On never being done.

I’ve been getting lots of questions lately about how we structure life around here, or how I get it all done. Really the answer is that I don’t get it all done. But it is worse than that I think – I don’t even try. One of the biggest personal lessons I have learned in housekeeping and child raising is that “done” is a total myth. The more I have adapted to that understanding the better. The more I embrace a lot of my daily work as a cycle that goes on and on instead of discrete tasks that need to be completed, the better. Not only does it relieve a lot of tension surrounding what you are trying to do in a day, but it actually gets much better results.

I don’t keep it a secret that I know what it is like to step on jam blobs, or face a mountain of laundry that harbors a mysterious yet hideous smell. It is basically daily that I marvel at the volume of what I sweep. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and I frequently fail in my quest to be in the ballpark of both of those things. But the truth is, it isn’t so much about “getting it all done,” it is about keeping on doing it. Much like sanctification, it is not something at which you arrive. Not anymore. I used to be a person who loved to make everything perfect and then enjoy it without messing it up. God wanted me to get a bigger perspective, so I have a lot of children.

I am a very unstructured person by nature. I am not a person who enjoys schedules that follow the day around in 15 minute increments. Some people love that, but it doesn’t work for me. I tend to juggle things, in a constant mental state of triage. So the question about when I clean, what the kids do, and how it happens is something that has no easy answer. It has changed many times through the years. Our kids give up on napping while two. I usually keep them having a “reading rest” for a while after that if possible, and that has long been a time that I use for getting something, anything, done. Blaire is the only napper in our house now, and so the other four are out and about all day – stuffing backpacks full of dress ups, launching complicated scissor work at the dining room table, reading, doing puzzles, playing high speed tag, setting playmobile pieces all over the floor, making a restaurant in their closets with all the duplos they can find, dragging “cozy blankets” through the house to set up caterpillar camp in the living room, and generally living large. I try to keep things orderly mostly by keeping a spot things can go back to.

I have greatly enjoyed the help of housecleaners at different times – I have  them come when I can turn on a show for the kids, and the youngest is sleeping, then we clean together. It makes me feel like I got on a moving sidewalk. I am still cleaning, at the time when I could have anyway, but I get a lot more done! Sometimes I would leave for the last little bit and run to the grocery store while the cleaner babysat. I have hired younger girls who didn’t mind mopping and vacuuming at night to be date-night cleaning sitters. Kids in bed, we go out, she stays and cleans out the fridge, or the bathroom or something. That was a good idea, and I should start doing it again.

The kids help  me pick up what they have been playing with, as well as what they haven’t been playing with, and I tolerate quite a lot of daytime mayhem so long as the attitudes are good. When the kids are all being cheerful and having a wheeze of a time with the huge set up all over the family room, I am o.k. with that. Play is their work. As they have gotten older, so has our strategy for teaching them to help. The older four are now capable of good help, so we use it. I don’t want them to just follow directions though, I want them to find their own ways of doing things. Usually when the playroom has gone thoroughly to seed, I call the four of them to report for duty. Then, I tell them to go down and look at the playroom and pick something that looks big to clean up. They have to come report to me what it is that they are going to take responsibility for, and then they go do it. Each of them has to do five different picking up jobs, and our theory is that twenty jobs should always be enough to clean up the playroom. Sometimes for fun I take pictures of the playroom every 5 minutes and we enjoy the slideshow of what they did when they are done.

But I think the fundamental thing that helps me deal with this is that I see two of my roles as being very similar, but a little different. I am a housekeeper, sure. The cleaning and the management of basic household flow is my job. But the other side is that I am a homemaker. And a homemaker does what? Makes a home for people. So when the mess is alive and growing in our house, I try to balance the roles of homemaker and housekeeper. Nothing is more homey to children than a rollicking good time. Nothing is more homey goodness to them than being welcome.

I don’t mean to give the impression that I am all about maniacal messes. I like the house to be orderly, but I am always trying to find ways to make it  hospitable to its first guests, the ones who live with us.

This might also explain why I do things like paint a mural (a speedy hustle of a painting job on a Sunday afternoon). I see that as being one of the homemaker kinds of jobs, because it was something that I wanted to give to my girls. It is not indicative that I had a ton of time when every other part of the housework was completed and at rest. The truth is that I probably had some digging out to do on Monday morning. But tomorrow always has more to do in it. Sufficient unto the day are the housekeeping jobs thereof.

