Learning New Habits

If you have been reading my organizing tips for the past 6 months, you know that I have just emerged from a home renovation project. The main motivation for the project was to provide me with my own washer and dryer for the first time in my life. However, after using communal laundry rooms for so many years, having my own equipment has taken some getting used to.

Our typical routine was doing three loads of laundry every weekend in the laundry room in the basement of my building. If you forgot to throw something in, or you got something dirty later that day, you waited until next week’s laundry. (You can see the downside of this approach in my earlier post How Many Should I Own?)

It took us a few weeks to break that habit. I realized that I could do laundry anytime I was at home and had the time to see a load all the way through the process. I didn’t have to wait until the weekend. I now do one load each week of things that don’t go in the dryer, and then a day or two later I do the rest of my clothes. The sheets or towels go in all by themselves sometime over the weekend.

We had some overnight guests for the last two nights, and right after they left, I laundered their towels. It was unprecedented for me to have guest towels clean and put away within hours of them leaving. I’ll probably do their bed linens tonight. You have no idea how happy this makes me!

I’m sure at some point, the novelty will wear off. But for now, developing this new habit has required me to disrupt a lifetime of training.

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