It’s the ever-present evil: laundry
Everybody has it; it never goes away and it’s constantly building.
When my husband and I were first married we had two loads of laundry a week: one of colored clothes, one of whites.
In those days my husband did the laundry because he said he liked it and I told him “well that’s great you should do what you like…”
I think of those days and I think how cute is that? one load of laundry for 7 days of life…
Now here we are Ten Years Later with four small children in the house and we have a load of laundry EVERY. DAY.
If I miss a day and either don’t run a load or don’t fold a load–for example on Sunday when I take a break and don’t do laundry–that means that on Monday I have two to three loads of laundry to fold.
However, this last year I feel that I have come to be at peace with laundry and this is why:
My main problem when I do laundry is that I feel stressed and I feel anxious that I’m never going to finish.
I sit and fold laundry and I think to myself “how many minutes of my life are being wasted away while I fold underwear?”
And even after the laundry is folded I look at huge stacks of clothes and think to myself “Why do we have all of this and how am I ever going to put it all away?” For years I had baskets in baskets of clean clothes lining the walls of my bedroom that never went away. It seemed as soon as I folded them there was another load that I had to fold and so I thought why put the basket of clothes away when I have all of this to add to it? So I would spend the afternoon folding more clothes and putting them in baskets and then not putting those clothes away either and so it was a never-ending cycle of clothes everywhere piles of clothes to be folded and piles of clothes that need to be put away that never were.
So my main goal this last year has been to completely distract myself and I do that by using either my phone or my tablet and by using one of these 4 apps:
I know you might be thinking this isn’t necessarily an app, why don’t you just turn on your TV?
I do that also but I find that a lot of times when I am folding laundry that I am trying to be quiet because the baby is taking a nap.
So I use my tablet or my phone because I can put headphones on them.
(and by the way if any of you are thinking what to get me for Christmas you could get me this new Roku box that you can plug headphones into the remote 🙂 this would solve my TV problem…. I’m just going to put this link right here for you just you know if you were to need it later you know it’s here for your convenience:)
My second problem is that when I’m folding laundry (if I am folding it when someone is not sleeping) and the kids are home I am usually doing it to escape the kids for a few minutes and have someone not be talking endlessly to me and find a little bit of Solitude. I find that I am especially sensitive to sound and so I often don’t like the TV and prefer my phone because the overall volume is quieter and when my kids walk in to ask me a question the volume is not so loud that they feel they have to talk even louder to talk over it ( and they talk loud enough as it is)
Third reason is that I can’t keep track of a remote to save my life. Watching Netflix on my phone means that all I have to do is touch it and it pauses and I don’t have to worry about where my remote went amid my pile of laundry so that when someone walks in or the phone rings I don’t have to worry and scramble to try and press pause on my show so that I can hear them.
And finally besides Logistics of watching TV I have developed what I call Laundry shows. These are shows that I really only watch when I fold laundry and these are also shows that I don’t feel right watching and unless I am folding laundry I am never in the mood to just watch them without doing something at the same time.
My laundry shows have been a huge list of different things from Drop Dead Diva to The Good Wife to my current show Haven and also include when available shows like The Vampire Diaries or Grey’s Anatomy. Laundry shows are ones that I watch while I fold and that distract me from the fact that I might be folding laundry for the rest of my life.
This way if I need to fold laundry for an hour that’s totally fine with me because that means I get to watch the entire show in one sitting.
This is my second favorite thing to do while folding laundry. The problem with Netflix is that at some point I run out of shows either because I watch them all or because this season has not been updated yet or because my show gets canceled.
Audible is the same thing as watching Netflix only there’s no visual which in many ways it’s a good thing when you’re trying to match socks. A lot of times especially with laundry it’s hard to keep looking at the TV and so Audible is a good alternative because now I can read a book while also keeping my hands busy and not having to look up.
