Laundry is a big chore and I’m a believer of sharing responsibilities at home. Yes I am a stay at home mom, but no I am not here to do everything for my girls. We are not strict on set chores, but children need to share the responsibilities at home simply because it’s the right thing to do. They are trained to do this at their Montessori school with shared work jobs as part of the community arrangements.
Maria Montessori used to say, “Many hands make light work.”
A couple weeks ago I opened the girls laundry chute that goes from the third floor (where their bedrooms are) to the basement (where the laundry gets done) and the avalanche that came out almost me buried me alive…sheets, towels and all. We needed a new system for all hands to help with the work!
I tried a similar system in the past, but it proved to be too complicated and resulted in too many individual separate loads of lights and darks between three girls.
Laundry Chores in our Montessori Home
The pink bins belong to the girls. The white traditional baskets are for grown up laundry which they are not responsible for.
1. Each girl is responsible for emptying the laundry chute one day during the week and sorting the dirty clothes into three bins – Darks, colors and lights. The bins are on the left and labeled with examples of the clothing that goes in the bins. This results in three managable loads of dirty clothes per week that the girls are responsible for doing. Sheets and towels get sorted into the big round pink bin and combined with grown up items.
2. On the weekend all girls are responsible for putting one bin of dirty clothes in the wash and dryer – then sorting, folding and putting the clean clothes in individual clean clothes bins labeled for each separate girl.
3. When all three girls are finished, each of them carry their clean clothes upstairs and put them away in drawers in closets. The bins with easy carrying handles are key for this to make it managable for even a five-year-old to carry.
There has been a definite amount of complaining from the workers about having to do their own laundry now – which is to be expected. And it’s been interesting to watch the debates about who is or is not returning the inside out clothes back to normal and when it should happen. I can happily report it is all working itself out in a natural way.
But it sure does make me appreciate the little one who still loves helping with laundry. It reminds of this toddler laundry set up I used to keep her busy while I did the real stuff. Now she helps with the real stuff and says she “loves” doing laundry. She’ll even “inside out” all the dirty clothes if you ask her. And she helps make laundry detergent too.