Weekly Challenge # 2: The Pesky Laundry Monster Rears His Head

Happy Monday, everyone!

If you were following this blog at the beginning of last year, you may recognize much that is in this post. I tweaked it a little, but mostly I just left it alone. Why reinvent the wheel, right? Anyway, laundry is one of those things that has a way of overwhelming lots of people.

So we’re just going to jump right in and start paving the way to an organized, well-run household. Having talked to many women over the past few years about what household chore most often overwhelms them, I have learned that laundry is a problem for many people. In fact, there are people whose laundry pile could be measured and it would be taller than they are. They could get lost in the laundry pile and not be found for days. Did you know that there are people who don’t do their laundry for weeks at a time? That spend entire weekends “catching up” with the laundry monster and not enjoying their days off? Well, I am here to help you not only catch up with him (the laundry monster has to be male, after all), but to kick him in his rear end to the curb. You will not miss him! At all.

Now, I have had a laundry schedule for many years. When I was working and then homeschooling, I did one type (not necessarily one load) of laundry each day. It was whites  on Mondays; towels  and underwear on Tuesdays; darks (jeans, t-shirts, sweats) on Wednesday, delicates (generally, things that don’t go in the dryer) on Thursday, and sheets on Friday. I also usually do another load dark clothes sometime during the week because my husband and now my son have “work clothes” that their coworkers probably appreciate being washed before they wear them again. Just saying that their work clothes tend to be a little stinky. Speaking of stinky clothes, I also do two small loads of exercise clothes a week, maybe Tuesdays and Fridays. After last week’s closet clear out challenge, I may now actually own more exercise clothes than regular clothes. I tried doing laundry only twice a week, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I’d rather do my one type a day thing. It is just what works best for me.

NOTE: I do everyone’s laundry in my house. My kids are certainly old enough to do theirs and they do know how. If not, there are instructions printed and laminated and taped on top of the washer. In case I am unable to fulfill my task as laundry goddess, someone else can do it. I don’t do all the laundry because I’m oh so nice, but because I don’t want to run the washer and dryer for small loads if everyone does their own. I also use a clothesline instead of dryer whenever weather permits. I know people who’d rather have their kids do their own laundry and that is perfectly fine. Just stick to a schedule of some sort.

Last January, I spent a week NOT doing laundry –  I “took one for the team,” so to speak. Then on a  Saturday, I dumped my hamper into the middle of my bedroom floor. I had both my kids dump their hampers onto the pile. Oh. My. Gosh. The pile was HUGE! And there are only four of us in this house. I can’t imagine if there were more. It overwhelmed me and I was only doing it for the experiment. So that I could help you. You’re welcome. :)

So. I looked at this laundry pile. I took pictures of it. I stood in awe (and fear) of it. I saw the laundry monster lurking in there and I said, “Oh, no. I don’t think so. You’re going down!” But it was completely overwhelming. I can only imagine how you feel if you face that every single Saturday. Or any other day.

If this is you…if the laundry monster lives in your house…please serve him his eviction notice. He can (and should) be out by this coming Saturday. If you are not on a schedule for your laundry and there is a huge pile of it just waiting on you, let me show you how to show him the door. (If you are on a laundry schedule, God bless you and keep up the good work!)

There are several ways to conquer your laundry pile, but the first step for any of them is to put all your laundry in one place…one pile. One big giant – possibly stinky – pile. Gather the laundry from wherever it may be in your house and bring it all together in one place. Everyone throw it all on there. Then look at it. How do you feel? Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Anxious? Don’t be. Like everything else we’ll do this year, we’ll take it one step at a time. I know you’ll see it and want to get the whole thing out of the way. Today. But then you’ll be so tired that you won’t be good for anything else. The key here is to establish a workable schedule and then stick to it. If not, the laundry monster will move back in when you aren’t looking. He’s very, very sneaky. And quick!

Here’s what I want you to do. Trust me on this one. It really will work.

Monday: Put all your laundry in the pile in a place where it can hang out for the week. Take a picture of it. We will not judge. We’ll just applaud your awesomeness at the end of the week when there is no pile. Then sort the laundry into smaller piles – however your mama taught you to sort. We all have things we wash together and things we don’t; my sorting may not be the same as yours. Then pick a pile, any pile. Start with the smallest pile so you can get through today and feel a sense of accomplishment. (Unless there’s a pile you NEED. Then do that pile.)  Take that pile, walk to the washer and get to washing. You may have more than one load from your pile but only wash one pile per day. Yes, that’s right. One pile per day. Ignore the other piles. Step around them if you must. You are going to wash, dry, fold and put away one pile today. That’s why I suggested the smallest one.

