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?
Do you ask yourself these questions?
- How can I keep up with all this laundry?
- Why do they have to wear so many clothes?
- Why can’t we just go naked?!
- Can I just burn (or donate) all these clothes so I don’t have to wash them?
Do you ask your family these questions?
- Where are your pants/socks/shirt for today?
- What do you mean you don’t have any underwear?
- Do you know where your uniform is?
- Can we throw these in the dryer to freshen them up for today?
- How do you not have any clean clothes!?
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.
1.| Just Start
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.
2.| Create a Routine
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.
3.| Keep 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).
Two Routines that Work
1.| “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.
2.| “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.
Conquer the 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.)
How to Handle the Weekends
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. If you need help with this, then pick up your free download to help you SIMPLIFY YOUR SPACE and all things in it.
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.
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!
Battle 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 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!
DIY Laundry Detergent
As a part of simplifying our home with Spirit-led strategies, I make my own laundry detergent. Honestly, I don’t think Jesus cares what kind of soap you use to wash your clothes. I do think he cares about the kind of stewards we are with the money we have.
The recipe I’m sharing here today makes up close to a 4 month supply for our family of 5 who does one load of laundry today. It costs approx $16-$20 depending on where I shop. That’s an average of $4-$5 each month for laundry soap.
You can find our recipe and the how-to for our homemade laundry detergent here.
MORE HELPFUL TOOLS
If you’re looking for more tips on how to simplify your life with a Spirit-led approach, I’ve got you covered!
When it comes to organizing our homes and our kitchens, I’ve got 2 awesome resources to help you!
1.| SIMPLIFY YOUR SPACE
I created an action-packed download to help you create momentum to simplify your space and get you results. I’m sharing what I’ve learned through years of moving (thanks, Army) reading, trial and error, and listening to the “experts” to craft a single document so that you can put your energy + effort where it needs to go: YOUR SPACE.
I share my story here in The Beautiful Truth Behind Simplifying My Space because this part of the journey can be super challenging!
2.| THE MEAL PLANNING KIT FOR ALL MOMMAS
When I first began my health journey I needed simple tools to plan a menu that would work for our entire family.
There were so many tools out there that I was overwhelmed with where to start. I designed this meal planning kit to work for any momma anywhere, no matter your income, your family dynamic, or your work schedule.
The premise: Give each family member a voice in the planning process to help them take ownership of the food that graces our table.
Set parameters around food choices to gently guide your family in making better and healthier choices for their favorite foods.
We save time and money (and mom brain power) when we take a few minutes each week to plan healthy and affordable choices for our families.
IS SIMPLIFYING THE ANSWER FOR YOU?
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with life right now, know that you are NOT ALONE. I know when I first began listening to this calling the Lord place on me, I was a little overwhelmed as to where to start. As I’ve worked through this process, I’ve created tools to help women simplify their lives with a Spirit-led approach.
I WANT TO SHARE THE STEPS I TOOK TO GET STARTED:
In each of these blog posts, I share the parts of my journey in which I followed the lead of the Creator as He guided me to simplify my life.
Find more tools to encourage and help you here!
I know when I first began this part of my simplifying journey, I felt alone. So, friend, I want to encourage you to share this on your favorite social media platform to encourage other women in their journey to seek simplicity in their homes and their lives, and in turn, know the peace and joy the Creator provides.
With💛 from my toolbox to yours,
Check out what Bridgett has to say about this: