Miss Simplicity: Teach kids laundry basicsI started doing my laundry at a young age, and my kids are all of the age that they can do it themselves. If we don’t train our children now, who is going to train them?
By: Melissa Schmalenberger, AreaVoices.com blogger, INFORUM
I started doing my laundry at a young age, and my kids are all of the age that they can do it themselves. If we don’t train our children now, who is going to train them?
(Disclaimer: Some of my boys do a great job at laundry; some do not. They know who they are. This was written for that boy/boys.)
Of course, our young people need some tips to help them get it all figured out. Children are now taught in the FACS (in my day called Home Ec, which only the girls took) class in junior high how to do laundry. But what I think they miss are some of the nuances that 30-plus years of doing laundry has taught me. I also had input from my friends who have issues with their children and stepchildren doing laundry. So with this in mind, I pass on these tips to my boys.
- Check your pockets. The note that you need me to sign does not wash and dry well. Your Chap Stick does not love the dryer as it will melt and put grease stains on all your clothes.
- You should do laundry every couple of days. Don’t save it up to do once a month as you will waste your whole day (or two) inside washing clothes. Don’t assume your parents are going to do your laundry for you. You do need to know these skills before you leave the nest.
- If it is red, wash it with like-colored items until it stops bleeding into other clothes. Or my tip, don’t buy red clothes.
E Sort like clothes into loads. Washing jeans and towels works well because they dry at about the same rate. If you use bleach, wash all white clothes/socks/towels together in one load.
- If you mother’s clothes are in the washer, don’t just automatically throw them in the dryer. Take a minute and ask her what can and can’t go in the dryer. You may be surprised at what you find out.
- Don’t leave the clothes in the washer for more than a few hours. That is gross and will foster mold growth, and your clothes will soon smell like blue cheese.
- Don’t leave the clothes in the dryer for more than a few hours. Hang and fold clothes as soon as possible so you never have to iron.
- Don’t throw your socks in as a ball; they won’t get clean. They stay a dirty, stinky mess unless you un-ball them.
- Make sure each leg of the pants is going in the same direction. (I have one son who takes off his pants in a manner that causes one leg to always be inside out. What is up with that?)
- If you have a stain on your clothes, treat it as soon as possible. Don’t wash and dry it and then treat it. That is not the natural order. First treat; then wash; then check to see if the stain came out. If not, go back to step one.
- When placing clothes in the dryer, fold the load that is already in the dryer, and don’t just throw it on the floor or in a basket.
- Empty the dryer lint filter before each load.
- Use the proper amount of soap. Read the bottle for amounts. Watch the original Jodie Foster version of “Freaky Friday” to see what happens when you use too much soap.
- Wash towels at least once a week, because even though you are clean when you get out of the shower, they still need to be washed.
- Wash bed sheets at least once a week.
- If washer does not complete the spin cycle for some reason, re-position the clothes and run the spin cycle again. Please don’t put soaking clothes in the dryer for five hours.
Melissa Schmalenberger is a professional organizer. She blogs at mssimplicity.areavoices.com.