Laundry. The nemesis of nearly every mom I know. Now, I don’t mind the washing, or rotating to the dryer…what I absolutely despise is putting it all away. Although I have great intentions (and have tried all sorts of systems) I often end up with a gigantic, taunting pile of clean clothes that we call Mt. Laundrypile. Have you ever tried to get your kids to put away their laundry?
So, with necessity (desperation?) spurring my creativity, over the years I have devised a bunch of fun and silly ways to get my kids to put away their laundry without complaining. Because Mt. Laundrypile combined with whiny kids would otherwise do me in.
Here are six ideas that will make your kids laugh AND hustle to put their clothes away.
I put all of the clean clothes in a central location (usually on my bed) and have the kids stand in a row nearby like statues. Then I sort the clothes by tossing them gently onto the appropriate kid statue…(underwear landing on someone’s head brings down the house!). Once all of the laundry is sorted, or the statues have too many items of clothing to continue, they carefully walk to their rooms and put away their clothes. Any clothes dropped in the hallway have to be retrieved. I help the younger ones fold and put away, and the bigger ones do it themselves.
Joey-Style “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?”
I feel like this might be the greatest legacy I have passed onto my kids. Hahaha! For this method, you need to have your child watch the following clip from the Friends TV Show. Give them some background by explaining that the guys were supposed to be getting ready for a big event, fought over a chair, and then started pranking each other. Chandler hid Joey’s underwear and then this happened.*** Warning*** There is some language in the video. Chandler says “Oh my God.”
You can also skip the video and explanation but my kids LOVE that clip! Next, sort all the clothes according to whom they belong. When mom says go, you have to put EVERY ITEM OF CLOTHING on your body then run to your room (hilarious!) and take off and put away all the clothes. I help the younger kids. Everyone laughs a lot and I usually take pictures! You can even give little awards (like a tootsie roll) for most pairs of pants worn, funniest waddle, fastest to put away laundry etc. Your kids will love this and be excited to put away their clothes!
Laundry basket Olympics
Again, have clean clothes in a central location. You can pre-sort them by who they belong to (but you don’t have to do this). You need to have one small fabric bin or laundry basket that the kids can hold up and maneuver around with. It is even better if you have enough baskets for each kid to have their own. The goal is for each kid to catch as many of their clothes in their laundry basket without them falling to the floor. You can make it more difficult for older kids by throwing items so they have to run or do very simple tosses for the little ones. Once their baskets are full they go and put the clothes away.
This method does require pre-sorting by mom. Get bags (or bins) and sort clothes into them along with some bath and/or dish towels. Have the kids close their eyes, then give them each a bin with NOT their own clothing. Sometimes putting away someone else’s laundry is more fun then your own things! Extra points for clothes being put in the proper place.
Sort and fold the kids’ clothes. Then have them come to home base on their hands and knees like a horse. Put the clothes balanced on their backs and have them clip-clop their way to their bedrooms to put them away. Often I will do categories with this method so they don’t have too much on their backs. (Pajamas for one journey, shirts for another.)
Laundry Basket Burial
You will need a biggish laundry basket and some smallish kids for this one. One-at-a-time, place a child in the laundry basket with all of their clothes on top of them (folded or unfolded… it’s your choice!). Make a dramatic speech about how unfortunate it was that little Owen has passed on from too much laundry. Have the other kids drag the laundry basket and fake cry on the way to their room. Dump out child and clothes and then proceed to the next kid.
Some of these ideas might seem a little crazy…but gigantic piles of laundry call for unconventional methods. I hope these six fun and silly ways help motivate your kids to put away their laundry!