I Hate Laundry

It never ends. It’s there every day, no matter how often I do it.  Why won’t it go away?  Better yet, why do I have such a difficult time mastering it?

I can’t be the only person who hates to do laundry, at all levels.  I take that back.  I don’t mind putting the clothes in the washer, adding soap, playing with the cool digital controls and hitting ‘start.’

I have a nice high-efficiency top loader that we got last year.  It has lots of features and even plays a little tune at the end of the washing cycle rather than producing an annoying buzz.  My only complaint is that if you put too many clothes in it that have arms and legs (that would be all shirts and pants), they do tend to get a little wrapped up in each other.  More like twisted, snarled and tied, in ways that no human doing yoga could ever imagine.

I’ve learned to overcome the yoga poses in the machine and grab the right garments to easily get the knots out, so it really isn’t that big a deal anymore.

The clothes manage to get into dryer in a timely manner and it does a nice job of getting them ready for the next phase.

I call it the ‘sitting in the dryer’ phase.

For a couple of days.

Or more.

Maybe it’s the laundry basket that I hate, because once the clothes get there it means I need to do something with them.  I call this the ‘staging’ phase

Where they sit another day or two in the basket.

On top of the dryer.

Waiting to get folded, or put back in the dryer to be DE-wrinkled because I need to wear them again, whichever comes first.

Of course, there are days when staging doesn’t exist.  Clothes make it from the washer to the dryer, transfer to the laundry basket while still warm, make it to the bedroom, get dumped on the bed, folded immediately, then they make it to the ‘pre-final’ phase.

The top of the dresser.

90% of all clothes placed here will remain here.

Indefinitely.

They actually end up here in both the pre-final and ‘beginning’ phases.

The beginning phase is where you take the nice clean clothes from the pre-final phase, wear them, and then put them back on top of the dresser (in a new pile of course), where they wait to get to the ‘laundry room’ phase.

This can take a couple of weeks.

Or more.

I’m sure you’ve determined by now that I do have a pretty good system.  It works for me, even though I do get irritated with myself for rarely getting to the ‘completed’ phase, which is where the clothes make it to their designated locations, like the closet or actual drawers in the dresser.

But if I did that, I’d have nothing to write about.

$9.99 a Month – Message and Data Rates Apply!

Dear MobChance,

Thanks for subscribing me to your service – at 4:31am on December 2, 2011 (while I was sleeping.)

I appreciate that you felt I needed to get your Brain Teasers three times a week so that I could increase my knowledge.  I realize that my IQ needs improving because you apparently have the ability to communicate with me on a level that I am unaware of, thereby determining that I needed some mental help.

I get many, MANY text messages on a regular basis, and somehow I managed to overlook yours.  Today, when I was reviewing my cell phone bill is when I realized that you had subscribed me to your SPECTACULAR service!

Wow!  Only $9.99 per month!  And I get three Brain Teasers a week!  How wonderful.

After looking at my bill and realizing that I was subscribed to your service, I kinda wanted to know how that happened.  Actually, I didn’t know it was YOUR service until after making a phone call to the number on my cell phone bill (that didn’t go well), and then hunting down the text message and visiting your website.

So here I am on your Brain Teaser site – reading what you get for $9.99/month.

Three brain teasers a week – that’s not bad – figure four weeks in a month, you get 12 brain teasers, and it’s only $9.99.

I was actually expecting one of those ‘But WAIT … there’s MORE’ notices to pop up on the screen.

Nope.

And guess what.  Those brain teasers that YOU subscribed me to?  I NEVER GOT EVEN ONE!

That’s right – it is now December 29, 2011 and somehow you subscribed me (while I was sleeping) and I never got ONE SINGLE TEXT with a brain teaser since then.

So please remove your $9.99 fee from my cell phone service .. never mind, I already called my cell phone provider who is taking care of it.

And next time – please try to subscribe me when I’M AWAKE .. and then also provide what you CLAIM TO OFFER.

Happy New Year

Who Touched My Thermometer?

So I got in my car today and finally decided to FIX this issue I’m having with a display device.

Yes, it needed to be FIXED!  I mean seriously needed to be FIXED!

How long can I drive around looking at the thermometer reading, and the temperature controls in CELSIUS without going crazy?  I can’t read CELSIUS.  I live in the United States.  We use FAHRENHEIT, even though it is a bigger word and harder to spell.

The funny part is that this little issue came up a couple of months ago.  I sat down in the car, went to adjust the temperature and stared at the screen for a bit.  It didn’t look right.  Was it broken?  No, it was reading CELSIUS.

I didn’t switch it to CELSIUS.  How did it do that BY ITSELF? I didn’t even know there was an option to change.  Yes, I’ve owned the car for 11 years, and I have a handy-dandy manual (that I’m sure I read once, maybe), but really, who knew?

After a little thought, I realized my son probably did it when he was driving.  Of course, interrogating him did no good.  He ‘noticed’ it was CELSIUS, but he didn’t know how it happened either.  He ‘claimed’ he got in the car and it was like that.

Sure.

So, driving down the road today and finally deciding to FIX IT, I got out my handy-dandy manual.  I swear I only read it while I was at red lights!

There it was … Switching from FAHRENHEIT to CELSIUS.  It had its own heading and everything.

And it was really simple, which explains why it happened in the first place.

Now I can look at my comfortable inside temperature of 72 degrees FAHRENHEIT again. On cold days, I no longer have to look at 3 degrees CELSIUS, which I’m going to guess was about 40 degrees FAHRENHEIT.

