When I became a stay at home father six years ago, I had no mostly no idea what I was doing. Like in the movies when an airline passenger is asked to land a plane after the pilots suffer some catastrophe, I assumed control hoping not to crash. The drawback has been learning all the domestic tasks from scratch, but that’s the good news too. While I still don’t clean windows as often as I should, I’ve built some other systems for doing chores. Here are 4 ways to make laundry easier.
- Pick a day to do it. Or two. Or three. Or whatever your household needs. At our house I do laundry on Sunday and Thursday and almost never deviate from that schedule. I’ve assigned other chores for other days of the week and this works because it removes a choice on what I need to do. It also lifts the burden of feeling like I need to do something. Floors always need swept, dishes cleaned, and clothes hung but those thing happen on their day. Any nagging feeling brought on by a collection dust bunnies is offset by knowing that cleaning day is coming up soon.
- Check the essentials. On Sunday and Thursday I grab whatever laundry hamper is the most full and begin putting clothes in the washing machine. Once I get a load started I check the other hampers for any essentials that need washed. For my wife this means scrubs, for my daughters underwear and gymnastics leotards, for me it means nothing as my wardrobe is the most flexible. Collecting a few sets of underwear or scrubs to throw in with a load of other stuff allows the twice a week laundry because I know that whatever they have to have has been washed.
- Hang as you go. In two of our three bedrooms we have spacious closets and that has led to plenty of tops on hangers. This means that clothes get fewer wrinkles stretched in them and allows for a bit of extra drying time if something isn’t completely dry after coming out of the washing machine. It also reduces the middle step of folding.
- Involve the kids. Our daughters have two chores that contribute to an easier laundry. First, they collect hangers. Three times a week one of them scurries around the house like a mouse from Cinderella to collect hangers and take them to the laundry room. Their other chore is to put the clothes away that were in the laundry room. Our six year old can handle all of her clothes but our four year old still needs some help.
For a long time I didn’t know what I should ask my kids to do for chores. It seemed like they were old enough to help with some things, but what? And of those they could do, was I beating the fun out of childhood by putting them to work? That’s when I discovered their Pymti (rhymes with “Dim tea”) muscle. Their pymti or Put Your Mind To It muscle was one I long suspected them having, but didn’t know its true strength. Let me tell you, it is strong and it’s one factor that makes laundry a bit easier.
Do you make your kids do chores? Have any chore tips? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter, @MikeDariano.