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Never Do Laundry Again

Fulllaundrybasket Yes, you heard me… never do laundry again! I just figured out how to make that happen.

Recently I was doing some journaling on the question my friend Wendy Lipton-Dibner poses in her book, Shatter Your Speed Limits: "If I woke up tomorrow morning and magically found I had everything I truly wanted, how would my life be different?" One of the first things I wrote down was that I would never do laundry anymore. How could this happen? Would I need to hire a full time housekeeper like Alice in the Brady Bunch? Would I start wearing disposable clothes?

The solution is about OWNERSHIP. I have written a post before about the concept of ownership of tasks ("I Thought YOU Were Going to Do It!"), and how that is often what prevents regular maintenance tasks from getting done. If ownership of a task is unclear, nobody ends up doing it.

For 20+ years, my husband and I have shared laundry duties and we always seem to get it done just fine, but what I recently noticed is that he doesn't seem to mind doing it as much as I do. I also noticed that my husband really doesn't like to cook or help plan meals, which we also have always done together. I offered that I would completely take over all of the cooking and meal planning duties, entirely, if he would take over all of the laundry.

NO PROBLEM.

Yippee! All I have to worry about now is my own personal delicate wash load, which I would strongly prefer to do myself. My boys do a lot of their own laundry as well, and my husband is coordinating that and making sure it's all flowing smoothly.

I have gone for a few weeks now with only my "unmentionables" to concern myself with, and I am in heaven! I love doing the cooking and meal planning, especially if I know it means no more laundry. I just pop on my iPod and catch up on podcasts and audiobooks, learning and laughing while I chop and clean.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What household maintenance tasks would you be happy to never do again?
  • What tasks do you enjoy or not mind as much?
  • What tasks does your spouse or partner seem to enjoy doing? 
  • What could you negotiate to help everyone be happier with the ownership they have?
  • If you are single and don't have a person to negotiate with, have you ever investigated the actual cost of outsourcing your dreaded tasks? If you don't know how much it costs, it is hard to set a goal to pay for it. Consider the value of your time as well. If it takes you 3-5 hours a week to manage and you can outsource it for $20, is that worth it to you?  Here is a well-crafted answer I found online of one person's experience, which amounts to around $20 per week for 2 people. (NOTE: Added this bullet after publishing initially, because I didn't mean to leave out the single folks!)
  • How will you ever get "everything you truly wanted" if you never write it down and ponder how to make it come true?  (It worked for me.)

We have a 26-page Household Systems Workbook that lists all of the tasks involved in maintaining a household, with workspace to decide ownership and frequency of them and help you create a customized maintenance plan for your own home. This workbook could be a great way for you to figure out how to never do laundry again! The members of our innovative online program not only get expert consulting on their own organizing projects– they also get this workbook as a bonus for joining. Our first month has a low introductory price of $4.95 a month– one Abe Lincoln (UPDATE July 2011: We now offer the FREE 7-Day Quickstart which includes seven days of focused guidance from me plus an additional 7 days of full access and support!)– to get the workbook and get unlimited help from our team too. Click here to read more about it.

What are your dreaded tasks? Do you have any big household negotiating wins? Share in the comments!

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20 Comments

Shannon Smith

I got so excited when I saw you Tweet this. I have no husband to outsource this dreaded task to though. Sigh. I guess I’ll remain in laundry hell a bit longer.

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Aviva Goldfarb

I love this post, Lorie! I don’t mind laundry, actually, and you know I don’t mind menu planning and cooking, but my husband takes care of lots of house maintainance odds and ends that I really don’t want to deal with. Shannon, I don’t know how you single moms do it, it must be twice as exhausting.

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The English Organizer

Too funny!
Happily, being a household of two, we’re not drowning in laundry and usually one or other of us is motivated to do some, when the time is right. My big problem is, it’s in the garage, and if I forget to set a timer, it can sit out there for hours before I remember it!
I don’t mind ironing nearly as much as some people… but I’m not quite sure what I can trade that for. Possibly, the grocery shopping: I never seem to enjoy that very much.

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Julie

As another singleton, Lorie, appreciate the added bullet. Until about 13 years ago, doing an out-building or laundromat) with laundry baskets, detergent, fabric softener and a load of quarters. In the case of off-site laundry, it also included lost hours with the best hope of entertainment being a book or a Walkman. (Ah, life before the iPod!) Lo these past dozen years, however, having a washer/dryer just off my kitchen means laundry wastes no time…and no quarters. Still, I wish I’d thought of a fluff & fold service all those years ago. Thanks for the added perspective.
Now if only I could hire someone to do cardio for me!

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Elizabeth

I hate, hate, hate ironing. Beyond buying clothes with “wrinkle free” fabrics, it just sometimes needs to be done. But, for Christmas I asked for and got a portable steamer. Now instead of ironing, I simply heat up the machine while I do my hair and then steam those final wrinkles out of my top or slacks. It takes less time and is less frustrating than ironing. I still have some work, but by thinking outside of the usual, I found a way to take a job I hate and make it essentially disappear.

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Amy in Oz

Ironing avoidance: After washing, give each item a firm shake to loosen the fabric (especially important with denim), then hang your wet clothes out on the line on their coat hangers. Voilà! Wrinkle free clothes, and ready to put straight away!! (the firm shake also makes line dried towels a bit more soft.)

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Lorie Marrero

Suzy, yes, I clean up the dinner dishes as much as possible while I am cooking so that it’s basically clean before we sit down to eat. Then he and the boys clean up the dishes we used to eat and sometimes a pot or pan and we all help put the leftover food away. It’s a group effort.
Amy & Elizabeth, I hate ironing too! And I have a steamer that I love to use as well. I like putting a few drops of lavender oil in my steamer too. 🙂

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Bonnie

I hate cleaning out the refridge. You never know what you’re going to find. Luckily both of us do the laundry so it’s not to bad, tho I dislike matching socks. Bonnie Lelak – Your Atlanta home inspector

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adam greensmith

I think thats a great idea. Ive been doing this for years. I do the laundry and my wife cooks. Its good to stick to what your good at at enjoy trhe most. But at the end of the day you are a team and its what works for you.

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Lorie

Thanks, Adam! It’s really nice to have something you hate totally off of your “list”.

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Evelyn Cucchiara

This is an absolutely brilliant idea! I pinned it on Pinterest and put it on my Facebook page also. Just goes to shpw that thinking beats working harder everytime…….

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Lorie

Thank you, Evelyn! I am so happy this resonated with you. It’s not a perfect system, but it works for us.

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Tom Vickery

I agree that laundry is not for me, and I don’t have partner to share with, so…I outsource! The fluff & fold cleans it, folds it, stacks it and I all I have to do is put it away.

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Cindy

I decided years ago matching socks is a waste of time. Enter diaper pins! Each of us has a stash of diaper pins with different colored tops. Take ’em off, pin ’em together, and no more time wasted matching or searching for that one that goes missing.

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Jeff Steinmann

I love that concept, of getting to do what you want, and not the rest! I so hate cleaning the bathroom that I had and agreement with my ex that if he cleaned the bathroom, I would clean the rest of the entire house! We both loved the arrangement!

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