Seeing this title probably makes you think I’m a fairly boring person. Who creates a laundry routine, let alone shares about it on the internet?
Because I firmly believe that anything that reduces the number of decisions I have to make on a daily basis, no matter how mundane, frees up mental space.
And freed up mental space means more time to dream and execute on bigger things in my life, from planning family adventures to working on my business to taking time to read a fiction book just for fun.
Before I had a routine, I would spend more time than I wanted thinking about if I should do laundry. And if so, what laundry should I do. Often times I’d be forced into doing laundry at a non convenient time because we needed something cleaned immediately.
I get that laundry decisions aren’t hard decisions to make and the questions around it are simple. But decision fatigue is very much a real thing, and having to make decisions, even very basic ones, adds up throughout the day.
So, back to my laundry routine.
One thing to remember about routines is that likely they will need to change over time as life changes. Trying to force a routine that no longer works is almost worse than not even having one. So here are two that have worked me over the past two years.
When my youngest was a baby and napped several times a day, I did all the laundry on Saturday. I’d usually be home with him since we were nursing while my husband would take our toddler on Daddy adventures. It was easy for me to get it all washed, dried, and folded while he napped and I got work done in between loads.
But eventually he moved to one nap midday and I felt like I was trapped at home doing laundry when we could be out having fun as a family or I could be going to yoga.
Over the last few months I’ve settled into my current laundry routine, where I do one load of laundry every weekday. I LOVE not having laundry to do over the weekend. It’s hard as a mom with a small business, but I’m really trying to make weekends have that weekend feel again. Plus, one load split up throughout the day makes it feel like I’m never spending a huge chunk of my time on laundry, which makes me less overwhelmed by the mental load.
Typically, I put the day’s load in the washing machine around breakfast and swap to the dryer before we leave the house for the day. If I miss that, I swap to the dryer as soon as we get home - our schedule has us home between 1 and 2pm every day to spend the afternoon at home. I fold and put away in the afternoon, usually while the kids are playing. Our laundry room and playroom are next to each other, which helps.
If the kids are having a rough day I’ll postpone until after bedtime, but I try really hard to have the load completely done, including back in drawers, by dinner so that it’s not hanging over my head in the evening. If I’m going to work at night, I want it to be something that fills me up. And while finishing a load of laundry makes me feel accomplished, it does not fill me up.
I also don’t leave what laundry to do up for debate. I follow this simple schedule so that I literally make no decisions around laundry:
Monday - Greg and I’s clothes
Tuesday - Kids’ clothes
Wednesday - Sheets from our beds/crib and towels from upstairs bathroom
Thursday - Towels from downstairs bathroom and kitchen
Friday - Anything that needs to be washed in cold or dried in any special way
When I started a laundry routine I also changed how I sort loads. Rather than by color, I now do laundry loads based on where the items live in our house. This saves time when putting clothes away. Monday’s load is only in our bedroom while Thursday’s is all on the main floor (the bathroom the kids bathe in and the kitchen).
So, laundry. Not the sexiest topic but if it’s something that you feel adds to your mental load, I recommend taking the decisions out of it and coming up with a routine that fits into your life.