There are many excellent reasons to simplify. I expect my reasons to develop over time, but the most immediate reason for me was…laundry. Several years ago I had my sons bring all the laundry down to the basement one day and it was a literal mountain.
That was one of the times that both threw me into despair and also caused me to want change and simplify.
A Season for Change
There are times in our lives when we can act on our desires for change. There are times in our lives when we are just too tired or busy – or both! On that day when the laundry was literally towering next to me in the basement, I was overwhelmed, but I didn’t really know what to do about it. I had two young children, a baby and I was most likely very sleep deprived. I was also cloth diapering! I was in a season where I was just doing the next thing that I thought needed to be done.
It’s not until this past year, when my youngest son entered a full day pre-K program, that the desire for change and the time and energy to invest in change aligned. I’ve worked part-time since my youngest was born and really enjoyed our “mommy days” as he called them. When he entered school this past Fall, I noticed that I was spending a good chunk of my off days doing household work – particularly laundry!
When I dreamt about what I might be able to do with these several hours of available time – I thought about passions I had in the past, ways my heart had been tugged and places I thought about serving and volunteering my time. There hasn’t been time to act on these ideas, however, because taking care of laundry and other household tasks has been dominating my time off. That’s not the way I wanted to spend those extra hours.
So once again I faced that mountain of laundry – but this time I knew what I had to do.
3 Steps to Simplify Your Laundry Routine
1. Really look at the clothes and deal with them – I had to stop myself from just washing the clothes and mindlessly putting them back in the drawers. For the children’s clothes – If it was too small, it went in the donate pile. If it was too old or worn, it went in the scrap/recycle pile.
I’m teaching my children to do the same now. If they don’t like a piece of clothing, or know it is too small for them, I am asking them to put it in the donate bag (aka Trader Joe’s grocery bags – a decluttering staple around here!).
2. Reduce the amount of clothes. Only keep clothes that we enjoy wearing. I recently went through our clothes using the Konmari Method and significantly reduced the whole family’s clothes. I noticed that my middle son is not bent towards reducing his items – clothes or otherwise. He’s also my child that used to change clothes several times a day on a whim. I’ve made the decision to observe what his favorite pieces are and reduce some of his clothes without his permission. He hasn’t noticed. Having fewer clothes allows him to wash and wear clothes he loves rather than resorting to wearing whatever is clean.
3. Teach your children how to do their laundry. My two oldest sons now do their own laundry. This has been a process of figuring out the best system to put in place. I used to have one hamper for both of them but figured out that they each need their own hamper and their clothes need to be kept separate. Neither one of them is willing to wash each other’s clothes.
My oldest took to doing laundry quickly and has developed the habit to do his load of laundry on Sunday nights (folding and putting away is another thing). My middle son still needs to be reminded and he complains, but he’s getting the hang of it. The habit is forming. My youngest is too young to do laundry, but he’s great at putting his clothes in his laundry basket.
Reducing the amount of things to take care of, setting systems in place, and fostering independence in my children is ultimately making space in my schedule for pursuing other passions.
Missing sock mates are still the bane of my laundry existence, but it’s getting so much better now that we have less laundry!
How do you keep your laundry at bay? Any clever ideas for single socks – other than rags?