How I finally slayed the laundry monster

Since I started down this path of simplifying our lives, I’ve gotten a lot of questions on how to get started with the decluttering process.

For a long time, I dreamt of clean counters, every object having a home, and actually being able to enjoy my evenings and weekends, but no matter how hard I tried, I always ended up running around like a crazy person, scrubbing bottles, cleaning up mess after mess, and fighting (and usually losing) to a never-ending mountain of laundry.

Laundry was a particular sore spot for me.

I’ve been known to go buy a shirt and pack of underwear at Target to avoid confronting the looming pile in the corner of our bedroom.

Every several days, once I mustered up the courage to slay the beast, the conversation between Evan and I went like this:

Me: Hey babe?

Evan: *mumbles* Hmm?

Me: I’m serious this time.

Evan: About what?

Me: We’re becoming nudists. I’m just gonna go burn these okay?

Evan: *shaking his head* Sounds great, hon.

Bless that man for keeping up with that running joke for 4 years.

I digress.

So when I started down the path to minimalism, I started with my closet. Between getting pregnant, growing a human, birthing aforementioned human, and then becoming that human’s mother while also working full-time and being a wife, I had gained and lost about 100 pounds, which left my wardrobe a hot.freaking.mess.

Even though I had gotten back down (and then some!) below my pre-baby weight, my body was just so different. Styles and silhouettes that used to be flattering, felt frumpy. I found myself with this hodgepodge of a closet that had clothes from high school and college, my first job, pre-#momlife in all shapes and sizes.

So one night after Ava went to bed, I popped in my earbuds, grabbed a few trash bags and cloistered myself in our closet.

And over the course of an episode of Wine & Crime, I eviscerated my side of the closet.

Keep. Donate. Trash.

Three piles. And I was ruthless.

If I loved something and it was still in good shape (no rips, stains, obvious signs of wear), it went to the keep pile or stayed on its hanger.

If I vacillated, even for a moment, it went to the donate pile.

If it was in terrible shape, trash.

Let me just say, that it was a stroke of good luck that I had taken the trash bags in with me, because by the end of it all, I had made piles of clothing that literally reached my waist and I’m 5’8”. I wouldn’t have been able to get out of our closet if I hadn’t brought them in. I had to tunnel out so I could get downstairs for more!

When it was all said and done, about ~15 bags made their way to the local donation center, 3 went out to the trash, and I was left with a wardrobe of clothing that fit and that I was excited to wear!

This change, coupled with my new laundry rhythm (1 load started every morning and then put away before bed), has really allowed me to breathe. I rarely have issues deciding what to wear, and I don’t stress about getting the laundry done because it’s just something I’ve put on autopilot.

So what’s holding you back? Don’t be paralyzed by the enormity of the task — tackle one area at a time and you’ll make progress.

xo- Sarah

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The secret to getting out of survival mode

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The other day in Kroger, I was paralyzed in the mustard section. Spicy Brown? Dijon? Yellow? Name brand? Store brand? Oh yeah, we also need diapers. *Adds diapers to the list* What was I doing? Oh, right. Mustard.

I stared at rows and rows of the yellowish-brown condiment for nearly 7 minutes. I could not for the life of me, just pick one. So what happened? Did I just not sleep enough the night before — probably, but I think that I was a victim of decision fatigue, which is a fancy way of saying that my brain was exhausted from doing the heavy duty of making thousands of decisions

Pause. I know what you’re thinking. Sarah, there’s no way you made a thousand decisions in a day.  

Oh but I did. You definitely do too,  

According to recent research, you are going to make 35,000 “remotely conscious” decisions today.

By contrast, our adorable chitlins are only going to make about 3,000.

So while you might not have stared aimlessly at the mustard section of your local supermarket for an inordinate amount of time, I’m sure you’ve experienced the moment when you literally couldn’t make another decision even if you wanted to.

Enter: Rhythms.

A heartbeat. The thump of a bass drum. Despacito. They all have rhythm, so why not your life?

Rhythms are these beautiful things that we just do. We do them every day, so they just happen in the background of our lives. We don’t think about them. We don’t stress about them. And we all already have them.

I love how Allie Casazza puts it on her blog, rhythms have been part of the key to “escaping survival mode in motherhood.” By having to make fewer decisions about day-to-day things, I’m happier, lighter and able to put more focus on things that actually matter: my marriage, my baby, and my brain!

My Rhythms

Since Ava was born, I realized that my old way of doing laundry just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I couldn’t just set aside an entire day to do a MOUNTAIN of laundry anymore. So I established a rhythm.

Now, first thing every morning I get up, grab the basket and start a load. At some point during the day, but usually after dinner, I’ll fold it and take it upstairs where it will get sorted and put away in 3-5 minutes by morning. It’s a little thing saving me a meltdown, raised cortisol levels, a sassy attitude with my husband.

It took a couple weeks of reminding myself, but now it just happens. And for the first time in forever, I don’t stress about doing the laundry because it’s always done. There aren’t piles and piles of it everywhere taunting me.

Some other rhythms I have:

  • Getting up early and tackling the most pressing things on my to-do list first thing in the morning

This one has been a game changer for personally, because even if my entire day hits the fan later, it’s okay because I got the most important thing done before anyone else was out of bed. It totally changed my life and my marriage.

  • Wiping down the counters, rinsing the dishes, and placing them in the dishwasher after every meal
  • Doing a quick 10-minute pick-up every evening after Ava goes to bed

So, if you want to stop feeling like you’re just surviving motherhood and really starting thriving, establish some rhythms in your life.

Start by asking yourself: What are the things I HAVE to get done in a day in order to not be anxious/stressed/feel like I’m behind?

These aren’t the things that you want to get done, these are things that stress you out like crazy and you will not go to bed until it’s done.

Write them down.

Now write down how you would feel to walk in the door after a long day knowing that those things were taken care of.

Pretty great, right?

Set aside a few minutes today (I know you’re crazy busy, but trust me, you have 5 minutes to spare to do this) and write down a couple rhythms for your own life. Then commit to doing them for a week. Just one week!  Do whatever it takes to hold yourself accountable, even if you miss a day, that’s okay! Show yourself some grace and get back after it.

Tag me on Instagram @simply.sarahmae! I can’t wait to see all of the rhythms you guys establish to make your life more intentional, less stressful, and much much happier.

Peace, Love & Cookie Dough — Sarah

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