How To Do Laundry (Part 6/7): Fold Laundry
The next step in how to do laundry is to fold laundry.
The majority of clothes you can wash in the washing machine and dry in the dryer are the ones that should be folded.
Photo © Istockphoto.com/Windzepher
The rest of the clothes that do not need to be folded should be hung up on hangers.
Why Taking The Time To Fold Laundry Is Important
Laundry folding should be done soon after the clothes come out of the dryer, while they are still warm, ideally. This is the best way to keep your laundry from getting too wrinkled.
It is also the best way to keep the cycle of laundry going smoothly in your household.
When you don't take the time to fold laundry you and your family have to rifle through the dryer or the laundry baskets of clean clothes looking for something to wear.
Maybe your son finds one sock, but dumps out half the basket looking for its mate.
By then the clothes have gotten all wrinkled again, and half of them are on the floor, where it is difficult to tell if they are clean or dirty.
So you have to start the cycle all over again, skipping the crucial step of wearing and enjoying your clothes before having to wash them again.
Where To Fold Laundry
Folding clothes takes space.
You can fold clothes at a clear kitchen table, or a counter or laundry folding table in a laundry room, or on a bed or clean floor.
Enlisting Others In Your Household To Help Fold Laundry
You can definitely enlist others in your household to help fold laundry, or even to be completely in charge of the task.
In fact, one of the first jobs young children can do are laundry chores, including folding clean clothes.
How To Train Children How To Fold Laundry
First, have your child find all the socks in the pile of clothing from the dryer, or all the wash cloths, or all the pink clothes, or something like that.
They can start doing this when they are two years old or so, but it is more of a game at first then anything.
You should realize that, at first, especially with small children, you will spend more time teaching them and dealing with them while you fold laundry than if you did it on your own.
However, training up front will yield great rewards.
For example, while I was on modified bed rest while pregnant with my third child my almost 6-year-old at the time could get the clothes out of the dryer and fold them decently well, which was a big help to me.
I was definitely glad I had taken some time to train her for when I really needed the help.
After a child can identify and find different types of clothing or other laundry, teach them how to match the socks together. (This is also a great way to teach same and different, and also to identify colors.)
Next, show them how to fold wash cloths.
This is the most basic, easiest and smallest thing for small children to learn to fold, because it is just a square piece of cloth.
Therefore, wash cloths are one of the least likely items to frustrate them while they are learning how to fold laundry.
Until a child has mastered folding small things like wash cloths, they will just get frustrated trying to fold something more complex like a shirt, or something really large like a towel.
As children grow more confident and practice these skills more often, you can show them how to fold more and more types of things.
A five-year-old, for example, can help fold larger things like sheets and towels, with your assistance.
Remember though, kids are physically smaller than you, so a towel that is no big deal to you can seem like a king size sheet to a young child.
And we all know it is easier to fold large items, like sheets, tablecloths, and blankets with someone else helping.
Resource - How To Videos For Folding Clothes
Check out these articles, including how to videos, on how to fold various items here at Household Management 101:
How To Keep From Being Bored When Folding Clothes
Folding clothes doesn't take a lot of mental energy, but it does take some time.
I suggest to make the time pass faster that you fold laundry while watching TV or listening to music, and to try to make it a time of relaxation for yourself, assuming you are not using the time to train your children how to do laundry chores.
If you are busy all day and like to batch all your folding at one time towards the end of the day, I would suggest you at least lay out the clothes when taking them out of the dryer.
If they are laid out they will not get as wrinkly while they wait to be folded later in the evening.
Pairing Socks And Folding Them Into Sock Balls Is Essential For Families With Children
As you fold, pair all your family's socks, and fold them into balls.
Folding socks into balls in not necessary, but I believe it is a good habit for families with children, especially small children.
The reason is that this method keeps the socks from becoming separated when small hands are moving everything around in the drawers.
It can be maddening to look for the missing sock from a pair.
This is why I also recommend getting several matching pairs of socks for each family member, so that even if you lose one or two, the others can still all be matched together.
Nothing is worse than losing one of the two pink socks your daughter owns on the day she must wear them with her pink outfit.
Stack Laundry Based On What Room It Will Be Returned To, And Keep Sheets And Pillowcases Together
As you fold laundry stack the folded clothing into stacks based on what room it should be returned to. This will make it easier to put away the clean clothes, which is the last step in how to do laundry.
In addition, when folding sets of sheets and pillowcases, it is best to place the pillowcases inside the folds of the sheets, to make sure the pieces of the set do not get separated from one another.
Some people even go an extra step and place the folded sheets inside the pillowcase to make sure everything stays together.
I have found this can cause extra wrinkling, and does not keep the set together any more than the first method mentioned, so I do not suggest this additional step.
Now that you know how to fold clothes see the last part of the series, How To Do Laundry: Put Away Clothes.
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Related Links At Household Management 101How to Do Laundry - Introduction
Laundry Tips For Families
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