Helping You Help Yourself #21

feature image via shutterstock

This past week as I was changing the batteries in the remote, I realized that I never feel confident about how to get rid of three things: lightbulbs, batteries, and prescription medication. So I looked up how! Here’s a guide to safely getting rid of different kinds of lightbulbs, here’s how to throw out your prescription medication, and here’s some good news: unless your batteries are rechargeable, you can probably just toss ’em.

Idk, I thought you might think this is neat.

Some tips from Lifehacker on organizing your kitchen.

I often found myself wishing that there was a feature on Amazon where it could alert me when an individual product was on sale or dropped to a certain price. Amazon doesn’t have that feature, but someone else does: CamelCamelCamel! You can see price histories for products on Amazon, set price alerts, and keep track of all the items you’re watching.

Here are two different lists of 22 ways to love yourself more (1, 2). Pick which one works better for you, or don’t pick and identify with both because binaries aren’t real! If you want to get extra meta, read them while listening to Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” which is a real thing I did by accident.

There are a lot of apps and services aimed at people who need to be get a piece of writing done without giving in to distraction. Here’s one more that I didn’t know about before this week! Writer’s Block lets you set either a time limit or a word goal, and you literally can’t do anything else on your computer until you reach it.

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I joined a new gym recently, and have been leaving my stuff in the locker room because I hadn’t gotten around to buying a lock yet and just feeling vague, low-grade anxiety about it for weeks. Finally, while grocery shopping, I thought “I bet they sell combination locks at this store,” and they did, and it was $3.99. Now that anxiety is totally gone because I finally took one minute to do something I had been putting off for weeks. What have you been meaning to get around to but not doing even though you know it would be simple and make your life better? Finally just putting the reusable bags in the car? Just deleting that email you know you’re not going to answer — or, heck, answering it? Texting your landlord and asking him to repair the broken mailbox? Take 1-3 minutes to just to do it today, and bask in the relief of it being done!

Here’s a list of “creative” ways to save money in 2016. Some are a little silly — how many of us aren’t already buying the cheaper store-brand alternatives? — but some are neat!

Some things not to do when stocking your freezer!

Allegedly if you wash your black clothes inside out, they’ll stay a true black longer. Can you attest to this, Stef or Crystal?

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. i like a faded black but i’m also lazy so i think i wash my clothes inside out by accident all the time. i guess i’ll have to buy two black shirts and do some laundry to test this hypothesis.

  2. Rachel i’m conflicted re: “creative ways to save money”, and more specifically #22: surely they don’t mean Gabby Rivera’s book, right ?

  3. That Lifehacker video is going to change my life because I have a kitchen that could be most positively described as “cozy.”

  4. “I finally took one minute to do something I had been putting off for weeks.”

    I needed a post about organizing and not procrastinating and getting things done today- thanks!

    Makes me feel hopeful for the moments when I don’t just want to take a half day and go home to cry and sleep –> my plans.

    I have sooo much I want/need to get done, but my emotions will just let me do SHIT NOTHING right now. So I’m clearly getting a ton done at work right before before my boss tells me to GO HOME.

    THIS inspires me because this is the type of blog post I WANT to be writing all the time when I get out of my current emotional haze. #goals

  5. Re. ways to save money:

    Libraries are really the best, and I couldn’t live without them. I would recommend that everyone downloads the free library app Overdrive for borrowing audiobooks and ebooks.

    For thrift stores, the BEST place to get shoes is from the goodwill with the bulk bins where you buy everything by weight. I’ve gotten my favorite shoes there for $2. Some of the shoes are barely even used.

    #23, why only boys hair?? I cut my own hair at home, thank you.

    • The Library is one of my favorite places! I was even excited to learn my new local (I just moved out of state) library has graphic novels/ comics to borrow. But I DID NOT KNOW about this app called overdrive. Thanks so much for this info!

    • #23! I try to trim my own hair and it ain’t easy! I’m sure I’m not the only one who could use some help here. The whole thing with 2 mirrors and getting it right on the back of my head is maddening!

  6. Related. Do you ever want to post a Facebook status that says “No one died, but please bring me a hotdish?”

  7. Well, I am shocked to learn that some people find the energy to right-side out their clothes before washing them. I bet these are the same people who have lids for all their tupperware. I’m torn between awe and fear of these people.

    • My main reason for turning the clothes right-side out: that’s where the cat hair is. I have no idea if this is true, but I feel like the machine will do a better job getting the cat hair off if my clothes are right-side out.

  8. Writer’s Block looks amazing and perfect but also seems like a perfect recipe for turning my laptop into a brick for a week with unrealistic word count goals.

    • Mainly I looked this up because I was like hooray that stack of batteries can go in the bin…and then I googled it because I was wondering why we have recycling points in electrical stores if we can just bin them, and I found the EU business. So yeah, I’ll keep my bucket o’ batteries until I next make a trip to the tip :)

  9. Thank you Rachel! I am going to complete the things I know I need to be, but have ignored in my Trello queue. And buy Gabby’s book :D

  10. Just as Hat said, several countries around the world have programs for the disposal and recycling of single-use batteries and, if my memory serves me right, in California it’s even illegal to throw this kind of batteries in the trash.

    The problem about throwing your batteries in the trash is the accumulation of hazardous materials that can happened when a bunch of people just do the same thing, and is totally related to the manner that your city or county use to manage garbage, the common manner being just to bury it.

    One of the biggest problems about recycling single-use batteries is the classic cost-effective problem, but we come a long way since the times it was impossible to do it. So, in the UK, the companies that produce this kind of thing are, for the most part, responsible for the disposal and recycling. This seems to be a good choice.

    This site has, at the bottom of the page, a recycling locator for several kinds of batteries. If that’s not possible, we just need to use rechargeable batteries.

    • would like to add that if your city / school doesn’t recycle batteries, it’s possible your jorb has an electronics / recycling thing they do.

  11. omg the writer’s block app. it’s better than me putting my phone in the other room and logging out of every social media because i don’t remember my passwords so it would take multiple steps to even log in and nobody wants to do that.

    • if your phone is an issue wrt distractions i can also recommend Forest, an iphone app that you can set to discourage you from using your phone for a set period of time! it doesn’t lock you out of your phone, you can do anything on it if you really need to, it just makes you feel real bad about it. i like it a lot!

  12. those waves! I truly just dragged both hands down my face and gaped at the screen for about five solid minutes.

  13. I, too, just discovered Writer’s Block and it’s probably the best thing since sliced bread for me.

    I can also attest to the washing black garments inside out keeps them blacker, longer.

    that lifehacker video was so soothing, too?? What a wonderful roundup.

  14. thanks for telling me to FINALLY dig up the one stamp I knew I had somewhere and actually send the envelope with the check in it to get my tags renewed. no longer on the run from johnny law!

  15. I love CamelCamelCamel! But it’s also kind of a dangerous enabler. I always feel a sudden need to buy a product whenever it drops by like $3.

    I’ll need to try Writer’s Block. I have Self Control, but it just limits certain custom set websites rather than the entire internet, and I always find new and creative ways to distract myself outside my usual social media outlets.

  16. I never thought I’d ever complain about having too many kitchen stuff. Is this what an adult problem looks like? Thanks for the tips!

  17. I love the wave simulator! Good to know about batteries. I can stop feeling guilty now. Thanks for including both 22 ways to love yourself articles. I prefer the first one myself, but can see where others would find the value in the second one.

  18. No lie I just watched the wave simulator for approximately ten second and now I am seasick.

    And I don’t get seasick on boats

    That is some dark magic right there

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