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Mothering is important business, and it usually comes with a side of housework that can make your head feel like it’s always spinning. I have tried so many different techniques to sort out the cleaning in my house, and read countless blog posts, books, courses and such to try to get a handle on it. So, in honor of all the research I have done on the subject, I am sharing my current cleaning plan for the overworked, overstressed mother who is just trying to feel less like a failure. Isn’t that a sales pitch? Here’s how it works:

  1. Analyze your cleaning list (even if that list is in your head) for the major things each week that have to happen to maintain your sanity. This will probably be pretty specific to the individual. Mine are clean bathrooms, vacuum carpets, sweep and mop wood floors, trash and laundry. Now, if it were a perfect world and I had endless time, I would probably do a lot more cleaning (not true, actually, as in a perfect world I would hire someone to clean for me) but this is what I need to do to keep things sane around here and to keep me from feeling super stressed.
  2. Analyze your cleaning list for the major things that need to be done each day. I have slowly trained myself (after much kicking and screaming) to make my bed, clean off the kitchen counters, wash all the dishes and pick up things as I walk around the house. These are my everyday things, and they keep my sanity to a normal level. I protested them at first because I thought it sounded too hard (I sound like a real whiner, don’t I?), but I’ve realized I’d rather do them throughout the day and not have to get up in the morning and start a whole pile of things I wished I had done the day before.
  3. Assign a day each week for your major weekly duties. Here’s how mine looks:

Monday: Clean bathrooms and gather all trash

            Tuesday: Sweep and mop wood floors and put trash out on curb

            Wednesday: Vacuum carpets

            Thursday: Laundry

            Friday: Pick a chore (dusting, deep cleaning a room, reorganizing or decluttering a room, etc.)

Now, the key to this is that if I miss a day, it’s ok! This week I did clean the bathrooms on Monday, and I swept on
Tuesday, but I vacuumed on Tuesday as well because I had an extra minute. Now, I don’t worry about too much
on Wednesday because I’m ahead of the game. Or, if I have a big day of work on Monday, I’ll try to fit the
bathrooms in later in the week—Friday is very helpful because it is a day to catch up as well.

  1. Start requiring yourself to do your daily duties every day. I hated it at first, but after a while it became habit and now it feels weird not to do it. I can’t believe the reduction in my stress level when I wake up to a clean-ish house, though! And every time I walk in my bedroom throughout the day, I see the bed is made and realize I have at least had one accomplishment today! We are aiming small, people!
  2. Remember that for your season of life right now, you may have to reduce your standard a little. My bathroom cleaning is not deep cleaning every time. I only clean the bathtub every other week (if that) and I vacuum the upstairs carpets every other week or so as well. The downstairs carpets need vacuuming at least once a week, so that’s what I focus on. If there is very little time, I will pick the piece of the cleaning task that really needs to be done and focus on just that. So, maybe it would be nice to mop the floor but if I at least sweep it, things will be better—so I do that. This is about your sanity and what you feel needs to be done. If the dusting is the thing that bothers you more than anything, make sure that is done every week. That is so not my issue, so I focus on bathrooms and floors. Figure out what works for you and what helps you to feel more relaxed in your home.
  3. Reevaluate as you go and make sure this isn’t adding to your stress. My loose cleaning schedule is something that I’ve realized helps me to be better prepared when people come over (of course, my close friends have just learned to deal with my house in whatever state they find it) and it leaves me feeling very productive even if things are not perfect. My standards have been lowered, but I can still keep my house somewhat clean without cleaning for hours at a time or stressing myself out constantly about it.

Hope this makes it easier to get through the cleaning and allows you to relax more in the place you call home!

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honest-review-essential-oils

Essential oils can be such an overwhelming and trendy predicament. You have to figure out what the heck they are, where to buy them (and everyone has a scary story about that) and how to use them. I don’t work for an essential oils company, so I feel I can talk about them without a bias. I do have affiliate links to them on Amazon, but I am not particular to one brand as you will soon find out. So here we go!

What Are Essential Oils?

They are a highly concentrated form of the oil from a plant that has many great uses for health, beauty and home.

Where Should I Buy Them?