I streamline some things very dramatically (sometime I’ll tell you about how we have no dressers), and other things I complicate for fun (like getting a sweater for one child done over two weeks and a lot of hours). I keep a tall plastic laundry hamper in the hall closet for all the kids’ jackets, sweatshirts, and outerwear by season. Because they can get things in and out of it, dump it out, pick it up, and stick it back in the closet. Because we don’t have time to hang coats up. Because we want to make a huge mess in the kitchen making pasta. I could write a very lengthy post about the journey to the system that I currently use for the laundry. But I’m still hoping that I can weather the storm of a new baby with the laundry staying on track.

The truth is, this is my life work. I’m not supposed to finish everything in one day. I am supposed to get better and better at it. And believe me – there is a lot of better that I could be at it.

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70 thoughts on “On never being done.

  1. I enjoyed this post. It was a good reminder that our homes are a place where we live, not a showcase. I love having a home that has an aroma of hearty happiness that is a haven for all my busy people who go out in the world to school or work and want a place to come back to where they can rest and regroup.

  2. I actually did get everything done once. I got every task done, every project completed, kids napping…I mean I was DONE! (I only had two children and they were small). It was highly over-rated. About 15 minutes into being “done” I thought that I would like to start a little sewing project. About 15 minutes into that I thought, “Shoot, I’m not done anymore. I’m neurotic!” My next thought was “I’m not suppose to get done. I’m suppose to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” If I come to despair (which I had) because I never got done, it’s not so glorifying to God. I haven’t been done again in the following 20+ years and it’s good.

  3. Love love love this! As always you are such an encouragement to me. I am a first generation Christian and stay at home mom…so i often find i have no idea what life should actually look like. I have the principles i n the Word but you bring them to life in a way that brings life to my soul and some idea of what life should really look like (and not in a “legalistic do everything the same way” way but in a “here is a hefty dose of reality and wisdom all mixed together” way). So, THANK YOU! I look forward to more of the details you mentioned that are to come someday. :)

  4. In the spirit of this post, I just vacuumed a completely dirty room. Left all the other dirt, just got the floor pieces. The rest will be there whenever it is that I get there. :) But I do think you stole my laundry mojo. Back to that hideous smell…

  5. Yep.
    I’m with ya.
    I used to have a “cleaning day” (and then things stayed clean for longer than 15 min.)
    Now I have to stifle an inward groan when the one bathroom I cleaned has a line up waiting to use it as I’m walking out the door.
    But–I am a “list-ish” person, so it helps me to at least know what my goals-for-the-day are. If they don’t happen (um…like usually) they get moved to the next day, but somehow…it allows me a sense of “done”.
    And on that list (literally) each day I write:
    Read books
    Do puzzle
    Play game
    Afternoon-coffee-Bible-time

    Because those are just as important to get “done”
    Sad that I have to write them, but helps me remember my priorities.

    Loved this post!

  6. Ok, your plastic hamper idea is absolutely brilliant, and I’m adopting it for this Fall and Winter! Having three boys age four and under, and a sudden, urgent need to have a MUCH more streamlined life has put me on an organizing kick this summer. Thanks! And please do share about what having a house sans dressers is like. I’m very curious!

  7. Rachel,

    I want to commend you for possibly the most edifying counsel concerning this topic that I have ever read–or heard (both within and without the Reformed community). The Mary-Martha balance you apply and describe in such simple terms, because your daily application has granted you a thorough experiential understanding of it, is simply beautiful to behold. Thank you for your humility, your willingness to share, and for how your words have glorified the Lord. May He bless you and your readership richly.

    In His love,

    Lori

  8. I love this, because I was kinda wondering how you get it ALL done. I grew up in a home where everything had to be spotless and in its place – and there is no way that I could exaggerate on the standard that was required. Being a more “free and easy” person myself, it has taken me a little while to stop feeling like I’m a “bad” housekeeper, because I don’t iron underpants and face washers, I don’t vacuum the whole house everyday (sometime not even every week :-P), and there are endless trails of floor debris consisting of random socks, lego pieces, scraps of recycling (out of the bin!!!), tiny snippets of cut up paper etc etc – all the handy work of my three cheeky monkeys. For a while I felt as though I had to get ALL my housework done every week, and then felt like a failure because it rarely happened. In the last 6 months I have realised that my house (although not a showcase) is not filthy dirty, and the untidiness is mostly superficial, and so now I just stick to the mantra of “if it’s grubby clean it, if it hasn’t caught my eye it’s fine”. At least now, cleaning is not a big “event” that takes over my week, it just somehow slots in and gets done. Thanks for your words, most encouraging.

