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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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