But I don’t really know, or care.  I’m just happy I can tell what the current temperature is again.

How to Apply The Four Laws of Simplicity

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci

This was originally written by Leo Babauta.  His blog is zenhabits. I’ve made some changes to his article, making it even simpler.

You can find hundreds of books and guides on simplifying your clutter and life. Most are too complicated.

We need a simple method of simplifying.

I personally (me, not Leo) have tried lots of different strategies. Many are difficult to stick with, others are just too hard to actually even start.

So here is a simple method of Four Laws of Simplicity (apologies to John Maeda) that you can use on any area of your life, and in fact on your life as a whole:

1. Collect everything in one place.

2. Choose the essential.

3. Eliminate the rest.

4. Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius

Let’s use the worst junk drawer in your house as an example. It has take-out menus from restaurants that closed down, ashtrays from when you used to smoke, fridge magnets, rubber bands, paper clips, chopsticks, instruction manuals for old appliances, rubber stamps, matchbooks, outdated coupons and more. The drawer smells bad too.

Rather than spend all day sorting through it and still have a mess, let’s use the 4-step method:

1. Collect. Empty the drawer and put everything in a pile on the counter. Everything!

2. Choose. Go through the pile and pick out just those things that are important and put them in a separate pile. Be picky.

3. Eliminate. Toss the rest out. Throw it in a garbage bag or find a new home for it. Donate it to charity or give it to a friend if you think they might want or need it.

4. Organize. Put back the essential things, neatly, with space around things. Clean the drawer out first, of course, and put the very small pile of things you chose back in the drawer, grouping like things together and leaving space around the groups. Having space around things makes everything look neater and simpler.

That’s it. You now have a very nice, simplified junk drawer, with (let’s hope) a much less funky smell.

This simple method can be applied to every area of your life. Just keep it simple as you go. Focus on oen area at a time, apply the method and viola! If you don’t have much that you need to simplify, just do one a week. If you have a lot, do it every couple of days.

The basic concept is literally to work on small areas at a time. Each one that you successfully simply will make you feel good and hopefully keep you motivated to continue the process until you’re done.

The process will work on just about any area of your life:

Closets. Again, one area at a time. A shelf, drawer, floor, whatever needs work. Put everything in a pile, pick out what you want or need. Send the rest packing! Put the important stuff back on the shelf, grouping like things together and leaving space around the groups. You could use containers for groups of things, using clear containers and labeling them. Or just leave the shelves fairly empty, and get rid of most of your stuff. When you are done, try to keep the floor clean as that makes it look quite neat.

Your desk. Same plan, clear the desk of everything except your computer and/or phone. Put supplies in a drawer, and file the papers. Toss out the rest. Then do the drawers of your desk the same way, one at a time, leaving space in each drawer. It’s so much more relaxing to work in a simplified environment. After you’re done with the desk, do your walls.

Your work tasks. Have a long to-do list (or a bunch of long context lists)? First, add project or task to your lists to complete them and then choose only the tasks that you really want to do, or that will give you the absolute most long-term benefit, and put those on a separate, shorter list. The rest of the stuff? Eliminate them, delegate or put it on a someday/maybe list to be considered later. Then only focus on your short list, trying to choose the three most important things on the list to do each day.

Your commitments. Everything from work to personal can be streamlined if that is what you need or want to do. First, make a list that includes hobbies, clubs, online groups, civic groups, your kids’ activities, sports, home stuff, etc. Anything that regularly takes up your time. Now pick out the few of those that really give you value, enjoyment, long-term benefits. Toss the rest, if possible. It might be difficult to do that, but you can get out of commitments if you just tell people that you don’t have the time anymore. This will leave you with a life that only has the commitments you really enjoy and want to do. Leave space around them, instead of filling up your life.

Your wardrobe. This one can be tough (especially for me!) However, do you really need all those t-shirts, shoes, bras, socks and clothes you no longer fit in? How about those ratty jeans? Do you wear everything in your closet? Bet not. Again, start with one drawer or section of your closet at a time, put everything on your bed in a pile, choose the clothes you really love and actually wear on a regular basis. Donate the rest and put the ones you love back in your drawers or closet. Leave space around the clothes — don’t stuff your drawers full.

If you’re having a hard time parting with some of these items, here’s a personal tip from me (again, not Leo). I hang all my clothes, except for bras, panties, socks and PJ’s. Take all the hanging clothes and turn the hangers around on the rod so they are facing opposite the way you normally hang things. As you wear clothes and re-hang them, put the hangers the normal way. After a few months, you’ll immediately be able to tell what hasn’t been worn and you can then get rid of it!

A room. Start with your furniture. If you don’t love and use it, get rid of it. Then clear every flat surface in the room, from counters to tables to shelves to desktops. Choose the stuff you love, and get rid of the rest. Leave the flat surfaces as clear as possible, only putting back a few choice objects. Now do the drawers and cabinets the same way. Also do everything on your floor that’s not a piece of furniture, leaving the floor as clear as humanly possible.

Your email inbox. We all do it. We leave everything in the inbox. How many messages are in there? How old are they? That’s what I thought! Take all the emails and put them in a separate folder. Scan through the folder, choosing only a few to reply to and putting those in a separate folder. Delete or archive the rest.

Those are tips from both Leo Babauta and me. Hope they work for you.

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. – Henry David Thoreau