Need parenting advice- laundry mess

Kae

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 21, 2002
I did my kids laundry but it had to be put in the right baskets or it wasn't done. And once it was separated the kids would do it too.

But for the OP I like the idea to give them tabs but also give them shout color catchers :) love those things.
 

Disney.Dreamin.Dee

Registered
Joined
Oct 16, 2021
These kids need to grow up a bit.

Teach them how to do their own laundry.

They are 15/16, not 5/6 they should know what can be worn again.

Time for some tough love.

If they really need help to know what can be worn again so they don't throw it all in then get them 2 large hampers each and label them clean and dirty.
When they take off their clothes they can decide which hamper.
 

DLgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Wow. Well, for starters, own up to the fact that you are partially responsible for this mess. By that age, kids really should be responsible for their own laundry. My boys have been doing their own laundry since age 6/8, and they are both autistic. If they can learn, your teens certainly can.

This is what I would recommend:

1. Buy each child a hamper that stays in their room. Dirty clothes go in there. Any that you find laying around elsewhere gets bagged up and make them earn it back. Eventually they will start running out of clothes.

2. Each child gets to do 2 loads per week. Establish laundry days for each. My boys get Wednesdays and Saturdays. I wash mine on Tuesdays and Fridays and my husband goes on Sundays. We all do our own laundry. Make a chart and keep it on the laundry room. If your kid forgets to do theirs on their day, they need to find an open slot on another day.

*we just throw everything in the same load, use warm water, permanent press cycle. We throw in a color catcher sheet when washing new clothes. Been doing this for over 10 years now. No need to sort laundry. I use a mesh bag to wash delicates in with everything else (buy your DD one)

3. Towels get washed 2 times per week. ALL the bath towels and bathroom towels go in together. Either I do this when I clean my bathroom or my son does it when he cleans the one he shares with his brother.

3. Bed sheets get washed once a week. I do mine, the boys do theirs together.

Laundry is never a problem in our home. Everyone handles their own stuff, we don't end up with massive piles that need sorting, and we have a system that everyone follows happily. And the only one who would ever dare to leave clothes lying around anywhere is DH, and I just leave it there and he gets the hint and picks it up eventually and puts it in his hamper. My boys are very neat and I have not once seen a piece of clothing anywhere but on a hanger, drawer, or in their hamper. I taught them from an early age to take pride in their surroundings and keep things in their proper place. Messes and clutter give me anxiety and I have zero tolerance for a messy house.
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
For me having everyone do their own laundry seems a little bit chaotic and then what happens if I wanna wash my clothes but then I see that my kids are using the machines
It's real life though. It's good to know how. If they end up with roommates, if they end up in a household where each person does their own, etc. It's honestly not very chaotic. Yes adding more people into the mix means you learn to schedule a bit more when a person is doing laundry but it's not honestly that difficult. It may just seem like that causing you to hesitate.
Then our laundry room turns into a laundromat fighting for machines
Again it doesn't have to be that way. Give your family more credit, there's room to learn to work with everyone. I would also say if you're worried about one person monopolizing the washer or dryer someone can start 1 load in the washer then move it to the dryer, then another person starts 1 load in the washer then moves it to the dryer. They'll also probably learn that way to prioritize loads, if you need this outfit more quickly you'll probably do that one first. It's good to also learn to work with everyone, it can be a good spot for showing consideration towards others.
The main issue is the mess before it even gets the laundry room.
I would echo others in that probably the first step is to take the habit of throwing things off from the bathroom to their bedrooms. The next step is to work on dirty and not so dirty pile. Depending on how they view laundry they may end up becoming much better at separating out dirty clothes because it means less time spent doing the laundry. The goal, IMO, is for them to do their own laundry but if you're hesitant about relinquishing all control at do baby steps just don't wait to have them do their own when they are 18 and moving out. It's also usually a desirable quality for a partner that they can do their own laundry (even if they don't in the end because of household dynamics) as it's a basic task one does, hearing one's mother does their laundry tends to not go over so well at some point.
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Washer goes all the time and then instead of 8 large loads you've got 16 smaller ones.
Well part of that at least from the OP is not knowing what is and isn't dirty and the OP advised they wear outside clothing more than once. I use febreze on things like jackets even layering tank tops or a t-shirt that was lightly worn but if I take these things off and just toss them on the floor (which who hasn't done this) chances are it's going to not be good anymore to just be febrezed and worn again, it'll get wrinkly (which sure I can iron) and it may pick up dirt or dust from being thrown haphazardly so in the dirty pile it would end up.

I would compare it to recycling in a way. It's amazing how less full your trash can is when you start diverting things to the recycling bin. There may end up being less loads for the washer and dryer if what is truly dirty finds its way to the hamper every time and what isn't truly dirty gets dealt with.
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
2. Each child gets to do 2 loads per week. Establish laundry days for each.
I like this idea in theory and it's working for your family but I've been doing my own laundry for many many years and honestly how much dirty clothes I have varies and changes all the time. In the summer yuck I'm washing things more frequently because you're stepping outside and you're a sweaty mess but then when it's cooler less so. Sometimes we've got a ton of activities especially on the weekend and then other times we're mostly homebodies.

I know for your children there's a different component but with both my parents (which somehow they both were like this rare) they just taught me to do laundry and that was it, there was no controlling when I did and didn't do laundry, no "you must do it on this day" because that wasn't how our lives were or how many loads I could do in a week. Laundry just didn't pile up on a schedule. But I think the tools were there to make it work. No one just controlled the washer and dryer all the time, you worked with everyone not against everyone.
 

