A Paradigm

by Van from Alabama

A paradigm is something so entrenched in culture and upbringing that it is never questioned. Some of our cultural paradigms:

A bike seat must look like a saddle (recently a more comfy buns-hugger type seat was invented and the inventor is getting rich).

A kitchen must have built in stove, cabinets, etc. (recently Kitchens are being rethought, with moveable cabinets and counters and appliances).

Here are some paradigms that were re-examined at our house to the tune of cash savings and time savings:

You must fold clothes and store them in chest of drawers. We put shelves into our closets big enough for our laundry baskets. We just insert the basket into the shelf, empties go below for dirty clothes. Instead of chest of drawers, we bought computer desks and entertainment centers for our rooms, at garage sales of course.

You must wash your clothes in a washer each time they are worn. For work and school clothes, except in sweaty summer months, each of us spot washes our clothes in the underarms, crotch, or any dirty spots with a spray bottle of water and detergent, then we spray them with a water and laundry softener mixture to freshen, then we hang them up to air out. This saves time and detergent, and water.

You must iron. We get our clothes out the night before and spray the wrinkles out with water mixed with a tablespoon of fabric softener in a spray bottle, pull the wrinkles out and hang to dry. You can spot iron any really persistent wrinkles.

You must use paste to clean your teeth. We use a lotion made from baking soda (1 cup) and mint flavored Listerine (1 cup). We put it in a pretty lotion bottle to dispense it. You can also just mix dollar store toothpaste with a little water and dispense as a lotion, it lasts way longer and doesn't dry out all over the tube.

You must vacuum carpet. We sweep the carpeted floor, vacuuming only once a month. We started this when my husband was on night shift. But found it saves time and electricity.

You must have electric light bulbs in all rooms. We keep pj's and nightgowns in a basket in the downstairs bathroom. We use chimneyed candles to escort the kids to bed. We started this during hurricane Opal, but the kids liked it so well that we continued, and found it saved money. Plus, prayer by candlelight is so cool. The kids have a flashlight next to the pillow for bathroom or emergencies.

Look around your house, you can find a hundred paradigms to fool with, bet you'll save money, too.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to MyStory@stretcher.com

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