Dealing with your own laundry can be challenging enough, but as soon as you have children, having enough clean, fresh clothes (and preferably not being swamped with dirty laundry either) quickly becomes a real luxury. Babies and toddlers can generate impressive amounts of dirty clothing, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times. Do you sometimes wonder how other parents do it? Everyone struggles at first, but fortunately, staying on top of your laundry chores is not hard with a little know-how.
Here, we’ve compiled some of the most useful tricks and techniques, but of course, this list doesn’t exhaust all possibilities. Luckily, there are plenty of resources online based around providing advice on parenting, household tasks and stain removal. Remember that no parent is perfect – for many of the most common parenting problems, reams of information are available just at your fingertips.
Sorting clothes just before the wash is quite a hassle – preparation is key. Invest in at least three laundry baskets, separating whites from dark and mixed loads to avoid the disappointment of pink underwear and discoloured shirts. Once your kids are old enough, you can also slowly encourage them to start sorting their laundry themselves. But even if your kids are still too young to separate whites from darks themselves, you will still save a good amount of time if you sort your laundry in advance. Pre-treat stains as you go, too –spray or soak the stained area as soon as possible with a stain-remover, and place stained items separately on your washing machine or a counter top.
Have laundry days
Throwing clothes in the wash whenever you need them may seem practical, as the prospect of spending hours doing laundry can seem very daunting. But you won’t only end up wasting water and electricity; spontaneous washes give you little opportunity to plan ahead, leaving you stressed and looking for clean items at the last minute. A clear schedule can help with that. If you have one, two or three designated laundry days a week, depending on how much dirty laundry your kids manage to produce, you will be able to plan other chores and activities around the washing cycles.
Adjust your expectations
There’s something soothing about perfectly ironed and folded laundry, squeaky clean and perfumed – it leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. But as a parent, you will soon notice that you might have to adjust your expectations a little bit. Having clean laundry becomes a priority, while any additional ironing and folding becomes increasingly inconvenient and time-consuming. Your kids couldn’t care less about creases and wrinkles, and when they’re playing outside, or learning how to eat solid food and use forks and spoons, the chances are their clothes will revert back to a messy state look t sooner rather than later.
There’s no need for perfectionism – a more relaxed approach to laundry will save you time, and you can spend more time with your kids (or treating those especially stubborn stains, if necessary).