Laundry Day is a Container Leave a comment

I LOVE this email from one of you. Such a great way to apply the Container Concept to different situations!

I NEVER write emails to authors or bloggers, but I had to write to you, and thank you. I am a teacher-turned-homeschooler. I always thought when I stopped working full time and stayed home with my two kids that my house would be tidy and clean. I mean, OBVIOUSLY the only reason it wasn’t tidy was that I worked so much, right? WRONG.

Anyway, I have read every decluttering and organizing book, blog, and article I can find. I have tried various systems, only to find out that I hate systems and monotony. Learning about ADHD and housekeeping helped, but I really appreciate your no-nonsense approach.

The idea of PROJECTS spoke to me. I hadn’t heard anyone describe it like that before, but YES! I reject monotony, and that’s what housecleaning and laundry are for me. I need some excitement. A deadline. Some external pressure.

I thought Laundry Day was crazy. I mean, EVERYONE out there writing about housekeeping is saying a load a day keeps laundry mountain away. But, as you described in your book, I would get sidetracked and end up letting the laundry sour. It felt overwhelming.

The first day I thought you were crazy. I had piles in my hallway, living room, and dining room. There were so. many. PILES! Laundry day stretched into a week. But, then again, you told me that would happen. I appreciate your honesty.

Monday arrived on week 2, and I hate to admit that I wasn’t very happy with you. I did NOT want to do a ton of laundry AGAIN!

But, you said I wouldn’t see the magic until the 3rd week, so I trusted the process. What did I have to lose? All the other systems failed. What’s one more?

That week the laundry only took one actual day. I was tired of laundry, but it felt so good to know that no one was going to come to tell me they didn’t have any clean underwear, and I knew my husband had an entire week’s worth of work and workout clothes ready.

Today is week 3. I procrastinated. I hate putting away laundry. Washing and drying aren’t bad. It’s the folding and putting away. Finally, at noon we started throwing all our dirty clothes downstairs.

But OH MY GOSH! I kept telling the kids to go get the rest of the laundry because this can’t possibly be all of it. They swore they had gotten all of it. I checked under their beds, in the bathroom, in the classroom, and even in the kitchen (don’t ask). And lo and behold, I only had about 4 loads if I combined colors and red/pink. I felt so relieved. Like this is actually do-able. Like for the first time in my life laundry is under CONTROL! I even had the freedom to split up the dark load by fabric weight and make 2 smaller loads that will get cleaner since I don’t have to stuff my high-capacity washing machine beyond its limits.

(On a side note, I also realized that I need to make sure my 11 yo is showering and changing clothes more regularly. lol! Don’t judge. But that’s another benefit for me of one laundry day.)

I also had freedom during the week. Because I have been decluttering (according to your suggestions in your books) and working on daily cleaning, I have all of my cleaning rags/towels in one place. I know where they are. (They are in a CONTAINER, and I tossed the rest.) So, I was able to decrease the amount of paper towel use this past week. I was able to switch out my hand towels frequently like I always wanted to do (because ew…germs). I didn’t freak out when my 7yo used six towels to wipe up water in the living room. I washed a couple of towel loads during the week, but it didn’t feel like drudgery because it was a CHOICE–not a chore. And towels–particularly cleaning rags–are not a pain to fold and put away. (Especially when I have my kids do it. Hehe!) Who cares if towels are folded perfectly? Not me.

Anyway, that’s a really LONG email to tell you thank you. I have spent so many hours crying and beating myself up. I feel like there is something wrong with me. I have a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language. I can whip up a lesson plan and teach a class in very difficult circumstances. I can pound out a research paper in record time. I can translate English into Spanish like nobody’s business. Is a kid having a hard time understanding a concept? I can find a way to explain it and help them understand.

BUT… I can’t do the BASICS of human life. I can’t keep a house marginally clean and organized. I always felt there was something fundamentally wrong with me, and I was mortified if anyone came over to my house. For years I have felt like a failure as a wife and mother.

My house isn’t perfect. I’ve let go of the ugly P-word now. The classroom still makes me cry. But for the first time, I have some hope. I have taken huge bags of clothes and household goods to Goodwill. I have stuffed our garbage can full. For the first time, I’m actually letting things go because your TWO decluttering questions are two that my attention span can remember. I can’t handle a long list when I’m making already difficult decisions. It makes my head explode. And does it spark joy? No matter how hard I try, I can’t figure that one out. Hundreds of multicolored erasable pens and thousands of brightly colored post-it notes will always spark joy. But they don’t make sense in a normal world. CONTAINERS make sense. So I’m applying the container concept and making the container the bad guy. Baby steps.

Actually, I guess laundry day is kind of like a container. This is the amount of time I have to do laundry. If it takes me longer than that, or if we still have too much, then I know I need to change something. (Like restrict my 7yo’s access to blankets and towels. haha!)

Okay, enough procrastinating by writing an email. I’m going to jump back into the fray and try to get some homeschooling and more laundry done. My kids thank you (even though they don’t know it) because I’m going to be WAY less grumpy today than I would have been. Tee hee!

Have a blessed week,


p.s. And your books are saving my sanity and my home.

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