socks by blindly feeling row of socks)
- fold blankets and sheets with kiddos and give kisses when matching corners

(changes every couple months)

Sunday Night
Mom - carry baskets of dirty laundry downstairs Sunday night
Mom - throw in load of towels and set aside sheet load for morning

Monday Morning
Mom - thow towels in dryer and throw sheets in washer
4 Yr - sort the dirty clothes with Mom while 7 Yr fixes breakfast
2 Yr - help sort or cook or stack plates and bowls from dishwasher

Monday throughout Day
Mom (and whoever is available) - Keep running loads and dumping clean clothes baskets upstairs

Monday Night
Mom - carry up baskets and hang wet clothes

Tuesday Morning
7 or 4 yr - sort clean clothes while others work in kitchen

Tuesday Mid-Morning
Mom - fold Mom and Dad's clothes, Dad's socks, and sheets
7 yr - fold Mom and Dad's white socks, kitchen items, own clothes (not many), baby clothes
4 yr - fold own clothes (has LOTS of clean clothes), towels
2 yr - play by hanging washcloths or stretching out small items
All (esp. 2 yr) - put everything you folded away

Every one of the above steps requires some training time but then let them fly. Currently, I do alot of the moving clothes from washer to dryer and carrying baskets just because it suits our current work routine. But they do ALOT and I am so proud of them. My daugher was 6 when she first folded the entire family's laundry - not that I ask her to do that on a regular basis - but I was amazed that we could raise such independent, capable kids (though they have their issues). It took me 34 years to do what she did at 6 years old. WOW!

I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing.
Ezekiel 34:26

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