Practicing a new goal

As November/December is “reflection season” (as my podcast co-host puts it) and as we generally record our annual goals episode by late November, I tend to be thinking of new year’s goals by this time of year. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it isn’t late December yet!

In any case, I’ve pretty much settled on my 2024 goals. One (among many) is to listen to all the works of Bach. Another is to be a bit more structured with my strength training in general and to do my “back exercises” every day.

(Yes, it is the year of Bach and my back…)

Both of these require a bit of thinking of how to do them, and how to fit them into my life. So, given that I’ve figured out these particular goals ahead of time, I’m using the last two months of the year to practice these goals.

So, for instance, I’ve been reading up on all the BWV numbering, and how that works. I’ve been building a sequence of how to listen to all the BWVs and how much time that would be each day (I’m not doing it purely in order as the first 200+ are all cantatas…I kind of want to mix it up a little). Beyond that, I need to figure out when approximately 30-40 minutes of daily listening can fit in my life. So I’ve been listening to random bits of Bach and seeing when I can do that each day. I can listen in the car. I can listen while cleaning up. I can listen while doing my make-up.

I can also listen while doing cobra poses, downward dog, etc. On the back front, I’m dealing with standard middle-aged woes here, and I think that some stretching and strengthening would help. So these last two months of the year I’m figuring out a series of stretches/exercises/yoga poses that I can commit to and that I think would be effective. I’m about ten days into doing this every single day and so far it seems doable, but the upside of practicing before the new year “officially” starts is that I can keep tweaking it, and see what obstacles might prevent me from following through.

Anyway, if you have goals you’d like to commit to in the new year, now might be a good time to practice them. Adopting new habits can be hard. Some of them require figuring out lots of logistics. If you really get some motivation out of the “new year, new you” mindset, then it feels good to be ready to go on Day 1. How can you be ready to go on Day 1? My practicing at Day -43 or so.

In other news: I am also working on the family schedule. On Thursday, the three older kids needed to be out the door early — for 7:20 a.m. jazz band practice and 7:30 a.m. school. Since I was the only adult around, I needed to get the little boys up and put them in the car with me by 7:00 a.m. It was…not fun. Like toddler refusing to get in his seat and screaming fun. The good news is that there will probably not be that many Tuesday and Thursday mornings where there is only one adult available at 7 a.m., so hopefully this will be a manageable problem.

I was reading a “Large Family Tricks of the Trade” (a Facebook group) thread on laundry, and so I decided to audit the household laundry this week and see what the system looks like (also, FT nanny was on vacation and she normally does the kids’, so I was mostly doing it this week). On Sunday, I do my own laundry. My husband does his. That is two loads. The kids’ laundry happens on Monday and either Thursday or Friday, and that tends to be two loads each (one load with 3 kids’ stuff, one load with 2 kids’ stuff). Sometimes there is an additional load of towels, but sometimes those go in with the kids’ stuff.

This week all the sheets got done too — I will confess this is not an every week thing around here. I sometimes will just throw the pillow cases in with a load (the kids all sleep in pajamas so hey…). But this week I did the sheets so it wound up being three loads, with two sets of sheets + pillow cases (and sometimes a towel or two) in each. So that is 9-10 loads of laundry. Without the sheets it would be 6 loads. I sort of see why some folks were preaching “one load a day without fail” but to me it makes more sense to batch it a bit. Also, it doesn’t seem to build up overwhelmingly doing it a few times a week. The kids all have hampers in their rooms and they weren’t overflowing after 4 days. When it comes out of the dryer I either put it away (2 little boys) or give it to the big kids to put away themselves.

How many loads per week happen in your house?


29 thoughts on “Practicing a new goal

  1. I only have two kids, but I do a load of laundry probably ~5 days a week…I jumped on the ‘one load every day’ train and haven’t looked back, mostly because I HATE anything piling up. I’m also somewhat of a clothing minimalist so the kids and I don’t have enough clothes to go too long between loads! Between my running clothes and my son’s soccer stuff, we do generate enough that we need to do it often. However, I hired a ‘household helper’ several months ago who comes twice a week and so I outsource the folding to her! (with the exception of the kids’ stuff – they still fold and put away their own laundry because I feel strongly that this is a life skill). So while I do loads many days a week, they all get dumped on the guest room bed and whatever is there gets folded on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Towels get done once a week and sheets get done every other week (when our housecleaners change them over).
    (shout out to BOBW for helping me feel no guilt about hiring a household helper. She’s life-changing and I realized exactly how much I rely on her when she called out sick yesterday!)

