How to Turn Laundry Into a Meditative Zen Practice
Laundry is inevitable and relentless. With three kids and a dog, I’m at it constantly. I decided years ago it would NOT beat me, that instead, I’d figure out how to turn laundry into an opportunity to get meditative, to drop in and practice a little zen. I figure, if I can nail the zen of laundry, I can do anything! (Full disclosure, it’s a constant work in progress.)
HOW TO TURN LAUNDRY INTO A MEDITATIVE PRACTICE
STEP 1 | MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL
Start with artisan-made, handcrafted baskets: hampers and haulers.
STEP 2 | LINE UP YOUR FAVORITE SHOW
- Get meditative about it. Choose a comfort show, something that lights you up. Funny maybe. Whether it’s a podcast, TV, movie, or perhaps a great playlist, tune in.
- OR, if you want to get truly meditative, just get present with what you’re doing: take three grounding breaths, be with your task, and enjoy whatever you choose.
STEP 3 | SORT IT OUT, FIVE PILES
- Warm colors (reds, yellows, browns), cool colors (blues, greens), lights, darks, sports
- Tip from my Mom: break it down further into lint-givers and lint-takers and NEVER mix the two. Towels (lint-givers) should never go with sports (lint-takers). It’s an extra step, but she’s right.
STEP 4 | WASH IT UP
- Spot wash 30 minutes before washing. I see this as a small environmental act. Taking good care of my clothes means I’m not throwing them out within a year or two. The kids do their best to test me, but I’m a beast with a stain stick. And while laundry expert, Patric Richardson says not to, I sometimes use Blue Dawn as a go-to stain remover if I catch it early enough.
- Keep to warm water, short cycles to prolong the life of your clothes. Most laundry soap needs warm water to activate it properly. Extra rinse to ensure all soap comes out. Stinkiness is often caused by detergent buildup in your clothes.
- Try using all-natural soap nuts. I love them. Throw a few in a bag, and add to the drum. They can also be simmered into a spot-remover. THE original laundry “soap” and an eco-option.
STEP 5 | DRY
- I hang a lot of my clothes on a bamboo drying rack. Come summer, I take it outside and LOVE the crisp sun-dried smell.
- Still, much goes in the dryer. To speed the process and add a little love, I add three drops of essential oil to my wool dryer balls. It’s a natural alternative to dryer sheets. You can change up your scents: lavender for sheets and a good night’s sleep, citrus for your kids’ clothes as a wake-up-and-get-to-school!
STEP 6 | FOLD
- A meditative opportunity. This chore is non-stop. The second you think you’ve “done” the laundry, there are five more pieces in the basket. Light a candle, get your show back on, listen to music, make it yours. Involve others if you want. Do it your way.
STEP 7 | PUT AWAY
- This is the hardest step for me, not sure why. Laundry can stay in clean piles for days. My strategy here is to include the family. You want your clothes? Come and help.
- This brings me to my final point. If you don’t enjoy or want to find your way to loving laundry as a meditative practice, accepting the inevitability of it, then don’t. Get the others in your life to do it and let me know your tricks.