Laundry baskets remind me of splitting cells. Similar to bacteria growing in a petri dish, shaking and splitting under the microscope as the researcher watches and wonders, “What can be the next test, the next experiment…” She looks up, worried and perplexed, “...to find the antidote that will stop this rapidly spreading creature who is determined to damage our well-being!”
Experiments in my home have ranged from only one child’s laundry being done at a time and put away before the next is started, to Laundry Day — everyone gets laundry done! One busy weekend destroys any of these tactics and I succumb to loads altogether as quickly and massively as possible. Another experiment includes one load at a time; when it comes out of the dryer it gets put away before the next load begins. It didn’t work either. The clean clothes baskets just start lining up.
I know part of the issue is the recent wonderful weather. I want to be outside with my children and enjoy fall before the grossness of winter sets in. If I miss one weekend of house upkeep, it’s almost like everything doubles. In my mind, I trick myself by lying and saying, “I’ll catch up after work this week.” Ha! It’s really cute that I believe myself or even my kids as they promise me, “Uh, yeah. I’ll put it away tomorrow after school.” And it continues to multiply. One into two, two into four.
New solution! Lower my expectations! I decided to give myself a break. Is it bad to feel successful when the wet clothes get out of the washer and into the drier before the stench of moldiness sets in? No! Small successes are what we need.
In all seriousness, I honestly don’t know how some families are able to keep their homes orderly and spotless. My theory is they secretly take a day off work or pay for help and instruct them to sneak in the back so nobody knows! Maybe the “kids are sick” and everyone pitches in to help with some form of blackmail or coercion. Regardless, not my house. There are priorities in my cleanliness; the kitchen, bathrooms, and living space come first for obvious reasons. Bedrooms next. Clothes, closets, garage, and storage spaces apparently all stay low on my list.
“Does it bring you joy?” I hear Marie Kondo’s voice in my head! Girl, who has time to snuggle each item in the closet to ask that question? My solution: there is a continually “get-rid-of box” in every closet and instant decisions are made whether an item is thrown in said box or worn that day. Another philosophy. Rainy days are made for housecleaning. My kids will be driving in a couple of years. They won’t want to explore the woods or take a day trip with me. They don’t want to now, but I can still force them! The house gets boring fast when Wi-Fi is shut down (evil laugh ensues). They usually end up loving whatever we do. Because of this, I tolerate my inability to keep laundry basket deadlines. If it gets clean and doesn’t stink, success!
If you’re normal, by the middle of the week you’re probably juggling a hundred things in your head, cussing that the gas light came on while late for a child’s game, hanging your head when you walk back in the door of your messy home and then realize you forgot to pick up dog food. The laundry sits there, mocking you. Some similar scenario initiates a private bullying campaign on ourselves.
What brings me contentment? When they are grown and gone, I can guarantee two things; I’m not going to be beating myself up because Wednesday night, eight years ago I didn’t get the laundry put away, and I will wish I spent more time with them when they were young.