  2. I’ve been able to get into a good rhythm of doing 2-3 laundry sessions mid-week (Wed or Thurs) + folding them during that time. As part of the kids’ weekend chores, they put away the folded clothes. I will typically do towels and sheets on the weekends, although am also guilty of not washing sheets every week (I think it’s fine..)

    I think doing some batching of at least 2 loads is more efficient, personally.

    I also find folding laundry while listening to a podcast or a work call where I simply need to listen (and not actively contribute) really effective from a multitasking pov. Keeping my hands busy actually helps me listen better.

    1. @Sara – so putting away is a fairly simple task because…we really don’t fold things. I mean, the older kids can do what they want, but the little boy stuff is like T-shirts and sweatpants. It will be OK. My workout clothes don’t need to be folded either!

  3. I gave my 2 kids, boy & girl, a laundry baskets and laundry lessons in 7th grade. They did their own laundry from that point. They would ask me to do a load when their schedules got busy with high school activities Time management & learning to ask for help were good life lessons, too.

    Fun fact, both helped other kids figure out laundry at college.

    1. @Ann – an excellent decision! The older boys learned to do theirs while away at camp, so I know they can do it…

  4. Our cleaner does all the family’s laundry including sheets and towels every Tuesday. I have 2 kids (6 and 9) and they put away their own clothes. She does probably 5 loads when she’s here? It’s constant laundry her whole 5 hour shift and I end up running the dryer for all the towels/rags she uses to clean the house after she leaves. I love this system!

    RE: your back, stretching is good but what you also need is to strengthen your core! And your core is not just your middle abs (the 6 pack muscles) but includes the obliques, lower upper core and back muscles! I hate traditional core exercises since they hurt my 40+ yo back! I mostly do plank variations and other strength training moves that work the core and other muscles. Maybe you are already doing these?

    1. @Kat – I’m definitely making core work part of the mix! I’m sure after 5 kids my core is…not what it could be. And that probably contributes to the back pain.

  5. We are a 1-2 load a day family at the moment… the newborn twins contribute more than their share of dirty clothes. Spit cloths, bedding, and my own clothes all get far too much baby vomit. Someday I will manage to wash the other kids (5 & 3) bedsheets. I think we will be a load a day family for some time now… although hoping when we hire a nanny she can help with sheets and kid laundry!

    1. @Rachel – yes, newborn twins will increase the volume of laundry for sure! But they will produce less eventually 🙂

  6. We have a tiny European washing machine and try to hang dry (inside on a heated airer, outside on a line) whenever possible so laundry is a production. It’s much easier in the summer. Our laundry cycles are also very long – 3 hours for an eco cycle.

    House of 3, I wear real clothes 3 days a week, athleisure the rest, husband 2 days a week, a mucky 6 year old who is in uniforms (and can very rarely rewear his sweater). So probably 6-7 loads a week, we change our bed weekly and towels get musty fast.

    I batch folding though, I just dump it in my office and then put in a podcast and fold it all at once once a week.

  7. Idea for when clean laundry has piled up:
    If you have children aged 3 and older anoounce that there’s a folding party in the lounge and they’re all ‘invited’, i.e. attendance is mandatory. But snacks and a great tv show are on offer too…
    I sort and they fold and it is done.

  8. I have only two kids but they make an insane amount of laundry, and we have a small apartment washer which means if I skip laundry it two days in a row I have to do multiple loads, and then the ventless dryer overheats and I start surfing the internet for houses in the suburbs.

  9. Regarding exercise, don’t forget that you yourself are a good use of time and money! (harkening back to your recent Starbucks post). There are studios such as [solidcore] where trainers guide you through 50 minutes of targeted exercise, as many times per week as you want. I am also partial to a franchise called “Fit4Mom” (formerly Stroller Strides), which offers a “Body Sculpt” (strength training + core) class with a 50-60 minute runtime. Now, maybe it’s because I’m a Questioner and not an Upholder, but I have explored all the exercise options available to me, and I know structured group exercise is the best way for me to fit a workout into my day with good form/posture. …From reading your blog, I know you are *far* more disciplined than me! 😂

  10. When we moved to our new house I had a second washer and dryer put in and I love it so much. There are only 4 of us but with 3 sports between 2 kids, Texas humidity and washing the sheets every week, I think we are easily doing 10 loads a week.

