I love fresh, clean, folded laundry. That’s unfortunate, because I have a terrible time keeping up with the laundry in our house. Well, actually, washing the laundry isn’t much of a problem. I can usually manage to get a couple loads popped into the washing machine in the morning, and I very often get a load of wet clothes tossed in the dryer . . . but sometimes I completely forget that there is a load in the washer so they don’t always get transferred to the dryer for a few hours. Or even overnight. I know, you never do that, but I’m being brutally honest here.
So even though I don’t have that part perfected, the washing and drying is definitely much easier than the folding. That’s not because I don’t like to fold laundry. I actually do enjoy the task of folding clean laundry and stacking it into neat, tidy piles. But the problem comes around here when there’s a fresh load of dried laundry that gets taken out of the dryer and piled in a laundry basket . . . and then the phone rings. Or the kids ask “Mom, what’s for lunch?” Or I suddenly realize that it’s time to head out for the orthodontist appointment. So then the laundry basket filled with fresh, clean laundry gets plopped on the bed, or on the dining room table, or on the couch so that I can fold it . . . . later. Or never. Whichever comes first.
This has always been a challenge for me, even back in the “good ol’ days” when the ONLY thing in life that I had to do every day was keep the kids alive and take care of our house. Well, that probably wasn’t the ONLY thing I had to do, but it certainly seemed as if life was a bit less – ummmm – technical. No computer to keep me distracted, no cell phone to interrupt me a hundred times a day, and barely even any television time. That actually WAS a long time ago!
Since I’ve determined to refocus a bit in this new year and make all of this domestic stuff a priority, I’m still finding that folding the laundry rarely jumps to the top of my To Do list. Like today. There are two loads of clean laundry in baskets right here in the room with me – that’s a technique that I hope will remind me that I need to do something with those baskets (or if not, at least if someone comes to my door unexpectedly, it will look like I’m trying). There just always seems to be something else that is WAY more urgent than folding the laundry. But I’m trying, really I am.
As I continue on this journey back in time to Home Economics 101, my goal is to tackle one aspect of old-fashioned housekeeping each week. I’m making progress, and I would encourage you if this is important to you, just to keep on putting one foot in front of the other. It is easy to get overwhelmed with it all, especially after the holidays or any other “event” in life that breaks our daily routine. Having a baby, having a houseful of little ones, going on vacation, being sick, caring for others who need our full attention – there are so many things that keep us from having the time and energy to focus on making our home peaceful and nurturing. But don’t give up!
(Some days I feel like this about laundry . . . . )
Here’s one of the “tricks” that has worked for me: when I’m feeling overwhelmed with my surroundings or the demands on my time. I make a list. Now I know that isn’t a genius or earth-shattering concept, but here’s what I do . . .
Making the list gets all of that clutter out of my brain. So I break it down like this:
- Clean the kitchen
- Start tax preparations
- Do the laundry
- Write two blog posts
- Clean out one closet
Who knows what might be on your list, but I limit myself to 5 things if possible. By then I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. Then I break each task down into smaller tasks, like this:
- Clean the kitchen: Wash dishes, scrub sinks, clean off counters, sweep floor
- Start tax preparations: Gather all documents, receipts, forms, etc.
- Do the laundry: Wash two loads, fold two loads, put away two loads
- Write two blog posts: Monday, Wednesday
- Clean out one closet: Take out 10 items and do something with them! (give away, store, or keep – then take care of just those 10 items)
THEN I make another list that might look like this:
- wash dishes (15 minutes)
- do one load of laundry (10 minutes)
- pull out file folders with tax information (STOP! just pile them all up in a corner for now) (30 minutes)
- put laundry in dryer, start another load of laundry (10 minutes)
- write one blog post while laundry is washing (30 – 60 minutes)
- remove 10 items from closet and lay on the bed (you did make your bed didn’t you??)(15 minutes)
- remove first load of laundry from dryer, put the second load in the dryer (10 minutes)
- FOLD LAUNDRY (15 minutes)
- PUT LAUNDRY AWAY (15 minutes)
- Clean kitchen counters, sweep kitchen (20 minutes)
- write one blog post while second load of laundry is drying (30 – 45 minutes)
- sort through 10 items from closet and make decisions: toss, store, keep (20 minutes MAX.)
- put stuff to give away in a bag, put stuff to store in storage container, return stuff to keep to closet (20 minutes) DONE!
- FOLD LAUNDRY (15 minutes)
- PUT LAUNDRY AWAY (15 minutes)
- If you still have time to work on anything else, start organizing tax documents into separate piles or file folders (30 minutes then STOP!)
The point of this exercise is to help me realize that each individual task can take a relatively small amount of time. When I think, “Wow, I have to paint the whole living room and it will take forever!” (which it actually does seem to take forever when you tackle a huge project), then I immediately feel overwhelmed and just quit. But when I break it down – even painting the whole living room can be broken down into manageable tasks – I begin to see that I can at least do SOMETHING, even if I can’t do everything.
So even if I only get three or four tasks accomplished before I have to stop, drop, and run to the next thing screaming at me for attention, at least I don’t feel like I’ve just been wandering around in circles all day waiting for the next emergency to trip me up. I know this is really challenging if you have lots of little ones running around, but it is something to think about just to get you moving in a direction that feels productive.
When I’m confused and feeling rather lost, I just remember what my mama always said, “Just do the next right thing.” Even if that is feeding the kids, making dinner, holding a sick baby, going to the grocery store, or . . . .folding the laundry. Just do one thing and I promise you’ll feel better about your day. I would love to hear how your days are going in this new year. Next week I think I’m going to tackle budgeting. Or maybe meal planning – probably not, but we’ll see!
In the meantime, I hope you can join us for this week’s Favorite Things Blog Hop and Linky Party. It’s one of the things that I put on my schedule every week to make sure I don’t forget – and it’s a great way to meet other bloggers, make new friends, and discover tons of creative and inspirational posts from other women just like you. Hope to see you there!
Join us for the Favorite Things Blog Hop and Linky Party –
and be sure to visit all of your hostesses and leave a comment so we know you stopped by!
Angelina- Petite Haus