Laundry-The Bane of My Existence
For years, laundry was the bane of my existence. If there were any house chore that could have been an Achilles’ heel, this one was it.
For years my three gloriously messy children sent me one garment after another to clean just for them to mess again! Oh, and my wonderfully talented husband (as a soldier) went through at least three changes of clothes each day: a PT uniform, his daily office uniform, and a set of civilian clothes.
Even though I was a stay-at-home mom while my blessings were little, I really had trouble keeping up! (I had no clue how to CREATE A HOME OF PEACE with a chore chart or systems and routines.)
Fast forward to older children who still paint, play in the mud, and go through multiple sets of clothes each day! Fast forward to a retired veteran turned automotive repairman and restoration guy who still has a daily work uniform and a set of “normal” clothes. Fast forward to a work outside the home mom and wife who is a full-time English teacher and part-time blogger. Fast forward to a woman who created a HOME OF PEACE with a chore chart and systems and routines.
The “Burning” Questions
Let me confess to you now NO amount of Scripture reading or prayer eased my soul about this chore. I had no system in place except to complain about the mountains of clothes piling up in the baskets, hiding under beds, and lurking in hidden corners in various places around the house. Trust me when I say, there is a better system. I found so many of these questions coming from my mouth way too often! What about you?
I fully believe in God’s transforming power for our mindsets. (Romans 12:1-2). This is why I created the e-course UNLABELED. I’ve seen the transforming power of prayer and being IN THE WORD daily with the Creator. I know faith without action is “dead”. If I truly wanted to Overcome the Overwhelm with this laundry, I needed to put some faith into action!
My prayer in this post is that I can help do the same for you. If you’re buried under piles of laundry and you feel defeated, then friend, this post is for you. There is hope! Your victory is on the way!
I’ve tried several systems in the past for laundry. I’ve read several other blog posts, took advice from friends, and I’ve even paid a girl once to do my laundry. (Yes, I’m serious.)
Perhaps one of these methods I’m sharing is your current laundry method or routine and it works for you! If so, cheers to you, my friend! If not, then I ask you to keep reading because I might have a solution for you!
A Few Laundry Routines/Methods I’ve Tried
1. Each person has a laundry day.
This is where each day of the week is assigned to one person’s clothes. When I tried this, my friend, it never failed that one of us left out some important piece of clothing because it was forgotten somewhere! Then the ickiness of 2-week old laundry is floating around or festering just waiting for the next turn. And if grace guided the laundry routine, we could say, “Just throw it in with a different wash on a different day!” But, my friend, that totally defeats the purpose of this system. Case in point why I failed at this method.
2. Sort and wash by color or fabric.
Oh, Giant Slayer, I spent years trying to wash clothes like my grandmother. Sometimes I will still separate a few garments to avoid transfer. But, I’ve found that this is really few and far between of when I need to do this. I will occasionally do a bleach load for our whites. Sometimes the husband brings home some really icky clothes from work. I even set aside a few of our new garments for their first wash. However, keeping up with all the colors to sort somehow missed a garment and it had to wait a few extra days for the wash. It never failed that was the one garment that was needed. Case in point why this method didn’t work for our home.
3. Using separate baskets for each person’s clothes.
We used to keep a separate laundry basket for each person in their bedrooms. It never failed that clothes somehow missed these “designated” baskets. I had to go around and search out those missing clothes and bring all the baskets to the laundry room. Then I would sort, wash, dry, fold, and put clothes back in those same baskets to return everyone their clothes to put away. Notice the pattern? I did all the responsibility. Case in point why this method didn’t work for our home.
4. Using a huge laundry basket.
I found this amazing wicker basket at a thrift store when we lived in Germany. It served as our laundry hamper for years. I learned that this also seemed a “bottomless pit” for our laundry. One basketful was just a bit too large for our machine. I discovered that there was always one small amount that was never washed. This left me feeling like I was never caught up. This was such a challenge for my “Martha Heart”. Case in point why this method didn’t work for me.
5. Burn the clothes.
I know you’ve had this thought. Go ahead and laugh. In the Spirit of transparency, I’ve not actually burned the clothes, but I have just thrown clothes away. Purging works (more on this later in the post), but I cannot purge ALL our clothes or we would be naked. Again, case in point why I failed at this method.
Now that I’ve established my success at failures, you might actually be wondering, “Will anything work?” or “Does this lady even know what to do to help me?” My, dear Giant Slayer, the answer is a very simple, “Yes, I can help you.”
So How Did I Find Success?
I use a VERY simple method. One load, every single day: Wash, Dry, Fold, Put Away. As I write this blog post for you, I currently have an empty laundry room that is all caught up. No, I’m not joking. Yes, I am serious. Victory is possible.
Friend, let me ask you, have you used my workbook to CREATE A HOME OF PEACE? If you’ve picked this up, then you’ve seen that every single day (listed at the top) is one load of laundry. If your family is larger than mine, you may need 2 loads each day or an alternating method of 1 load on the weekdays and 2 daily loads on Saturday and Sunday. I encourage you to spend two or three weeks working to make the changes you need to establish a routine. Then, Overcomer, stick with this EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I told you that I keep a simple routine. One load, every single day: Wash, Dry, Fold, Put Away. And Giant Slayer, we ALL help. It’s not just on my shoulders anymore.
I discovered that by establishing the spoken expectation that we all help and work together to do one load each day, our teamwork has greatly improved. In our home, it looks like this.
A Small Community Basket
We have a small community laundry basket in the laundry room. We are a team, after all. This is where dirty clothes go. NO EXCEPTIONS. With my littles when I find their clothes lying about, I can simply ask this question, “Where do your dirty clothes need to go?” This usually solicits the correct response. To which I can follow, “Please place your clothes where they need to go.” Most of the time this is all that is needed.