  9. “My house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.” A quote from some genius somewhere…

  10. I am a new reader to this blog, and I just wanted to say “Thank You”. I am blessed to be home full-time with our three daughters, and yet I find myself very *alone* in this journey (in terms of other mom-friends…I’m the only one that does not work outside the home.) This blog really helps me to feel a sense of community, and makes me feel a little less overwhelmed and crazy, too! Thank you!

  11. Love it! I just found out I’m pregnant with #5, and I’m feeling completely overwhelmed and inadequate. Thanks for your encouragement. I really look forward to hearing about your laundry system sometime–that is my biggest struggle. :)

  12. What an encouraging post! Thank you so much. When you do have a bit o’ blogging time on your hands, I’d LOVE to hear all about your streamlining! I reap ideas from all kinds of women because I didn’t live with my mother growing up and my stepmother was NOT a homemaker or a housekeeper—hahaha! Thanks again :o)

  13. This is really great. I’m much like Ashley above – first generation Christian and sometimes feel very perplexed and what all of this is supposed to look like. Also, it doesn’t help when the older Christians around us seem to follow a very staunch view of childrearing and homekeeping and so forth. One time, we had a person coming to visit us during a time that was semi-inconvenient. I had endeavored to take apart our toy shelves and move them to some other cozy spot somewhere, among other things. So anyway, there were some action figures set up and/or lying slain across our coffee table. Though not during the actual visit, our guest later questioned whether we allowed our life to revolve too much around the children since he was allowed to have his toys all over the coffee table like that. I felt pretty confused but mostly embarrassed. I really love what you said about being hospitable to the first guests. Have you ever gotten any, albeit well-meaning, advice or admonition like that? How did you deal with that? Just sorta let it slide and write a good book? :)

  14. Thank-you for this. I am a working mom of two. My husband wants a couple more but at times I wonder how I would manage to stay sane with two more people to look after. I’d love to hear more about your streamlining!

  15. i am one of those list makers/schedule followers you speak of. 😉 only homeschooling with four kids while pregnant, i find that the list gets a lot shorter. for instance, it has one thing on it. today i am cleaning the bathroom. i don’t care what else happens, that bathroom is getting cleaned. i might have to overlook some of the messes floating around elsewhere, but i’ll worry about that tomorrow. because tomorrow i clean floors. (to clean floors, you have to find them.) i don’t know why, but this gives me a little bit of peace. and it helps me do this juggling you speak of. because there is always wednesday. wednesday i sit down and do something that isn’t “urgent.” like hunting spiderwebs, painting a nightstand that has been lurking on my conscience for half a year, or sewing arm covers for the couch. and at the end of the day,i can say i did something. because otherwise i’m not sure i’d be convinced. which goes a long ways towards floating my tiny lifesaver of mental assurance.

  16. Please talk to us about the no dressers–soon! I keep threatening to do such a thing as install a major clothing storage area in the laundry room, but my husband thinks I’m crazy. He’s right. The laundry makes me that way when I find newly clean and FOLDED clothes back in the dirty hampers(or on the hallway floor upstairs).
    I love the coat closet basket concept, too. You’re so smart!
    Thanks for the reminder that “all done” is a myth. :)

  17. What great insights, for a busy mom of 5. I have five also(I’m a grandma now) in 6 years(twins in there too). I would have really loved to read something like this when being a mom at home with them. And I can relate to Katie above, when “outsiders” often dropping in unannounced, would give their “helpful” advice about housecleaning. My older neighbor even told me ,over the fence while I had two babies in my arms and 3 toddlers nearby, that she did not even dust her pictures and frames every day, or even every week. WHAT?? Mine were lucky to see a dust wipe ….whenever the spirit moved me, not often. But then, who cares? And I am so pleased that new Christian Moms can share together and reap from your blog, good values and priorities, that are God blessed, and not “people blessed”.Agree? . Thanks so much for sharing your life and experiences.

  18. Thank you for the inspiration! My kids are older, and it would’ve been great to have read this about ten years ago! I have noticed that for so many young moms, their peace of mind comes from ‘doing it right’ according to what ‘should be done’. Once they can let go, worry about ‘doing it right’ unto the Lord and for their family, then things fall in place.

