Not long ago my building renovated our laundry room, putting in new washing machines, which require half the amount of detergent to clean a load of clothes. Use more, and you must run your clothes through a second wash cycle to get the suds out. Suddenly we learned that less is enough. And actually, it reinforces a lesson we received several years ago when our building installed new water-saving toilets. Wad up a big-ball-of bathroom tissue, as some people tend to do, then try to flush it, and you will spend the next 15 minutes with a plunger and an unpleasant task before you. Many residents in my building needed to replace their old habits with new ones. Less was enough.
This got me thinking: How many of us use too much product in other areas of our lives? As a child, did your parents ever scold you for mindlessly running through paper towels, bottles of shampoo, or using too much electricity, or heat? Mine were always on my case to turn off a light when I left a room and to use less product when less got a job done. Figuring out what you need, instead of using too much, is an easy way to save money and the environment. Not only will we spare a tree and use less gas and oil, but we'll accumulate less garbage and save time by not having to run to the store as often to restock.
Recently, I discovered that my hair looks better if I wash it with only a dime-size amount of shampoo and detangle it with a quarter-size amount of conditioner. Also, these days I'm less likely to clutter up my bathroom with lots of similar products that do the same things. I use up what works, before replacing it with something else that works. Being a little more mindful of purchases and how much you use, simplifies your life and puts a few extra dollars in your pocket.
Although I try to be a careful buyer, recently I was struck with how many bars of scented soaps, pairs of socks and new shirts I have in my closets. So now I plan to use the soap, socks and shirts before bringing any more of these items home. It's time to be less of a gatherer and more of a user of what I already have. Be aware. Use it, or loose it. Sometimes less is enough.
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