Laundry Training

Some of my chief laundry-makers.

Born with skills: Some of my chief laundry-makers taking a break to congratulate each other.

Imagine coming home from an evening out and finding the laundry under control, folded and put in baskets just the way you want it. Sounds pretty fabulous, right?

Getting awesome help with laundry is fabulous. This is why laundry training is built-in to how I on-board my babysitters.

In this post, I reveal how I train my babysitters so they can help me conquer the laundry.

Laundry Training

One of the most important jobs at our house is to stay on top of the laundry. With every baby, the laundry grew. With four kids, laundry can get out of control very quickly.

There are a number of things that I discuss with our babysitter when it comes to laundry.

Let me share with you three key elements of my laundry training process.

First, laundry is presented as a core task.

I take great time and effort to make sure that my babysitters know that I seriously need and appreciate help with laundry. It’s that simple.

When they interview for the job, laundry is discussed during the home tour.

When they what I need help with, laundry is always on the list.

Further Reading:

Second, laundry has a defined and understandable system.

Organizing the laundry process makes the task much easier. It also makes training the task much easier. I also have sufficient tools to get the job done: lots of laundry baskets, sorting bins, ample supplies of detergent, folding space and a clothes shoot. My machines are easy to run.

Here are some things to consider as you review your system:

Detergent

  • Where is your detergent?
  • Where is backup detergent stored (if you run out)?
  • Ask that they write you a note if you need to buy more

Stain Removal & Bleach

  • Where is it located?
  • How/when should it be used?

Dryer Sheets/Softener

  • Where is it located?
  • How/when should it be used?

Misc.

  • Where do you store orphan socks/mittens?
  • Where do you want to put items that need mending?

Dirty Laundry

  • Discuss sorting
  • Discuss load priorities: I always ask for help FIRST with sheets, towels, and jeans.  It’s hard to damage these items.

Clean Laundry

  • Discuss how/where to put clean laundry.   Unless I specify otherwise, I usually ask that clean loads remain in baskets until I get home to deal with them.
  • Discuss what gets hung up immediately
  • Demonstrate how you fold jeans/pants
  • Demonstrate how you fold towels
  • Demonstrate how you fold shirts/tops

Putting Away Baskets

  • Start with having baskets carried to the correct destinations
  • Have the children assist with putting clothes away

Third, laundry training is broken into small, manageable steps.

I never start a babysitter with the expectation they totally conquer the laundry. That would be overwhelming and unrealistic.

Initially, I just ask that they keep the machines humming as much as possible while they are here. If the washer and dryer are quiet at this house, that usually means I’m falling behind.  Just keeping the machines humming and creating baskets full of clean clothes is a huge help to me. I let them know that sheets and darks (dress pants for school) are the most important loads and should be done first. The next time they come, I review sorting. Another time, I review towel folding.

I also have a few work-withs folding laundry together. I demonstrate how I fold and hang things.  Running out of areas to help in the laundry room is not going to be a problem. There’s always socks to match, clothes to label, or rags to cut from old towels. In about six weeks, my babysitters are fully trained on laundry.

One last comment about laundry and that has to do with how you plan to handle having something ruined. Crayons get left in pockets, something unexpected bleeds, shrinks, stretches, whatever. It happens. I tell everyone that has ever helped me with laundry never to worry about this situation. I am getting help with laundry and therefore I am grateful.

Still growing...




Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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1 Comment

  1. Michele Bergh on April 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Sounds like your laundry runs like a well-oiled machine! It’s great to have helpers with what can be such a big job, especially when there are multiple children.

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