• Laundry, and How I’ve Made It A Habit

    Let me get a show of hands . . . Who hates laundry?


    Oh, look at that. All of you.

    Believe me, I understand. Laundry used to be my least favorite chore. Until one Monday morning I decided to make a change.

    I’d just finished a ton of clothes that weekend. Probably six or seven loads in one day, just because it just all piled up that bad. But of course there was laundry the next morning because kids sleep in pajamas and dish and bath towels had been used.

    I made a mini-resolution: go to bed with everything done.

    I got right to it. Before we walked out the door for the day I had the kids bring all of their dirty clothes and towels and whatever other dirty laundry they could find into the laundry room. The washer tub was filled about half way, even just overnight, but it wasn’t a huge load. Casting an eye to the future I thought, yeah, I can handle putting that up tonight. That night when I got home I threw the wet, clean clothes in the dryer. They were done by the time we finished eating dinner. After dinner I went and folded and hung them up.

    All together, it took maybe ten minutes of active work. That’s a far cry from the hours I’d spent the weekend before.

    I had no intention of entirely changing a habit. I just wanted laundry handled for that day.

    Except that’s exactly how you change a habit. Consciously doing something different one day at a time.

    So now here are five tips for handling a family sized laundry chore:

    1. Even if it’s a small load, do it every day so it doesn’t turn into a laundry monster.
    2. Make it a habit with your children. Have them bring anything dirty into the laundry room every morning.
    3. Have a functional work space. We used to have a freezer in our laundry room. When it died the new one went out in the garage. So I ended up with a ton of extra space in the laundry room. I can sort, fold and hang laundry in there, and it doesn’t spill out into the other living areas.
    4. Start a load in the morning. It’ll be done by the time you get home. Throw it in the dryer when you get home. It’ll be done by the time you get through dinner.
    5. Keep hangers in the laundry room. This way I don’t have to go hunting for them. And if I run out, that’s what kids are for. They’ve toted more baskets full of hangers from various closets than either of them care to think about.
    6. Fold and hang up the load as it comes out of the dryer. I find if I stand in the laundry room and fold clothes or put them on hangers I do it much faster than if I put everything in the basket and hauled it into the living room to watch TV while I work. The couch is where laundry goes to die.

    My least favorite chore has now become something of a comfort. Especially while studying for the PMP Exam. It’s a nice little mindless break in between studying Project Management Process Group flow diagrams.

    Laundry isn’t an overwhelming task anymore. It’s like the dishes: a doable chore if I just take ten minutes and do it.

    I’m not perfect about it. Sometimes laundry still piles up and I end up with a ton of laundry to do on weekends. I’m okay with that.

    I don’t have time for ‘perfect’. What I do have time for is ‘pretty good’.

    Do you have any household chores you’ve found simpler processes for? I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment or send me an email at gettingthewordswrong@gmail.com.




One Responseso far.

  1. Catherine Murphy says:

    Why does your laundry not bother me but my laundry I hate! But then I don’t have as much as you do – thats a fact. There’s only two of us! I’m always amazed at how organized your house is. Thsnk God for movie nights, HUH!

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