    We also ditched dressers, and we now use shelves and baskets. We have big wicker ones from Ikea, and small colorful ones from Target – just depends on the particular room and what it is suppose to hold.

    We all prefer the new method – it reminds me of the difference between using the old sheet/blanket/bedspread form of making a bed to the new duvet/down comforter way. They both work, but one is much more family friendly.

  19. Good article Rachel, but oh that laundry it does keeps coming doesn’t it? If this is anything encouraging. My older children now have a day for them to do their own. They don’t see the need to change as often anymore.
    As for being a “unstructured” person, I can totally relate. No day is the same in our home. My saying is this. “We may plan, but God will do the directing.” I’d be the queen of stress if I didn’t leave ALL to God.
    May you be richly blessed with your new baby. I may not know you personally but you are blessed. We have nine children and are blessed beyond measure. They certainly are a heritage from the Lord. As for the laundry pile ups, I’m sorry to say they will keep coming. This is the stage of life God has placed you in. Enjoy it to the fullest.
    God bless you.

  20. Yeah… I needed to read this. That’s really helpful, comparing the house-keeping process to sanctification. Now, the application part will be harder for me, because I’ve become the kind of woman who will re-mop the entire kitchen when a little bit of scrambled egg gets on one spot of the newly-mopped floor. But something I’m realizing is: being a neurotic cleaner isn’t exactly making me less stressed than having a messy house ever did. There’s a balance I need to find. Maybe a big mural that needs to be painted, without regard for the mess I’ll have to clean up afterwards.

  21. It seems obvious when you write it, but I love how you tie the continual nature of our earthly work to the continual nature of our sanctification. Blessings to you.

  22. I was hoping for a daily schedule or a furmla passed down by your grandma but your post was far more helpful. You have helped to correct my thinking – there’s no all done; keep on working; my family are my first guests.

    Many blessings as you wait for your new arrival.

  23. I really enjoyed reading this post. Robert Farrar Capon in his book, ‘The Supper of the Lamb’ says, “If someone comes along and tells you cleanliness is next to godliness the proper answer is, ‘Yes- next. Right now I’m working on godliness.’…A sense of proportion is a saving grace.”

  24. Thanks for the encouragement! This is truly something I’ve been wrestling with for the past few weeks, and you just so simply summed up what I believe the Holy Spirit has been trying to get through my head.

    We moved to a new state 3 yrs ago, but still own our “old house”. My husbands Aunt and Uncle live there now, and we had the opportunity to go visit them and stay in their home a few weeks ago. His Aunt is one of those poeple who always seems to have “it all done”. The house is perfectly immaculate at all times. A little stressful to stay there with 4 young kids…anyway, I was feeling a little bad about things as I came back home at the end of the week. That house never looked that good when I lived there! The church parsonage where we currently live never looks that good. I was pretty much feeling like a complete failure in the housecleaning department when my young (5 yo) son crawled on my lap one night and said, “Mommy, I liked our old house better when it was dirty. I need to play.” Yep, we are indeed needing to be about the business of making a home for our families; thanks for a great reminder that does not mean a perfectly clean house. I love your comparison to sanctification, and being an ongoing cycle, not something to be completed.

  25. So thankful that you and I agree that “getting
    it all done” is overrated! Walking with Jesus,
    and living life as a Mommy out of an overflow
    of that most important relationship is MOST
    important!

  26. Loved this post in particular, especially a line from paragraph 2: “I used to be a person who loved to make everything perfect and then enjoy it without messing it up. God wanted me to get a bigger perspective, so I have a lot of children.”

    I’m right there with you. :)

  27. Thank you so much for this reminder. I am a clean freak/ super organized person by nature and having children has definitely challenged my need to have everything the way i want it in the house. God has revealed alot to me through having children about my need to be “in control” and I have to daily remind myself what should matter most to me, my family or a clean home. Whenever I feel an uncontrollable itch to clean I have to ask myself “do I want this clean for my family’s sake, or for my sake?” I have found usually that is a good measure for me as to which action i should take. Of course keeping my home clean and in order is a part of my job as a homemaker but that should never come in the way of doing my first job which is to show the love of Christ to my family, friends, and neighbors. God bless your “mess” =)

  28. I would love to hear your no-dressers system! I only have 3 gems, but we live in a tee-tiny home where space is at a premium. I’d love to create more room for my wee people to run and jump about and create messes in.