Tuesday – Friday (or Saturday) – Wash, dry, fold and put away another pile. One pile per day. You may want to document your diminishing piles with photos. And share them with us at the end of the week. Please. We love before and after pictures. Love.

ANOTHER NOTE: If you are not home during the day, you can start a load of laundry before you leave for the day and finish it after you return (don’t do this if there are things that will fade on to other things), or you can run the washer at night and throw the load in the dryer (or on the line) first thing in the morning and let it dry while you are getting ready to head out. Do NOT leave your dryer going if no one is going to be home. The goal is to completely finish one pile per day. Any “new’ dirty laundry goes to the hamper if you’ve already washed the pile it would go in. (On? Whatever.)

When the last pile is gone, take a picture of the spot where it all started. Wow! Don’t you feel a great sense of accomplishment? Do you feel the urge to sing the “Hallelujah Chorus”? Go right ahead. We’ll sing with you.

Then…take pen and paper in hand. On the top of the paper write “Laundry Schedule.” Write down what type/load of laundry you are going to do on each day. Post it where you can see it. (You can get all fancy like me and type up a laundry schedule.) Then – and here’s the kicker – do what it says. It will do you no good if you don’t stick with it. But if you do, you will not have a giant pile of laundry waiting for you on Saturday mornings. So you can sleep in without feeling guilty! Post your “before” picture from this week beside it. That should keep you motivated! You don’t want to go there again.

At our house, there is a laundry hamper in each bedroom. Also, I have a small laundry basket for everyone in the house. When the kids were younger, when the  laundry was done and folded, I handed each family member his or her basket and had them put their laundry away. Then they could put whatever is needed for the next day’s laundry in the basket and return it to the laundry room (or laundry closet, if you’re like me). This worked well then.

Now my children are 22 and nearly 20…they don’t always return the baskets that the clean clothes were in. I now text them what I need (whites, darks, towels, etc.) and they bring them down. If they don’t – and my son is prone to NOT doing it – it doesn’t get done by me. Then he does his own laundry. Which isn’t a bad thing for me as he apparently has more clothes than the rest of us combined and wears every single thing he owns every single week. Weird.

You will be amazed at how great you feel with a schedule or routine. Amazed. I promise. And that’s just the laundry.  Who knew having your laundry under control could feel so good? I did! 🙂 Now…get to washing and have a great day!

Blessings,

Lynne

The giant laundry pile - yikes!

The giant laundry pile – yikes!

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Defeating the Laundry Monster

Good Monday morning!

So we’re just going to jump right in and start paving the way to an organized, well-run household. Having talked to many women over the past few years about what household chore most often overwhelms them, I have learned that laundry is a problem for many people. In fact, there are people whose laundry pile could be measured and it would be taller than they are. They could get lost in the laundry pile and not be found for days. Did you know that there are people who don’t do their laundry for weeks at a time? That spend entire weekends “catching up” with the laundry monster and not enjoying their days off? Well, I am here to help you not only catch up with him (the laundry monster has to be male, after all), but to kick him in his rear end and defeat him once and for all. You will not miss him! At all.

Now, I have had a laundry schedule for many years. When I was working and then homeschooling, I did one type (not necessarily one load) of laundry each day. It was whites (towels, underwear, socks) on Mondays; towels, dark socks and underwear on Tuesdays; darks (jeans, t-shirts, sweats) on Wednesday, delicates (generally, things that don’t go in the dryer) on Thursday, and sheets on Friday. I also usually washed another load dark clothes on Fridays because my husband (and now my son) have “work clothes” that their coworkers probably appreciate being washed before they wear them again. Just saying that their work clothes tend to be a little stinky. Now that I am “retired,” I have changed my schedule to whites/towels/underwear on Mondays; darks and delicates on Wednesdays; and sheets on Friday. Still occasionally doing the work clothes thing on another day as needed.

