Listen to Your Mother

May 02, 2019

Things my mom used to say—and things I may or may not say to my kids:

  • Please make your bed
  • No shoes on the couch
  • Your clothes don’t belong on the floor
  • This is why we can’t have nice things!


I always felt she was saying these things so that she wouldn’t have to clean up all the time. Certainly, that was a large reason for her admonishments but now I see she was really teaching us to take good care of what we have so it would last longer. Smart woman.


Preventing waste through mindful use and re-use saves resources and energy. Also known as source reduction, waste prevention methods help create less waste in the first place—before recycling. If that pair of pants was neatly put away right after use, they could see a few more wears before needing a wash. We know that each laundry cycle eats up large portions of energy and water resources and releases microplastics into the air. And, if that weren't enough reason to be aware of how often we wash our clothes, remember that each wash shortens the life of our garments (that lint in the dryer trap is just tiny pieces of your favorite t-shirt). 

Make Mom happy this year and finally listen to all her great advice. Put away your clothes, make your bed, and no shoes on the nice fabrics. In the end, you'll lower the frequency of washes. Except your underwear. You should always have clean underwear—she was also right about that. What if you were in an accident?

Happy Mother's Day to moms of all kinds!


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