Dishes and Laundry: Where is the Type A love?

dirty dishesNo matter how much you eat out and no matter how many items you send to the dry-cleaners, there will never, ever be a shortage of dishes and laundry.

Some people can find a little smidge of joy in washing the dishes or clothes.  Some people can find a sense of order in putting them away.  But, seldom do you find the homemaker who exclaims, “I love laundry.”  Or “I love doing dishes!”

I’m not trying to love the chores. But, I’ve been thinking of ways to find some joy in the processes since, face it, the processes are going to be with me until I die.  My man is never going to stay on top of the laundry or the dishes up to my standards. Sure, they will eventually get done if he is left in charge.  But, I will yell and throw things because of the back log.  And that isn’t pretty.  I’d rather wash the piles myself.  And that, believe it or not, is where the joy starts.

Once I realize that I am doing to laundry because I, Nonnahs, don’t want the pile-up and I’m doing the dishes because I can’t stand to wake up to a sink of filth and stinky, crusty plates, then I can at least let go of the anger toward the task. Instead of feeling frustrated that someone else isn’t doing this for me, I feel productive that I am making my house feel more comfortable– for ME. This is something nice I am doing for myself.

(There are those of you reading this who could give a wooden nickel if your sink is clean.  To you, I apologize.  I know there are motivating factors that someone could point out to help you get through the daily cleaning grind. That would be a different article altogether. This entry is for people who lean toward order and probably fold their towels. And their napkins. And maybe even their underwear.)

Another thing for Type A people to keep in mind when trying to enjoy our menial household chores is that they don’t have to be done before we play. I am so guilty of this Work Before Play mentality. Are you? It is a specifically American phenomenon and it is very detrimental to one’s happiness. If I can’t change my bad attitude, then I would be better served to change activities. A clutter-free bedroom is not worth spraying my roommate with venom!

More joyful ideas: The chemicals in dish soap and laundry detergent often smell yummy. Take a minute to smell them.  Buy a flavor you really like. When the sheets come out of the dryer, take a minute to pretend you are in a commercial and rub their softness on your cheek.  It’s stupid enough to be funny. But once you smile, your attitude –POOF–has improved.

Put on some good music, a book, or podcast while you are folding, scrubbing, or loading.  That is simple but very effective.

And of course, the best cure in the world for overcoming the washing blues is to enlist a helper. It can’t be just any helper though. It must be a willing helper with whom you could chat while working. A resentful helper is poisonous and should be fired immediately.

Once you can find joy in doing the dishes, you have arrived my friend.  The Buddhist monks got nothin’ on you!  Once you can smile while you fold laundry, why then you are ready to tackle changing a poopy diaper in public with grace.  (And for that you may need to actually talk to a monk, because I am not your girl.)

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