How do you teach your kids to do laundry? You write down the instructions.
But Jessica Lahey took it a brilliant step further. In a moment of genius (inspired by a moment of exasperation when her sons “forgot” how to do the laundry) she created the best 3-D infographic EVER: she wrote the laundry instructions directly on the washer and dryer with dry-erase markers.
Not only is this hack funny (you can practically hear her droll tone), it’s seriously helpful! Washer/dryers have all those buttons and dials, and context is important, so writing the directions on a piece of paper isn’t as clear as using arrows and bullets and if/then prompts.
Jessica is no slouch in the “explaining” department. She’s an educator and author of the new book The Gift of Failure (which I loved; my Book Love review is forthcoming). I’ve been following her excellent writing in the New York Times and the Atlantic for a long time, and we finally met in person at the Mom 2.0 Summit.
You know how, when you admire someone’s work, you really really want that person to be as fabulous in person? Jessica is. And she’s also a Class-A Parenthacker.
Read the full, funny laundry story on Jessica’s blog: Special Care Instructions
Bonus hack: if the dry erase marker doesn’t wipe off cleanly or leaves stains, try using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser dipped in nail polish remover. According to ThriftyFun — a site packed with users’ household tips — it’s a killer combo.
Photo credit: Jessica Lahey, included with permission.
Just wanted to add that I came across this hack (for my husband, lol) but found that the dry erase markers tended to get smudged off if they were next to the knobs and buttons, but I found a workaround so I thought I’d share it in case someone else has the same problem.
Use a sharpie to write the instructions, preventing the possibility of smudging. If/when you need to “erase” it, color over the sharpie with a dry erase marker and immediately wipe away. (You may have to do this a couple of times if the sharpie has been on for a while). This method also works to get sharpie off of desks and counter tops as well.
Small caveat: some colors of dry erase marker may leave a very faint residue on some surfaces (I’ve found red to be the worst culprit) but it should come off after a few “normal” cleanings.
Cute idea! I can see our kids dumping wet clothes on TOP of the washing machine, thereby making the whole process futile.