What would make you happier: spending fifty dollars to buy yourself a couple hours of free time, or spending the same amount on a material good? According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and reported on by the New York Times, people who spend money to save time experience a boost in happiness that doesn’t occur by simply buying more stuff. So how can you save time and maximize happiness? Stop doing the chores you hate!
Five Chores to Outsource Right Now
1. Meal planning and preparation
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American woman spends 37 minutes per day on meal and drink preparation, while men average 17 minutes. The first takeaway is that men need to help more in the kitchen! The second is that both groups could benefit from ordering in.
Unless cooking is genuinely enjoyable for you, consider spending a bit more money to buy yourself some time. Those same minutes that you spend in the kitchen could be spent exercising, pursuing a hobby, or playing with your kids. I would much rather watch my three-year-old ride his bike in circles on the driveway than stand at the counter chopping onions. While delivery from restaurants will save you the most time, it’s also the most expensive (and possibly least healthy) option.
Meal kits from companies like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh are a nice compromise—cheaper than take out, but more expensive than doing it on your own. These kits save you valuable planning, shopping, and prep time while still allowing you to serve up a home-cooked meal.
Laundry is another top contender for most-time-consuming chore, costing the average American woman about two hours a week. Men spend, on average, about one fourth the amount of time, which leads me to believe that either women are doing their laundry or they are wearing dirty clothes. Assuming you are doing your own laundry and don’t particularly enjoy it, consider reclaiming that time.
In addition to the time you spend sorting, loading, folding, and (in my case) scrounging around for quarters, you may also find yourself waiting for the machines to finish or interrupting other activities to move the clothes along.
How nice would it be to forget all that and have your clean clothes delivered to your door? The cheapest way to live this dream is through a subscription laundry service like Rinse Repeat. Rinse Repeat lets you stuff your dirty clothes, towels, sheets, etc, into a bag that’s picked up and delivered to your door. While most laundry services cost upwards of $2 per pound, a Rinse Repeat subscription can cut that price in half.
How much time do you spend cleaning your home? Now, how much time do you spend thinking about cleaning your home or, perhaps, feeling guilty about the grime on the top of your microwave? Hiring a cleaning professional to clean your place once or twice a month is a worthwhile investment.
First of all, you’re probably not that skilled at cleaning the grout in your shower, so why not outsource to somebody with specialized knowledge? Also, when you know that your place is in for a thorough cleaning, you can stop worrying about the dust on your bookshelves and enjoy the moment instead.
4. Yard work and landscaping
I know a handful of people who get joy from tending their gardens and maintaining their yard—they are usually eager to tell me about their most recent blooms and overflowing crop of arugula. Are you one of these people? If not, it might make sense to hand your yard work over to a professional.
A weekly visit from a gardener will save you about two hours a week of yard work, and their expertise could leave your yard looking even better. With weeding and trimming out of your mind, you can enjoy your outdoor space rather than seeing it as a chore.
5. Furniture and other assembly
Maybe you grew up crushing lego kits in record time, but if you’re like me, and you break out in a cold sweat every time you see instructions written in 17 different languages, you need to hire a professional.
Fortunately, Amazon, IKEA, and others give customers the option to purchase assembly right in the checkout. Alternatively, you can hire a tasker via Taskrabbit to complete the task. Spend the time you saved doing something fun or just enjoying your magnificent new nightstand.
Pick you favorite (or rather, your least favorite) chores from the list above and outsource. Give yourself more time for the things you actually want to do!
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Years later, James and I met each other during undergrad at Dartmouth College.
After graduating from business school and working for a couple of years, we reconnected and played around with a couple of business ideas. Ultimately we decided that we wanted to help people get back the time and energy they spend taking care of their clothes. Hence, Rinse was born during a meeting at Caffe Union in San Francisco (it was actually called RinseNow at that time).
We did it - we got our first customer! James and I decided to go for a run before getting ready to collect our first order. While we on our run, we got a message from our first customer letting us know they actually needed us to stop by now. We stopped mid-run and went straight to their apartment to collect their clothes.
Speaking of our first customer, here is she is: Ilana Stern. She’s still with us today!
As our customer list grew and my apartment began to overflow with bags of laundry and dry cleaning, we realized we needed to get an office, and decided on 2525 Van Ness. Not too long after, we outgrew this place. It was good problem to have.
As our customers list grew, our team had to keep up. We started off with just a couple of people on the team. This is our team today.
With the early success we saw in our first locale, San Francisco, we knew we wanted to take Rinse to cities across the nation. We’re now live in 5 cities, with more on the horizon.
(picture of US map)
There’s so much more to come and we can’t wait to share with you. Stay tuned for the rest of Rinse’s story!
It seems like there are never enough hours in the day (because, frankly, there are not). That's why it's important to take advantage of the crazy age we live in with a subscription for everything, and select the ones that actually make a difference.
As far as we know, no one ever looked back on their life and wished they spent more time folding laundry or walking up and down the isles of the grocery store. Life is was you make of it, and it takes discipline and planning to make room for the things that are important - spending time with loved ones, pursuing a passion that feeds your soul, and making a difference in this world for others.
