Recently, I took a good look at my home and ways I could save more time and sanity. What exactly was driving me to the pantry for Tim Tams at 1.30pm in the middle of my workday? Quick answer: The laundry!
Then, I pondered
Why does the smell of clean laundry make a woman like me sing a little on the inside?
Is it the fact that the deodorised scent of a perfectly folded t-shirt smells so damn good (especially if you can afford Fluffy) or is it also the fact that finally, the horrible, never-ending job of laundry is over…for today anyway? My guess is a mix of both. Such is the insidious so-very-sick-of-suds-scenario, that exists in my home, and homes around the country. Don’t get me wrong. While my lungs do enjoy the fresh air received from pegging undies on the clothesline and my heart comes alive with a visit from my tail-wagging doggy, the act of laundry makes me want to reach for a seat, any seat, to sit my bottom on. The closest seat in the garden would do, as would a seat in the house in front of the telly watching Ellen. Even a seat at my work desk would do and a real seat treat would be one on a flight to Fiji for a holiday. I crave any seat to sit my weary, suddenly heavy bottom and body. Yes. Laundry makes my bottom feel heavier, because I am so damn tired from doing the laundry.
My more pressing jobs
Further, there are always more pressing jobs to perform during the day.
Laundry stops me from reading a chapter in a book or having an extended lunch break with a delicious and delicately prepared toasted salami and cheese sandwich. It also often prevents me from enjoying one of those beautiful, quiet afternoon naps a mother never gets. You know? Those precious lost naps (you will never get back) because the kids are home and the TV is blaring and someone wants a cheese-and-cracker snack, just at that moment you decided to sit down. Yes. Those blissful, restful, momentary, lovely naps…
And laundry is constant. It is like a nagging cough or a toothache that just never goes away. Ever. So I got thinking. If I had one of those harsh, extra-scratchy sore throats or a tooth so painful, I started crushing Panadol and applying it directly to the wound, what would I do? Naturally, I would sip down some warm Manuka honey with a drop of lemon. For the tooth, I would refrain from talking excessively (my hubby would like that) and pick up the phone and call a Dentist. Well. The talking and call wouldn’t happen straight away, but I would eventually hold my tongue and make that call. Not in the same hour, of course. Tuesday 9.30am? Perfect. Yes please text me a reminder. See you then…Beep, beep, beeeeeep…..
Dealing with my laundry demons
In keeping with this logic, and due to a recent house move, I decided that moving was the perfect opportunity to deal with my laundry demons. One endures a lot of thinking time while watching male friends lug close to 100 boxes of books into a new office. I felt so very guilty, but that’s another story.
While watching the boxes being moved (I did help too), I had one of those ah-huh moments!
Firstly, this is what has been taking up my time and inducing my laundry lethargy:
- Distributing laundry to three different bedrooms. Time consuming!
- Sorting laundry either before or after the act of doing laundry (see my laundry system for clarification!)
- Clothes lying everywhere around the house in bedrooms, in bathrooms, in hallways. (We have a two-year-old. I blame her.)
- Random laundry baskets placed by people (not naming names) in weird spots.
- People not using laundry baskets. Attitude: What is a laundry basket and why do I need one when I have a floor? (Again…not naming names.)
- People just not caring about me and my laundry, my baskets or my washing line.
Mother in the pantry again eating Tim Tams. She has a glass of Chardonnay in her hand. No talking. Just eating and drinking. Care factor: Nil. So due to my ah-huh moment, and now that the big move is over, I have designated an entire room in my home to a family change room. (Sorry guests. You get the blow up bed I’ve stashed in baby’s room. Don’t worry. It is one of those snazzy self-inflating ones. You are going to love it!)
How a family change room could work for a young family
What is inside the family change room?
- Four wardrobes and four sets of drawers. One for each member of my family.
- A hatbox for all our hats.
- A costume box for the kids costumes and Christmas gear.
- Every spare clothes hanger my family owns on a rack ready to go.
- All of our suitcases and travel gear. Placed above each wardrobe.
- Family shoes all placed in person’s wardrobe.
- A wall dedicated to my jewelry and girlie gear tall enough for little fingers to ignore.
- Laundry basket as per my laundry system.
- Baby change table and nappies.
- Towels on their hooks ready for use.
Why the family change room is working well
- Well-meaning hubby doesn’t wake me with his torch in the morning while fumbling for his tradie-gear in the dark.
- Any clothes lying around the home get picked up and taken at once to the one room.
- When clothes come off the clothesline they all go into the one room.
- All dirty laundry can be stashed in the one room.
- All clean laundry can be put away at once in the one action.
- The door has a lock on it so I can keep our little two-year-old out of those clothes drawers.
- All bedrooms look beautiful because there isn’t one item of clothing lying around.
Who the family change room can work for
Families like mine with younger kids.
Note: If your kids are slightly older this can still work – if you take turns like one does in a bathroom.
Sanity giving factor
Time saving factor
- At least 30 minutes every day
- At least one hour on the weekend
Since the family change room means you will be in there doing actions in bulk, I highly recommend:
- A chair
- Podcasts on your phone and headphones.
- A door that locks. You might as well get some space while you are in there! Beats the toilet.
Yes. You can learn something new while saving time and sanity!
Maybe I will go for a walk with all that extra time and biff those Tim Tams in the bin…