Ok, you probably have four friends who are selling different brands, and they all get a little crazy about how their company is the best, purest, most amazing thing that ever was. I have used a lot of different brands, and there are some I can tell a difference with and some I think are about the same. So, really honest truth here, most oils seem to be pretty good and try to be diligent about purity. I started with Edens Gardens on Amazon. I don’t think they are the best as I haven’t seen the results I have had with others, but if you want to start slow they are cheaper.

I love Rocky Mountain Oils (most of which you can find on Amazon), Doterra (also on Amazon), Young Living and Plant Therapy. They all seem to be very high quality and work well. There are probably lots of other brands that do as well—these are just the ones I’ve tried.

The issue I have with a lot of essential oils companies is that they make you buy into the membership somehow to gain access to cheaper prices. Why can’t they just let you buy them, I ask? I did the Doterra thing for about a year and finally got sick of feeling like I had to buy stuff all the time. This is why I go back to Rocky Mountain Oils often (free shipping and no membership!) and buying on Amazon if I want Doterra.

How Do I Use Them?

You can diffuse them (check out this amazing deal on this cute diffuser here) in your bedroom, living room, office, kitchen, etc. You can put them on your feet or other body part depending on the use, and often you need some sort of dilution with another oil.

Remember these are super concentrated, so you don’t want to go overboard. Some people use them orally but I haven’t done that besides the one time I threw back a drop of On Guard from Doterra and felt like my throat was on fire from inside—please don’t do that. Listen to what the bottle tells you about how much to use. Don’t go crazy here as a little is all you need—often just a drop or two.

I also make several beauty recipes with essential oils including miracle skin serum, body wash, shampoo and conditioning rinse.

Some Favorites of Mine

I know you didn’t ask, but I am always happy to offer my perspective on the best ones for the job. I love Deep Blue for muscle aches and headaches that start in your neck. I get the premade lotion because it’s just easier than mixing drops of the essential oil with something else. I use On Guard or Immune Strength for when I feel a cold descending on our house and am trying to get rid of it (usually by diffusing). I love Balance from RMO—it’s my perfume and it makes me so happy. On particularly stressful days you can watch me sniffing my wrists like an addict to find some stress reduction. I have used Ginger to alleviate motion sickness (mine is terrible if I’m not driving and I’m riding in a car up in the mountains) and just sniff the stuff the whole time I’m in the car so as not to…well, you know. I use Lemon in cleaning products that I make and it lends its lovely clean scent and helpful cleaning powers to them. Another favorite is Serenity which I use on the bottoms of my feet whenever I can’t sleep deeply (although my magnesium oil has made that less frequent). Rocky Mountain also has these great premixed kid rollerballs that you don’t have to think about when using on your kids. They aren’t on Amazon that I’ve found, but you can get them on their website directly. I love the Tummy Rub (I get the big bottle of this too for adult stomach issues) and Counting Sheep.

An Honest Review

So, no, essential oils will not solve every problem you have. And they may not even work on you like they did on your friend who loves them. But they are definitely worth a second look, in my opinion, as they can really have some great effects and provide you another way to really do some preventative care and take your health into your own hands. With the increased costs of healthcare these days, it’s worth checking into some of these little bottles to see if they might help deal with your issues before going to the doctor. (Of course, I am not a doctor and do not offer medical advice.) So, maybe hit up one of your friends who does this a lot and ask for a little sample. Or take the plunge and buy a bottle of your own. If you are going to start with something, I’d go with Lavender. That stuff is fantastic—relaxing (put some in your bath), soothing (for burns or cuts) and delightful. Give one a try and let me know what you think!

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top-christmas-gifts-natural-living-lover

Buying Christmas gifts can sometimes be hard. You want to get your friends and family something they will love, but discovering that perfect idea can be stressful. If you have someone in your life who desires to live more naturally while saving time and money, here are some suggestions to get you started!

Griddle

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One of my all-time favorite Christmas gifts (and most-used ones as well) is my griddle. I use it almost every day for making things like pancakes, grilled sandwiches, and French toast—I even used it for hot dogs the other day when we didn’t want to fire up the outside grill! It saves me so much time because I can fit four sandwiches at a time on it instead of doing only two in a pan, and then having to decide who is the most hungry and who will wait for the next round. I can cook up to 10 pancakes at a time, which is especially helpful when I do my freezer cooking session of pancakes to prep for busy morning breakfasts. I have seen some of these griddles costs over $100, but this one I’ve had for a couple of years now and it was only $30!