NOTE: I do everyone’s laundry in my house. My kids are certainly old enough to do theirs and they do know how. If not, there are instructions printed and laminated and taped on top of the washer. In case I am unable to fulfill my task as laundry goddess, someone else can do it. I don’t do all the laundry because I’m oh so nice, but because I don’t want to run the washer and dryer for small loads if everyone does their own. I also use a clothesline instead of dryer whenever weather permits.

This week I “took one for the team” and didn’t do laundry all week. On Saturday, I dumped my hamper into the middle of my bedroom floor. I had both my kids dump their hampers onto the pile. Oh. My. Gosh. The pile was HUGE! And there are only four of us in this house. I can’t imagine if there were more. It overwhelmed me and I was only doing it for the experiment. So that I could help you. You’re welcome. 🙂

So. I looked at this laundry pile. I took pictures of it. I stood in awe of it. I saw the laundry monster lurking in there and I said, “Oh, no. I don’t think so. Out!” Can I get an “Amen!”?

If this is you…if the laundry monster lives in your house…please serve him his eviction notice. He will be out by Saturday. If you are not on a schedule for your laundry and there is a huge pile of it just waiting on you, let me show you how to show him the door. (If you are on a laundry schedule, God bless you and keep up the good work!)

There are several ways to conquer your laundry pile, but the first step for any of them is to put all your laundry in one place…one pile. One big old giant pile. Gather the laundry from wherever it may be in your house and bring it all together in one place. Everyone throw it all on there. Then look at it. How do you feel? Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Anxious? Don’t be. Like everything else we’ll do, we’ll take it one step at a time. I know you’ll see it and want to get the whole thing out of the way. Today. But then you’ll be so tired, you won’t be good for anything else. The key here is to establish a workable schedule and then stick to it. If not, the laundry monster will move back in when you aren’t looking. He’s very, very sneaky.

Here’s what I want you to do.

Monday: Put all your laundry in the pile in a place where it can hang out for the week. Take a picture of it. We will not judge. We’ll just applaud your awesomeness at the end of the week when there is no pile. Sort the laundry into smaller piles – however your mama taught you to sort. We all have things we wash together and things we don’t; my sorting may not be the same as yours. Then pick a pile, any pile. Start with the smallest or the largest – whichever pile you think you can get through today or whichever pile you happen to need the most at the moment. Take that pile, walk to the washer and get to washing. You may have more than one load from your pile but only wash one pile per day. Yes, that’s right. One pile per day. Ignore the other piles. Step around them if you must. You are going to wash, dry, fold and put away one pile today.

Tuesday – Friday (or Saturday) – Wash, dry, fold and put away another pile. One pile per day. You may want to document your diminishing piles with photos. And share them with us at the end of the week. Please. We love before and after pictures. Love.

ANOTHER NOTE: If you are not home during the day, you can start a load of laundry before you leave for the day and finish it after you return (don’t do this if there are things that will fade on to other things), or you can run the washer at night and throw the load in the dryer (or on the line) first thing in the morning and let it dry while you are getting ready to head out. Do NOT leave your dryer going if no one is going to be home. The goal is to completely finish one pile per day. Any “new’ dirty laundry goes to the hamper if you’ve already washed the pile it would go in. (On? Whatever.)

When the last pile is gone, take a picture of the spot where it all started. Wow! Don’t you feel a great sense of accomplishment? Do you feel the urge to sing the “Hallelujah Chorus”? Go right ahead. We’ll sing with you.

Then…take pen and paper in hand. On the top of the paper write “Laundry Schedule.” Write down what type/load of laundry you are going to do on each day. Post it where you can see it. (You can get all fancy like me and type up a laundry schedule.) Then – and here’s the kicker – do what it says. It will do you no good if you don’t stick with it. But if you do, you will not have a giant pile of laundry waiting for you on Saturday mornings. So you can sleep in without feeling guilty! Post your “before” picture with it. That should keep you motivated! You don’t want to go there again.

At our house, there is a laundry hamper in each bedroom. Also, I have a small laundry basket for everyone in the house. When the laundry is done and folded, I hand each family member his or her basket and have them put their laundry away. Then they can put whatever is needed for the next day’s laundry in the basket and return it to the laundry room (or laundry closet, if you’re like me).

We are going to talk a lot about scheduling this week. You will be amazed at how great you feel with a schedule or routine. Amazed. I promise. Now…get to washing and have a great day!

Blessings,

Lynne

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