I am a firm believer in teaching kids to do chores around the house, even when it’s easier to just do them yourself. However, there’s one chore I never have the little ones help with. (And no, it’s not loading the dishwasher – I’m not one of those people who won’t even let another adult touch their dishes for fear of messing with the system. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry, I still like you. I just think you’re a wee bit crazy. 😉 The chore I never delegate to the kids is folding laundry, because little ones just seem to lack the coordination necessary to fold clothes tidily, i.e. without so many extra wrinkles you’d be better off just stuffing them in a drawer.
That is, until now. As I’ve discussed before, I’m drowning in laundry over here. 7 people just go through way too many clothes each week, so it’s time for backup. A few months ago I saw a youtube video of a kid folding laundry with the help of a nifty piece of cardboard and I thought, I wonder if that would actually work?
Well, my friends, the answer is yes, yes it does.
Thanks to an ingenious piece of cardboard, my 7 year old can now fold his own clothes I’m calling it the “folding helper”. Here’s a video that shows how it works, and after that I’ll show you the best way to make one of your own:
So I’ve known I wanted to try this idea out for months, but I haven’t wanted to round up a big enough piece of cardboard and pull out the utility knife to cut it to size and mess with trying to get it to fold straight, etc., so I never made one. When I was at the dollar store the other day I noticed they had the trifold presentation boards kids use for science fair projects and I realized that was the perfect solution!
To make your very own easy DIY laundry folding helper, start with a trifold board. Cut off one of the sides (an exacto knife works great):
Now fold the other side in, along the crease that is already there.
Then fold that side in again, making a new crease. You’ll have folded the board into thirds.
Open the board back up. Find the center (from top to bottom). Cut along each crease from the center to the bottom of the board (along the magenta dots below), creating a flap. Fold the flap up to make a new crease (along the teal dots below).
And in five minutes your laundry folding helper is ready for action!
Using the helper, my 7 year old was able to get his clothes folded quite tidily on the first try, and I with a little practice he’ll get even faster at it. The key for shirts is to center them on the board, face down, and then smooth them out before starting to fold. Even my 12 year old (who knows how to fold laundry on his own) gave it a try and said the helper made it easier to keep things neat.
Bottom line? It’s pretty nifty. Obviously I can fold clothes much faster without something like this, but it’s helpful for a young child. And it makes folding a lot more fun.
Note: If you want to fold clothes slightly smaller, just cut more of the board and fold it into smaller thirds. Let me know if you give it a try!