Natural Makeup

Easy Beauty Routine


I make a lot of things myself for my beauty and home routines, but I have not dabbled in makeup because of all the extra ingredients that it requires. My favorite natural makeup is from 100% Pure Cosmetics and Skincare, and this makeup could be a fantastic gift. It comes in beautiful packaging as well, so it makes you feel so fancy while using makeup that doesn’t have nasty stuff in it. And feeling fancy is always important! Try the mascara, foundation or eye liner for an intro.

Food Processor/Blender

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If you are going to make laundry detergent,  or Mexican veggie soup, a food processor or blender is really necessary. I have this food processor that I received as a wedding gift (so it’s almost 10 years old now!) and it has been amazing. I also throw onions in there when I need some for a recipe, and it dices them splendidly so I have a lot fewer tears as I chop them. If you have a garden, you can puree zucchini or tomatoes before freezing them for soups, tomato sauce, zucchini bread or just trying to deal with the constant onslaught of zucchini throughout the late summer. I have heard wonderful things about Vitamix blenders also, but haven’t made the dive into purchasing one because of the cost. Amazon does have a refurbished one (with a 1-year warranty) for $360 which seems like a great deal for a blender that usually costs over $500!

Immersion Blender

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Along the same lines, I have talked multiple times about my love for my immersion blender. It’s something that is pretty inexpensive and yet allows you to not have to move hot food to a food processor or blender to puree. I use mine for easy pureeing of spaghetti sauce (you can hide a lot more veggies from the kids in there when you puree them!), applesauce and soups.

Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker

 

If your loved one doesn’t have a slow cooker, please get them one for Christmas! I am a busy mom who only survives by using my crock pot for dinners on days that I will be working all day or when I know we need a quick dinner once we get home. The joy of walking in the house after a long day and smelling a delicious dinner ready and waiting is second to none.

Bread Machine

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How about a bread machine? I received one for Christmas a couple of years ago and it has made my life easier. I love homemade bread but I didn’t love trying to do it in my mixer (and you know I am not kneading that bread for fifteen minutes by hand!!) so the bread machine allows me to put all the ingredients in and walk away. I usually do the second rise and bake it separately to the bread machine, simply because I don’t like the hole in the middle of the loaf from blade, but you can let it do the whole thing for you and have fresh bread without doing any switching!

Stocking Stuffers

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Some of my favorite stocking stuffer ideas are things like storage bag holders (which if you are freezing a lot of things make your life so much easier!), an oil sprayer (have your own oil spray with no added chemicals and for much cheaper), and whisks. I use whisks for all dry ingredients before mixing with wet ingredients on a recipe. It is almost like sifting without the pain of sifting!

Canner

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If your person is really getting into some of the homesteading skills, a pressure canner can open up a world of possibility for them to try new things. It might be a good idea to include a canning book like The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving to help them get started.

Essential Oil Storage Box

 

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I love the essential oil box I got this year. I have a lot of essential oils as I have grown my collection, and I had them all in the same cardboard box for years. My box started disintegrating and it was hard to find what I was looking for. You can get little stickers for the top of the bottles to make finding the right oil easier, and the boxes are so pretty. They make them in all different sizes so you can find the perfect one for however much of an oil junkie your loved one is. This one pictured also is tall enough to handle rollerballs, which was the reason I chose it.

Essential Oils

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Essential oils themselves are also really helpful when you are getting started. Sometimes it’s hard to fit an oil in the budget, even when you know it will last for a long time. If you want to start making face serums, hand soaps, body wash or shampoo, it is so nice to have a little collection of essential oils to start. I would suggest lavender, peppermint, tea tree and frankincense (which is the most expensive one out of the bunch but also does amazing things for so many parts of the body). I love Rocky Mountain Oils for this as you don’t have to sign up for a membership to anything to buy them and they have free shipping. Another option is to look on Amazon as they have a lot of the Doterra oils if you prefer them.

Try one of these this Chrismas and see if your natural living lover doesn’t rejoice in a gift that makes their life easier the whole year through!

 

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decreasing-drying-costs-time

Laundry, as I’ve said before, is the definition of insanity. We do the same thing over and over and expect different results. If I could pay someone to do one thing for me in my house, it would be folding and putting laundry away. And cleaning bath tubs—I hate cleaning bath tubs.

