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The Laundry Night Manifesto

18 May 202108:47PMliferants

Here are some apparently radical beliefs that I hold about laundry, which might also help explain why I'm sometimes mysteriously busy on otherwise innocuous-seeming weeknights.

Part 1: Laundry isn't hard, decisions are.

The hard part about laundry isn't doing the laundry.

It's deciding to do the laundry.

The actual task is pretty easy - you put the clothes in the machine, and you take them out, and you put them on a line. That's like two, maybe three discrete five minute tasks, separated by the duration one (1) washing machine cycle. Much like baking bread, it's not so much difficult as it is time consuming.

The difficulty - again, like baking - comes from deciding when you're going to slide that block in, and the assorted bits of mental maths that surround it. When am I home? What do I need? How many days of socks do I have left? Do I have time to think about that right now? How much am I going to regret not thinking about it if I don't?

Laundry is fine. Thinking about laundry is the absolute worst.

Part 2: Weekends are for fun, not chores.

In the absence of forward planning, that block of time slides into the largest unallocated area available. Most of the time, that means the weekend. It then proceeds to smear itself out across the whole day, and disaggregates itself into horrible little subtasks which are easy to forget and have catastrophically musty consequences if they are.

I loathe doing this kind of thing on the weekend, because it means one of two things. Either you're skipping out on scarce and valuable downtime to do laundry, or you're skipping out on laundry to take some downtime, thus pushing the problem further into the future.

(Or third, I guess, it reminds you that you have nothing better to do with your weekend than laundry, which is its own kind of upsetting.)

Of course chore-like stuff is always going to come up. But laundry is predictable. It keeps happening, at more or less the same rate, for your entire life.

Weekends are precious, and squandering them on laundry is a travesty.

Part 3: More things are laundry than you think.

The hard part about vacuuming isn't actually doing the vacuuming. It's watching the filth levels creep up and trying to decide whether they've crossed your filth tolerance yet.

The hard part about grocery shopping isn't the shopping. It's figuring out if you need to shop, and procrastinating on it pushes your shopping trip into the Saturday afternoon parking and trolley hellscape.

(Look, it's possible that working in a supermarket all those years ago left some scars.)

Once you know how to look for it, laundry is everywhere. Changing the sheets and towels and cat litter and taking the bins out* - if you stand back and squint a bit, it's all laundry.

* I would probably credit bin night, and the importance of not missing it - along with having a job with a uniform - with sparking this idea to begin with, but to be quite honest it's become so ingrained into the fabric of my life that that's pure speculation, the truth of which is lost to the mists of time.

So what?

So: Don't think about whether it needs doing yet, just pick a night and stick to it, regardless of how much there is and whether it's urgent yet. Just chuck a podcast on and do the stuff on the list.

And: While you're picking a night, you can pick one of those useless, empty ones like Monday instead of a fun one like Saturday.

Also: While you're at it, do your other mundane crap on that day as well.

For some reason when I explain this concept to people they give me weird looks, but I can't for the life of me imagine why. It might sound like I'm overthinking this, but if you can pull it off, you never have to think about laundry ever again.

Isn't that worth it?

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