Just One Thing – February (Laundry)

At the beginning of January, I shared with you my intention to focus on forming one good habit each month in 2012.

Each month, I am picking one habit that I see as a foundational to the efficiency and peace in my home, family or life. Steep order, huh?

As you may remember, last month, I picked clearing off my desk at the end of every night.

I realized that a messy desk not only led me to be unproductive with work, it also led me to waste money – or, at the very least, not save money. Bills were getting lost under piles of junk. And late fees equals lost money. Coupons weren’t being filed away in my no-clip file folder, so I was missing out on all the hottest weekly deals.

Plus, that messy desk was just a drag on me –  psychically. Knowing that mess needed tending to weighed me down – even when I wasn’t in the office.

After one month of clearing my desk every night before I went to bed (Yes! This is how my desk looked this morning!), I can honestly say that I think this new habit will stick!

I love my clear desk. It has definitely improved my overall efficiency – and I saved a ton with coupons last month! I even managed to put in place a few systems to make it easier to keep track of blogging business receipts – which has been a real nemesis of mine until now.

For February, I am choosing to focus on laundry. The one good habit I want to adopt is to clean, dry, fold and PUT AWAY at least one load of laundry each day. (I will take Saturdays off – and I may take Fridays off, too, if I find we can squeak by with five laundry days.)

Now granted, our washer/dryer has been out of commission due to some work we’re having done on our basement, but even before that big back-up, laundry was a constant sore spot for our home. Inevitably my husband and I would get behind, and we’d end up scrounging for clean socks amidst piles of clean laundry that were taking up residence on our couch.

And let’s just say that horizontal surfaces – including the floors! – seem to be a real magnet for clothing, clean or dirty. In fact, I’ve probably washed more than my share of already CLEAN laundry due to this magnetic problem.

I’m hoping that if I focus on finishing one load to completion each day, I can not only keep our laundry hampers under control, but I can also avoid the clean-laundry-everywhere-but-the-dressers phenomenon that we have going on now.

Did you join me in focusing on Just One Thing in January? How did it go? Would you like to pick up with me in February? I hope so! What one habit would you like to focus on this month?


  1. We have a full house and for the last 4 years (yep, since our oldest was ten and our youngest 6), then kids have been in charge of their own laundry, and have been assigned their own laundry day.

    We found that waiting for EVERYONE’s laundry meant that we never felt like we got to the end of. Plus, the chore of sorting it and sending it back to its rightful spot was so overwhelming, often clean and dirty got intermingled on ever growing piles.

    So, to start, we assigned laundry days. Boys one day, girl the next, parent the third. If it did not get done on your day, it waits until next week (we do make rare exceptions – especially for the parents). In the beginning, we helped the kids sort their laundry and get it started. After three years they check their pockets 80% of the time, but if things get ruined, it doesn’t affect the adult clothing. Sorting laundry is much easier because the piles are generally smaller and at the end of the day, it only goes to one room. Everyone knows how to fold (some better than others), and hang their clothes.

    We’ll be the first to admit that the system occasionally breaks down, generally, the system has worked really well. One caveat, though. With everyone doing their own laundry, water and electric bills can go up. We have a smart washer that gauges load size, we wash on economy, and try to hang up as much as possible to dry in the laundry room.

  2. One of the blogs I regularly read (besides KOAB) is Apartment Therapy. Recently they had some posts about housekeeping. I find good advice there from both the staff writers and the comments. One tip I liked was to take just 5 minutes tidying up before you go to sleep. It’s surprising what you can do in 5 minutes at a time of day when the phone isn’t ringing and some of the family is asleep. It isn’t a deep cleaning, but it really makes a difference.

  3. karen foss says

    i am so glad to know i am not the only one with that laundry problem. i end up washing already clean clothes againa and again. that is such a waste of money. i think i will join you in the battle. i have already been trying to get a handle on it.

  4. With 4.5 of us including a three year old and a 17 month old (plus cloth diapers) I pretty much do a load every day. I didn’t do laundry Thursday- Sunday and it was an all day ordeal to get caught up. I am good at getting the girls’ stuff put away and the 10 year old puts his away but my and DH’s laundry sits neatly sorted and folded in the baskets all. the. time. It would only take 10 minutes to put away/hang up- I don’t know what my problem is. Our room would look so much better, I know what I am doing after the baby goes to bed tonight…
    Meal planning is the habit I really want to do better with. Right now I am thinking maybe 1-2 days ahead at the most for dinner and I really need to be more organized about it.

  5. I find I would rather do a lot of laundry in a couple of days than do a smaller amount each day. So I collect all the clothes and start doing it on Tuesdays. Between Tuesday and Wednesday I do 4-6 loads. I wash, dry, and then fold straight from the dryer sorting into piles by person onto a long table. On Thursdays I put it all away and on Fridays I’ll do sheets and towels. Then I get Shabbos, Sunday, and Monday off. The kids put their dirty clothes in their hampers or if the hampers aren’t there in the spot where the hamper would be. I will often leave the kids their folded clothes, socks, underwear, and pj’s to put away and they have to do it before bed and I hang the things that need hanging.

  6. I’ve been focusing on one thing a week, and this week, it was laundry (see my blog for pictures and discussion). I actually have a pretty good laundry system for now, and I found a way to stop my clean laundry from getting stuck en route to it’s dresser home. With 4 small kids, I’m happy to be able to manage this aspect of our home life–but still have more to go!

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