Anyway, I have discovered that using your dryer for clothes is actually a huge drain on your utility bill. I’ve toyed with the idea of hanging my clothes to dry (there is something about the fresh scent they carry when hung outdoors) but they are also a bit crusty feeling and don’t have the softness I’ve grown accustomed to with putting clothes in the dryer. And also, it’s just much easier to chuck everything in the dryer than to hang them up individually. The other problem is that I live in Colorado—my clothes would freeze before they dried in the winter!

So, I have looked for way to cut down on the expense of using the dryer, as well as ways to cut out the harmful chemicals we often associate with dryer sheets. I make my own dryer sheets, which is literally a 3-minute task about once a month or so.

DIY Dryer sheets

But I also use these amazing dryer balls. They are felted balls you throw in your dryer (I use 3-4 at a time), and they cut drying time significantly by beating the tar (or water, in this case) out of your clothes. It’s the same concept as putting a shoe in the dryer with your pillow.

When I first started using them, I had a really old dryer that took FOREVER to dry anything. Even with that old beast, the dryer balls cut my drying time by at least 20 minutes. That’s 20 minutes less that I have to pay for every month multiplied by however many loads I dry each week. Incidentally, when we finally did have to invest in a new dryer about 6 months ago, the salesman asked me how many loads I did per week, and looked at me with complete shock when I told him probably one per day on average (please note, he was not the best salesman who ever lived). I had two little children in tow, but apparently, it was not something he could wrap his brain around. Appliance salespeople everywhere, please consider that moms do an incredible amount of laundry and use this to your advantage!!

Dryer balls

When I first tried the dryer balls a few years ago, I toyed with the idea of making them. I wasn’t sure what the result was supposed to be like, though, so bought them instead.  I’ve had them for years and they are still going strong (you can reuse them again and again). They are available at Amazon and Target now (I originally got them from an Etsy store), which makes it a little easier to obtain if you want to go that route. I wasn’t sure about the investment at first, but they have earned their place many times over in savings on my utility bills.

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oh-priorities

As the fall approaches and things get exceedingly busy again, I have been thinking through what allows those of us who consider natural living a big deal to continue to make it a priority. For each person, there are things that they consider to be preeminent. No matter how much time you think you have, you make time for the things that are the most important to you. I realize with my kids my priorities are sleep, nutritious food, avoiding harmful chemicals, and good time together (I don’t always get it right, but I know at the end of the day, these are the things I want to strive for). I hope that through these things we can avoid more illness, maintain good energy levels and succeed in all areas of our lives. I also notice behavior is better when I can maintain these, which keeps mama much happier!

Oh, Priorities!

Now, in making these the priorities, I have to make other things lower on the scale. I don’t want my kids playing four sports at a time, (and it’s ok if you do!) or doing so many activities that they don’t have time at home. Everyone has different values that they decide should be first in their kids’ (and their own) lives. Some people make the sacrifice to leave their kids with someone else during the day so they can provide the kind of life they want their kids to live. Every choice requires a sacrifice in some other area to make the choice possible. I have been watching the Olympics recently and realize what incredible sacrifice there has been in each of those athlete’s lives both by them and their families to make that dream a reality. The point is to know what your dream is so that you can make the right sacrifices to get there.

Oh, Priorities!

The people who follow my blog are primarily those who want to make natural living a priority because they like the results that play out in their family’s life from this decision. It isn’t always easy to choose to make something at home, to realize your calendar is too full and needs some breathing room, to say no to a quick fix in favor of a more time-consuming solution. But for me, this is important as I want my kids to have that space to learn creativity and imagination, to avoid illness as much as possible, to allow sleep and rest, and just to be together.

A friend recently wrote a post on Facebook about how they had chosen as a family to do things together, and how that wasn’t always the easy thing. We all choose to make certain things a priority, even when it’s hard. When you can discover what those priorities are, you are able to make decisions with more clarity and less guilt. I don’t have to feel guilty saying no to staying out late doing something every night because I choose sleep for my kids over lots of stuff to do. If you choose differently, that’s ok. You make your sacrifices for the things you desire in yourself and your kids.

What are priorities for you in this season of your life? What sacrifices need to be made in deciding according to your priorities?

