laundry as therapy? not as crazy as it sounds
Call me crazy but I love to do laundry. Love it. There is something so satisfying in transforming a pile of worn, dirty clothes or linen into crisp, fresh clean things to wear and sleep on. I love how it looks hanging on my line in the sun and gently flapping in the breeze and I love how it smells when I bring it in and fold it up.
This is obviously how I felt before I had to do laundry for my three gorgeous stepkids whose main mission some days is to wear every single item of clothing they own. Suddenly I felt like all I did was laundry and I was in a constant state of either putting laundry in the machine, hanging it out or bringing it in. And every day there was more and more it was like a never-ending laundry nightmare.
So I had to find a way to get all the laundry done without completely losing my mind, in the process I discovered my love of it again and decided that actually it’s a good form of therapy for me. Yes it’s work, but there is something I find so relaxing about hanging my clean laundry on the line in the sun, and then later in the day escaping whatever chaos is happening inside (think Nerf battles, hide & seek tournaments with extra screaming and every single matchie car Miss 4 owns all lined up ready for racing up and down the hallway) by unpegging the laundry in the cool breeze and quietness, then slowly folding it up (just wait until I tell you about my love of Kon Mari) sometimes with a tiny little glass of chardonnay in front of the TV. It’s just a few moments of guilty pleasure balanced by conscience assuaging actual productiveness. Win/Win!
There’s no point me re-inventing the wheel when it comes to organizing your laundry experience – Fiona at Finding Time in the Chaos and Clean Mama have already got that well and truly covered. But here are the little things I did to reignite my love of laundry and keep my sanity intact.
1. I do laundry every day
I know, it seems like overkill but honestly I find that if I stay on top of the laundry piles by giving them some attention on a daily basis it never gets so overwhelming that I feel like I need to close my eyes whenever I walk past the laundry room. Some days I need to do more than one load obviously but generally I’ll gather up a load in the morning and put it on while I’m getting breakfast ready. Hang it out before the school run and hey presto! it’s ready to take off the line by the time I’m ready for a few minutes of peace in the afternoon.
2. I take it off the line on the same day I hang it
This is pretty self-explanatory, I won’t insult your intelligence by expanding on it.
3. I fold it as soon as I take it off the line
Again, this seems like it’s all very simple but I have to tell you that it is so much easier to fold and put away one basket of laundry than it is to be faced by a mountain of clean washing that has been sitting on your couch waiting to be folded for a week. I know that I only need 5 or 10 minutes to fold one basket and if I’m a bit stealth I can squeeze in a little glass of wine and most of an episode of How I Met Your Mother while I do it.
So. There you have it. A couple of simple little things that changed my laundry nightmares into a pleasant, almost therapeutic experience. How about you? How do you cope with kids that only wear outfits for 20 minutes and then throw them in the washing basket?