How One Load of Laundry Taught Me the Biggest Lesson in Time Management

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to test my “power of one” theory on laundry. Because, well, I hate laundry (don’t we all?) and thought it would interesting to see if I could “make friends” with this unending chore. Reality is that I would much rather be creating something than doing laundry. Can I get an “amen”!

Before I tell you what happened, let me set the stage. I think we all know how this goes. I would lug the heavy basket downstairs to do laundry weekly or whenever the hamper started overflowing. It came to the point that I bought multiple baskets so that when the hamper started overflowing, I would have basket to catch the overflow.

(Just an aside, I swear that if you leave 2 washcloths alone in the hamper they reproduce. Be sure not to leave any Lenny Kravitz playing on the radio or you could end up with a million washcloth babies. Ha!)

Back to my experiment, I set the ground rules, of course, being flexible to allow for unexpected things thrown into my schedule – one load of laundry per day, from start to finish, including washing, drying, folding and putting away. Simple.

My experiment started out like normal. I threw a full load into the wash in the morning. At bedtime, the wet load went into the drier. The next morning I got up and threw a second full load into the wash. I spent the next 15 mins folding the load from the previous day and put it all away. I stepped away and went on with my day. In the evening, the wet clothes went into the dryer to be folded in the morning.

The next day and the day after that was the same. But I did notice my hamper getting emptier, which was great. Progress but pretty typical. It wasn’t until my basket was completely empty that my experiment got very interesting.

So previously, when I had an empty hamper I would dust off my hands and consider my chore done. Check that off the list until next week.

But this time was different because I had to come up with one load because of the ground rule I had set at the beginning. I looked around the room for something to wash. “I know,” I thought to myself, “I could wash the bed sheets. Look at me being so productive.”

The next day, again the hamper was almost empty but I had to come up with one load. So in went my pj’s, my shower towel and my clothes from the day before. I set the wash setting down to low since the load was so small and went about my day.

The day that followed, the empty hamper watched as I looked for the required “one load”. I threw in a tiny load and proceeded to fold the small load from the day before. Folding took me less than 5 mins because I had only to fold one outfit and a towel.

And this, my friend, is where my experiment has plateaued into a very minimal routine of taking 5 things down to be washed in the morning, folding 5 things to be put away and drying 5 things in the night. My new laundry routine takes me as long as it does to brush my teeth in the morning & the night.

Here’s what I have learned from this one load experiment…

  1. My closets are completely stuffed. I don’t have space for anything more even though I just did a purge a few months ago. In fact, I could do with another purge to free up space. Now, I understand how a place of minimalize can actually happen.
  2. All of my clothes are always clean. I don’t have to run around looking for missing outfit pieces, which saves an extra 5 minutes in the morning.
  3. Carrying 5 things down to the washing machine every day is a lot lighter and takes less physical energy than lugging a huge, overflowing, hamper to the basement.

But the biggest takeaway from this experiment is that it has completely opened my eyes to time management. If you break things down into very small chunks and do them daily, you eventually get through the backlog and find the maintenance simplified.

True story… I spend less than a total of 15 minutes per day on laundry. That particular chore is not going anywhere, so I might as well come up with a solution to minimize it. The rest of my day is freed up for CREATING. No how fun is that!