I have never posted anything as controversial on social media in my life.
“I don’t separate my clothes before doing laundry.”
You would have thought I just admitted to being okay with being a lifelong pickpocket.
I got a lot of comments like:
That could never work for me.
I tried it and it didn’t work.
I do it that way too and it’s great.
I’m glad it works for you. I like doing it my way.
Those were the innocuous comments. Other people were losing their minds. Here are some of the more critical comments I received:
No. That’s not okay.
I guess if you want to walk around in dingy clothes, that’s your prerogative.
Really? Does it take that much extra time to just do it right?
You must not care about ______ if you don’t do it right.
I’m not here to tell you how to do your laundry. (I’ve learned my lesson in that department.) But what I was surprised about was the strong reaction that many had to that post, bringing it down, essentially, to a morality issue.
Basically, if you are a good person, you will do your laundry correctly. (I know that sounds crazy, but that was the equation some people were making.) I realize that a lot of us have been taught that if you want to feel okay about how you are doing things, it always helps if you can find someone else who is doing it wrong.
I followed up that post by saying, “Hey friends, whether you choose to wash your clothes dangerously because saving time, saving money, saving energy (yours or the power company’s), or because that is the best thing for you right now, it all works. The detergent police are not going to bust down your laundry room door.”
For some people, it’s a radical thought that the way they’ve been taught to do something right, might not be “right” for everyone.
I have friends who take great joy in separating all their clothes, doing small loads of laundry, and then ironing like wrinkles are the unpardonable sin. I have other friends who send their laundry out to have it washed by someone in the neighborhood who is hired through an app. They get their laundry back in nice, neat little piles, ready to put away. And then there are the rest of us, doing the best we can, somewhere out here in the messy middle.
I am one of those people who can keep my whole house looking great, all at the same time, for about thirty-seven minutes (as long as nobody moves). And I think this is the category that most of us fall into.
We live in “working” houses. We cook, we eat, we play, we pray, we work, we study, we create, we rest, we love, and we live in our houses. My house is perfect as long as there is nothing going on in it.
Somehow, we’ve made the idea of a messy house, a pile of undone laundry, or heating up a frozen meal into a morality issue.
My radical thought? Some days, it’s miracle enough to get the laundry done imperfectly.
I used to spend a lot of time comparing my life — my house, my routines, my parenting, my marriage — to other women. It’s only gotten easier to do so in the age of social media, where every Instagrammer’s house appears perfect and none of their kids look like they fished a shirt out of the dirty laundry pile because it’s their “favorite.”
What I finally learned, after way too many years of comparison, is that it is 100% possible to be proud of yourself, get done what you need to get done, work, be married, and raise kids, all without comparing yourself to anyone else at all. So yes. I’m proudly giving myself the participation ribbon.
Galatians 6:4 (NIV) says, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.”
My house is never going to be perfect, but my home is always going to welcome someone in. I value hospitality over perfection. In a world where we all struggle to make connections, I can’t have one more barrier to being with people. If my house had to be perfect, I would never have anyone over.
And here is the beautiful thing — most people feel comfortable with a little mess. I feel honored when someone lets me into their house with some unfolded laundry on the couch. That’s how I know I am welcome to the real parts of life.
Need extra encouragement when it comes to getting your daily list done? Join Kathi and her team over at their Facebook group Clutter Free Academy for not only instruction but daily, gentle encouragement.