My best laundry tip occurred by accident.
I got really tired of all the drama around “where is my blue shirt” or “why don’t I have any clean socks”.
So I announced to DH, DS (age about 11), and DS (age about 5) that going forward, everyone did their own laundry, including sheets and towels. I would do the household laundry (kitchen towels, etc.). I wrote up instructions on index cards, using pictures cut from a magazine to tell them how to sort and which options to select (picture of underwear and socks on the card with notes about cycle and water temp and whether to use the dryer, same with jeans, t-shirts, sheets, etc..all in a format that even the non-reading little one could understand).
I reviewed the cards with them and then taped the cards on the bottom of the cabinet above the washer and dryer. The little one had to stand on a stool to reach the washer and dryer controls.
Guess what? If they washed their underwear with a red t-shirt and ended up with pink underwear, it wasn’t my problem. They were welcome to buy all the new underwear they could afford. And I taught them how use bleach to fix it (sometimes with better results than others). If their favorite shirt was dirty, it wasn’t my problem. No more complaints, no more drama. It was wonderful!
The secondary payoff came several years later when first DS went to college. He held laundry classes in his dorm, because he was the only one of his friends who knew how to do their own laundry. I got one of those treasured phone calls in which he said, “Thank you, Mom, for preparing me. I can’t believe these people don’t know how to do their own laundry.” Purple puddles.
Younger son is a cop, and he still does his own laundry, including ironing his uniforms. Older son does his laundry and helps out with household laundry, including for his very young children. I can’t wait to see when he and DDIL start teaching their kids to do their own laundry.
Do a person’s laundry and they’ll have clean clothes for a few days. Teach them to do their own laundry and they’ll have clean clothes for the rest of their lives.
FlyLady here: Our habit for August is working on Laundry.
A load a day keeps CHAOS away! We have a great tool to help you sort as you take your clothes off.
Do you have a story or tips that will help other FlyBabies with this habit? Please send them to FlyLady@FlyLady.net with LAUNDRY in the subject line.