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Cut your laundry time in half!

Posted by Panspipes (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 11, 05 at 16:43

This may sound odd, but it works so well for me I had to share. Like many people, my washer & dryer are in the basement. One day I got sick of schlepping all my laundry up and down the stairs, so I put a few dressers in the laundry area. I trash picked them. They didn't need to be pretty, just clean. Now I keep all my clothes, towels and bedding right next to the washing machine. I come home from work and go right downstairs to slip into my comfy clothes. The dirty clothes come off and either go right in the washer or in the pile right beside it. When I empty the dryer, I hang the clothes on a long copper pipe a attached to the ceiling right next to the dryer or fold them and put them in the "new" dressers. I even put a shoe rack down there. My bedroom has been neat and dirty laundry-free ever since. Plus I gained storage space in my dressers and closet in my room for other things. No more piles of dirty clothes looking at me waiting to be carried downstairs. Woo-Hoo! Now what am I supposed to do with all these laundry baskets? :)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

This might work good for a single person or a couple, but having all of our families things in one room really wouldn't work well for us. No way would my kids agree to that and I am certainly not willing to dress in front of my three boys! If I had to travel to a different part of the house only to come all the way back with clothes for changing, it really wouldn't save me any efforts. But, if you are alone, this could be a great solution.

What works best for our family is each person having their own hamper. I simply do one or two persons laundry each day and never have to sort, as all that is in the load belongs to the same person. Each person keeps their hamper in their own room and it is their job to bring it to and take it away from the laundry room as I am washing them. We also have a separate hamper for towels and sheets. We three boys close to the same size and all hating sharing clothes, this works great for me. I hate sorting and it saves me that time.

Brenda


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We cancelled the own personal hamper idea when the boys were younger... we kept finding a lot of FOLDED clothes in there. But it's better now.

Brenda--When our boys got close in size (they're 5 years apart) I started buying different brands of tshirts, socks, and underwear to make sorting easier.


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

Panspipes,

I've often fantasized about a "family" laundry room, complete with clothes storage and a couple privacy stalls for changing. I think it it is a brilliant solution and if I ever build my dream home, it would include a family-changing-center complete with washer and dryer. It makes perfect sense.


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

My only issue (if any) with laundry is due to numbers of people, not how I manage it. It's about TONNAGE, not methodology.

My laundry area is right near my kitchen. Having it down in the basement would make things worse for me. I can cook, clean, manage children and do my laundry at the same time. Bad enough to schlep clothing upstairs, I can't imagine having to go downstairs and then up two flights to dress kids.

I've recently started hanging many more things as I pull them from the dryer. I have a wire shelving rack above my machines, and it's working well.

I do that and carry all of the hangers upstairs and straight into the appropriate closet. Thereby getting rid of the 'basket step' for those items.

This is actually making things go much faster.

I also don't wait until something is full upstairs to bring it down. I bring down laundry at the very least once a day, sometimes twice. I'll consolodate one hamper and bring that down. And I do laundry EVERY day.

I get in trouble only when I skip days when busy outside of the house. THAT is when it feels like too much.

Other than that, it feels like it's managable.


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!


"My laundry area is right near my kitchen. Having it down in the basement would make things worse for me. I can cook, clean, manage children and do my laundry at the same time. Bad enough to schlep clothing upstairs, I can't imagine having to go downstairs and then up two flights to dress kids."

Same here! It's very popular in our area to have the laundry room on the second level with the bedrooms, but I happen to love where my laundry room is located, right off the kitchen.

I have 3 children, ages 10-16, and what I've finally found works best for us is ONE wicker hamper in the hallway for all 3 of them. DH and I have ours in our own closet. Since I've done this, I've had much better success getting laundry done.

Panspipes, I think it's wonderful that you've found a solution that works for you!!! Isn't it exciting when this happens? Now if only I can master this with other organizational issues in my home..... (I'm working on it!)

Sheryl


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

I would LOVE a laundry chute!! That is my dream since I have two stairflights to climb and descend between bedroom and laundry room.

I have no tricks, except to use white vinegar in place of fabric softener. And carefully dole out detergent and ensure to use recommended amount and no more. This serves to clean the clothes better because the rinse is more effective. It also tends to make drying time shorter. I am not sure why, but my theory is less residue.

I also take a broom and keep the outdoor vent thing clean and free of lint, as any blockage, no matter how slight, lengthens drying time.

Anything that shortens drying time tends to decrease overall laundry handling time.


