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5 Tips to Avoid an Overflowing Laundry Basket

Home / Family / 5 Tips to Avoid an Overflowing Laundry Basket

Pile of dirty washing in bathroomIf you were to ask any group of women which housework chore they hate the most, laundry would be the number one answer in most cases. Some dislike the initial sorting of dirty clothes and others get radical about their dislike of folding the laundry once it is clean. The very worst is when the laundry pile gets out of control and becomes a huge job that leads you to procrastinate, which of course only makes it a bigger and uglier mess.  Closing the door on the laundry room does not work.

Here are 5 tips to avoid the laundry monster:

1.    Do a load of laundry every day. This may sound counter-productive. Why do something you hate every single day? But when it is a smaller job it goes faster, smoother and disappears quicker.

2.    Put that load of clean clothes away every day. Completing the chore on the same day moves it off your “to do” list so you can get on with your life.

3.    Mount hooks in the laundry room with family labels on them. Each family member gets a hook. Mark it with their name or assign a color. This changes the job from yours to theirs.

4.    Hang clothes on hangers on the hooks for the family to take to their rooms. Even if your kids are still too little to do this, it makes the job easier and gets it accomplished quicker.

5.    Put folded clothes in baskets designated for each person to take to their room on their own. Again, if this is done every day, the contents of the baskets and hangers will be minimal and not hard to put away.

Doing a little laundry every day or every other day will decrease the amount of work because the loads are smaller and the pile will not get so big that it overflows the top of the dryer and has to be moved to the bed or couch for folding. Once that happens, the job looks insurmountable and procrastination sets in. You want to beat that situation by never allowing it to get ahead of you. Little by little is much better than tackling a mountain of laundry late at night when you are tired and ready for bed. Especially if that mountain is on your bed!

Ideas to Help you have Both a Clean House and Kids 

It may seem that once you have kids, the clean home is just a distant fantasy. Some people think that it is impossible to have both at the same time. They feel that you have a nice, clean and organized home when it is just the two of you, but once you have kids, the house goes downhill quickly. That may be true at first. But once you find your own rhythm and daily routine, it is totally possible to have both a clean house and kids.

It will take patience and consistency to establish good habits in your family, but it will be worth it. Once the good habits are established and natural, your kids will grow up being helpful around the home rather than waging a constant battle of wills. If you begin while your family is small and just starting out, you too will be learning what works for you and what kind of environment you want to live within. You will be setting the tone for years to come.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

•    While you just have one little newborn begin some habits of organization that will stay with you later on.

•    Set up “work stations” for the different tasks you do each day. For instance; keep everything you need for diaper changing in more than one spot around the home. A cute basket of supplies can be tucked behind the couch or in the family room closet.

•    Later on these “work stations” may hold homework supplies or art supplies.

•    Set up the nursery with the future in mind. Keep it simple and easy to clean, with clear labels or pictures for where items belong.

•    If you have a two level home, set up a basket beside the stairs for things that belong upstairs. This will save you multiple trips up there and help keep items off the stairs.

•    As you have more kids and they get older, choose if the living room will be a toy place or not. It is perfectly reasonable to have an adult area that is not full of brightly colored plastic stuff.

•    Make a rule that if toys are used in the living room they must be put away before another toy or collection can be brought out.

•    Do a “clean sweep” every night before bed. Have the kids join you as you gather stuff up from all over the house and put it where it belongs. This way the stuff will not get ahead of you and become a huge and depressing mess.

•    Decide where you will allow food to be eaten and stick to it. Food in the bedrooms is never a good or healthy idea.

These tips are mostly about you as the parent deciding what you can or cannot live with. If Leggos all over the kitchen floor is fine with you, that is great. But if it bothers you, make the choice to change the habits of your family. You set the tone for your home and you can have a clean and tidy home and still enjoy your children.
It is possible to have a clean house all the time. When the kids are small and life is busy, it can be tempting to let it all go and give up on having a clean home, but there are ways to conquer the “messies”. The habits of your family may need to change a bit, and a few small boundaries may be called for, but a clean home is not an impossible goal for anyone.

The parents must decide to work together and set the standard for your home and how you want to live. Compromise is important as you discuss or observe the functions for each room in your home. Will toys in the living room be okay with you or do you wish for an adult area at the end of each day? Is the garage for storage or for cars and who will keep it organized? Is food allowed in front of the television or just for the kitchen or dining room?

Once you have these expectations established, be firm with the rest of the family and keep the rules to a minimum so they are easy to remember. Do not become the one person who cares or cleans. Every member of your family is valuable and can contribute to the harmony of your home.

5 Tips for a Clean House:

1.    Clean a little every day. Pick up scattered papers, toys or jackets as you go about the house and drop them where they belong. If you wait until later or on “cleaning day”, it will only get worse and become a huge task.

2.    Put stuff back. When you use the scissors, replace them where they belong immediately even if it means some extra steps. It will be worth it. Procrastination leads to piles of random items that lead to an insurmountable chore.

3.    Do a little laundry everyday and put it away while still warm from the dryer.

4.    Vacuum or sweep once a week. Dust once a week.

5.    Run the dishwasher at night and empty first thing in the morning.

These 5 steps combined with your house rules regarding the use of the rooms in your home will prevent that horrible feeling of being a servant in your own home. They do not take very many minutes out of each day and they can become family habits that can remove the stress out of feeling overwhelmed with life caused by disorder and chaos.

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