Flourishing at home - laundry

I am sorry in advance. It's a Saturday evening and I'm talking laundry!

Does anyone like laundry? It is one of the most frustrating areas of looking after a home, because it is NEVERENDING! Every day there is a new pile of dirty clothes. Yet if we're talking about flourishing at home, we need to have a chat about laundry! This is very much an area I don't have sorted yet...

And I know, first world problems and all that….we’re so lucky to have so many clothes and washing machines and tumble dryers. I know that, but it doesn’t feel like a blessing when you’re knee deep in odd socks. So what can we do?

  • Have the right attitude.

I think laundry would seem so much easier if we approached it with a positive attitude. Isn’t it great to have children that need clothed? And isn’t it so much easier than even a generation ago with the twin tub? (Actually, I think only my mum was still using a twin tub back then!) Sounds trite but I think we do need to make an effort to enjoy the mundane and see it as a service to our family that we are happy to do.

At MOPS last year a mum shared how she prays for each person whose laundry it is as she loads the machine or folds the laundry. What a lovely way to make it a positive experience.

  • Don’t let it build up

Little and often is probably the best approach. If I can’t be bothered doing any for a few days, or the likes of the last week here where funerals and wakes took precedent, the backlog gets ridiculous pretty quickly. And then it’s overwhelming because you try and do a few washes back to back, the tumble dryer, both airers are full and as those living on this lovely island know, it rains so often you can’t get the washing dried outside. And as most people don’t have utility rooms (we do but it’s tiny and there’s no room to hang out clothes and get out the back door at the same time!) you can’t really leave it all for a couple of days a week.

  • Reduce the amount of clothes

This has been a real challenge for me. I have lots of clothes. I actually don’t shop very often at all, I could go months without buying any clothes. My problem is that because I try to buy ethically made and sustainable clothing they don’t wear out as quickly and certainly don’t fall into ‘fast fashion’ like much of the high street shops. So I keep them. And as I’ve been moving along the following cycle for six years I need three wardrobes:

pregnant --> breastfeeding --> neither pregnant nor breastfeeding (I have a whole set of dresses that don’t work for nursing as they can’t be buttoned or zipped down to feed so this is the only time to wear them!)

Once I know we’ve finished our family I’ll do a big purge but for now I’m finding it hard to get rid of stuff ‘just in case’. We massively cleared out the boys stuff about six weeks ago and it’s definitely easier to manage laundry. But for now, my clothes are staying!

  • Have a system

I know some people have a set day per person system so mum on Monday, dad on Tuesday, kid 1 on Wednesday etc then a towels and sheets day. I think when you’ve little kids though that kind of system doesn’t really work as the kids often rattle through clothes so quickly.

Does anyone have any wisdom for a system that works in their house?

I think I’m coming round to a one wash a day done from start to finish. My mother suggested to me doing a wash each morning first thing and then I can get it out to dry or into the tumble dryer before Rory and I head out for the morning. This part works well but in our house we try and share the laundry so I wash and dry and Colin sorts. The sorting is where this system fails as Colin prefers to save it up and do lots in one go. I think I’m going to have a go for a week at doing the whole process myself and see if this system works.

I’d really love to hear how other people do laundry. Is this just the ultimate drudgery of chores?!