  29. Great post! Thanks for sharing your life with everyone.

    It is freeing to hear there is another mommy who does not deal well with the “15 min” schedule. I beat myself up a lot, but there is so much more freedom in Jesus than I give myself.

  30. Technically we still have dressers, but they’re the stackable plastic kind that we keep in the closet beneath the hanging clothes – gives us more play room in a house without a playroom.

  31. What an encouraging post!! I needed that reminder to be a homemaker: to welcome my little ones as my first guests. I, too, would love to hear laundry streamlining tips! Eliminating steps in the laundry process (sort, wash, dry, fold, organize, put away in the proper room and drawer) would be incredible!

  32. Ok, so I posted a comment earlier and I didn’t ask about the Laundry steamlining cos I was thinking, you are having a baby,don’t bother her and so on. But its no good. I have spent the whole day wondering about it and may just continue wondering all night! So please Rachel, please tell us before that baby comes along and your hands are full of better things!

  33. yep i hear ya Katie! And because the critisim came from my dutch mother in law it has bothered me more than i ever should have let it. I love this blog because it challenges me to renew my mind regarding the way we view our mothering, and being sweet happy wives. It really is ok if our lounge rooms are the centre of play & learning! Thank you Lizzie for gracious wisdom & advice!! Im off now to tackle a house that is a mess with the vacuum cleaner, and then to decorate a birthday cake. Power on girls!

  34. Thank you for this insight to a myth, I never thought about it this way, and again the no dresser thing I am also looking forward to hearing. I have three girls and after losing my job and having issues with the oldest we decided that it would be best for me to remain at home as I had been with the last job. I am now expecting #4 and we are still trying to catch up on moving, I just recently have been trying to organize a 3000 sq ft home in a dble wide trailer still trying to figure it out and with all the appts that have been needed in the move, the “done” factor just never seems to get there and yes it has made me feel guilty on more than one occasion so thank you again for making me feel human again as well as the mom and wife that tries to get it “all done”

  35. I saw this post linked on facebook by several friends a few days ago and kept forgetting to come read it. I’m glad I did. It is very encouraging to know I’m not alone. I’ve never considered myself a good housekeeper and we live surrounded by clutter, but I have a dream of things being orderly and clean. With 4, soon to be 5, ages 6 and under, there is no end to the messes. I’m thankful that my older two are very helpful and thankful that cleanliness isn’t actually godliness.
    And I’m with everyone else, I need to know more about this no-dresser system.

  36. Rachel, I just wanted to thank you for your work in posting these blogs. They are rich,instructive and encouraging. Thank you!

  37. Rachel,

    I am always encouraged when I read your posts. Mostly, I sense God’s heart of love and delight for his children. Thanks for those reminders. And for the encouragement to keep going. Your children are very blessed to have you as their mama. Thanks for sharing bits and pieces of your life!

  38. I married into 4 boys and 1 girl ages 4-14. I posted Proverbs 14:4 to the window above my kitchen sink early on. It got my clean-freak self through a lot of teenage boy mess! It reminded me to think on the garden plot they could clear of stumps with those young muscles instead of the number of seconds it took them to “strew” my clean living room! :)

    “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes from the strength of an ox.”

  39. A husband here… this was a very good (and VERY helpful) read for me.

    I’m struggling a bit with how best to say what I’m thinking… much deleting and typing over will have taken place by the time I hit the “Submit” button.

    Our home has gotten a bit more chaotic, with the arrival of our firstborn daughter about 5 1/2 months ago.

    I know my wife is Chloe’s primary caregiver. I know she takes very good care of me, as well.

    By the time I get home from work, the last thing I feel like doing, is helping around the house. (I’m not trying to sound like a lazy bum, just being completely honest.)

    I just figure if I focus hard, for even a short time when I get home, I can help my wife tackle the laundry mountain, or whatever else needs attention. Even if it’s just for a short time.

    My mindset is the “getting it all done” variety… and sometimes I am frustrated that more doesn’t get done… but I *NEVER* utter a word about it, for fear that I’ll appear ungrateful.

    I feel like the work a mother / wife does in the home is FAR more important than what I do in my vocation, even if I’m the one bringing home the bread.

    The article helps me to understand that this should be ongoing, and we just need to remain diligent, and faithful.

    Thank you. Please keep writing! I know I’m not the only guy to have read your stuff.