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I had a laundry chute in the previous house we lived in, in Cleveland. LOVED IT of course...the clothes from the bedrooms upstairs and the kitchen would go straight through to the basement. But HATED it when I had to carry folded clothes back up TWO flights of stairs :( Now I have it a laundry closet next to the kitchen and it works well.


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

I want a dumbwaiter! LOL

I thought about a chute seriously at one point. But then with my kids, who have this tendency not to inform me about goopy clothing until it's too late (in the hampers), I had visions of food gak on the inside of the chute and then having to figure out how to clean that. So that killed the idea for me.

But a dumbwaiter to send those baskets upstairs? That would be the bomb! LOL


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Our laundry chute was drywalled over THANK GOODNESS!! You just gotta KNOW wet towels would go down there to mildew.

DH wanted to open it back up. He said the reason he couldn't get his dirty clothes to a basket was he grew up with a laundry chute (dumb reason--it stayed closed).


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

If kids are over the age of 10, then they are on their own for doing laundry here. That means I only have two left under 10, so the laundry is managable.

In most homes, the laundry has been in the basement area and I've hated carrying it up and down. Now, it's on the level with our bedroom and the rooms for the two youngest. Very convenient. The two oldest boys are two flights of stairs away, but their do their own.

Gloria


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

"You just gotta KNOW wet towels would go down there to mildew."

Well, to each their own, but it seems like that's a discipline issue. To me if someone will throw wet towels down a clothes chute to mildew, then they'll also put them in a hamper to mildew or put them in a clothes basket to mildew or leave them in a pile on the floor under the sofa to mildew so I think I'd prefer to send the mildew down the basement.

The anti-mildew way to go is to hang up wet stuff to dry *before* it goes to the laundry. I have a discipline that wet towels and washcloths are hung up in the bathroom to dry. Then when I'm in the bathroom later or even the next morning or if it takes two days for them to dry, whatever, when they're dry, I simply grab them on the way out of the bathroom and toss them down the chute. If a jacket or other clothes get wet from rain, snow or whatever else, it's either hung up by the back door or brought to the basement to be hung up to dry. There's no mildew this way. Less bacteria and smell in the bedroom/living areas too. Another reason hampers do nothing for me.

I grew up with a chute but didn't have the benefit of it on the second floor. But it certainly was better than the extra flight of steps. And my house now has one and I would truly miss it to be without it. I send the hangers down the chute too. Then they're down the basement where I'll need them. Now I don't need 200 hangers!

I just hated when I was in the apartment and having to keep the dirty clothes around. Put dirty clothes in the closet? Not me. Hampers are generally stinky. At least an open basket lets it air out a bit. Dirty clothes belong in the laundry room IMO, not in with clean stuff. I know others like hampers and stuff, I just don't.

Everyone has different tastes. A friend has a clothes chute but refuses to use it because the clothes don't come out where she wants them in the basement! (They come out by the laundry tubs.) Course she won't buy a house with an attached garage either, which I also cannot understand! :)


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

I grew up with a laundry chute. It was so narrow that clothes always got stuck in it. Plus, it was right at the top of the stairs. Easier to just toss the clothes down the stairwell. lol A real work of engineering genius. I sometimes wonder if builders ever actually lived in houses. And don't even get me started on closet space.


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Panspipes, my hubby does basically the same thing you do (he does all of our laundry, most of the time). His clothes mostly hang on hangers above the washer/dryer, and he changes down there in the mornings, so not many of his clothes come upstairs. My clothes are upstairs, so I use a large laundry basket and haul it down when it's full.

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd join him in keeping my clothes down there...but I'm too lazy to climb the stairs twice every day just to change clothes (and it's cooler down there...cold clothes in the morning - ewww!). LOL


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My neighbor has three kids so things like wet towels can be an issue. She has an allowance chart. And the biggest to-do for all the kids is to hang the wet towel back up. If a wet towel is found on a floor or stuffed in a hamper, they actually get allowance deducted! LOL


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Cynic said:

Well, to each their own, but it seems like that's a discipline issue. To me if someone will throw wet towels down a clothes chute to mildew, then they'll also put them in a hamper to mildew or put them in a clothes basket to mildew.

Julie says:
You do understand it's my HUSBAND with the discipline problem? When the wet towels are upstairs, they're usually in sight so I can hang them in an appropriate place to dry. If they were in a clothes chute, I would have to remember to go down everyday to check. (Not that I honestly think for one moment that a clothes chute would automatically make him clean up after himself.)

I often wish his mother were alive so I could give her a piece of my mind! She was apparently a bad housekeeper and her children all consider mildew OK.


