On laundry and mental health

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We are finding our groove. Everyone made the bus on time this week (I realize it’s Wednesday, but I am cautiously optimistic), everyone wore clean underpants, and the dog seems resigned to the fact that we are, indeed, going to live here. Slowly, I find myself turning back to writing, back to words, glorious words. The living room in our house remains a war zone, littered with a smattering of picture frames and packing boxes and discarded furniture, but the rooms in my head are receiving a healthy clearing out. Like Jennifer at Conversion Diary, I discovered I am a mental neat freak. The writing helps.

What about you? Do you need a mental clearing out every so often? If so, what method suits you best? I need fresh air. Trees. Sunsets and books and an empty page. I need a run, blood pumping fast and fierce. I need music, because I’m told it soothes the savage beast, and I believe this–even when I’m the beast in question. I also need quiet and lots of it. And, don’t tell my husband, but I need the baskets piled high with laundry. It’s the near-daily ritual of sorting and folding and stacking tidy piles that keeps me sane. I can’t even discuss the ironing. It’s like liturgy to these hands, making me holy.

This house, it is the first one in which we walk in the door and we collectively sigh. It is the sigh of a family that has wandered and knows they have finally found home. It feels like home–without the paintings hung, without the walls painted just so, even without enough chairs for guests, and a few rooms devoid of furniture. It feels half-way done, but frankly, so do I. Sometimes, we call it our forever home, and I wonder if there is such a thing for us. I’d like to believe my wanderlust is satisfied, but time will tell.

For now, I will enjoy the scent of fabric softener melting into the air, the deep sighs of home, the return to routines. I acknowledge my inner mental neat freak and I will treat her with the kindness she deserves, lest the savage beast make an unfortunate return. I will iron and purchase chairs and pick paint colors and pretend not to hear when my husband disagrees with all of them. I will enjoy the liturgy of making this house a home.


Are you a mental neat freak? What aspect of your everyday liturgy helps alleviate it?


  • Kathleen Botsford

    The laundry…..I love it too. I made it a sacred ritual when my kids were young….sorting, washing, folding….pouring prayers and blessings into each piece…..a mothers way of wrapping her arms around her children when they were near or far…..sigh…..

    • KimberlyCoyle

      Kindred spirits of the laundry:)

  • Mark Allman

    There is a sacredness in the doing of the mundane; the carrying out of all that is needed and goes unnoticed. Love flows through the mundane; it fights itself clear of the minutiae. It should be acknowledged and praised for it is love acted out for others. Even so the wash, dry, fold cycle that one does honors those it is done for.

    • KimberlyCoyle

      If only I could feel the sacredness of cooking dinner! One step at a time, I suppose:)