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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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