In addition to the danger of a laundry overload, the laundry is usually the place to store both laundry and cleaning products and, as a result, it can be a very dangerous environment for babies and toddlers. It is important to make sure that everything is safely stored well out of reach of them.
You need to assess just how much laundry you need to do each week and implement some systems to make sure that no one runs out of clothes mid week and that bigger tasks, like changing and washing bed sheets, are also included in your laundry cycle.
Reduce your laundry load
You can reduce your laundry load substantially by ensuring the family does the following things:
Hang towels out to dry properly after each use.
Dress your little ones in smocks or aprons when doing craft or outdoor activities or any other messy job.
Spot clean clothes if you have a spill.
Put on a camisole under tops to give them a longer wear time.
Organise your laundry room
Your laundry will usually have limited space and can become crowded very quickly. By organising it properly you will find it much easier to manage. Make sure you do this at a time when your little ones are asleep or not at home. This is so they don’t have access to potentially dangerous products.
Empty out your cupboards and clear your surfaces.
Sort the items into piles so you have one for washing products, cleaning products, fabric softeners and ironing items.
Get some large containers that have sealing lids and label them clearly “Laundry” and “Cleaning.” Put the relevant products in each of them. Make sure they are then put up high and out of reach of children.
Store your ironing board securely behind the laundry door and allocate a safe place for your iron that is up high and well out of reach of your children.
Set up two laundry hampers and one washing basket. Label one hamper “Colours” and the other one “Whites.” That way you won’t have to sort the laundry each time. Use the washing hamper when you take washed loads out of the machine. Make sure you put them out to dry as soon as possible after the wash cycle is completed. This will help reduce wrinkles in your clothes.
Set up a laundry schedule
It’s important to keep on top of your laundry cycle. You may wash the clothes regularly but leave a large pile of unfolded clothes piling up in your laundry. This simply adds to your ironing load. It is better to set up a reminder in your planner and allocate laundry days in it.
As a general rule it will take you about 15 minutes to put clothes out to dry and 15 minutes to fold and put them away. If you do this during the week it can save you a great deal of time on the weekend that you can spend together as a family instead.
Allocate 3 days a week (or more depending on your household needs) for putting on a load of laundry.
If you are at home during the day or work from home then it is practical to put the washing machine on first thing in the morning and get the clothes out on the line to dry during the day.
Bring in the clothes in the afternoon and fold and put away immediately.
If you are not working from home, then put on a load of laundry in the evening. Hang it out as soon as the cycle is done and collect it first thing in the morning and fold and put away.
Don’t avoid the ironing
You can read our tips for making ironing easier here. It is best to iron clothes as soon as they are dry rather than leaving them to pile up in the laundry. By doing a few items at a time you can allocate 15 minutes and get through some clothes. This can multiply into large chunks of time if you aren’t consistent in tackling it.
Get your family involved
Every family member should help out with laundry. Children should be encouraged to place their dirty laundry in the correct hampers as soon as they are old enough to start doing so. Once your little ones are able, they can carry their clothing to their bedroom after it has been folded. Get your partner to help out as well and maybe agree to split responsibility for the laundry loads by allocating a day to each other so that the full burden doesn’t rest on one person.