My Top Laundry Hack For Doing LESS Kid Laundry

Aug 4

Yes, I said less laundry. Hallelujah!

After having children live with me for nearly 12 years (say what?!), I’ve learned a trick, hack or two in the housekeeping dept. And any chance I can do less laundry, sign me up please!

If you have children you feel my pain when I say the laundry piles never seem to end. Laundry piles and my laundry room get along about as well as Kanye and Taylor. Well, I don’t get along with the piles either, but my laundry room space is so tight that I can’t allow the piles to sit very long before it’s a hazard. The laundry room is in the main entrance / exit of the house…

My long-time readers can appreciate the above image – this wall has since changed.

You can see how tight the space is. I’ve made the most of what I have and the previous owner even DIY’d that fold-away shelf. But the piles can’t overflow in here or in the kid’s small bedrooms. Each of them has a laundry basket and sometimes on occasion they even use them. Ha!

Not sure if the same is true in your home, but my kids love to change their clothing a couple times a day. Sometimes it’s because they want to get out of their school uniform. Sometimes it’s because the weather changed or we’re going somewhere, like dinner or a park. My middle guy loves to change his shirts several times a day because he *has to* wear the jersey that matches the sports team he’s watching. But just because they change, doesn’t mean what they were wearing previously was dirty or soiled. Worn, yes. Dirty and needs washing, not really. These are all talking points and lessons I’m working on with them – but at the end of the day, they’re kids.

A few years ago, I noticed this trend of the kids changing multiple times a day. Instead of fighting the topic (we need to pick our battles as there are many for parents), I let them change whenever they want. What they don’t know – and don’t need to know, really – is that more than 50% of the time their clothing is never washed before it’s put away.

To the how behind this hack!…

When dirty clothing arrives in the laundry room, I sort through it and inspect each piece before tossing it into the washer. Not kidding when I say about half their laundry basket is unsoiled when it arrives in my hands.

The first thing I do is look it over to see if there are in fact stains or dirt which require washing. If so, it’s washed.

If it’s wrinkled or could use a freshening, it’s instead only tossed into the dryer along with a load of wet clothing that is being transferred to the dryer anyway.

Sometimes there is nothing wrong with the clothing and in that case I add it to their put away pile.

There is nothing wrong with not laundering your children’s clothing (or yours) after each wear. Matter of fact, there are great reference charts available on the topic. Here’s one from Good Housekeeping – the homekeeping standard!…

Although not seen on their list, I suppose underwear and socks are a given under the category of “every wear”. The list is a great starting point.

Martha Stewart has great tips in this article too. I love her last tip in the slide show when she says to take clothing off at the end of the day and let it hang to release wrinkles / air out. Because most of the time, this is true – it doesn’t need to be laundered. This is what I do in my closet. With the exception of underwear, socks and some workout clothing, I rarely have laundry of my own to wash.

This laundry hack not only saves time in the laundry room it also saves water and energy.

The topic of laundry has been on my list to chat about in here for a while. Be on the lookout this Fall when I gather some of the best laundry tips from my blogging tribe. Some of my blog friends are the Martha’s and GoodHousekeeping’s of blog land. They have so many great tips to share and I’m hoping to compile a great list of tips and tricks…as well as all those awesome laundry basics I never learned from my mom. I want to teach my kid’s how to do their laundry! It’s a necessary life skill.

If you love talking laundry, here’s some other posts I’ve shared on the topic!

My current laundry room & decor

My current laundry room organization

The laundry room from my transition / rental house

Simple Solution: Laundry Supply Box

How To Clean Your HE Washing Machine – one of my most popular posts!

(Sharing with Toni @ A Bowl Full of Lemons)

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  1. Monica says:

    My best hack is that I have taught my kids to do their own laundry (starting at around age 8 or 9- they can do it solo!) and i have come to “let it go” when I realize that this means that sometimes the clothes they wear may not be freshly laundered. I ask myself if it really matters – they are note teens (two boys 13 and 17) and I have no idea if their clothes are clean or dirty!

    • Samantha says:

      Monica, this is so awesome! A friend of mine recently taught her boys to do their own laundry too – they are young…9 and 7! And they are doing a great job of washing, folding AND putting away!

      Great tip!


  2. sun says:

    I have mine put theirs away earlier, and at 10 they get to start doing their own laundry. By then, they know how to fold and put away too. Lovely!

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