One Way You Can Relaxify Your Life: An Environmentalist's Guide.
If you pay attention, it’s really difficult to not grow scared in today’s political climate. According to the American Psychological Organization, 75% of adults reported they have experienced moderate to high levels of stress in the last month alone. With so many problems whirling over our heads, especially the climate crisis and the coronavirus, we need to learn how to relaxify our lives, and I have one wonderous tip to help you.
Start With Your Stuff
Personally, I can’t do anything unless my work space is pristine, clutter prohibits my productivity. Of course, I can function if my room is a mess, or if there are a thousand things scattered upon my desk, but am I relaxed? Most definitely not.
I remember once I was getting ready to go out, and I was tearing through my dresser to look for something to wear. After spending too much time looking, I found something to wear and left the house.
Once I got home, I opened my dresser drawers and took everything out.
I spent four hours separating, folding, organizing, and doing away with.
Imagine coming home from your day, tired and ready to relax. You step inside and see a clean house that smells nice and puts you at ease. You can just make yourself a cup of tea, sit on your clean and uncluttered house, and enjoy your space.
We need to realize that relaxation starts from within and is cultivated by our environment.
Let’s start with the bed. Wash the sheets! If you want to be a hardcore environmentalist, use an ecofriendly alternative to your plastic-encased laundry detergent, like a laundry egg, and then let them hand dry!
(Screen shot of website) ecoegg's Laundry Egg, I found one at the grocery store for $17, and it looks like a great investment.
Now, Spritz your mattress with a non-toxic, eco-friendly scent spray. You can even make your own by bottling up a sweet smelling tea like lavender tea, and spraying it on your mattress.
In order to properly relaxify your life, you need to create and maintain a relaxing atmosphere. That means making your house smell good, keeping it tidy, and doing things like playing music and having soft blankets or pillows.
Herbal Tea and Lavender Erika Craddock / Science Photo Library / Universal Images Group
On to the decluttering! Move all clutter off of your bedroom floor, and put it all somewhere else for the time being. Don’t put it away yet.
Sweep, vacuum, and mop your floors. Wipe down all surfaces, dust, and open your window to let in some fresh air.
The other day I was at my friend’s house, and we had finished everything we needed to do for this project we have been working on. We were sitting in her room and I said, “do you want to relaxify your house?” Naturally, she was confused, and I explained to her that relaxification is about creating a nice environment. We found sage in one of her kitchen drawers, and, to her mother’s dismay, we danced around her house fanning around the smell of sage, all for the sake of relaxifying. Yes, the smell got really strong, and then my friend decided to mention to me that she was an asmatic, but once the sage dissipated into the house, the entire house relaxed.
Let’s move on to our clothes. Separate your clothes into sections: tops, bottoms, underwear, outerwear, accessories, and shoes.
To properly declutter, I recommend the Marie Kondo method. For instance, when I organize my dresser, I take out all of the shirts, fold the ones I want to keep, and put everything I don’t want anymore in what I like to call a DAW, or a do-away-with pile.
What I love about DAW piles, is I can physically see how much I am doing away with, and I have the opportunity to make some money. From your DAW pile, identify what you need to throw away, what you should give away, and what you can sell.
Realize, all of our first DAW piles are going to be filled with the holed T-shirts we’ve had for ten years, and the halloween costumes we’ve had for longer. It’s crucial for us to understand that decluttering is a lifelong process. We will assemble thousands of DAW piles in our lifetime, and as we go, they will progressively get nicer, and easier to sell.
I cannot stress this enough: Relaxifying your house needs to be a fun process! Team up with your friends, play music, eat snacks, watch TV while you do it, as long as you do not make this a stressful obligation!
The Bathroom and Kitchen
For these areas of your house, slowly swap out your products for zero waste alternatives.
Here are some great swaps, which I have been working on myself:
Toothpaste- Zero Waste Toothpaste tablets.
The only two brands I know of for zero waste toothpaste are Lush Toothy Tabs and Bite Toothpaste Bits. While I have never tried Bite Toothpaste Bits, I would rather buy these than Lush Toothy Tabs because Bite bottles their products in glass, while Lush bottles in Plastic (so they are not really zero waste!)
(Screen shot from website) Bite Toothpaste Bits- I really want to try these out!
Plastic- Bamboo Toothbrushes
This is such an important swap if you want an environmentally friendly bathroom! But do your research! Bamboo toothbrushes have bristles made of a variety of things. They can be made out of boars bristle, bamboo, or nylon. If it is nylon-4, it is okay, but if it is nylon-6, it’s not. If you really want to know what your bristles are made of, you can do a burn test. If it melts, the bristles are plastic or nylon, and if it burns, it is boars bristle (not vegan) or bamboo (vegan).
Plastic Bottles of Cleaner- Glass Bottles of Cleaner
The most common multi-surface cleaner, glass cleaner, laundry detergent, dish-washing liquid, and more are all packaged in plastic. To swap them, you can buy them from companies that bottle in glass bottles.
(Screenshot) Front page of the Blue Land Website.
I recommend Blue Land, it's non-toxic and vegan. You can buy their three-cleaner-package that comes with three bottles and three tablets, or you can just buy the tablets and put them in your own glass bottles. The way it works is you dissolve the $2 tablets into water from your sink. Usually cleaners and detergents range from $6 to $10, so with Blue Land, you don’t have to pay extra for the water.
Another way you can swap from plastic cleaners to glass, is to make your own solution. For glass tables, and mirrors, you can make a vinegar water solution, and for dish soap you can find a tutorial online that suits your needs.
Tea bags- Loose Leaf Tea
Sometimes tea bags are woven with plastic and therefore unable to biodegrade. You can either use a tea ball to strain loose leaf tea, or do your research as to what brands weave with plastic, and which ones are biodegradable. I’m sure we all drink different brands of tea, but for example, a very popular tea brand called PG Tips, switched to fully biodegradable tea bags a year ago, but they used to weave with plastic!
Photo Credit: Chloe Williams (me) "Tea"
Single Use Coffee Filters- Reusable Coffee Filters
With a quick Ecosia search, I found out I can buy reusable coffee filters at a variety of places for under ten dollars! We’ll never have to buy a box of paper ones again.
Plastic Water Bottles- Reusable Water Bottles and a Filter on Your Kitchen Sink
Plastic water bottles are meticulously difficult to recycle, and could be made out of any type of plastic! Do yourself, and the environment a favor and buy a reusable one. Besides, doesn’t it get annoying to have to re-buy water at the store? To filter water, I have a Pur water filter, and a water filter on my fridge.
Photo Credit: Chloe Williams (me) "Water bottle" I hope you appreciate the velvety pizazz.
Packaged Foods- Bulk
Last but not least, I have been trying to go to grocery stores that have a bulk section. I usually buy bulk nuts and spices, but I really want to begin purchasing more of my everyday necessities in my own containers. Remember to use your own containers when buying in bulk instead of those little plastic bags which are provided at the grocery store, because those little plastic bags are soft plastic and are almost impossible to recycle. In fact, if you recycle soft plastics just by throwing them in the bin, they will just be discarded at the facility because they can clog the recycling machinery.
Yes, I know that cleaning up our houses will not relaxify our lives completely, but creating a safe and relaxing space where we can take shelter from the stressors of everyday life can and will takes loads off our shoulders. So start relaxifying!
Tips to relaxify is a series that starts with this blog! Expect more to come!
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