Monday, February 3, 2014


Or, how I finally solved my laundry problem.

While 62 miles a month may not be a lot to some people, to a Mama of 4 with other responsibilities as well ( it was a lot to me. I didn't run after the half marathon in October and when I started up again in December I had a really hard time fitting it into my schedule. I am a creature of routine and habit. I had been running M-W-S for so long that I just couldn't break out of it, but M-W we have preschool and then speech and then when I finally get LightRunner down for a nap, it's time to get the kids off the bus. It just wasn't working. So I used January to get running and exercising back into my schedule and establish a working routine. I switched my running days to T-Th-F-S (yes, 3 days in a row) and added cross training on those days as well. I'm following the "hard days hard" philosophy and making my T-Th really hard, Wed just cross training, Friday easy, Saturday long and Sunday-Monday completely off. No run, no exercise. Two full days in a row and it works out lovely. Sunday I am with my family and doing odd things around the house. Monday is my grocery shopping day. It's working out really well. Sometimes there are wrenches--like class parties on Thursdays--but I just adjust nap times and make it work. I have a monthly calendar on the fridge with every single day designated for something and I like checking off my run or cross training or stretching.

The other thing I have on the fridge now is a weekly calendar. I have given myself completely to lists and schedules and organization. On Sunday I go through the week and make out my daily to do list with such thrilling activities as dishes and cleaning toilets and laundry and other crap I have to do. Like I said, I am a creature of habit and the way I have done things for decades is to wait for things to pile up and then take care of them. This is particularly true of laundry. When the hamper is full or we've run out of underwear is my signal to do laundry. It worked out fine until I had all these kids. There are 6 of us and we generate a lot of dirty clothing. The kids' clothes were a real problem because they are so much smaller, more clothes could fit in the damn basket. Now I'm fine with putting clothes in the washing machine and dryer. It starts to break down when I need to take it out of the dryer and there's a complete fail when it comes to folding and putting away. So I would wind up doing all of the kids' laundry on the same day and have a bunch of clothes to fold. But the kids' clothes go upstairs and I am basically downstairs the entire day. I would wind up frantically trying to fold clothes at bed time, irritating the man who thinks bed time is learning time. It wasn't working. So, much like changing my running routine, I have overhauled how I do everything. Instead of waiting for things to pile up, I am now scheduling them ahead of time and breaking them into sizable chunks. I clean toilets and do our clothes on Mondays. On Tuesdays I do the girls' clothes, on Wednesdays the boys, Thursday is whatever, Friday I do the girls' clothes AGAIN and the same with the boys on Saturdays (and my running clothes which I always forgot to do before!). Breaking the kids clothes up into 4 days a week has made it so much more manageable. It's not like it's just a few things--there's still a load of clothes but I'm not doing two double loads. I can easily fold the clothes on the couch during nap time, put it back in the basket and get it put away when I get upstairs.

This has seriously revolutionized how much crap I have to do. I don't have baskets of laundry in the living room hanging over my head. It took me a few minutes to clean the toilets instead of having to do a major cleaning. Then I still have time in my day for running and exercising and stretching and showering and reading and writing book reviews and playing games with kids. Sure, it might start to feel like I am doing the same things over and over and over again--Lather-Rinse-Repeat--but I am in more control over it. Instead of feeling like Sisyphus rolling his bolder up the hill and not making progress, I feel like I am taming the laundry/housework beast. (Of course having a mobile 18 month old creates all sorts of messes that can't be scheduled in, but I can always bribe older siblings to help with that.)

January was all about establishing the routine and I did pretty good. February is going to be about taking it a bit further-- getting my long run longer, my speed work faster, my legs straighter, lifting higher weights, reading more books, writing more reviews. But don't worry, I'm not planning on dusting at all.


BakingSuit said...

Sounds like a great system! I have to get back on track with mine. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Chris said...

I had a rough go of getting back into the routine for me, I had failed to notice how off my fall was - I'm hoping February to be a more productive month.