I’ve been experimenting with natural, non-toxic substitutes for my personal and home care for about the past six months. While I’ve been trying lots of different products and combinations, I think I could set up a kit to take care of my family, my home and myself for less than $100! Here’s what my kit would contain (prices are what I paid last time I bought them) and what I already use these products for:
Apple cider vinegar ($4/32 oz., store-brand):
- all-purpose cleaner (showers/tubs, glass, mirror)
- hair rinse
Dr. Bronner’s unscented castile soap ($17/32 oz.):
- all-purpose cleaner for just about everything if it is diluted enough, including dishes
- body wash and shampoo
- laundry detergent (not the best but it can do the job)
- toothpaste (OK, I don’t use it for this right now, but it would work)
Avocado oil ($14/16-oz.):
- shaving cream
Jojoba oil ($16/8 oz.):
- hair conditioner
Lavender essential oil ($12.50/.5 oz.):
- treatment for a host of skin conditions including rosacea and acne
- sleep aid
- amazing additive for moisturizing oil
- air freshener
Tea tree essential oil ($8.50/.5 oz):
- treatment for more skin conditions than I can list including acne
- antiviral and antibacterial for small wound care
- great for dandruff and athlete’s foot
Peppermint essential oil ($9/.5 oz):
- helps with stuffy noses and headaches
- air freshener (especially good for bathrooms!)
- mosquito repellant
Microfiber cleaning cloths ($6/3-pack):
- clean EVERYTHING with these – every brand I have ever used has worked well enough
The grand total: $87! Yep, that’s it. All I need to keep my family clean and my home shiny. With the leftover $13, I would buy some baking soda, which I already keep in my kitchen anyway, and I would hope to finally find a non-toxic SPF solution for my family (I’m thinking of making a cream using zinc).
I can guarantee that my family would complain a LOT if I actually did this to them! Yet, it would work wonderfully and we would all be a lot less toxic personally and for the sake of our environment.
What about you? Leave a comment: Could you take care of all of life’s essentials for under $100? Am I missing anything really important in my list?
I travel quite a bit for work. Recently, I realized I have a habit of using a lot of “disposable” cups while I travel. As a rule, I rarely use disposable cups at my desk and at home. I think the environmental impact of throwing away cups is ugly at best, and even using a paper cup that will be recycled means it still has to be manufactured in the first place. So, I decided to challenge myself on my most recent trip: could I possibly fly, drive and stay in hotels without using a single disposable cup? I am happy to report I succeeded! Plus, it was actually surprisingly painless. Here is what I learned:
- I carried a travel coffee mug to use as my all-purpose cup. I took one that was not very valuable, just in case I should lose it.
- My mug of choice had a handle which I could use to attach to my shoulder bag. I happen to have a bag with a removable strap, so I just unclipped it and slipped my (empty) mug on. I could just as easily have used a carabiner-type clip to attach my mug, though.
- I put my mug inside my bag in public restrooms. (Ick!)
- I washed my mug out using whatever soap was available. The only time I ran into a problem was in a restroom with no paper towels, so I just let the mug drip dry as I walked around.
- My mug did not fit under the spout of the coffee maker in my hotel room. So I brewed the coffee into a glass and poured it into my mug.
Will I do this again? You bet! I estimate I avoided using at least 10 disposable cups (next time I will try to remember to keep count). This was really simple and it is a habit I could get into.
For my next challenge, maybe I will try to avoid using paper towels at work. I guess I could take a dish towel in and hang it on the back of my office door to dry…
Late in December, I subscribed to an online yoga class service, for a reasonable monthly fee. I had used this service in the past and enjoyed a few of the classes immensely. Many of the classes were not to my liking; however, since I could pay for only the classes I liked, I thought it was a great deal. Then, the delivery format changed and my favorite classes were no longer available at the click of a button (nor available for download any longer). I thought I would give the new format a try and see if I could broaden my horizons a little bit at the same time, while I tried out new-to-me styles of yoga and streamed classes created by new teachers.
Alas, I did not like the new format. I could tell almost immediately that it was not going to be a good fit for me. Still, perhaps out of loyalty to the old format and teachers, I decided to continue using the service a while longer to see if I had been too quick to judge. For three months, I logged in to the service every couple of weeks to try another class. About two weeks ago, after suffering through another class that did not suit me, I had finally had enough. I cancelled my subscription.
I’m glad I gave the service a chance. While I could have cancelled my subscription earlier, I feel as if I thoroughly tested the format before I decided to hit that “unsubscribe” button. I’m not sure I would have unsubscribed from a free service, though, which leads me to wonder if I have any other digital clutter floating around in cyberspace. In fact, I am certain I have many accounts at a random assortment of sites and services. I am vowing to unsubscribe from them as I come across them – if they don’t have any value, it is time to let them go!
Leave a comment: Do you have any digital clutter? Does it bother you or concern you? How and when do you decide to let it go?
Since I pledged not to buy anything new this year unless it was absolutely essential, I have been keeping track of all of the stuff that made the cut here: https://livetobe100.wordpress.com/2014-purchases/. On the one hand, I look at the list and feel very proud that I have severely limited the amount of “stuff” coming into my life this year. In particular, the things that I have purchased are either replacement items or they are quality items that have added value to my home and life. But on the other hand (yes, there is always that “other” hand!), I still think I could buy so much less.
Through living with less and only purchasing items that are truly necessary, I am learning to set high standards for the stuff I choose to own. I feel like I am getting to a place where I choose my stuff, rather than my stuff choosing me. For example, I have pared down most of the ill-fitting or ill-suited clothes that used to cram my closet. These days, no matter what I wear or how quickly I get dressed, I am happy with my appearance. Gone are the pants with the saggy fanny, the shirts that gap at the chest, and the skirts that bind!
I have also noticed that I am spending much less time shopping. Which is fantastic because, honestly, I hate shopping. I have always hated shopping, which I used to feel guilty about admitting. I mean, what American woman does not like to shop, after all? Well, THIS one! I am learning to identify “needs” from “wants.” Even I used to hear the siren song of the sale rack of cute dresses at the mall and the lure of the “25% off” online sale. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to walk into my favorite big-box store and purchase only the 2 items that were on my list – no more losing track of time wandering the aisles gazing at all of the stuff I just don’t need! Likewise with the time I spend online (how refreshing to not waste time browsing online retailers and instead work on high-priority tasks on my list).
One more bonus in my “win” column: I am throwing away or donating my unwanted stuff like crazy! For each new item I bring into my life, I am getting rid of 3-4 things on average. Plus, it is getting much, much easier to get rid of the old stuff. I can’t believe I have been filling my life with so much junk all of these years. I guess it’s never too late to learn how to embrace simplicity.