  40. “Play is children’s work!” We weren’t raised this way; we were raised to feel guilty if we did anything that wasn’t “productive.” Except for reading, and we were only allowed an hour of that per day. Raising children this way, that they are “first guests” and not a source of free labor is really a paradigm shift.

  41. When I registered on this blog, either I thought it would force me to select a unique username or I assumed I was the only Lori ever to read the lovely Wilson ladies’ words of wisdom (vain, I know!). It’s come to my attention recently, however, that there are two of us posting as simply “Lori”. So, henceforth, I shall be known as “the Lori who leaves the long replies”, in order to avoid any confusion. :)

  42. I remember the moment that I realized laundry was a lot like breathing…you never take a deep breath and then say, “Great! I got that over with, now I can cross breathing off my list.” Until you take your last breath there will always be more breaths to take, and there will always be more laundry to do! Changing my perspective on that really helped me change my attitude toward it.

  43. I realized that the way I keep things from going awry is “try to leave the room just a bit nicer than it was when you arrived.” This works for the children too! We still do work items in the mornings after breakfast, but like you said, teaching them to be sensitive and pitch in is far better than structured rules for cleanliness. Or godliness for that matter!

  44. Can’t wait to hear about your lack of dressers :0) I love the hamper idea for coats and sweaters. We have a similar system for blankets. Who has time to fold them?!

  45. I just read this while on a “bathroom break” :), and it was especially encouraging since my next step in the day is to get my kids to clean up with me in preparation for the teenage girl who is coming over to help clean. You gave me some good ideas about how to help them divide up the seemingly impossible task of cleaning their rooms! It’s also a great reminder for me to have the right perspective on “my” role with 5 kids 7 and under. :)

  46. Ooops, I guess I never left a comment and I was one of the ones asking the questions! I loved this post so much I told everyone about it and I ordered your book! What a different way of looking at our jobs as homemaker and housekeeper. I had always been a slacker in the housekeeping department which would spill over into my homemaker side also. Then I read The fruit of her hands book and it tottally opened my eyes to a whole new view on my role as wife and mother. Over this year I have gone through quite a change and had gone a little too far into the housekeeping side of things and was getting very upset and stressed out when toys or plates were left out. So thanks for shining a light on the goodness of making our guests (the little ones) feel at home. It’s so true!! So now there are about thirty hotwheel cars on the floor and both my boys are having a blast with them :-) Thank you for this blog! Blessings, Faith

  47. This week I’ve discovered that I’m either the perfect Housekeeper (and a cranky Mum), or the perfect Mommy (and filthy Housekeeper). It left me dazed and wondering if I was crazy to want to adopt a 4th child when I can’t keep up with three. Such a guilt trip :( Thank you for the encouragement to keep walking and the breath of fresh air. It’s nice to know a Sister is in the trench’s of childhood’s mission field with me :)

  48. Any tips for someone who has trouble structuring her life and gets easily overwhelmed by housework?

    I am also curious about the lack of dressers!

  49. I love what you said here…really, really true and inspiring….”The truth is, this is my life work. I’m not supposed to finish everything in one day. I am supposed to get better and better at it. And believe me – there is a lot of better that I could be at it.”

  50. Please write more on this idea!!! Reading this tonight was like water to a thirsty heart. I find this a daily battle for me to figure out what honoring Christ and loving my little people (regarding housework) should look like for me. What is ‘ideal’ ? And if I were to aim at resting when things are done rest would never come and I’d be one worn out mama…which I am at times as I struggle with this. So please keep letting us hear your thoughts out loud on these things to help us continue to navigate and lay down our lives. Blessings!

  51. NO DRESSERS–our solution

    I don’t know what Rachel does, but we have baskets lined up on shelves with labels on the front (T-shirts, skirts etc…). I shove in the clean clothes and my big girls riffle through them and pull out what they want to wear (ages 5 and 3). We live in England and have very little storage space so my husband lovingly bought plastic boxes and then built appropriate sized shelves in the small (3′ by 4 1/2′) closet. It saves a lot of time both on not having to fold laundry and in the morning the big girls can choose clothes and get dressed while I dress the 1 year old.

  52. Well maybe it’s my time to boast. 😉 Laundry is no biggie for me. (Except ironing). My problem is paperwork. And just little clutter everywhere. My way of dealing with it (when I do) is the trash can. Not sure that’s the best approach. (I sneak and trash party favors, the occasional McDs toy…)

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