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natural-cleaning-really-works

There are some affiliate links included in my blog posts. I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and really love. Please see “Affiliate Policy” on About Me page for more info about affiliate links.

In my quest to free my home of harmful chemicals and live a more natural life, one of my goals was to allow my kids to help me clean. Yes, I know that sounds like I want them to be my little slaves but that’s not what I mean! Whenever I would clean the bathroom or mop, they would want to “help” and I was very cautious in the past about letting them when it involved nasty cleaning products that I didn’t even want to breathe—much less have them breathe and touch!

I wanted something that I didn’t feel was hurting my body whenever I used it. The worst offenders for me were the oven cleaner and bleach products. Trying to hold your breath while you clean your shower with bleach or have all the windows open (in the middle of winter!!) to clean your oven with that nasty stuff is downright frustrating.

So, I tried many different natural cleaners, concocting one recipe after another in an attempt to really clean with something that wasn’t so bad for my family. It was difficult to find things that I felt worked well in this process. Finally, a friend introduced me to H2O at Home. I was very skeptical and really didn’t want to go when she invited me to hear more about these products. I bought a few things but didn’t feel like I was going to ever use them, and seriously doubted their effectiveness. My friend Jeannette who works at H2O says that it is a change in thinking to switch to natural products, and I would agree. I listened to her discuss the ingredients and how the standard in France is much higher than in the U.S. for “natural” products—they actually require the ingredients to be 95% nonchemical! You may have heard that in the U.S., the label “natural” is rather meaningless as there is no regulation on what can be called natural. A product can have a tiny squirt of lemon juice and be labeled this way while the rest of the product is harmful chemicals. Yuck!

VARIETYKIT_large

Anyway, the H2O products are actually natural and held to a much higher standard than what we purchase here in the States. The microfibers are outstanding quality, and they have videos on their website about the effectiveness of removing bacteria from your surfaces with them. I have been using the microfibers for my kitchen and bathroom for at least six months now, and I keep finding new things to clean! In the past, I would have to scrub for a long time to use the natural cleaners I had made and try to get things clean. These cloths can be used with just water (I know it sounds crazy but they have lots of science to back it up) or paired with the cleaning clay (natural cleaner for hard surfaces) or Netepur (natural cleaner for soft surfaces). They have cut my cleaning time in half and are more effective than most of the chemical versions I used in the past. My kitchen counters always had streaks when I cleaned them before,  and now they shine!

Netepur

One of my favorite tests of the H2O products was my oven. I use my oven a lot and don’t always do a good job of preventing spill-over. I couldn’t believe what the little scrubby sponge and the cleaning clay did, and I spent about 45 minutes cleaning my whole oven. I didn’t have to open all the windows in the house or wear a mask, and yet I was still able to effectively clean my whole oven. It looked like new!

Before on the right side, after 2 minutes of cleaning on the left side!
Before on the right side, after 2 minutes of cleaning on the left side!

You guys, I know I sound like an infomercial, but I seriously love this stuff. I was a little turned off at first by the price, but have realized that the microfibers are designed to last up to six years. The clay looks like I have barely used any at all, and I’ve been using it for all sorts of cleaning (weekly bathrooms, intense shower-cleaning, oven, etc) for six months. I think it will probably last me a couple of years at least. The Netepur has gotten stains out of carpet, clothes, and couch that I thought would never leave, and I still have some left after six months. I would definitely spend more on cleaning products, as well as spending more time and effort to get the job done.

Cleaning Clay

So, if you are interested at all, I would get the introductory pack of microfibers, the cleaning clay and the Netepur (which is what you use to clean your microfibers as well) and dive in to see if it will change your life. It is an investment (which is probably why they don’t call them microfiber rags—they call them chiffonnettes!) but it is so worth it and I’m convinced will give you a great return. Jeannette is a helpful resource in learning how to use these products, so please contact her with any questions you have prior to or after buying. I’m going to write another post about the face microfibers (they also have a whole line of body products) as they have totally shifted the way I clean my face—and have helped me significantly reduce adult acne! If you’d like to email me about my experience with these products, I’d love to hear from you! I know you’re going to love them!




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homemade-laundry-detergent

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I think we can put laundry and cleaning the house in this category, and it’s definitely how I feel as I attack the same things every day and week. However, I am thankful that I have a house to clean and clothes to wash! So, we will focus on that!