Weedy

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
I’ll start with yes I’m a mean Mom😂
You should not have to be picking up after your kids.
So I’ll say it again.
Anything left on the bathroom floor is taken away!! They can earn it back with chores.
They each get one towel a week (different colors) if they leave it on the floor … too bad so sad they don’t get another one till next week.
You said you’ve ask and asked them to clean up and have been ignored. Time for some tough love.
Their future roommates and spouses will love you for this.
 

Julie's Haircut

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 2, 2015
Yeah, one of the dangers of having kids do their own laundry is overuse of the washer and dryer.

When stepdaughters were here they often washed one shirt or pair of pants. "But I NEED this to wear tonight!!!" :rolleyes:

They definitely get it from their mother. DW runs the dishwasher for one fork. But don't tell her I reported that. :duck:
 

sam_gordon

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
When I was that age I was doing my own laundry.
I did my laundry and my parents laundry, at age 15
When I was 16, doing laundry was part of my routine
I was taught how to do laundry from about age 10
We get it. You did your own laundry.

I learned how to do laundry at 18... about two weeks before going away to college.
We taught our oldest to do laundry when she was in her early teens, because she'd go through 2-3 changes of clothes daily.
DW still does most of the laundry for her, me, and two teenagers. Younger DD will occasionally do hers.

I get the impression OP is fine doing the laundry, it's the picking up the items that's an issue.

What I would do...
Tell them if you find clothes in the bathroom, you're picking them up and taking them. You can decide if they need to earn them back or you'd give them back (unwashed) after a certain amount of time. I would not threaten to give them away/throw them out, because I wouldn't want to play to replace them.
 

VandVsmama

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 28, 2011
The reason why they don’t do their laundry is because it’s just simply more efficient combining different pieces of clothing together that fit in the same cycle. We have our “family” laundry loads not my person. If enough jeans are dirty in the household and I do a load for jeans.Ideally in our laundry room you would have a different loads sorted and then whoever, most likely me or my husband will then toss them in once there’s enough to wash for a cycle. For me having everyone do their own laundry seems a little bit chaotic and then what happens if I wanna wash my clothes but then I see that my kids are using the machines. Then our laundry room turns into a laundromat fighting for machines. The main issue is the mess before it even gets the laundry room.

Your current way of doing it clearly isn't working. So stop doing it that way. You need to try something else. This will involve giving up some control. Here's some suggestions to consider:
  1. Each kid gets their own dirty clothes basket/hamper that goes in their room, NOT in the laundry room. Why does it go in the kid's room? Because that will increase the likelihood that the clothes actually make it into the dirty clothes basket.
  2. Tell the kids that effective tomorrow morning, any item of clothing left on the floor in their bathroom, in ANY bathroom, on the floor in other parts of the house, etc. will be confiscated and given away to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.
  3. Then you follow through with the threat and you bag up all of their clothing items (it will be a lot), but store it in a super secret squirrel hiding place (like your master BR closet) and watch them freak out. Your kids will test the new rule because they don't believe that you'll actually follow through with it.
  4. No more washing everybody's jeans together, washing all of the towels together, or any other such nonsense. Each kid's towel that they use for the week...that goes into THEIR hamper and THEY wash it themselves. Same with the sheets.
  5. If the washer is full of wet clothes of theirs when YOU want to do laundry, then you have 2 options: (a) do what other people will do to them at college and put their entire load of damp clothes on top of the washer when it's done; or (b) transfer their clothes to the dryer.
  6. When the dryer is full of their clothes and now you need to put your own damp/wet clothes into the dryer to be dried, take their entire load of dry clothes in the hamper and put it on their bed.
 

RogueX

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
If my daughter ever threw clothes around like that, she'd have burlap sacks to wear. She did that with laundry for a while, instead of putting her dirty clothes in her hamper, she just threw them on the floor, under bed, etc. We finally had enough after a year of arguing, I told her to clean it up, what my expectations were in terms of doing her laundry and taking care of her clothes/room or I would bag them all up and donate them to charity.
 

carol48b

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 18, 2015
As nutty as this sounds, my cousin grabs the laundry basket, goes around the house picking up all the clothes not in their rooms and tosses it out on the lawn - they live in New England and it's not fun going out to pick your clothes from the snow. He doesn't touch their rooms - that's their domain, but the rest of the house is off limits.
 

kimmar067

TAGS?? It's all about the 'likes' now!
Joined
Mar 7, 2001
...personally, I'd invest in a two-component hamper for them - one section for darks, one for lights, whites for them to keep in THEIR ROOMS. I think a 'schedule' is not really necessary - how long does it take to complete a load of laundry, two hours maybe? Or another option is to have them do their own laundry at night, while you do yours during the mornings/earlier part of the day, or vice-versa...
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
If my daughter ever threw clothes around like that, she'd have burlap sacks to wear. She did that with laundry for a while, instead of putting her dirty clothes in her hamper, she just threw them on the floor, under bed, etc. We finally had enough after a year of arguing, I told her to clean it up, what my expectations were in terms of doing her laundry and taking care of her clothes/room or I would bag them all up and donate them to charity.
I think there's usually a reasonable expectation that someone's room, to an extent at least, is permissible. There is a point where a room is a nightmare room of course. Def. throwing clothes around the shared bathroom and in the tub is different than one's own bedroom.

Then again I was a kid that threats like bagging them up and taking to charity wouldn't have worked on me and made zero sense. After all my parents were the ones buying me clothes (although not every piece of clothing as a teen) so it was just money down the drain..for them. Using the threat of toys for charity is a bit different as toys are not a necessity, clothing however was. It would end up backfiring for my parents (well really my mom considering she was the one who purchased clothing and my dad never did).
 


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