We recently moved with a relative family and there are a lot of clothes that get washed. My wife is type 1 and with all kids and baby she is drained of energy. I wanted to find out if there is a quick hack or efficient way to fold clothes or something else after they are dried?
Folded clothes are easier to store, take up less space and generally look nicer when you are ready to wear them. In some cases rolling clothes will allow them to take even less space, but may appear less nice when you go to wear them.
If you are washing and drying a lot of clothes, IMHO the easiest thing is to fold (or hang) them as they come out of the dryer. It only takes a couple of minutes to fold a dryer full of clothes. Optimally fold them as soon as the dryer stops for the nicest results.
Spending 5 minutes an hour folding a single load of clothes is much less daunting then, trying to fold a mountain of clothes.
If you are at a Laundromat and are using several dryers at once. Fold the clothes as they become dry. If there are heavy things like jeans in with light things like shirts. Move the heavy wetter things to a combined dryer a couple minutes before time runs out. You can fold the shirts that dry at the end of the cycle, and the pants later when they are dry.
My hack is to work as a team.
It is considerably easier to fold large items like bed sheets, duvet covers, bath towels, curtains and table cloths with one person each end. You hold two corners each, stretch it out, fold in half and shake. Then walk together with arms raised (to keep it off the floor) so that the corners meet. One person grabs them, the other lets go and picks up two newly folded corners at the bottom. You then move apart, shake again, and so on.
Sharing a job also makes a chore more enjoyable and takes only half the time.
Another way to save energy is to cut down on the ironing. I never iron sheets or underwear. Although it is nice to sleep on a freshly ironed sheet, the next night it is just a sheet. So if your wife is struggling to keep up with the work, be kind and don't ask for what is unnecessary.
Edit: some links to Youtube shirt-folding videos
As well as dividing the problem (my other answer) I also recommend you try "get someone else to do it" - here's how
Obtain a piece of cardboard, about 2ft x 2ft. Draw an H on it that is central and about 1ft wide:
Cut along the lines indicated in red. Fold along the lines indicated in blue. Your machine is now ready
Place a T-shirt face down on the card as indicated by the green outline. Flick one side over and back, then the other side over and back. Then fold the bottom up and back down
Kids will hopefully love this and will willingly pitch in folding the clothes. Their clothing might need a smaller version of the machine. They might also enjoy the "guess whose folded shirt this is and put it in the right pile" game
To fold long sleeved items, put the item on as you would a t shirt, and then make a diagonal fold over at the shoulder so the sleeve is resting along the arm of the machine. If you find that the cuffs poke out of top of the finally folded garment you can make another fold line part way up and then the "fold up" is a two stage process of "small flap up, then down", "large flap up, then down":
If you find the cardboard gets ragged along the fold lines after some use, putting tape on the fold line (Sooner rather than later) will stop it falling apart
Some things need folding, and some don't. I don't fold socks or underwear. That saves a lot of time.
Things that do need folding can generally be hung up on hangers in closets (presuming you have the space). Here's the hack: Find a way to create a clothes rod that you can move around your home, e.g. carrying a broomstick horizontally. Bring it into your laundry room and hang a lot of empty hangers on it. Then pull things out of the dryer and put them directly onto the hangers. Bring that whole broomstick full of hung-up clothes to the closet(s). Transfer the clothing items to the correct places in the closet(s). It may require a couple trips, depending on how much laundry there is, how long the broomstick is, and how much you can carry!
Let me take the opposite tack from Weather Vane and suggest you find one person to be responsible for the folding. I'm not saying that noone can help them, but find one person to own it and get them to ask for help when they need it.
The best reason for this is simplicity of accountability. It is clear who to ask about what is going on. If your designated folder goes to summer camp, then a replacement needs to be picked. You still have one person who can be pestered to make sure it is done in a timely fashion.
I know that this may not be the first thing you try if you hate folding laundry and you can't imagine that anyone would like it. But there might be people who find it to be a rewarding experience. I know that's hard to imagine, but consider a computer techie that sits at their keyboard for hours on end. Getting up and having something physical to do is a tremendous relief. Or maybe you live with someone that is a bit obsessive-compulsive. They may truly, naturally enjoy the experience of turning a mess into neat piles.