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"If kids are over the age of 10, then they are on their own for doing laundry here"

Details, I want details! I've been simmering for awhile about laundry at our house. With 2 teenagers who seem to be draped on the couch reading, on the computer playing etc. while I am schlepping and folding...it's getting frustrating!

But, if everyone is doing his/her own laundry, how do you feel about the waste-of-resources aspect? Do the kids have any rules-ie only full loads? And what about something my son said when I mentioned the other night I was considering having them do their own laundry--that he just won't wash his clothes! Sounds eeuwwww but this is a kid whose gym clothes didn't come home till after Thanksgiving for their first washing (double eeeuwwww).

Right now my system is laundry being done, by me, twice weekly. I sort darks/lights/towels, do the washing, drying and folding then they put the clothes away. But with those stupid teenage tricks like trying clothes on then tossing 'em on the floor if they change their minds, or wearing multiple outfits daily...it's a lot of laundry. As mentioned too, I'm feeling resentful about working while two adult-size people lounge. Yes, I know it is a discipline problem and we fight the battle on other things. If it matters, I tend to be a laundry Nazi; I'm very particular about how a lot of clothes are handled. We wear a great deal of cotton so there are many things that don't go in the dryer. Delicates I only wash on hand-washable setting and so on. Of course if the kids start doing their own thing I'll keep on doing mine, my husband's and the household linens so I suppose if they shrink or ruin anything, it's their problem.

I'm just wondering how a self-serve laundry system works. Enlighten me, I'm thirsty for knowledge!

Ann


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

My 21 yr-old nephew has done his own laundry for several years. He is generally very lazy & has always been. Imagine my surprise when I'm at my sister's house & this lazy teenager is doing laundry - without being yelled at. My sister told me that he's so particular about his clothes that he wants to do his own laundry.

When I was growing up, my mother had a rule. The clothes got washed if they were in the hamper. She did not go into our rooms to pick clothes up off the floor, chair, etc. When my sister & I got old enough, we helped with the laundry. In our house, teenagers were not allowed to lounge while the parents did all the work. Of course, having a retired Air Force Master Sergeant for a father did mean that our home was run differently from many of our friends' homes.


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Hi there, I've been lurking for a while. Here's my .02 cents. I have a son (20) who is pretty lazy. I used to prefer to do his laundry, because I thought it was more efficient to do it all together, and all I asked of him was to put it away when I was finished. I couldn't get him to do that, so I quit doing his laundry. At first he said he wouldn't do it, and let it pile up. A couple of times he put a huge pile of his clothes on the dryer, thinking I would do it, and I put it right back into his hamper. The first time he did the laundry, he put everything in the dryer, and I think he thought that would "spite" me. He also waited until he nothing else clean the first couple of times. I didn't say anything at all. Before long he started doing his laundry regularly, hanging all of his shirts to dry, and putting them away promptly.
As far as it being wasteful, he makes sure his loads are pretty big, and so do so it doesn't seem to be an issue. But even if it was more costly, I would chalk it up to the "cost" of raising a child properly. I should have made him do it sooner.
My husband does his own as well, so I only have to do mine and the households', if my husband doesn't do the household laundry before I get to it. And when my daughter lived at home, she always did her own, from the time she was 10, she preferred it that way.


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

I'd like the scoop on the kids doing their laundry, too. I'm especially wondering if they each have an assigned day, or is it a weekend chore, or whenever?

I have 4 kids, the oldest is 12. He knows how to do his laundry. (That is important to me. When he goes to college, he will not just bring the laundry home for mom to do.) He does it occassionally. If he really wants it done for a certain outfit, but I tell him I won't get to it today. Or if he's cleaning his room and has a full hamper, he'll go ahead and wash them. (He is the neatest/most organized person in the house, don't know how that happened.) I do not sort by color, I sort according to whom it belongs. So it comes into the laundry room in one kid's hamper, and goes back to his/her room that way to be put away. Unless it's white and needs bleached, or some other special attention. If DS doesn't have a full load, he knows to throw in towels until it's a full load (always some of those to go in). But now, doing his own is about a once in 4-6 week occurence. (Which is way mor often than DH does his own.) But I've been thinking about assigning him a regular day when he can get to the washer/dryer without waiting for them or being in my way.

At some point, I will go back to work and these kids will have to do these chores themselves or they'll have one grouchy momma.

