2017 UPDATE: Now with a baby, I do laundry once a week and still stick to only doing laundry. If the little one is with me, we sometimes go for a stroll around the block during cycles.
May has always felt like my busiest month of the year. Maybe it’s all the birthdays (including mine and my husband’s), Mother’s Day, or the anticipation of Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer. Whatever it may be, last year around this time I realized how anxious I always get and changed the way I think about a chore I do every three weeks– laundry!
Doing laundry in New York for some has become less of a burden because it is often outsourced. While outsourcing is a great option in certain circumstances, I am too particular about my clothes–and frankly I’m a bit frugal–so I continue to launder them myself. I calculated that it takes a solid two hours to complete this chore from hauling my laundry bag around the corner to rolling together the last pair of socks. Two hours is a valuable amount of time!
Whenever laundry day approaches, I used to get excited anticipating how much I would knock off my to-do list in between cycles. With the laundromat being so close, I ran home two extra times to get something done. But by the time everything was finished, my mind was in such a jumble and I felt like I was in a race with myself for no good reason. I was back to feeling anxious instead of accomplished.
In a moment of self-reflection, I thought, “I block this time off in my calendar to complete a necessary chore. Why do I also have to be superwoman?” I don’t do laundry often enough that it’s a waste of my entire week. What if I take that time to do that one thing? This revelation was huge for me and it supported my belief that single-tasking is the way to go.
Now while the wash is going, I stay at the laundromat and allow myself to zone out. Sometimes I will read a magazine or call a friend or relative, but anything else I do has to let my body just relax and my mind be empty. Hey, I could even meditate!
This is no different than my blog about scheduling time to go through paper piles. Honor the time you schedule for chores and tasks. Anything else you do in that time is a bonus– and if it’s something enjoyable, you might actually look forward to doing your laundry!
May is off to a good start and laundry day is coming up. I can’t wait!
(Big thanks to Leah Lakins and The Laundry Room Astoria!)