If you cannot find one person to designate as your official folder, then consider a chore wheel. This is a wheel on a board somewhere everyone can see that turns each week so a person's name matches up to a different chore. You still get the benefit of having one person to hold accountable, but the pain is shared so noone feels stuck with a job that everyone hates.
Bear in mind; there's a psychological element to your problem too
You could perhaps ease your burden by taking the approach that "no clothes need folding when the world is in coronavirus lockdown"
When not in lockdown, consider that the only clothes that need folding are those that will be worn somewhere where you're bothered that other people will be bothered that the clothes are creased. Because this is a two factor thing, if you don't care that your weekend clothes aren't folded and ironed when you're out walking in them, then it doesn't matter what other people think..
The kids won't care that their clothes have creases. No-one will care that underwear and socks have creases so really we're down to clothes that have some mandatory presentational aspect; suits and shirts for a workplace perhaps
I preface this answer with this point because I think it's important to remember - sometimes situations change and it's not always possible or necessary to carry on as we did before. Stephie points out in the comments that there is a flip side to this that some element of routine is helpful to coping with the psychological impacts of change, and that's a valid point. Perhaps think carefully about the psychology of your problem and decide what could work best for you
Maybe a nicely ironed shirt and not wearing trousers at all means you can still "feel dressed and professional" for web cam conference calls, reduce the ironing need, and the trousers/washing powder lasts longer.. Just remember not to stand up in the middle of a call ;)
Now, the first step to approaching any mountainous problem, is to make the mountain smaller. Consider what was said in the preface above and see if you can reduce the size of the problem by not seeing the whole thing as a problem to be solved.
The next step is, as others have indicated, to share the remaining mountain out.
Being a parent is no doubt a full time responsibility, as is a full time job - full time jobs are from 9-5 but the working hours of you and your wife being parents are 24/7.
That does really mean that, outside of the 9-5 you're at work, you've got 50% of the load of everything else and it really might be (if you have a lot of children) that the only thing your wife can do while you're at work is parent the children, educate them, entertain them and try to stop them destroying the place. It's exhausting and far more hard work than having a job, surrounded by sensible, reasonable conversation :) - be fully expectant that when you get home there will be a huge number of domestic tasks to attend to, and everyone should pitch in on doing them.
You might have to strike bargains if there are things you/others can't do (breastfeed the baby that won't drnk from a bottle, for example) - she mends clothes while the baby feeds, while you and the kids wash the dishes/try to stop the other kids "helpfully" smashing them while drying them!
If you're living with other relatives, there may also be other adults around to help do things in batches - one person can cook for all, one can wash for all, one tends all the children etc.. if there are ways to combine the struggles of all your lives so that dealing with them in a batch improves efficiency then it may make all easier. Rotating the jobs will help one person feel less like "I do all the cooking!" - unless they're terrible at it.
I pitch this answer this way because your question reads a bit like "there's a lot of washing, my wife is struggling to keep up with it as well as looking after a new baby; what can be done?" as though it's an uneven split of responsibility and your wife is having to do too much - everyone should pitch in with looking after every thing and making sure that it's all being shared equally as much as possible. It might cause a bit of conflict at the start - the first few times I folded clothes, my partner didn't want me to fold them "because [they'll] have to re do it, because [i] don't do it like [they] wanted". I asked for tutorial, they refused. I kept on folding my way to annoy them until they taught me. Problem solved and I'm now allowed to fold :)
Incidentally, I was doing it wrong because I wasn't being careful to always fold the item so the pattern in the front of the tee shirt was still visible. This vital thing is how same colour, different pattern items are discriminated in the wardrobe. I've never cared to match patterns within outfits so I just folded things however they first came into my hands, but it was no issue to just change the way I folded. If it had been some lengthy process that would have slowed me down a lot, I would have argued more!
Decide which of these domestic tasks can be let go or reduced in intensity, to ease the burden; folding and ironing is one such thing - it's not really necessary in most cases, and it might be that people are being more precious about it than they need to - learning to let some of that intensity go can be a big help.
Your/her health and mental wellbeing is more important than folding all the clothes because your wellness has a more direct impact on the quality of life that can be provided for the children.