does working from home really work? Yes! How to handle laundry issues
I admit, I was a little disillusioned about how much laundry would be a reality in my lifetime. For awhile I was feeling very uneasy, maybe a bit livid, with the huge amounts of time that were robbed from my life by laundry. Working as a freelance artist is about as impossible to fit into my day as it is to fit into this paragraph. Somehow, though I am starting to make it work.
I love to be at home. For the past ten years I have been working from home. Does working from home really work? Yes. Let’s take one thing at a time …starting with how to handle family laundry and working from home.
First, know that I will look back and weep for the sweet memories of little socks filled with dirt. Next, devise helpful efficiency plans to make the laundry easier, such as teaching your children to turn their clothes right-side-in and konmari(ing) clothes closets. (see previous post on Konmari).
For me it works best to clean my house one week and do a laundry marathon the next. During the cleaning week, I sort laundry by family member, spray stains and pull out what cannot wait a week to be worn &/or is a specialty delicate item. (such as a basketball uniform or my new black jeans) Then I do that laundry and put the sorted laundry back into a big rolling hamper, keeping it separated by sheets or towels. I try to right-side-in and pull out specialty items during my off laundry week before it gets to the laundry room. This reduces minutes in the laundry room, which is good for me.
When the race day arrives, I start early gathering additional dirty clothes and sorting them with the presorted clothes. I start the loads as quickly and early as possible. As the first load is starting, I put all the sorted clothes into a line-up of mesh collapsible hampers organized by person and things. Now anyone can participate in the marathon because loads just need to be put in, moved over and put back into baskets all clean. (Yes, not folded.–Hats off to people who can iron or fold their clothes when they are warm and dried just enough.) I honestly lose count of my loads (maybe 10?) and do them as fast as I can. In the evening, when the machine noise is done, I lay the clothes flat face down in piles separated by person and thing. Sometimes one child can have two piles because I keep school & sports uniforms in a special place. The next day, I fold the children’s clothes, sheets and towels and put them away.
I still feel like I do laundry everyday but at this point I am no longer drowning in it. Next, I started to use my time in laundry land to incorporate work somehow, by watching tutorials on Adobe, listening to podcasts, sketching a logo…etc. I often work on Skype with my business partner. I have realized that she can be buried in as much techie code as I am in clothes. We all have these piles. Life is messy. Try to figure out something that’s helpful to you, and use any possibility to move forward.
Working from home is often a mental balance of necessity. I shouldn’t feel guilty doing my own work even if the laundry is far from finished. My breaking point line to my husband is “it’s an impossible job!!!” I have to remind myself over and over that keeping up is the goal, and a family motto of ours is do your best. I also feel the need to mention that my husband, along with my children, did not dump the duty of the laundry on me. I work from home and so I took control of it. He is right on board helping and loves the efficiency of the schedule too.
My most recent breakthrough has been creating art where I am. Queenie Liao‘s sleeping baby art came about when she had three baby boys. Her work was impressionable to me. Somehow I have found fairness in the laundry piles by adding another layer of satisfaction in my life’s work. I set up a tripod and played with focus while I did this last laundry marathon. Maybe not quite the artist in her studio but I am working on it.