On the up/downstairs issue. The laundry room in this house is upstairs with the bedrooms. I like that A LOT! I don't go up/down stairs with full arms nearly so often! There is much less battle involved with getting family members to bring me their laundry and take it back. It's doens't just have to be in the hamper, if they don't bring it to the laundry room, it doesn't get washed. After all, it's just a few steps! IF they can't handle that, they just don't want clean clothes very badly.


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

On kids doing laundry. It is so simple, gang. I don't know how many people tell me the kids won't do it and would have to wear dirty clothes. So let them wear dirty clothes. Trust me. They will do their laundry before they will wear stinky clothing more than once. They won't leave it all over the floor if they know they will have to deal with it. They will iron it if they want that or they will at least hang it up.

When my oldest son turned ten I told him it was time for him to do his own laundry. Showed him how to sort and use the machines. Let him pick the day he wanted. For the first couple of weeks I followed behind him and helped him make sure of water temp and not too much soap. Put it on the calendar and gave him a few reminders. That was it.

For those of you with expensive water rates, make sure the kids understand how you pay for water and why it's important to have the water level on the machine match the load. Every machine I've ever seen has low water levels. Talk about the gas or electric use on the dryer and that a small load doesn't have to run as long as a big one. I don't know how many families really explain the costs of daily living to kids, but they quickly get the idea that too much for water means there isn't enough for other things.

As the other kids came along I made sure they helped with the sorting, loading and folding. When son #2 turned 10 I told him it was time he do his own laundry. He picked his day. I put it on the calendar. That was it. I will give him a reminder that if he needs special clothing for an event, then he needs to take care of his laundry.

Now kids #3 and #4 are 8 and 5 years old. Both know how to run the machines, help with the sorting and folding. I never put their clothing away. If I fold, I leave it in piles on my bed and they put it away.

If one of the two older boys leaves a load in the washer and dryer, they get one warning. After that, I dump it all into their laundry basket-wet, dry, clean, dirty and shove it in the corner so that I can use the machines. Sounds cruel, but it sticks in their mind to follow through, not just start the loads. They make my life difficult if they don't follow through.

Bathrooms are public spaces in our home. That means no one may leave their crud lying around. If dirty clothing was left, I would put it in a bag and put in the garage. Same with wet towels. Everyone has their own laundry basket and that's where it needs to go or you are at my mercy.

Everyone here hangs their towels back up to dry and reuses them. If people are leaving towels around, then have a specific towel(s) for each family member. Take them to an shop and get their names on them if you can't sew. You will know who the guilty party is and can decide on an appropriate consequence.

For the rest of the laundry I have a weekly system. I sort the clothing into 5 loads. Whites, lights, darks, jeans, towels. I stack those 5 baskets next to the washer. Every morning I throw a load in the washer, after work I throw it in the dryer and fold it while the two smaller kids are brushing teeth for bed. We quickly put it away. Done. One load a day so that leaves 2 days for the older two. Since the washer is empty early in the day I can throw in sheets, doing one room a week. Start over again the next Sun. evening.

I'm hearing so much mom/wife as the maid. Kids can/will do all kinds of things when given the opportunity. My kids get an alarm clock for their 5th birthday. I don't remember the last time I dusted their rooms. When I do mine, I tell them to grab the other duster and do theirs. We cook together and by the time they are in late grade school they can fix several simple meals. When my oldest was in high school he was responsible for dinner one night a week. I wanted him to be able to cook for several people, not just grilled cheese. He would pick his menu and make sure what was needed was on the grocery list. Now that he's working and in college, it's the next son's turn.

One other excuse I hear is that the kids are too busy. One life skill needed is to learn to manage time. They need to learn early that no one will wait on them and they have to make decisions to take care of their daily needs. If they don't have "time" to do laundry every week or so, they should have to decide what activity to give up.

On occasion, my oldest will say, "Mom, will you please..." but there is a recognition that it's his job, not mine and I'm doing him a favor. Just like when I ask him, "Michael, will you please..."

Gloria


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Gloria,

You are an inspiration. I am printing your previous post to discuss with my kids during school break.

Thank you.

Maura


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

over a decade ago I developed the three bins system in a cupboard. a white bin was where whites went- anthing that could be bleached. a black bin is where darks and colors went and a blue bin is where things to be sorted or washed on delicate went. now one just picks up a bin and dumps it in the washer, dirty laundry is always sorted.

Clean stuff gets folded and placed is different color coded bins. a different color for each person and its that person's responsibility to put their stuff away.


