The One Housekeeping Rule I’ll Never Quit

Just keep the laundry going.

Laundry in progress


It doesn’t matter if you have one child or five under five, whether you’re an empty nester or waist deep in the toddler years, live solo or have a few roommates to share the housekeeping—daily life paired with a list of household to-dos can sometimes get the best of us. When that happens, it’s more often than not the household tasks that fall to the wayside. As for the resulting laundry that reached capacity in the hamper days ago and is now spilling over onto the floor below, well, that has always felt to me like a growing reminder that I’m falling short. 

When things start to spiral, I have two modes: overdrive or complete shutdown. Which way we go is dependent on what kind of spiral we’re talking about. Honestly, neither path is a good choice. Running myself ragged trying to catch up rarely ends well for my immune system and the shutdown method just makes matters worse. A call to Mom in these moments is my best course of action and, when all else fails, I only need to hear her repeat her tried-and-true mantra: Just keep the laundry going

This little tidbit of advice was passed down from her mother when Mom had three little ones and a cocker spaniel puppy named Skippy demanding constant attention. It served her well back then and continues to serve her now-grown daughters. It’s not all about trimming down the laundry pile, though. There’s something about taking it load by load that resets my brain. “If I can do this one thing, what is one more thing I can do?” it seems to say. 

During times when life bogs me down and it feels like I can’t get out from beneath its weight, I can’t rely on taking things day by day. I have to break it down to manageable size and that sometimes means taking it minute by minute, breath by breath, or load by load. When the buzzer goes off, I’m spurred to a quick burst of action, moving the clothes to the dryer and putting a new load in. When it goes off again, it’s move, load, fold—the buzzer acting as a sort of metronome to get me back on beat until I can once again find the tune on my own.

Many would say to just call Mama when all else fails, but if that’s not an option, see if this hand-me-down advice can help get you back on track—one sanity-saving load at a time. 

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