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Do you have a dirty little secret? Have you gotten so far behind on your laundry that it’s embarrassing. Do you hide it, feel guilty, and want to give up.
My organizing clients are beautiful people who become vulnerable and expose their weaknesses to me as I enter their home. I admire them so much. Over the years I’ve seen laundry 2 feet deep in closets, 8-10 full baskets stacked in the laundry room, and entire dining tables piled with clean clothes waiting to be folded.
Laundry is a common problem.
Here are eight secrets that will help you conquer laundry once and for all.
Secret 1: Forgive Yourself
First off, if you struggle with laundry and always seem to be surrounded by mountains of clothes staring you in the face, its going to be okay. Just stop. Take two deep breaths. Give it over to the Lord and ask Him to help. Don’t give up.
Secret 2: Catch Up
Get your competitive juices flowing. When I say, “GO!” get focused on getting to zero (no dirty clothes in the house). This, I know, only lasts for about 5 seconds, but getting caught up is the first step. Focus all your energy on this. For the next week, do at least 3 loads a day…at least. No other goals. Just get your laundry caught up. Ask for help. Do laundry first thing in the morning, before you eat each meal and before you go to bed. Set your timer to remind yourself. Or, take it all to the laundromat at one time. Whatever it takes.
GO! Start a load before you read any more.
Secret 3: DON’T Get Behind.
Duh. Stating the obvious.
It’s just like losing weight. You’ve worked really hard and you are doing great. Then you give in once, twice, and you are back where you started. Don’t people always say its a “lifestyle” not a diet. Think of laundry the same way. It is a lifestyle. A routine you need to establish.
I struggle with maintaining routines. Here are some ideas. Find what works for you.
A. Do one load a day from start to finish.
Monday wash a load of colors. Tuesday – whites. Wednesday – towels. Thursday – sheets. Friday – delicates. Saturday – colors again. Wash, dry and put away. No exceptions.
B. Have kids wash their own load.
My daughters each started doing this on their own. They bring their dirty clothes basket to the laundry room every Saturday and wash everything all in one load. They take it all back to their room, put it away and it’s done! I rarely even see their clothes. Yes, it is a beautiful thing!
C. Designate two days a week to laundry.
Start first thing in the morning (or put a load in before bed the night before!). Keep it going all day until you’re done. Set the timer so you don’t forget. Obviously, pick days when you will be home all day.
Secret 4: Own Less
The more clothing you own the more overwhelming it is to maintain it. I’ve seen it. It takes so much energy and so much work! If you are disorganized it is even more stressful and overwhelming. Purge often. Simplify. Reduce. Buy LESS. Say no thank you to hand-me-downs and “good deals.” Purge your closet and your kid’s closets seasonally. No one wants to put clean clothes into closets that are stuffed full. Only keep two sets of sheets for each bed.
Secret 5: Use Less
I knew this beautiful Christian woman. She shared with me how she washed every piece of clothing every single time she (and her family) wore something. That includes vests, jackets, sweaters, jeans, etc. She also told me that she washes her bedding every week including her comforter! I didn’t tell her this, but I probably hadn’t washed my comforter in over a year! Feeling like a filthy loser, I told my husband about her that night. Thinking he would be in complete awe of her also, I waited for his reply. He looked at me, unphased by her amazing discipline, and said flatly, “What a waste of water and electricity.” I wanted to give him a big hug!
How can you use less laundry?
A. Reuse your bath towel.
You should be clean coming out of the shower, right? Take the time to hang your towel once you are dry and then reuse it. Could you use the same towel for a week?
B. Wear your outerwear two or three times before you wash it.
Have a hook by your closet, hang your jeans and sweatshirt on it at the end of the day. Wear them again later that week.
C Wear the same pajamas a couple nights in a row.
D. Don’t let your kids change outfits during the day.
I hear moms tell me that their toddlers change clothes throughout the day which equals another load of laundry. Obviously they will spit up or spill on their clothes but try to limit this habit.
E. Keep your clothes off the floor.
Trying on an outfit and then deciding not to wear it and dropping it on the ground equals another load of laundry. It’s easier to grab everything and drop it in the laundry room even if it was clean. Toddlers pulling clothes out and not putting them away equals another load of laundry. Work hard to keep your room and closet picked up.
When all else fails…
My good friend’s husband changes clothes three times a day. After many discussions she realized it’s not going to change. Accept the fact and do an extra load every day. Focus on Secret 8.
Secret 6: Get rid of single socks!
I have seen it all when it comes to people’s lost sock collections. There is no denying that socks cause stress and clutter. Once your laundry is caught up gather the family, set the timer for 30 minutes, bring all the mismatched socks in the house (including the singles in everyone’s sock drawers) into the living room. Together find the pairs and then donate the rest to Goodwill. Goodwill sells fabric by the pound to fund their programs so cloth is welcome, holey or mismatched. Just be kind and bag and label them.
Start fresh! Make a “lost sock” hanger like this or for the non-crafty buy this one. I made one when my kids were little and we all loved it. If the socks hang on it for more than a week get rid of them.
Secret 7: Hire Help
There, I said it. Sometimes the best you can do is to know when you need help. There is nothing shameful about getting help. I know a lady that goes into people’s homes and just does laundry. She changes sheets and washes, folds, and irons clothes. Doesn’t that sound amazing? If you can’t afford help maybe you could trade services with a friend that doesn’t mind laundry. You clean bathrooms or make freezer meals and she does your laundry.
Secret 8: Finally, Try to Enjoy Laundry
WHAT? Could it be possible for you to actually enjoy laundry?
Use the following ideas to enjoy laundry more.
A. Pray for each member of your family.
While folding your son’s socks pray that he will walk in the ways of the Lord. While hanging your husband’s shirts pray he is clothed in the full armor of God.
B. Meditate on a scripture verse or favorite quote.
Hang one in your laundry room today.
C. Listen to uplifting music.
D. Just be still and enjoy the silence.
E. Be competitive.
Time yourself and try to beat your time.
F. Finally, educate yourself.
Listen to a podcast. I love listening to Dave Ramsey. Please share your favorite podcast in the comments. I’m looking for a new one!
There you have it. These 8 secrets will help you conquer laundry ONCE AND FOR ALL. Please share what helps you keep up with, and even enjoy, your laundry.