I like Audible also because of the different voices that you get of people reading the stories. I especially like to listen to books where the reader has an accent because it sounds so cool like in this book that I read:
This functions much the same as Netflix because it keeps me distracted from the fact that my entire bed is covered with clothes so I don’t care that this will take me 3 hours to do because my book is 10 hours long so I actually I am disappointed that I don’t have more time to fold laundry now what are the chances that I would ever have that feeling?
I like Audible also because while watching Netflix is entertaining it’s not always intellectual. At least with audible I can say things like oh I just read that book even though I didn’t really read it I listened to it while folding my husband’s t-shirts but it still sounds like I’ve been making good use of my time right? So while I can tell you I just read this book called The Power of Habit and it was so good! you don’t have to be very impressed that I found a time because actually I did it while folding onesies and my husband’s work shirts.
The last app that I like is one that’s just called Habits
This is an app that you can enter something that you want to make a habit and then all it does is put it on a list with the date and every day whenever you get it done you get to put a little check next to it. The app tracks how often you complete your task or rather how often you’ve clicked on it to say you were done.
I like this because it makes me feel like I finish something. On this app I have a multitude of chores that I want to accomplish in a week. Not all of them are daily tasks necessarily; some of them are weekly ones but it’s a good way to keep track of how often I actually do things
I have three different categories on my list for laundry: run laundry, fold laundry, and put away laundry. Those three categories to me are three very separate jobs that require a certain degree of concentration. In my book if I can get all three of those done all in the same day I get a special treat. The reason that I list put away laundry as part of the deal is because I hate it. I hate putting away laundry even though I found it doesn’t really take that much time but whenever I look at a huge pile of laundry I would rather do anything then put it away.
Piles of folded laundry sitting there make me think of a hissing snake. I don’t want to touch it but I wanted to just go away and I don’t want to have to deal with looking at it. I found then that putting it away and having my bed and my room clean of laundry makes me take a big sigh of relief every time I walk into my room. I’ve started to even say to myself as I stare at a pile of laundry “you like your room cleared out, you like your bed clean, you want the laundry to be put away.” and then when none of that works I say to myself “just do it and you’ll feel better.” And I am right of course but I still hate putting away laundry so far I haven’t come up with anything to help with that other than just getting it out of the way and forcing myself to do it.
This may sound like a silly one but seriously this has helped me.
The basic gist of this game is that you compete to produce things. Each item has a timer and each item Builds on the next. So for example, in order to make bread, you have to grow wheat. Once you make bread, now you can use the bread to make a sandwich. You compete to make the most of a certain product and to be successful, you have to be prepared. Some products take hours and hours to produce and if you aren’t prepared, there’s no way to make what you need in the time limit. So if you’re smart then you make the products that take the longest all the time so that if you suddenly need them you don’t have to wait 15 hours to start from square one: you already have the basic materials there that you can put together quickly.
The basic lesson I’ve learned from this game is that everything has a time limit. You know that the washer takes a certain amount of time to run. You know the dryer has a time limit too. Folding the laundry takes a set amount of time–sometimes a little more sometimes a little less-sbut each load that you do is going to take a certain amount of time to fold, then it’s going to take a certain amount of time to put away.
Now it doesn’t matter in the end when you do these different parts of the laundry cycle but it sure makes it a lot easier if you don’t have to start from the beginning and it’s also a lot easier if you take care of it a little bit at a time.
The laundry is not going away. It’s not like your kids are going to stop making messes or stop wearing clothes. You want your kids to have clean clothes to wear; you want clean clothes to wear. That’s definitely an underlying goal overall and so like the game if you can look ahead and plan for things that you know are coming then you’ll be much better off and be able to do the things that you wanted to easier and faster because you planned ahead.
So not that this app/game helps me to do laundry but I think it’s helped me have a better attitude because I think all laundry is is a game. Laundry is a task and I know the steps and I know that this game is one that’s never going to go away so it might as well be a game that I am good at and that I figured out how to do as quickly and as well as I can so that I can move on to other things. Stop acting like this is something that you are afflicted with or that is so difficult. It’s a basic task and a basic problem; all you have to do is go through the motions and it will be taken care of.
Happy Laundry Day!