We speak a lot about personal responsibility in our home. You can read about this in CREATING A HOME OF PEACE. Laundry is included in these spoken expectations. After all, it is our job to “train them in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6).
“Start in the Morning” Routine
I (or my amazing husband) will start the washing machine every single morning.
Some of our family showers at night. Some of us shower in the morning. So, before I go to bed or first thing in the morning, I dump our small basket of dirty clothes into the machine from those in the family who shower at night. I add in our soap and fabric softener at night as well. Our mornings tend to be more hectic so doing this step at night saves me a few moments in the morning.
We put the rest of the clothes in the machine from those in our family who have a morning shower routine. One of us presses “START” on the way out the door in the morning.
When I arrive home from work, I toss the clothes into the dryer. When they are finished, I ask the blessings to fold them or we fold them together as a team. Each child puts away his/her own laundry. The putting away of towels, washcloths, and napkins vary with each load.
We repeat this routine almost every single day.
“Start in the Evening” Routine
I have in the past used a “Start in the Evening” Routine instead. Especially if we’ve had a super busy or crazy week and we have more clothes than usual. This method follows the same format but starts in the evening hours instead.
It looks like this.
After evening showers clothes are all added to the machine. I start the load before we head to bed or set the timer on the machine to start in the wee hours of the morning. When I wake up the load is finished. I toss into the dryer while we’re getting ready in the morning.
If time, I (or the Superman) will fold the clothes in the morning for us to put away when we arrive home in the evening. If not enough time, the clothes are ready for us to fold as part of our afternoon chores. Again, each child puts away his/her own laundry.
On Thursdays We Conquer Clutter
Our laundry room also doubles as our mudroom, entry point, and place for our cubbies and command wall. In CREATING A HOME OF PEACE, I shared my chore chart that shows Thursdays as a Laundry Room “Clean-Up” Day. This is the day we straighten any clutter that’s been left about, sweep and mop the floor in this room.
I also use this day to have the blessings put away ANYTHING in this room that could be causing clutter and the feeling of Overwhelm that comes with “stuff” lying about. With a clean area to work in, this space beckons to stay clean. (Read more in the LAUNDRY TRAFFIC JAM section of this post.)
In CREATING A HOME OF PEACE, I show how the weekends are not full of housework, but a few limited chores must be done. One daily load of laundry is a part of this essential housework for us.
On the weekends I usually have one regular load and because I’m not overwhelmed with laundry washing our bedding, blankets, pillow casings, and couch slipcover is not overwhelming. I do not wash all these every weekend. I am not superwoman. I try to alternate every other weekend for bedding and every other weekend for the coverings.
Purge like it’s your job.
Once you have a laundry routine established, then I beg you to purge through your clothing like it’s your job. Purge like your sanity depends on it. If you’re like me and your sanity is hanging by a thread when it comes to laundry, then this important step will help you fight your way back like a warrior on the battlefield!
Fewer Clothes = Less Laundry
Yes, I stated the obvious. Yes, I’m asking you to make decisions. Yes, I’m asking you to HEBREWS 12 your clothing and SIMPLIFY YOUR WARDROBE. (I will be writing about this one soon.) Just trust me on this one!
Avoid the LAUNDRY TRAFFIC JAM
Here’s what I’ve learned. I cannot have a “traffic jam” with our clothing or I become overwhelmed. Here’s what I mean.
We need a clean, uncluttered surface in which to fold our clothes. If there’s no clean surface, I don’t want to pull the clothes from the dryer to fold. If clothes do not come from the dryer, I have no place to put them from the wash. If I can’t move them from the washer, then they pile up in the basket and remain dirty.
This is what I refer to as the Laundry Traffic Jam. Check this out, Giant Slayer.
Dear Overcomer, do you see how important it is that we follow through with the last step? I spent years battling this idea. Most of us do not work well in cluttered spaces. This Laundry Traffic Jam may not happen to you. But, I bet if you’ve made it this far, we are kindred spirits and you know what I mean when I speak of this “traffic jam” that’s killing your joy in your home and overwhelming your laundry routine!
Battling the Lies about Laundry
Friend, I used to think if I only had a nice, new washer and dryer set, then laundry would be easier. I thought if only my children or husband weren’t so messy this would be easier. I thought if I could just burn these clothes this would be easier! These are LIES, friend. All LIES! Ok, maybe that last one is true, but totally not economical or good, right?
I thought if I could just burn these clothes this would be easier!
Here’s the truth: I didn’t want to do laundry because I had no system in place and I was overwhelmed. I was resentful for the messes and in turn, I was resentful for the ones who brought me the messes. I didn’t want to embrace my appointment for my home. I kept thinking, “There’s more to life than laundry and housework!”
Friend, there IS more to life than this seemingly mundane appointment. But, caring for your family and your home is a part of your appointment. It is your ministry.
By all means, if you can pay someone to do this “mundane” job and you want to do so, then go for it! But, if you’re like me and hiring someone is not an option, then know that you can handle it.
You can do conquer the mountain of laundry and enjoy the messy moments!
If the faith as small as a mustard seed can move the mountains, then sister forming a small, simple routine can move the mountains of laundry!
Want a Blank Free Printable?
Friend, Did you know that I have some freebies in The Toolbox for my subscribers. The mission is to help you “overcome the overwhelm” with Spirit-led and Christ-centered strategies.
I want to help you live like you’ve been called out from the grave! So please jump in with me and snag some FREE tools to help you overcome the overwhelm!
Today, I would love to send you my free BLANK chore chart to help you get started in case that’s all you need to move you in the direction to keep peace in your home!
If so, let’s get that tool in your hands now!
Please share with a friend who seems buried under the mountains of clothes and could use a hand to find her way out!
Blessings from my toolbox to yours,