People like to talk about accountability.
There are accountability groups, accountability systems, accountability partners and such.
I set up this blog as a way to stay focused and hold myself accountable. In so many ways, that has worked. But truthfully, it’s not the best kind of accountability.
Part of what I’ve committed to do here is to be truthful. To bring the ideals into reality and be honest about how things really work.
Accountability groups are great, except that you can stop attending them. Accountability partners are helpful, except that you can stop talking to them.
This blog as an accountability system is great, except that I can stop posting any time I choose.
Even if I received emails or phone calls or Facebook messages from people who cared and wanted to hold me accountable, I could ignore all those things.
I could delete my email account or change my phone number and never get bugged again.
Real accountability happens with the people who are directly affected by what I do and don’t do. The people who live with the habits and routines and systems I’ve developed.
Last night, I was tired.
I decided I was going to wait to start Laundry Day on Monday morning. Technically, that wasn’t a total cop out.
Monday is Laundry Day.
But I know that the best way for Laundry Day to happen, from beginning to end before Monday is over, is to start on Sunday night.
Seriously, it’s a game changer.
If the whole family gathers and sorts laundry on Sunday night and I start ONE little ol’ load before I go to bed, I’m pretty much ensuring success.
I know this, but I just didn’t feel like it.
I was tired. The kids were tired.
We’d had a VERY busy weekend that included abnormally early mornings on both Saturday and Sunday. I was determined the kids would be in bed early.
I HAD emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it, catching up from getting off my dishwasher rhythm over the weekend. That’s noble, right? Isn’t that enough?
I even knew Monday morning would stink if I waited. I’d be stuck gathering and sorting laundry by myself, and it would take five times longer than if the five of us did it together.
But I had decided I didn’t care.
Then Hubby said, “Don’t you need the kids to sort laundry before they go to bed?”
And it took less energy to say yes than to explain how I had purposely decided to forget to have them do it.
And I realized that is what real accountability is.
It is people who know you, who see you doing what you’re supposed to do for long enough that they notice when you’re not doing it.
Not just straying from what you said you were going to do, but straying from what they expect you to do because you always do it.
Accountability doesn’t come from the planning of routines, it comes from the observation of routines.
It comes from the people who count on those routines.
From the ones who wake up in the morning expecting to find clean undies and clean shirts and clean socks.
And even though I groaned inwardly last night when bedtime was delayed by a whole less-than-ten-minutes . . . I’m incredibly thankful for that accountability this morning.
Because it’s not even lunch time yet and I only have two loads left.
Your good habits have also become habits for other people.
Two loads and everything else is washed, dried, Folded and Put Away. In other words entirely completely done.
Very good job!
Love your blog! Was just reading your post for today and got thinking about how much time it sounds like you spend sorting. In my house I have a laundry basket in each of my kids closets and their “load” gets washed all together (each child’s load is done separately)so there is no mixing up whose is whose and as each of their load is done I fold put back in their basket and is put it in their rooms for them to put away. Then I have two baskets in my closet, one for darks and one for lights. Then the towels and bedding are done separately. That way everything is already sorted. Just thought I would share. 🙂
We do it slightly differently (and we’re still finding our feet with laundry day as a concept, so that might change). We have seven baskets lined up on the upstairs landing (ideally we would have eight, but I had to locate every basket in the house to get seven, and until we can get some smaller, taller baskets, seven fits exactly). Everyone’s clothes all go in together, but we have
* towels and beding (the two I’d separate if I could)
* ‘mostly whites’ (white background with a pattern) + lights
* black + darks
I separate out the reds and the blues because they are the most likely to run. Plus for 5 of us we usually have a full load of reds and a bulging load of blues. (We get a bulging load of darks too, so I usually pull out the darkest blue stuff and make two darks loads.)
‘Mostly whites’ + lights we don’t have that many of, so it’s usually a full load every other week. The towels and bedding is useful to keep separate so there’re items on hand if a load is looking a bit small (eg. if I need to use a red towel to bulk up the reds load), but I can also do them separately and it’s only towels, who cares if the red towel runs onto one of the others?
All of which is to say, we sort as we take it off too, but differently 🙂
This is awesome! Wonderful, encouraging words that let you know that, even if you haven’t totally ARRIVED at perfect organization, you are very well on your way. I have to confess that I am still waiting for this to happen with end of the week cleaning, though. After several years, my kids still seem to be surprised when I mention it. :/ Oh, well–you give me hope! 🙂
Dana White says
Yes, the kids are great at acting surprised when we do (un-fun) things that we do every week!
Major “Hubby Points” for making sure that you had help especially when you are tired. I like good marriage stories.
Kristy K. James says
I think that is totally cool. Even if your kids aren’t thrilled with it, your husband clearly appreciates not only your efforts, but the comfortable home your routines are creating. I think it’s sweet that he reminded you…and even better that you did it even though you didn’t want to. 🙂
i recently also discovered the amazingness that is starting laundry day the day before. i still sort all the clothes myself, but if i start them the day before, i can get hubby to take all the hampers down to the basement for me. last week, i started (wednesday) laundry day on tuesday afternoon, and had all but one regular load and a load of just socks, washed, dried, folded AND put away by wednesday night. And since there was only those two things left, hubby actually folded and put away them for me on thurs while i was at work.
this week wednesday’s laundry day didn’t start until almost noon on wednesday and boy am i feeling it. the three loads that did manage to get washed and dried have been moved back and forth from the bed to the changing table three times, one load is still sitting in the dryer, and two loads are on the basement floor that didn’t even make it to the washer yet (because hubby was nice enough to switch one from washer to dryer, but was afraid of putting anything in the washer because i have a “system” he doesn’t like to mess with) we are now halfway through friday… some weeks are better than others lol! (it is not helping that today is halloween and i haven’t finished sewing my daughter’s costume yet… guess i better get off facebook and get to it.)
“Accountability doesn’t come from the planning of routines, it comes from the observation of routines.” I appreciate this advice and will take it to heart.