The Simple Secret to Getting Rid of Piles (of Laundry, Dishes and Paper)

Here it is: are you ready?

The secret is do it daily.

Make it part of your daily routine.

It’s simple, but certainly not easy.

Decide what will be part of your morning routine and what will be part of your evening routine to stay on top.

There’s always something, isn’t there?

Always roadblocks and obstacles.

Always a reason to reach down and do hard things.

So, back to piles.

This is something that I still struggle with. It’s hard to be consistent. Even when you have a routine figured out.

I’ve been working for years on a workable system to keep on top of the papers that pile up around here. Mail. Receipts. Random paperwork brought home from random places.

My first “aha” moment was when I realized I suffered from decision fatigue and couldn’t process papers at the end of the day. I just didn’t have what it took.

So, I started doing it in the morning.

I’d set the timer for 2 or 3 minutes and sort, purge and process the papers.

Knowing that it was for such a short time and knowing that I could stop when the timer went off helped. Doing it the morning when I still had some mental capacity to make the decisions was a must.

Staying consistent, every single day has been a problem. Doing the extra catch up on weekends to handle the difficult decisions has also been a problem.

But, applying the daily routine to dishes and laundry helped me realize the power of daily.

When something piles up, it feels harder than it is and is so tempting to procrastinate.

Taking it one little bite at a time feels manageable.

Making it part of a routine means you don’t have to think about whether or when to tackle it.

What can you do to make laundry part of your daily routine? Put a load of clothes in the washer at night? Or wash them at night, dry, fold and put away in the morning?

Don’t wait till you have a full load. Do a load every day, regardless.

How about dishes?

They have to be done in the evening. There’s no way around it, unless you’re committed to paper products every suppertime.

But, you can incorporate as much as possible into your morning routine: unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the sink, wiping down counters and the stove.

If you have a good morning routine, the evening routine is easier.

Keeping on top of food planning and grocery shopping also helps.

So, the secret is simple, but it’s not easy.

One challenging part is figuring out what’s going to work best for you.

Another is being consistent.

When you’re establishing a new habit, it helps to keep a calendar where you can mark off every day you’ve been successful. Seeing a string of unbroken days is motivating.

Rosemarie Groner of the Busy Budgeter suggests 28 days in a row of a successful dishes routine to establish a habit.

There’s a lot of debate these days on how many times you need to repeat something before it becomes a habit. Some say it’s not 21. Some say it’s 66.

There’s a lot of factors that influence it, but you can count on at least 21, depending on what it is and what your resistance is to it.

Do you have trouble keeping up with your piles?  Try tweaking your daily routines to get them under control.

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