One Small Step for Me, One Giant Leap for My Family

So the laundry. I’ve mentioned numerous times here how laundry-challenged I am. I know it’s probably premature to say I’ve figured it all out as I’ve only had my new system in place for two weeks, but I’ve just got to tell somebody: my kids have not had empty jammy or sock drawers for those entire two weeks. And, they’ve had pants hanging in their closet every single day. Clean pants. This is a big deal.

Here’s what’s changed: I’ve never had a good laundry system. I’ve tried various things, different places to fold, different times of the day to haul everything up, down, or in-between. Over Christmas, Craig encouraged me to put this free iGTD application on my computer (actually, he didn’t encourage me to put it on my computer as I’m notorious for screwing up my computer when I install things; he encouraged me to let him put it on my computer).

Basically, I pull everything I have to do out of my head (this is key – it must come out of my head) and into the program. From there, I can organize it by project and/or place in the house. I can prioritize things by importance on a scale of 1-5 (I just use 1, 3, and 5), and I can check them off when they are done. The checked off things leave the main list and appear on a list of completed items. I love that.

I think the program was invented for people who do other kinds of work, but it’s really working for this stay-at-home mama. I put “Laundry” in the program as something with a priority of 1 that recurs every single day.

So that’s the backstory; now for the implementation. In the past, I would just wash and wash and wash all week, and then eventually get around to folding things. But I wouldn’t always put things away right away because I would want to wait for another load to be done to put it all away at the same time. This usually meant that by the end of the day I had a half-finished job spread out all over my bed that would then get restacked in a basket. I was making more work for myself.

Now I’ve made a deal with myself: two loads have to get put away every day. Only two. I have to do two. But I also have permission to only do two (this is key for me). To ensure this happens, I make sure I’ve washed and dried two loads the day before and that two dry loads are ready for me to to fold and put away in the morning. Once those two loads are put away, I’m off the hook for folding for that day. I check it off my list. I then make sure to wash two more loads sometime that day so that I have two more dry loads for the next day.

It’s a small thing, I know, but it has been a major improvement for my family. They get clean clothes every day, and I get to check it off my list every day.

Now then, to tackle the bathroom and playroom in a similar fashion…

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30 thoughts on “One Small Step for Me, One Giant Leap for My Family

  1. Christy says:

    Sounds like a great plan! Doesn’t it feel good? It’s such a great feeling to find a system that works for you. Then even if life gets crazy and the laundry piles grow (after traveling, vacations, family emergencies), you know you can play catch up for a few days then reinstate the system to get back on track.

    Like

  2. JoAnne says:

    P.S. I was truly proud of myself for having washed and folded five loads of laundry before 3 pm … actually PUTTING IT AWAY hadn’t even occurred to me until you mentioned it. Gee, thanks!

    Like

  3. Mom says:

    This makes me tired just thinking about all the dirty clothes that the halfpints generate. Way to go if you have found a system that works. (How can I load that to my MAC?

    Like

  4. Renae says:

    Congrats! This is no *small* thing… this is *HUGE!* Laundry has been defeating me on a daily basis since at least 2002… any step forward is a BIG step forward.
    I’ve been working on the theory that our dressers are just for show, because nothing ever gets into them. I’ve wondered about putting them all in the basement next to the laundry piles, just to give them a shot at being used.

    Like

  5. caron easley says:

    oh man. i know the laundry monster is hard to tackle. my solution: i wear the same clothes for a few days. ! % ? #. hehe.
    jason has a theory he wants us to try: having one central family closet…where we keep all the clothes…the dressers…and the hung up clothes. then we only have one room to visit when putting the laundry away. i wonder if that’d work, too.

    Like

  6. Christy says:

    Sounds like a great plan! Doesn’t it feel good? It’s such a great feeling to find a system that works for you. Then even if life gets crazy and the laundry piles grow (after traveling, vacations, family emergencies), you know you can play catch up for a few days then reinstate the system to get back on track.

    Like

  7. JoAnne says:

    P.S. I was truly proud of myself for having washed and folded five loads of laundry before 3 pm … actually PUTTING IT AWAY hadn’t even occurred to me until you mentioned it. Gee, thanks!

    Like

  8. Mom says:

    This makes me tired just thinking about all the dirty clothes that the halfpints generate. Way to go if you have found a system that works. (How can I load that to my MAC?

    Like

  9. Renae says:

    Congrats! This is no *small* thing… this is *HUGE!* Laundry has been defeating me on a daily basis since at least 2002… any step forward is a BIG step forward.
    I’ve been working on the theory that our dressers are just for show, because nothing ever gets into them. I’ve wondered about putting them all in the basement next to the laundry piles, just to give them a shot at being used.

