Spring To-Do's

It's Tax Time!

Beating the Laundry Basket Blues

A teacher shares an easy idea for helping kids help mom by sorting their own laundry.

I came up the stairs from the basement to find Caitlin, Ellie, and Talie at the kitchen counter, munching on pretzel Goldfish and raisins after school.

When they asked what took me so long in the basement, I launched into your standard overburdened-mom-laundry tirade. It's nothing but dark, damp, and concrete down there, yet it's as familiar as the kitchen sink, because of all the time I spend ferrying and sorting basket after basket of laundry to feed to the washer and dryer.

When I was done with my speech, Caitlin let me in on a practical yet brilliant solution from her fourth grade teacher.

"Mrs. Merrifield says she has different colored baskets, Mom. Dark blue for dark colors, and white for light colors. And she has her boys sort their dirty clothes into the right baskets. They've been doing it since they were 4."

Score one for Mrs. Merrifield, who is not only a brilliant teacher, but clearly has her act together on the home front, too. My older girls were in the habit of taking turns helping bring down the dirty laundry from the second floor to the basement, and they help put away their clean clothes, but I hadn't considered having them help sort the dirties, too.

On my next trip to Target, I made sure there was a dark blue laundry basket on my list. I lined it up in the basement next to a yellow one (for brights) and a white one. I had the girls bump down the stairs with me, and showed them the new system.

Talie's a bit small to lug a laundry basket down two flights of stairs, but she's certainly game to help sort it occasionally. (Some of her flings even land in a basket.)

I can't say it's flawless — sometimes white tights or blue jeans or both turn up in the yellow basket, and I find stray socks in far-flung corners of the basement.

But I'm not after perfection. I'll take anything that means a little less time in the land of must and concrete.

Got a great tip for making laundry a snap? Click the comments link below to find and share solutions.

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