Laundry & Dishes

If I wake up to a bedroom with clothes all over the floor, a laundry room piled high, and a kitchen with dirty dishes, I wake up frustrated, annoyed, and overall grumpy. This overflows into my relationships and my complete mindset for the day.  The same goes for in the evening after dinner.  I become negative and ungrateful.  Instead of being motivated to complete these tasks, instead I only have the urge to stay in bed extra long or go to bed super early.  These are two tasks that simply overwhelm me if I do not keep them under control.  They add to not just a physical chaos surrounding me, but a chaos that consumes my mind as well.

The weeks that I blogged about earlier where I was feeling overwhelmed and simply stressed out included the unfinished dishes and dirty laundry. (See my post Back to the Basics.)  But more than that, it contributed a great deal to the stress and feelings of overwhelm.

As simple as keeping laundry and dishes under-weigh may sound, it is key in order to have a more focused day.  I strongly believe that having an organized home has an extreme impact on one's daily life - physically, atmospherically, and even emotionally.  (Stay tuned for a future post about just this!)

Here are some steps I came up with after research and personal experience to be sure that I do not fall under that heap of laundry or that pile of dishes again.  (Do notice that the dishes tips are mostly for those without a dishwasher...for those that have a dishwasher, adjust them accordingly!)


My laundry load this morning
1.  Do it throughout the day.  Complete a wash in the morning, put load in dryer in the afternoon or evening, and fold the load in the evening.  By doing this every day, I am consistently kept on top of the many loads of laundry we have.  As soon as I miss a couple days of this, I become completely behind and it always feels like it takes a while to catch up again.

2.  Keep at it on weekends with a one day break.  It is easy to take a break from our regular routine of things on the weekends.  While this IS a good thing, it is important to keep up the laundry routine even on Saturdays.  However, I do believe it is important to take a one day break a week.  Preferably, Sunday.  (I will talk more about this in a later post.)

My Coffee Infused Laundry Day

3.  When it gets out of hand, take a laundry day.  Perhaps you went away for a couple days and come home with a pile of extra laundry.  Or maybe you had a few extremely chaotic days and didn't get to the regular laundry routine.  If this happens, I then think it is important to take a day to do extra laundry.  Take a day to catch up.  If you are working, make it a Saturday.  Or if you feel like you can complete it in an evening, put on Netflix and do a couple extra loads.  The longer you stay behind the more behind you become and the more overwhelming all the laundry will feel.

DISHES (For those without a dishwasher)

What I wake up to every morning.
1.  ALWAYS clean dishes after dinner.  Sometimes I have places to be after dinner or sometimes I just feel too tired.  Recently I made a rule that I would take 20 minutes to clean up the kitchen after dinner - no matter what.  This meant that my husband has 20 minutes with our daughter and if we have something to go to after dinner it is always planned at least 30 minutes after.  Generally we eat dinner at around 6:00, and like to take our time and chat.  So by 6:30 I am usually doing my general kitchen clean up.  Our rule in our house is that we are busy with dinner until about 7:00.  While sometimes we have exceptions to this rule, both hubby and I do our best to stick to this.  This simple rule and taking a simple 20 minutes saves me from so much unneeded stress for the rest of the evening or the next morning.

2.  Put clean dishes away at breakfast.  We do not have a dishwasher and so our dishes air dry.  In the morning either before, during, or after breakfast I put away the dishes from the dish rack.  Clean dishes in a drying rack do not bother me to wake up to, and this simple task takes me about 5 minutes in the morning.

3.  Do a stack at lunch. Or if you are not home at lunch, later in the day.  Completing a small stack of dishes at this time saves you from doing such a massive amount at the end of the day and keeps your kitchen looking neat and tidy throughout the day.

4. Use an extra 5 minutes for some wash/put away.  If you have an extra 5 minutes somewhere in your day, use it to do a quick kitchen clean up.  Notice that I say just AN extra 5 minutes.  We all have a million things we would like to do with an extra 5 minutes, and we need not spend every extra 5 minutes on dishes.  However, taking one of those extra 5 minutes (or 2 minutes!) to do a quick tidy, can save you from the stress of a dirty kitchen.

5.  When it gets out of hand, subtract another chore from your list and use dishes as a chore.  Amidst these guidelines, we all know that we have days where nothing seems to get done, and evenings where we simply need a break (Even from 20 minutes of washing dishes)!  When this happens, instead of feeling completely overwhelmed, choose to take out another chore from that day and focus on tackling those dishes.  A dirty kitchen is one of the first things we see in a house and one of the messes that are simply not easy to hide.  Most other chores can wait.  Don't allow yourself to be overwhelmed with extra chores and instead make the dishes as your chore.

These quick guidelines that I have set for myself help me to stay sane with the dreaded laundry and dishes tasks, that otherwise seem to take over my daily living.  Perhaps some of these guidelines might work well for you and your family too so that you can focus on tasks that matter so much more.


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