Summer Shortcut: Put the kids to bed in their clean clothes

This is the first post in a new series from Sarah and I, highlighting easy “cheats” – housekeeping and parenting shortcuts – we use to make the summer simpler! I hope you enjoy.

clara sleeping -special.jpg
During the school year, I spend a lot of time doing the laundry. First, there’s the fact that our fall and winter clothes are bulkier than our spring and summer wardrobes, what with all those jeans, sweaters, heavy socks, and hoodies to launder. By the time we reach the end of the school year, I’m ready for a break from all that washing, carting, and folding.

Luckily I stumbled across a brilliant solution, quite by accident, that reduces our laundry pile considerably. Ready for it? Okay, here goes:

Put the kids to bed in their next-day’s clean clothes. 

Yep, you got that right. You can just forego pajamas. The clothes become the pajamas.

I promise, it’s not as weird as it sounds. 

This little trick came about quite by accident in our house a few summers ago, when my younger boys had taken charge of picking out their own clothes in the morning. They’d come down dressed and we’d be out the door before I had much time to check out what they were wearing.

Then one day, I inspected William’s outfit and had a few questions.

“Hey, aren’t those pajamas you’re wearing?” 

“Well, they’re just shorts I wear as pajamas.”

“But you wore them to bed last night, right?”

“Yeah…they were pajamas last night, but they’re clothes now.”

summer short cuts
And it dawned on me: my boys wear mostly t-shirts and athletic shorts during the summer, which is very similar to the kind of outfit they wear to bed. So what if we just skipped the formalities and put them straight from the shower or bath into the clothes they’d be wearing the next day? They’d be clean, the clothes would be clean, and it would mean half the laundry. From every angle – efficiency, eco-friendliness, even hygiene – it made total sense. 

Same with Clara. Her usual uniform of capri-length leggings and a t-shirt or tank top works fine as sleepwear. So do soft cotton dresses and stretchy-waisted shorts. 

Of course, this isn’t a hard-and-fast “rule.” Clara has a lot of dresses and buttoned shorts that wouldn’t be very comfortable to sleep in. There are nights the boys swap out their shorts or PJ pants in the morning but leave on the same T-shirt, or sleep in just a T-shirt (on particularly hot nights, they often sleep only in their undies.) And sometimes, when we have a late night, they take their shower in the morning, and of course they change their clothes then.

If I had a particularly sweaty child or a diaper-clad baby or toddler who was prone to leaks, I would probably have a different opinion of this “trick,” and I suppose if you were really concerned with having your kids in flame-retardant pajamas, that could also be an issue (I’m not, though I’m certainly not judging if this is a big deal for you.)

I also happen to love pajamas – and think they look super cute on my kids – so I don’t want to eliminate them entirely!

But allowing us the freedom to sometimes say, “Get dressed? But I’m already dressed!” is just one of those lazy little shortcuts that I love to employ in the summer months. It’s not a big thing, no…but over the course of a few months, if it saves me a dozen loads of laundry, I sort of feel like I’ve gotten away with something. Which, to me, is a big part of the appeal of summer: we’re all allowed to be a little lazy!

I’d love for you to try this idea and let me know if it helps your summer feel just a little more easy-breezy! Or, let us know about your own summer shortcut in the comments section. 

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