I’m not quite sure how I manage to keep up with it, but the amount of laundry that is now suddenly ‘my responsibility’ since our children came along seems staggering sometimes. Kids just have SO many clothes! I honestly think my daughter has more outfits in her wardrobe than Lady Gaga – but at least none are made of raw meat. For a while after baby number 2 came along, I managed to convince myself that I had to continue the same OCD routine that I’m known for – of making sure every tiny little item of clothing or bedding was properly ironed. That lasted all of two minutes. I was so tired in the evenings that I would have to actually schedule my ironing for the weekends that my husband was off work – just so I would have the time to get it done. I’d be at it for hours, and would really begin to miss spending time with the kids – it was getting ridiculous, trawling through an enormous basket and resenting every minute of it. One time I was so tired I reached for a nearby glass of water to top up the reservoir in the iron. It wasn’t water. It was lemonade.
Surely that’s no way to live?!
So I learned that lesson fairly quickly, and since then I’ve developed a few pointers about doing laundry for a family of four, that definitely helps me manage things a bit better. Hope it helps!
1. Have individual laundry bags/baskets for each family member. We have a blue for the little man and a red one for my daughter. My husband and I share one with three segments, mine, his and bedding for all. Really helps you prioritise what needs washed.
2. Put a wash on first thing. Before you even get in the shower. If it’s a short wash then it will probably be finished and ready to hang out/on the radiator before you leave for work. If you have little ones then your typical 6am start is perfect for this.
3. Get the kids to help you. (If they’re old enough) Amelia is 3 and gets very excited about helping Mummy with the laundry. It means I can spend time with her and get the job done too. She’s really good at pairing socks!
4. Label your sheets. I use a sharpie marker to write on the label of each fitted sheet whose room it is from so that I don’t have to do a Crystal Maze type task to see which one is which each time I’m changing the beds.
5. We all know I’m OBSESSED with IKEA, but some of their handy drawer dividers are absolutely brilliant at keeping baby socks, pants, dribble bibs, and tiny shoes all separate. And we use this handy ‘doofer’ for holding toddler shoes and boots.
6. Tumble drier. Look, I’m all for saving the environment and money and doing things the old fashioned way, but even if your clothes are bone dry from a great sunny day on the washing line, literally 5 minutes in the tumble drier will get rid of most wrinkles from children’s clothes. Can’t believe I only recently realized this.
7. Rotate items. Especially babygros, sleep vests, pants etc. Literally go to the drawer, lift up the items already there and put the fresh ones at the bottom. Means clothes will last longer as you’re washing them all an equal amount of times.
8. Hanger drawer. Yes, you heard me. I have a large drawer just for spare hangers. No, I’m not weird. I used to keep them in a plastic bag but it was a feckin’ nightmare trying to lift one out – the whole damn lot came with it. Now I keep all spare hangers for the kids in a drawer together, and although they do sometimes get tangled, they are much easier to lift out.
Happy ironing! (Or hopefully hardly any ironing!)