    Like

  10. caron easley says:

    oh man. i know the laundry monster is hard to tackle. my solution: i wear the same clothes for a few days. ! % ? #. hehe.
    jason has a theory he wants us to try: having one central family closet…where we keep all the clothes…the dressers…and the hung up clothes. then we only have one room to visit when putting the laundry away. i wonder if that’d work, too.

    Like

  11. martha10 says:

    way to go megan! for me, 1/2, maybe even 3/4 of the battle is coming up with a system that works! glad this is working. considering it has worked for you for 2 weeks, you are close to having a habit developed. cool! m

    Like

  12. martha10 says:

    way to go megan! for me, 1/2, maybe even 3/4 of the battle is coming up with a system that works! glad this is working. considering it has worked for you for 2 weeks, you are close to having a habit developed. cool! m

    Like

  13. Jess says:

    I’m always better with the laundry when we have a student living with us…honestly I’m pretty much better at everything when we have a student living with us. The extra filter, so to speak, helps me make better decisions. Anyway, I’ve been doing one load a day for a while now – start to finish – washing, drying, folding, and putting away. That way, the student can always have access to the machine without hurting themselves in the process (and he doesn’t have to look at my dirty PJs and undies lying on the laundry room floor. SUPER EMBARRASING! 🙂 Glad to hear your laundry crisis is over. About the ironing…I say you sell your services as “Most Industrious Women of the Century” and pay for dry cleaning! 🙂 Love you!

    Like

  14. Megan says:

    I do go through spurts where I justify dry cleaning to myself and our budget. We are currently not in a spurt where I can justify it…
    The last time I ironed, I set everything up in my room and the girls came in, sat on my bed, and we played Apples to Apples together while I ironed. I got it all done without really thinking about it.
    That’s my new ironing plan. Once I can pull them away from Monopoly…

    Like

  15. Lindsey Kate says:

    Small steps are the best steps, because they are the ones that are most likely to work themselves into habits in our lives. This time last year, I was in the same spot. Part of our morning ritual nearly every day was digging through Mount Washmore on the living room sofa for clean socks and underwear. One of my goals for 2007 was to make sure everyone had clean necessities in their drawers every day … a little step here and a little step there, and I am thrilled to report one year later that there is no Mount Washmore anymore, and we managed to get through the entire fall semester of school without any empty drawers! Such an answer to prayer …
    Best wishes as you tackle your laundry monster!

    Like

  16. Jill says:

    See Megan. My 1000 notepads/sticky notes Mom gave me for Christmas aren’t so crazy afterall!! I just check things off of my PAPER list and you can check things off of your COMPUTER list. Doesn’t it feel good to see those checkmarks? I am kind of OCD when it comes to things like that. Just ask Craig….
    Jill

    Like

  17. Jess says:

    I’m always better with the laundry when we have a student living with us…honestly I’m pretty much better at everything when we have a student living with us. The extra filter, so to speak, helps me make better decisions. Anyway, I’ve been doing one load a day for a while now – start to finish – washing, drying, folding, and putting away. That way, the student can always have access to the machine without hurting themselves in the process (and he doesn’t have to look at my dirty PJs and undies lying on the laundry room floor. SUPER EMBARRASING! 🙂 Glad to hear your laundry crisis is over. About the ironing…I say you sell your services as “Most Industrious Women of the Century” and pay for dry cleaning! 🙂 Love you!

    Like

  18. Megan says:

    I do go through spurts where I justify dry cleaning to myself and our budget. We are currently not in a spurt where I can justify it…
    The last time I ironed, I set everything up in my room and the girls came in, sat on my bed, and we played Apples to Apples together while I ironed. I got it all done without really thinking about it.
    That’s my new ironing plan. Once I can pull them away from Monopoly…

    Like

  19. Lindsey Kate says:

    Small steps are the best steps, because they are the ones that are most likely to work themselves into habits in our lives. This time last year, I was in the same spot. Part of our morning ritual nearly every day was digging through Mount Washmore on the living room sofa for clean socks and underwear. One of my goals for 2007 was to make sure everyone had clean necessities in their drawers every day … a little step here and a little step there, and I am thrilled to report one year later that there is no Mount Washmore anymore, and we managed to get through the entire fall semester of school without any empty drawers! Such an answer to prayer …
    Best wishes as you tackle your laundry monster!

    Like

  20. Jill says:

    See Megan. My 1000 notepads/sticky notes Mom gave me for Christmas aren’t so crazy afterall!! I just check things off of my PAPER list and you can check things off of your COMPUTER list. Doesn’t it feel good to see those checkmarks? I am kind of OCD when it comes to things like that. Just ask Craig….
    Jill

    Like

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