There’s a fantastic blog article posted on www.tailoredliving.com called Five Tips for Designing an Efficient Laundry Room. It has some excellent pointers about how to create your own personalized and efficient laundry room, even if your laundry “room” is actually a laundry closet or corner. We decided to expand on some of these ideas and apply them to designing a family-friendly laundry room.
So, what do we mean by a “family-friendly” laundry room? Let’s face it, it’s hard to make laundry fun. Nevertheless, laundry is something that we all have to do. Eventually, your children are also going to have to do it for themselves, too. So a part of the idea of the family-friendly laundry room is to help your kids learn how to do their own laundry. It’s a skill they’ll need, and one that you (and their future roommates, spouses and significant others) will come to appreciate one day. Here are a few ideas and suggestions on how to get the whole family involved in doing laundry, teach children how to wash their own clothes and, ultimately, make your job as chief launderer a little bit easier:
1) Create a sorting station. Even children as young as three know their colours and can be part of the process of separating different colours in the laundry room. We suggest having multiple laundry hampers in the laundry room. Three would be ideal: one for darks, one for lights/whites and one for reds. Teach children to separate their laundry according to shade. For very young children, label each hamper with a picture of the correct colour for that particular hamper so they remember. Having children sort their own laundry shortens your task a little bit. Kids are bound to make mistakes, though, so make sure you don’t blindly dump a hamper into the washing machine without giving everything a quick check first.
2) Post washing instructions in your laundry room. This is one of the suggestions offered in Five Tips for Designing an Efficient Laundry Room and we think this makes good sense for families with older children who are capable of doing laundry. Teach them by offering hands-on instruction, but make sure you have written directions for them to follow when you’re not around. All those dials and buttons, especially on today’s modern digital machines, can be very confusing and kids may forget what’s what. When directions are clearly and simply spelled out and left in a central location (affix it right to the machine or as close to it as possible) they’ll be less likely to mix reds and whites and turn their underwear pink.
3) Assign a specific laundry day. This helps to eliminate arguments about who gets priority with the washing machine, especially if you have multiple family members doing laundry. This also helps to increase the chances that your teenagers’ laundry actually gets done.
4) Create or install a folding table. Tailored Living can create a laundry folding table that is customized to your needs, from something that goes over top of your machine like a countertop or a table top that can be pulled out of the wall when needed. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, so long as there is a convenient designated spot for folding laundry.
5) Keep everything that’s needed for doing laundry in easy reach. Make a specific spot for laundry detergent, stain remover, fabric softener and everything else your family will need to do their laundry. Make sure it is within reach of all family members (provide a step stool if you need to).
6) Encourage input from the whole family into your laundry room design. If you’re planning a laundry room renovation, get everyone to share their ideas, even your littlest ones. The more of their suggestions that you implement, the less resistant they’ll be to the idea of taking part in the laundry process.