That might seem like an overly heartfelt intro to a blog post about timesaving subscriptions, but when it comes down to it -- that's what these are. They are a means to give you time back in your day so you can spend it on what matters!
1. Amazon Prime
First things first, Amazon Prime. If you don't already have it. Get it. If you do, you can skip ahead or read on to learn what a great decision maker you are :)
For $12.99 per month, you can have literally anything delivered to your home within two days, for free. Depending on the item and your zip code, sometimes you have it delivered within a matter of hours via PrimePantry and PrimeNow. If you estimate about two deliveries per month, that comes to a value of about $300 per year. For $12.99 per month or $119 when you pay annually, that is a great deal, before you even consider the included streaming service, free monthly kindle download, free unlimited photo storage, free music streaming and member only perks like access to Prime Day and discounts on things like diapers.
That’s the flat dollar value of Amazon Prime. The real reason we’ve included it on this list is because it will save you a lot of legwork taking care of errands and shopping. That time you spend getting to and from, and searching through Bestbuy for the right cable adaptor or the drugstore for a refill on the vitamins you like, is time you now have back in your day.
The Department of Labor’s most recent American Time Use Survey shows that people still spend over two and a half hours per week, on average shopping, for items they need. 3 hours is the same amount of time that the Department of Health and Human Services recommends an individual exercise per week. Yes, wandering around a Target does increase your step count, but the time you’ll have for dedicated exercise will help even more.
2. Stitch Fix/Trunk Club
Unless you love to shop for clothes -- in fairness, a number of us do-- maintaining your wardrobe can be a true chore. Fashions change, clothes wear out, and let's be honest, body shapes fluctuate. Looking presentable and polished is a requirement of daily life, professionally and otherwise.
For keeping your wardrobe fresh, home delivery personal styling services like StitchFix and TrunkClub are lifesavers. You fill out a questionnaire about your style,clothing requirements, and size information, and a professional stylist puts together a box of clothes for you each month -- so easy! (You can often adjust the timing of how often you receive a box, if needed).
The cost of service is deducted from any purchase you make from the items sent, so if you’re finding items that you like, then the service is free. For the items that you don’t love, you just send them back.
Bonus tip - For special occasions, we recommend Rent the Runway (Sorry men—currently they only provide clothes for women). You can quickly search through hundreds for dresses for the perfect outfit. Search by occasion, color, fit, and body shape and read reviews with pictures from women with your similar body type, height and weight so you get a really clear idea of how the dress will look. You “rent” the dress, meaning they send it to you for the special occasion and then you send it back when you’re done with it. No need to worry about dry cleaning or dropping a couple hundred dollars on an outfit you’ll wear once. In terms of time and financial value, Rent The Runway is a great option.
You may be thinking -- I’m a grown adult and I’m not completely fashion-blind. I can go to the store and figure this out.
No doubt! But aside from the time you spend tracking down items you like in a size that fits, you’re also spending energy and making choices. Decision fatigue is a psychological concept that explains that we have a finite amount of metal energy to devote to making decisions within a given amount of time, and as we spend that mental energy, the quality of our decision making deteriorates. It’s the reason it’s so hard to decide where to eat after a long day at work, or why criminals get harsher sentences later in the day. It’s also the reason you shouldn’t spend your time trying to figure out what to wear, if it’s not something you enjoy.
3. Rinse Repeat
Rinse is a dry cleaning and laundry delivery service that picks up, cleans, and hand delivers your clothes to your door, 7 days a week. They offer dry cleaning, wash & fold, hang dry, leather cleaning, repair services, and even donation pickup, but the service that is the best value for time and money is Rinse Repeat -- an all inclusive laundry service.
The average American household spends up to 3 hours per week dealing with laundry - Sorting, washing, folding and putting away. With Rinse Repeat, you just put your clothes in your Rinse Repeat bag, which holds 40lbs or about 4 loads of laundry, and they come and pick it up once a week. They return everything clean and neatly folded 3 days later. They do have a next-day rush option for an additional $5 fee.
The Rinse Repeat bag is what sets this service apart from others and makes it an incredible value when considering the time and money you save. You may have used Wash & Fold (sometimes called Fluff & Fold) services in the past, and know that the service can be extremely expensive. With Rinse Repeat, you just pay a flat fee each month for the bag and Rinse will wash all of the clothes that you can fit into it, rather than charging by weight as most services do. When compared to their a-la-cart Wash & Fold service (which is comparable in price to similar services), you can save up to 44% on laundry with Rinse Repeat!
You just choose your schedule -- weekly or every other week -- and the day of the week you’d like them to pick up your clothes and they are there. Rinse Repeat is a true time saver! The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week to stay healthy and feeling good. With 3 hours back in your week, you’re 80% there!
4. Exercise Subscriptions
The classic gym membership is, of course, a subscription. You may be thinking -- how will that save me time? Well, technically it won’t, but according to every doctor that ever lived, exercise extends life span and quality of life, so it’s making the list!
We did the research and depending on what your interests and your favorite way to break a sweat, there is an exercise option for you.
