The Simplest Laundry Hack That Will Save You Time & Sanity

The Simplest Laundry Hack That Will Save You Time & Sanity

If laundry is taking the wind out of your sails, help is on the way.

By Jeanne Sager

Having kids generally means doing a lot of laundry. Endless baskets of laundry. Just when you've folded that last sock, it seems the kids come in covered in mud, and the whole process starts all over again.

Now maybe you're one of those people who just loves doing laundry. No shame. There's nothing quite like sinking your nose into a pile of sheets fresh from the dryer. But if you're one of the parents who is begging for a break, this could be your sanity saver.

Let's talk about socks, shall we?

You pull them off, you stretch them out, you drop them in the hamper. Right? Now when was the last time one of your kiddos followed that common sense routine? That's what we thought.

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From a small survey of moms, we found that an overwhelming number of children dump their socks into the wash in little balls. When their — disgusted — moms go to run a load of wash, they're forced to unroll these little balls of filth, which have now taken on a particularly noxious odor after days of sitting in a warm, moist environment. And that's the best case scenario! Worst case is mom not finding the balls before running a load, and the socks going through the whole process only to come out just as dirty as when they started, with add moisture on the inside.

So where's the sanity and time saver you need?

Simple ... get your kids to turn those socks (and ALL their other clothes, too!) right-side out before the entire process begins. And yes, this really happens! In fact, here are some parent-tested tips to bid those sock balls, underwear-and-pants braids, and sleeve twists goodbye:

1. Don't turn the sock balls right-side out. Ever. Allow them to go through the washing and drying cycle, and deliver them to your child's room as is. Continue this until they have no socks left. When they have run through their remaining batch of clean socks, sit them down and have them unroll each ball by hand and deliver them to the washing machine for a proper cleaning. If this doesn't solve the problem, repeat the process. As for other garments, just put them away wrong-side out so your kids can deal with the hassle when it’s time to get dressed. Soon enough they’ll realize the efficiency of doing the switch before they toss things in the hamper.


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2. The age-old reward system. If you have multiple offenders, inform your kids that there will now be a reward for the person who has the most socks turned right-side-out on laundry day. If just one kiddo is to blame, devise a reward that works for her and make her really earn it. Each sock correctly dealt or each pair of pants separated from the underwear with can be worth a sticker on a chart toward a prize. By making it something kids earn, rather than a punishment, they take ownership of getting it right.

3. Create laundry-specific baskets. You may already require your kids to separate their clothes by color, but breaking it down by type makes it harder to hide those stinky socks. One basket should hold tops, one pants, one underwear (see what we did there?) and so on. When it's time to do laundry, only accept the socks from the bin that have been unrolled, and send them back to the drawing board with the rest.

4. Make them do their laundry. Some parents balked at this suggestion, and it certainly won't work for every family. But experts advocate getting kids involved in household chores at a young age, and laundry is no different. You can begin by having them help you sort the dirty clothes — and making sock unscrunching their job — or you can get them in on the back end by teaching them to fold the dry clothes (and having them deal with those yucky wet balls of gross). Getting firsthand knowledge of what you're dealing with will help them understand why it is that you request they unroll those socks in the first place. And if you can turn over the entire task of washing their clothes to them, they're not only learning a life-long skill, but you're getting time back in your day.

5. When all else fails, rely on this shortcut. Tide Pods is another way to make your laundry routine super simple! It's a 3-in-1 laundry solution, that consists of a detergent, stain remover, and brightener all at once. Simply pop in one pac for most loads, but use two pacs for large loads and three pacs for extra-large loads.

Be honest: Are you battling this with your kids? What’s your solution?

Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer, photographer and social media junkie. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, daughter, and way too many pets. You can follow her @JeanneSager.

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