Laundry is a fact of life. It is impossible to avoid it, because clothes are not disposable. Even if they were, all that shopping would probably be more work, and definitely more expense, than laundry. I suppose I could have someone else do our laundry, but I would then have to pack it up, take it to them, pay for it, and go back to pick it up. All those steps sound just as exhausting as doing it myself, which leads us back to laundry being inevitable.
The Laundry Routine
Five people live in this house. Looking at the sheer magnitude of my laundry piles every week, I think 3-4 people I have never met are dropping their clothes off to be washed on a weekly basis. In truth, there are school clothes, work clothes, play clothes, dance clothes, workout clothes, and pajamas times 5 people times 7 days a week. I almost forgot; there are also towels and sheets.
When I start to feel overwhelmed, I head to the trusty internet and read all kinds of hacks for not letting the laundry control your life. Wash one load a day. Put a load in the washer before you go to bed, in the dryer when you get up, and fold clothes after dinner. Use clothes sorting hampers to eliminate a step. These are all very good suggestions, but at the end of the day they do not feel natural or easy and I fall back into a once a week routine.
I do have help. My kids carry laundry down stairs and help to sort things into colors. My husband will move load after load from the washer to the dryer, but at the end of the day I am usually looking at this:
Yes, this is a picture of my entire couch covered with clean, unfolded laundry. It is now time for the Laundry Fairy to descend from the heavens to fold and put away the masses of clean clothes. I am the Laundry Fairy! I am also the only person in this house who wants the clothes folded and put away. The other four inhabitants will gladly dig through laundry baskets or grab clothes off the dining room table every day from now until forever. I am the Lone Ranger of the laundry world who NEEDS everything to be folded and put away.
In a Perfect Laundry World
In my perfect world, where everything goes according to plan, the clothes go in the washer, then the dryer, are folded, and move upstairs to the appropriate room one load after another. Nothing accumulates on the main floor into a massive pile. The world is not perfect and things do not always go according to plan. I am trying to allow myself to accept the less than perfect world. No one is harmed by unfolded laundry on my dining room table, or folded laundry on that same table. As long as everyone has the clothes they need to go off to school and work, the time it takes for the laundry to be washed, dried, and put away is irrelevant. It may be one day or 4 days, but it will get done.
Grace over Perfection
It’s more important to take a breath and allow oneself some grace, than to strive for perfection in an imperfect world. As I write this, the clothes from the first picture, that I washed 4 days ago, are sitting neatly folded on the dining room table. They may move upstairs tonight or they may not, the world will not end either way. The laundry is not a reflection of my abilities as a wife and mother and I should not give it power that it does not deserve. It is just another wonderful day in the controlled chaos.