If you prefer to work out at home, then we highly recommend a workout streaming subscription. Usually classes are prerecorded, but if you sign up for a service like Daily Burn, you can join live classes as well. Membership is usually between $10 and $30 per month, which is about what you would pay for a drop-in yoga class.
Insider tip -- If you’re not sure if you’ll like exercising at home, both Amazon and Netflix have limited workout content for yoga and cardio. Their selection is limited, but it’s a great way to get your feet wet if you are hesitant to dive into a full exercise subscription membership.
Another option for an in-home workout is an equipment-focused membership like Peloton for cycling or running (NordicTrack also offers similar equipment connected to classes and accessible through membership), or the Concept 2 for rowing.
If you’re someone that needs to get outdoors, the classic choice is Strava, an app for runners and cyclists. Strava tracks your exercise and helps you analyze your progress, connects you to a community, and gives you trails and challenges to complete!
We like Strava and apps like it because when exercise is tracked, you do more of it. Studies have shown that just by giving someone a pedometer they walked 27% further than without it.
Give yourself a way to access and track your favorite form of exercise and you will exercise more, and in turn, feel better. That’s an investment well worth the time and money.
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Clothing care has evolved over time as trends and technology change how we clean, preserve, and protect our garments. Mothballs have a storied past as a form of insecticide created to keep cloth-eating moths from damaging garments being stored away in drawers at home.
What Are Mothballs?
If you’ve ever unfolded a sweater at the beginning of fall to find it riddled with holes from hungry moth larvae, it’s not a stretch to understand why mothballs exist.
Moths and carpet beetles love anything made of natural fibers, (think: your favorite wool sweater) because it’s a place to lay their larvae and guarantee their offspring have a hearty first meal. (They also are big fans of pet dander and hair, which is why it’s important to clean your clothes thoroughly before storing them.)
Since it’s near impossible to find and remove larvae from clothes, the most efficient and effective way to make sure your clothes are still in one piece when you unpack them is to add a few mothballs among your garments that are being stored for a month or more. The mothballs emit a poisonous vapor that kills any larvae that may have hitched a ride on your clothing, thereby eliminating the possibility of chewed fabric.
Poison, you say? Sounds risky.
Well, yes -- if you’re a moth. There is a right way and a safe way to use mothballs, so read on!
How to properly use moth balls:
1. For clothes that you do not plan to wear for a month or more, place them in a closed container like a plastic storage bin or plastic laundry bag (as close to airtight as possible). Doing this keeps the vapors from the mothballs concentrated on the intended items to eradicate insect larva.
- There is no need to use mothballs for synthetic items since insects prefer natural fibers.
2. Wear rubber gloves when handling mothballs (you’re a lot bigger than insect larva but poison is poison). Read the package to determine how many of this particular brand of mothball you should use, and place the specified amount among your clothes.
3. When you’re ready to wear your stored items again, unpack your clothes in a well-ventilated area. Air your clothes out for a couple days and then wash them according to the care label.
A Short History Of Mothballs
In the early 1800’s, certain chemists began to experiment with purified coal tar and the odiferous properties that characterized this white, waxy, solid substance. By 1821, a chemist named John Kidd standardized production of this chemical, which we know as naphthalene today. Soon after, the famous scientist Michael Faraday, Godfather of modern electromagnetic theory, identified the molecular formula of naphthalene, which further established its notoriety in the scientific community.
Experimentation with naphthalene continued over the next several decades, and another substance was eventually developed after it was discovered that burning naphthalene generated significantly large flames. It was through this experimentation that a second active ingredient in mothballs came to be known: paradichlorobenzene. This new substance generated a similar vapor as naphthalene, making it an effective pesticide when used in the correct conditions.
Together, these two chemicals represent the active ingredients in mothballs as we know them today, thanks to years of experimentation in the 19th century by several dedicated scientists.
Fast forward to modern times and the reliance on mothballs as a key element of clothing care and preservation has begun to fade, thanks to the proliferation of three luxuries that are easily taken for granted:
- Central heat and air conditioning
- Synthetic garment materials
- Home pest control
Thanks to central heat and air conditioning, home windows and doors can remain closed, which reduces the likelihood that moths and their cloth-eating larvae will find their way into your closet. But before HVAC systems were common, most households looked to natural air flow to regulate temperature inside, which brought with it the increased chance that pests would enjoy valuable clothing for lunch.
In addition, as the rise of synthetic materials like nylon, polyethylene, and polyester eclipse the presence of natural fibers like cotton, wool, and silk in the closet, moths are less likely to seek out clothes as a food source. Fortunately for us, moths and their larvae do not eat synthetic materials.
Finally, other methods of home pest control have outpaced the effectiveness of mothballs, which means that moths and other pests are eliminated before they even make it to the places where you store your clothing.
The phasing out of mothballs’ prominence as the last line of defense in your wardrobe may represent the final chapter in the interesting story of this smelly and sublimating substance. As we look back over the history of mothballs, one thing is clear: clothing care matters, and scientists will continue to innovate new ways to preserve and protect our garments.