My real-life and virtual friends often tell me that laundry is one of their most dreaded tasks. They can’t seem to catch up with the piles of dirty clothes or the baskets of clean ones waiting to be put away.
I don’t particularly mind doing laundry, because it never feels like a lot of work. There are several reasons. For one thing, I’ve cut way down on folding. In my family, we just stuff our clean pajamas, underwear, exercise clothes, and many other items into drawers, because we don’t care if they get wrinkled. And here’s a confession: We wear a lot of our clothes multiple times. If they pass the sniff test and aren’t visibly dirty, back to the drawer or closet they go.
But I think the biggest reason I’m never overwhelmed by laundry is simple: my family doesn’t have a lot of clothes.
As soon as I have enough clothes for a load, I wash them, then put them right away. I have to. If I let my laundry build up, I’d have nothing to wear! I have no choice but to keep things moving quickly back to my closet or drawers.
But I find this lack of choice very liberating. The laundry process never feels oppressive to me, because I always have a manageable amount of laundry. I never have big piles of clothes to deal with because I simply don’t have enough clothes to make big piles.
(How many clothes do I have? Here’s my summertime line-up: two pairs of shorts, two pairs of capri pants, one skirt, three dresses, five “nice” T shirts, two cotton tees, one tank top, and two cardigans. )
Having a small wardrobe keeps my closets and drawers from being packed, so I can see and find everything easily. It saves me money. But what I really love is how it saves me time. I have less stuff to deal with—less to wash, dry, fold, hang, store, or generally think about. Less clothing translates into more time for the things I want to do.
Less stuff means more time.
I try to apply this principle to many aspects of my life. I’ll admit, for me, keeping my wardrobe small is an easy one. I’m not particularly interested in fashion and I don’t enjoy shopping. But the benefits of my small wardrobe encourage me to make do with fewer things wherever I can, even when it’s more challenging. Less stuff—whatever kind of stuff it is—means less shopping, less unpacking, less cleaning, less maintenance. Less stuff means more time for the things that are important to me.
Now, maybe you’re a fashionista, and for you, time spent tending to your clothes is completely worth it. Or maybe you’re like a friend of mine, who finds folding laundry relaxing. She likes to take a pile of clean clothes, turn on HGTV, and get to work. If that’s the case, great! You’re spending time on something you like.
But dealing with clothing is not high on my priority list, so I’m glad I figured out how to do less of it by having less.
Have you found ways to make laundry less of a burden? Are there other areas of your life where you’ve pared down? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.