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The Way You Have Been Doing Your Laundry is Wrong

The Way You Have Been Doing Your Laundry is Wrong

The chemical industry and ‘throw-away’ culture have turned our laundry routines into giant wastes of time, money, and energy, not to mention the questionable safety of the chemicals in the plethora of laundry-related products we’re encouraged to buy. Turns out, you don’t need to buy half the stuff you use on your clothes.

Luckily for me, my parents never bothered with a lot of the extras, and my mom had several clever ways of DIY fixes and time-savers that I learned as a kid. So when I got to college and saw fellow students wasting their time and money on their laundry. What is a college student doing paying for frills like dryer sheets?! Why does anyone make their laundry more expensive and tedious than it needs to be?

Today, you’re gonna learn some things about doing your laundry, the smart way.

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Brand Name Laundry Detergent vs. DIY Laundry Detergent

Why you’re doing it wrong: Unless you’re able to pay extra for brands like Seventh Generation that contain less chemically junk, you’re washing your clothes with stuff you can’t even pronounce. If you have dry or easily irritated skin, your store-bought detergent may be contributing to your skin issues as most of them contain ingredients known to cause skin irritation. But most of all, laundry detergent is expensive when it doesn’t need to be.

What to do instead: Make your own laundry detergent. First of all, you’ll actually know what you’re washing your clothes in if you make your detergent yourself. And second, it’s WAY cheaper to make your own, and super easy. Some simple and inexpensive DIY recipes to try here, here and here.

Dryer Sheets vs. Dryer Balls

Why you’re doing it wrong: Dryer sheets are extremely wasteful because they’re one-use items. Add to that the fact that because they’re disposable, you have to keep buying them, adding an additional expense to your budget. Perhaps the most worrisome thing about dryer sheets is that there is no law requiring dryer sheets to be labeled with chemicals/ingredients used to make them, so you have no idea what you’re heating up with your clothing. Research has shown that exposure to many industrial and otherwise toxic chemicals, the regulation of which is poor in the U.S., are linked to dementia and other neurological disorders. Don’t gamble with items that don’t even say what’s in them.

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What to do instead: Buy dryer balls. These guys are reusable, so you buy them once and you’re done — they’re not even that expensive too. You can buy wood, wool, plastic, or rubber dryer balls, and many brands specify that they are free of harsh chemicals. If you want, you can even make your own.

Expensive Stain Removers vs. DIY Fixes

Why you’re doing it wrong: Again, this stuff is full of weird chemicals, and it doesn’t come for free. So you’re buying one more thing that you don’t need to buy, and the harsh chemicals run you the risk of damaging your clothes as you desperately try to get out clothing stains.

What to do instead: Use a homemade or natural method before you resort to the store-bought stuff. It’s convenient and cheap to use products you already have and many products work on their own without requiring you to make some kind of mixture. Hand sanitizer and hairspray work wonders on ink and some other kinds of stains; use some lemon juice or ammonia on armpit stains before tossing in the wash; and club soda, salt, or milk on red wine spills.

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Washing Items After One Use vs. Making Them Last

Why you’re doing it wrong: Unless you have an absolutely inhuman sweat/B.O. problem (which you should definitely schedule a doctor appointment for, by the way), you don’t have to toss most of your clothing in the laundry basket after one wear. Not only does this give you more laundry loads and therefore more energy/water usage that hurts your wallet and the environment, but you run out of outfits and delicates a lot faster.

What to do instead: There are several items you can make into a spray to keep clothing fresh through a few uses. These include white vinegar, lemon juice, and vodka. Distilling these items with some water and putting into a spray bottle gives you quick and effective fixes for odorous clothes, and saves you some time and money on extra laundry loads. You’ll never resort to a “laundry day” outfit again.

Fabric Softener vs. White Vinegar

Why you’re doing it wrong: Another popular laundry item that people waste money on is fabric softener. Again, like many of the items above, this stuff contains chemicals that add to the toxic soup of laundry products we use.

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What to do instead: One good alternative is white vinegar. It works well as a fabric softener, it’s cheap, and it’s natural. You don’t need to spend money on Downy to get soft clothes.

Constant Ironing vs. Hanging Clothes to Dry

Why you’re doing it wrong: Ironing is time-consuming and an additional cost on your energy bill. The time it takes to iron can be a real problem when you forgot to iron your work/dress clothes and suddenly need them when they’re a wrinkly mess.

What to do instead: Some items will dry relatively wrinkle-free if you hang them up, shortening ironing time or forgoing it altogether. If hang-drying doesn’t stop the wrinkles, a steam dryer is a great way to quickly de-wrinkle clothes, and even treat some “dry clean only” items at home, saving you time and money. Now that’s a deal.

Featured photo credit: Yellow Laundry/Shinichi Higashi via flic.kr

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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