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

Stephanie, I could have written your post. When my 5 kids were at home, the clothes were always sorted by who it belonged to. I also did the towel thing, adding towels to non-full loads. That saved on sorting everything going in and going out of the washing machine. Eventually, my kids learned to do the washing for themselves. When I saw that everytime I'd make them clean up their rooms, I would get the clothes I just washed mixed in with the dirty clothes, I just quit doing their clothes for them. Best thing I ever did, too, since it made life so much easier for me.


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Just don't let it be known over on the laundry forum that you put towels in with clothes (or that you don't sort at all). People over there might faint. :)

Panspipes, I like your original post. I think it could be made to work for a family, too.

I cringe when I hear about kids doing their own laundry. I'm a laundry control freak. I should take a deep breath and try to get over that. For now I just accept the consequences.


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Susan, I don't understand why you would cringe about kids doing their own laundry. I cringe when I read about moms doing stuff for teens.

I didn't do laundry until I went off to college. There wasn't a consequence for my mom, only for me because I didn't know what I should have known by that age.

Gloria


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When these kids are all old enough to do their own laundry, that'll cut my laundry time by 2/3! ;oP

When I was a teen, we lived in the sticks and had terrible well water and plumbing. So we took everything to the laundromat once a week. I had to go and help. But it wasn't so bad, mom and I would get all the loads in at the same time then have time to kill. We'd have a snack and chat. Oh sure, I complained. But looking back, it was time well spent. When I could drive, and had a job and a full schedule of activities, I took my own in on my time. Or, if I had a lot going on that week, dropped my one load off for laundry service at my own expense. Mom was NOT the laundry service.

Is there really a laundry forum?


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

My 2 do their own laundry. 23 yr old DS has been doing his own for years and 12 yr old DD has been doing hers for about 6 mos. DS is picky about his t-shirts being washed inside out. Doesn't seem that long ago that he'd just pick something off the floor, give it a sniff then a quick spin in the dryer with a dryer sheet and pronounce that it was good enough for school. Sigh.
DD washes a lot of already clean clothes. You know the drill: try on 15 outfits then toss them on the floor. She won't wear them again once they hit the floor until they are washed. Whatever. She does her own laundry.
Both kids also can cook, vacuum and grocery shop. And they can use a sewing machine.


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Well laundry is TOTALLY out of control around here right now. In the past 2 days I have washed like 10+ loads but have not folded a bit of it ~sigh~ So today we are going to bring it all in the dinning room and we are ALL going to fold. Now I have to say that when I say fold I mean throw it in a basket that the kids then take to their room and stuff in their drawers. Yes, no need to adjust your monitor. I DO NOT FOLD MY KIDS CLOTHES. Honestly I just don't see a reason since 30 seconds after I put nicely folded clothes in their drawers someone goes looking for their *favorite* t-shirt or such and messes the whole thing up and I just want to scream! So I just cut out the middle man and let them stuff it in there!

Ok. I will admit that I DO fold their church clothes and put them on a high shelf but other than that in my almost 16 years of parenting have yet to loose a child to wering slightly rumpled sweats or less than crisp t-shirts for the express purpose of getting filthy dirty outside or laying on their belly on the floor while they play legos.

My 13 year old DD now does her own clothes since she wants them folded.. for the rest.. they take what they get :)

Maddiemom


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Gloria,
I just LIKE doing laundry. My kids can have the other jobs. :)

Stephanie,
There really is a very active laundry forum. Lots of threads are about the machines themselves, but the topics range from detergent scents, to laundry room design, to stain removal, to laundry history, and so on. In fact, I found GardenWeb when I was shopping for a new washer. A google search landed me in the Laundry Room forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Laundry Room forum


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Oh, my three did their own laundry. I started at 13 for my DS. Once the oldest started the other two pushed to do theirs too, so they started a bit earlier. It's amazing what they will take on if you give them the chance. All three used to help their Dad at his store in the afternoons and week-ends when they were free of sports obligations. They were doing inventory and they were young but thought it was great fun! Of course, then you have no leverage when they leave their clothes on the floor.


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Susan, I agree that it's important for kids to know HOW to do the laundry, but I see no need for them to "practice" doing it every week.

I don't mind laundry, ours never gets behind, everything gets precisely folded (LOL) or hung with no stress to me, so I'd rather they use their spare time for the big-muscle jobs I hate. ;)


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Julie, I do agree with you there. Not that I like any housework, but of all of it, I dislike laundry the least. I can at least get something else done at the same time, like a good book between loads or call a friend to catch up while folding. And I don't break a sweat!

So, I'll send DS to the lawnmower and take his laundry any day!!


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RE: Cut your laundry time in half!

Maddiemom, once again you have me laughing hysterically!

Sheryl


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