At some point during the pandemic, I had a major breakthrough about the repetitive, quotidian tasks of running a household. I realized that I had been mistakenly conceptualizing my daily chores (laundry-folding, lunch-packing, dishwashing, drop-off, cleaning) as activities that “got in the way of” living life, and began instead to view these tasks as part of the architecture of my day. They may not always be stimulating (in fact, can be unpleasant and fatiguing), but they are substantive and immovable blocks of time, and they matter. They will not only continue to present themselves, but they carry our family forward and should be treated with the same deference and accommodation as any other task on my plate: phone calls, fitness, preparing dinner, etc. This mindset led me to aim, wherever possible, to make those times of day as pleasant as possible. If I am folding laundry or ironing, I will light a candle, put on an audiobook, and enjoy a cup of peppermint tea. If I am packing lunch, I will do it at a time where I am not feeling harried and flustered (e.g., not in the morning, before school). And if I am doing the dishes, I will turn on music that makes me feel good. (And usually pour myself a little wine.) For some reason, this past year, I have been obsessed with turning on “Short and Sweet” by Brittany Howard when I am first rolling up my sleeves to tackle a big kitchen clean up. It hits just the right balance of transportive and quieting — it is soulful, it is moving, it is comforting. The lyrics are thoughtful enough to spark reverie. It often has the effect of making quick work of a big pile of pots and pans.
Today, sharing my dishwashing music soundtrack. Great not only for dishwashing, of course, but for any repetitive, slightly meditative task — could be gardening, could be folding laundry, could be addressing envelopes, etc…
You can find the playlist below on Spotify or Apple Music.
“SHORT AND SWEET” // BRITTANY HOWARD
“SINCE I FELL FOR YOU” // BONNIE RAITT
“YOU’RE NO GOOD” // LINDA RONSTADT
“MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT” // ELLA FITZGERALD + LOUIS ARMSTRONG
“NEW YORK STATE OF MIND” // BILLY JOEL + TONY BENNETT
“TON OF JOY” // OTIS REDDING
“MIDNIGHT IN HARLEM” // TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND
“RIGHT ON TIME” // BRANDI CARLILE
“STRANGE” // CELESTE
“IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MORNING” // WILLIE NELSON
“AT LAST” // BEYONCE
“I LOVE YOU” // NAT KING COLE
“EV’RY TIME WE SAY GOODBYE” // SARAH VAUGHAN
“CES PETITS RIENS” // STACEY KENT
“DEARLY BELOVED” // TONY BENNETT
“4 AND 20” // JOSS STONE
“BYE BYE BLACKBIRD” // JOE COCKER
“TIME WILL DO THE TALKING” // PATTY GRIFFIN
“SPARKS” // COLDPLAY
“SAY HELLO, WAVE GOODBYE” // DAVID GRAY
“FALLING SLOWLY” // GLEN HANSARD + MARKETA IRGLOVA
“DREAMS” // FLEETWOOD MAC
“I’M ON FIRE” // JOHN MAYER
“MORNING SUN” // MELODY GARDOT
“BABY” // DONNIE + JOE EMERSON
“ARE WE IN TROUBLE NOW” // RANDY TRAVIS
“HARVEST MOON” // NEIL YOUNG
“BY YOUR SIDE” // SADE
“INTO THE MYSTIC” // VAN MORRISON
“VINCENT” // JAMES BLAKE
+Another recent, major shift in perspective.
+On my perennial quest to live where my feet are.
+”The people I love the best // jump into work head first // without dallying in the shallows // and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.” (Excerpt from a favorite poem by Marge Piercey.)
+Planning to order these Isabel-Marant-esque boots but can’t decide which color — black or brown?
+You know I’m a note-taking and list-making fiend. Have heard really good things about this brand of notebook — thick, high-quality paper (has been compared to Rhodia). Fellow paperheads, jump on this!
+Another great everyday dress for fall — this one under $100.
+This mini is in my cart.
+This popular sherpa coat was just restocked in all sizes!
+This belted trench from Madewell is fab!
+I must again extol the virtues of this shoe storage situation for out-of-season or not-worn-as-frequently footwear! Obsessed. Very sturdy and cleverly designed.
+Perfect under-$100 wedding guest dress for fall.
+I’m not a huge athleisure gal but these pants are intriguing me. More elevated loungewear here.
+Now these boots. THESE BOOTS. Extra.
+Well this jacket is fabulous.
+SunHouse children just launched some adorable fall pieces for littles. I love this dress! A great go-to-Church-then-run-around-outside-with-friends piece.
+Just ordered these magnetic puzzles for my son — perfect for car, Church, etc.
+It’s been a minute since I raved about our Tonies box. I cannot believe the longevity and use of this in our home — my children almost ALWAYS have it on, and it’s not unusual for mini to fall asleep listening to it. My MIL has now gifted this to some other children. Great gift from a grandparent!
+This is such a beautiful way to anticipate a GREAT start to 2023. But I am pretty loyal to this inexpensive, BIG (8×11) planner, which I use to organize my entire life by list.
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9 thoughts on “A Playlist for Chores at Home.”
Thank you for sharing this! I requested to follow you on Apple Music as it wouldn’t let me access it – hope that is ok!
Of course! x
This playlist was really quite lovely to listen to while doing mundane tasks at work today…updating outlook calendars for grants i work and for the drive to my dr. appt. I think I’ve mentioned how I use fashion on my appt days to help me feel better about myself. Like mass day dress or something cozy and comfortable with easy access to the vein for labs. Monday I have my monthly appt. kind of like when i used to get my period, I call these appts the best friend is in town. At least that is what i called my period. But they were never invited. And what i have is an uninvited and unwelcome guest. Its ironic my initials fit this. These appts remind me of what I lack and also how far I’ve come. It’s not something anyone ever really thinks that it will actually happen to them. But when it does hit, it hits hard with no end in sightand life hasn’t been the same since. My appt. today was with a physician I’ve been seeing the past 5 years. It all went downhill at age 30 for me. I’m not sure it will ever get back to that or get better. It’s hard accepting somethings will never return. Kind of like how everyone wants to live like 2019 again. It just can’t be that anymore.
AnywaysI am taking a hard look at my life right now. And not having social media. So I think this is the only way to contact you. Great playlist! Pairs well with the rain we’re having in Boulder.
Hi! I’m so glad you enjoyed the playlist, and that it was a suitable companion while taking care of less-than-ideal tasks. I love that you’re using fashion and music to make those tough treatment days a little brighter. I’m so sorry for your health woes — thinking of you.
I am still enjoying your Nigel with the brie playlist! Thanks for this.
I had a similar reckoning with tidying up my home. I try to think of it as a gift that I’m giving myself and my family. Instead of being resentful that I’m picking up things others have strewn about, going in with the intention of gratitude actually makes such a huge difference.
Such a great reframe. It reminds me of that quote – “do small things with great love.” And, a Magpie commenter once said that her mantra in parenting and caretaking when it came to her son (who has a disability): “power through with love.”
Thanks for sharing this.
PS Glad you loved the Nigel with the Brie playlist! xx
Ah! I can’t wait to download this playlist on Spotify. I totally agree on making those more mundane parts of the day more enjoyable. When I’m not listening to music, I often tune into the latest Goop podcast or episode from Oprah’s Super Soul.
P.S. I just ordered that Moon River number earlier this week!
P.P.S. Cannot wait to see your new Magpie nest!!
Yay! Thank you so much! That Moon River is such a good snag…perfect everyday fall dress!