Monday, February 18, 2008

'Ware oh 'wear has all my clutter gone? Oh 'Ware, oh 'wear can it be?
(Two easy steps to reducing dirty piles.)

No, those are not typos. (Or "typoes" if you are Dan Quayle.)

In one of my tip sheets entitled "Riding the Laundry Cycle," I make mention of purging your clothing in order to simply have less of it around to wash. It's a simple idea, really and I'm going to take it a step further to help you build the habit of doing the laundry on a routine schedule.

Certainly, if you have less laundry, you will have fewer clothes that must be washed--you will be forced to do laundry much sooner if you don't have 365 outfits and try to do 52 loads of laundry on New Year's Eve. But I can help you get to the washer much sooner.

What usually makes you start a load?

Underwear? Yep, that's most people's answer. And how many pairs (lets just count the "shorts" for men and "panties" for the ladies) do you own? If it's more than 8, you could be in trouble.

In college, I had the unfortunate luck to overhear another student say she owned 30 pairs, and therefore only had to to laundry once a month. I thought that was a grand idea. (Kind of OK for a college student, but it wasn't working for me 15 years later.)

Why not limit yourself to 7 or 8 pairs? Having eight lets you do laundry once a week while still wearing one pair. (Nice, especially if you use a laundromat.) A client kindly pointed out that you would need to have an equal number of light/white and dark pairs for this to work should you decide to do laundry more than once a week and presort (as I suggest) the lights from the darks. Or have 8 that are all light or all dark.

Yes, (talking mostly to the ladies here) you can still have some of those "special" (read "pretty but not so comfortable") sets, but you must promise not to wear them once your "everyday" stuff is dirty or you'll be back to where you started. With too many loads to wash in your one or two precious days off.

So, that's the "Wear." Now what about the "Ware" you ask?
Tell me now about another area of the house where stuff stacks up to be washed....

Yep, the kitchen. We're talking about dinnerWARE and silverWARE now. The same rule applies here.

Limit how many of these things you have in your kitchen and can use before you are forced to load up (or eek, wash by hand) the dishwasher and run it. One summer I worked in Yosemite and had a tiny little space to myself and no dishwasher. I took with me only 2 plates, 2 glasses and 2 sets of silverware. If company was coming, heck, they were told to bring their own. (Having more than 2 people in this "space" was hard enough anyway!) It was so easy to just get in the habit of cleaning my ware right after using it. And of course, putting it all away was a breeze, too!

Now, I'm not saying you must limit yourself to 2 items, but do think about limiting what you keep on hand what you might use at one meal, or maybe in one day if there are only one or two people in your household. You don't have to toss your other dishes or silverware, but put them away in an inconvenient place so you will only get them out when company is coming. But if you have 89 spoons and tend to use them all before you do the dishes, then you are surely in need of a sort and purge day.

So, just limit your Wares/Wears and you will be on the road to starting new habits that reduce the messy-dirty-giant-pile/stack-needs-to-be-washed clutter in your home.

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