  11. Love it!
    We had 2 microwaves when our kids were younger and currently have a double dishdrawer which is constantly in use.

    1. @Hayley – so far we’ve been fine with one dishwasher except if we’re hosting extended family! I just run it every night over night and it’s fine.

  12. About 5 or 6 loads a week. One load of clothes each for two kids and two parents, plus towels. And I’ve opted out of folding the kids’ clothes. Just chuck them in the drawer. Seems fine so far!

  13. I do my husband’s, mine, and household/dog laundry weekly on Mondays, and it’s usually 3 loads (sometimes 4 if there are a lot of sheets). A couple of years ago I noticed my kids dropping clean laundry into the hamper because they didn’t feel like putting it away. I got mad and that’s when they had to do their own laundry (usually Friday/Saturday). They do theirs together, in 2 loads (the taller sister washes bc we have a stacked washer and dryer and shorter sister puts away). If we combined all the laundry it would probably be 4-5 and 3 on a lighter week but I’m happy the kids are learning to do theirs and it makes the rest feel more manageable.

  14. Regarding yoga, here is a tip my yoga instructor says if you don’t have time for anything else downward dog is a full body stretch! I don’t have any laundry tips I just do it as it comes and we do everyone’s sheets once a week.

    1. @Mandy- downward dog is definitely on my stretching list! The whole sequence takes 10-15 minutes, so not so bad. I think I can do this…

  15. Only one child here, and she doesn’t wear uniform for school so only wears one outfit a day. She does change pyjamas after one wear.

    I do a load every single day but putting the clean clothes away and ironing only happen once a week.

    I find it quite a fulfilling (!) job to do so don’t mind it at all, also I tend to wear the same few outfits so I like to have things washed and available to wear again quickly!

    1. @Katie – fulfilling? Interesting way to think of it! It is nice to have a project be completed. Clothes go from dirty to clean.

  16. We do anywhere from 5-`10 loads a week, primarily on the weekend (3 kids, age 2, 6, 8). I keep everyone’s clothes separate – I find that the sorting is what makes the task less pleasant and more time consuming to me (when you combine the loads, it makes you touch each item at least 5 times…). When you turn 6 in our house, you put away your own laundry (it’s a weekend chore for them). The 6 year old still complains/needs quite a bit of help, but the 8 year old has figured out that they can get it done pretty quickly if they…just do it. I’m not sure when I plan on having the kids take complete ownership.
    I read the book “Laundry Love” earlier this year. I adopted a couple changes, but the big one is that I now wash nearly all clothing on the Express/quick wash, in warm water. This has improved things a fair bit – the cycle seems short enough that I remember it and keep things moving through the process. It’s not my favorite chore, but I’ve made enough tweaks that I don’t dread it either.
    Similar to unloading the dishwasher, I’ve found that the actual time needed for laundry isn’t that long, and I’ve used it to remind myself about the power of taking 5 minutes to ‘close the loop’ and I’ve been trying to teach this to my kids as well.
    I didn’t realize I had so many thoughts on laundry, so I’ll stop now! 🙂

    1. @Allison – feel free to share all your laundry thoughts! Clearly I am interested too, which is why I posted about it 🙂
      I like the idea of separate loads for separate people – precisely for the ease of putting away. That is why I started doing my clothes separately from everyone else. I guess it’s more a question of wardrobe management for the kids whether doing each child’s full load 1x a week vs. combining with another child and doing 2x a week is optimal…

  17. I am firmly in the laundry once a week and only on weekends with rare exceptions. I have sheets and towels on rotating weeks. We have enough clothes to last the week. I mostly just don’t have the bandwidth on weeknights to get through a load without something getting stuck in process – either a load left in the wash (getting stinky) or a load just in a basket unfolded until the weekend anyway. I was unhappy with that and have a good weekend batch system to get through it where it generally is complete to my standards.

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