Simplicity Inspiration

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I always love examples of how people are thinking outside the box—especially when it comes to finding creative ways to live simply and intentionally. These ladies are absolutely doing that! Prepare to be inspired.

Zero Waste Home: I started adopting some of the zero waste methods that Bea Johnson talks about in her blog and book a few months ago. Her family of four only produce one mason jar of trash per year using the five R’s (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot)! We haven’t reduced our trash to a mason jar, but have way less trash and recycling overall. I’ve found that some groceries are more expensive without packaging so we’re learning to ease into a less wasteful lifestyle. Over time, I plan to try more sustainable alternatives like using a metal safety razor, beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap, bamboo toothbrushes, and more!

Trash is for Tossers: Lauren Singer is also a super inspiring zero-waster! She recently started a package free store in New York City. I love that she’s working to make zero-waste living more possible.

Seasons + Salt: I am continually impressed with how she crafts her wardrobe with so much intent and simplicity and I especially appreciate her list of ethical retailers and designers! It’s always helpful to see how she’s thinking outside the box.

Slow Your Home: I’ve been enjoying this podcast by Brooke McAlary about living a slower, simple life as a family of four. Brooke and her husband share their experiences in a fun, lighthearted way!

Simple House & Home: I love how this blogger writes about her family’s simple lifestyle—especially this post about what their home looks like with kids, and this one!

Amira Made: I stumbled across her blog through Instagram a while back and have really enjoyed her thoughts on simplicity, adventure, and curating her tiny apartment in Turkey. I love her beautiful, simple kitchen! Gotta say, owning less and using a white/neutral color palette goes a long way in making any space seem airy and peaceful—her photos definitely prove it!

Simply, Becky

A Simple and Effective All-Purpose Cleaner

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One of my favorite things about minimalism is not having a million household cleaners. Not only do conventional cleaners require a ton of space and cost a lot, but most of them include toxic ingredients. I used to have a cabinet packed full of cleaning supplies, but now I love the convenience of only have a couple simple, effective cleaners.

I started looking for low-tox alternatives to my personal care and cleaning products after being diagnosed with some health issues that could be impacted by endocrine system disrupting ingredients. I did some research using EWG’s Skin Deep database and just about lost it when I discovered that my mascara includes my daily dose of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde—on my eyes every day! Yikes.

Interestingly, arranging the Skin Deep search results by toxicity level for something generic, like deodorant or shampoo, reveals that the most toxic products are the ones that line our grocery store shelves. Thought provoking, eh?

Needless to say, I’ve been hunting for less-toxic, diy alternatives to just about all of my personal care and cleaning products.

I’ll follow up later with posts about laundry and dishwasher detergent recipes which have been more of experiments, but for now here’s my favorite all-purpose cleaner that’s made with simple ingredients and works great!

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All-Purpose Cleaner

I’m really impressed with Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, a condensed, plant-based, biodegradable cleaner. Just a quarter of a teaspoon dissolved in about 2 cups of water makes a fantastic, grease-cutting all-purpose spray. A little goes a LONG way, making it really cost-effective. It works great on grease, glass, counters, and even stainless steel appliances. It smells awesome too (spruce oil), unlike other homemade cleaners that use vinegar—not a fan of smelling like a pickle. I just refill my glass spray bottle every few weeks and only use old t-shirt rags to reduce paper waste.

I typically purchase it in small batches from the bulk section of our local co-op, but it can also be purchased here.

The concentrate can also be used as laundry detergent and floor cleaner, but I haven’t experimented with those yet. For now, I’m just thrilled to find a simple, all-purpose cleaner that actually works.

Would love to hear if anyone has found any other effective homemade, natural, all-purpose cleaners? I’m all ears!

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Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds purchased in my own jar from the bulk section in our local co-op. Apparently I need to stock up again soon!