Laundry detergent is expensive and full of chemicals—bad for us and for our environment. Open a bottle of detergent and you can smell the nastiness of the over-the-top fragrance (always a sure sign that something is being covered up). I tackled making my own laundry soap only in the last couple of months as I had a stockpile of detergent (that claimed itself to be natural, but it definitely was anything but) and wanted to use it up first. It is SO easy! I have found this recipe over and over throughout the internet, and it appears it is an old one that has been handed down over the generations since we first started using washing machines. Also, it is safe for HE machines because it is low suds (I guess that is all that HE detergent really is) so can be used in any machine.

All you need is borax, washing soda and some bar soap. I have heard some argument about the safety of borax, but after doing some reading, I was ok with it. Make your own mind up about that, of course. I went with a Dr Bronner’s bar soap, but you can choose any bar soap you like. I like it because it uses essential oil fragrance instead of chemical fragrance like so many others. There are other natural options, though. I like both the orange and the peppermint fragrances—they are very fresh and make my laundry smell so good.

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You need one cup of borax, one cup of washing soda and one bar of soap. You can purchase all of these at the local grocery store most of the time, or if you’re like me, you can find them on Amazon. (There’s just something about shopping in my pajamas and having it delivered to my doorstep that excites me.)

The best method for combination I have found is to put it all in a food processor and chop it up until it is fairly fine. I chopped the bar soap into smaller pieces first, and then added it to the processor with the other two ingredients. Of course, you want to be careful not to breathe it in when you take the top off. No one wants lungs lined with laundry soap. I wash our clothes in cold water, so if you use warm or hot, you don’t need to cut it up to that degree, but I still find it to be the simplest way to chop it all up together.

I store it in a baby wipe container, but you can use whatever you have. Use 2 Tbsp for an average load of laundry. This laundry soap cleans our clothes quite well—and that’s saying something when you have young kids who get all manner of things on their clothes!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 c borax

1 c washing soda

1 bar soap (grated or cut up into pieces)

Put all ingredients in food processor and chop until fine enough for your usual washer temperature (coarser for hot water, finer for cold water). Use 2 Tbsp per load.

Also, check out these dryer balls that reduce your drying time and act as a natural fabric softener!




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I am always looking for ways to be able to create at home so I don’t have to go buy something. This saves money, but it also lends to a feeling of fulfillment as you are able to just whip something up when you realize you are out of a particular item. I will be honest—I don’t tackle a lot of really complicated projects because frankly, I just don’t have the time or the desire right now. I have small children, a full-time job, a blog to maintain and a house to clean. Oh yeah, and a husband to talk to occasionally. So, I try to keep it pretty simple. My parameters are usually something like the following: Is there a healthier alternative for my family? Is it less expensive to make it than buy it? Can I make it in half an hour or less? If the answer to all these questions is yes, I dive in. I also try to stick to ingredients that are not crazy weird ones. If I have to special order something from an island somewhere, it’s usually not in my budget, and also not a project I want to tackle. Maybe one day when I am retired and my kids have all flown the nest (ouch, don’t want to think about that yet) then I will have time to spend hours on a special project, but that is not my priority right now.

So, all that said, I needed an alternative to dryer sheets. They smell fake and like chemicals, and I couldn’t do that anymore. It’s funny how when you start to use real scents like those in essential oils, you can’t stand the fake stuff anymore. I opened up a bottle of something the other day just to check on how it smelled before I decided whether or not to throw it out and was blown away by the chemical smell. Ew. Anyway, I’ve also heard that the dryer sheets are not that great for you as they spin around with all the clothes you will put on your body and wear next to your skin the entire day long. The beautiful thing is that making dryer sheets is one of the simplest things in the whole world!

Now, some people are avid recipe followers. They look like they are doing a scientific experiment when they are cooking because they are so precise. I am not one of those people. If you read some of the how-to’s on this blog, you realize pretty quickly there are a lot of “squirts” of this and “dabs” of that. Just understand that it’s pretty hard to mess these up. Start with some reusable rags like these. You can find them in pretty much any grocery store if you’d rather go that direction, and I think they’d be cheaper there. I actually got mine at the dollar store. I cut mine into fourths because no one needs a dryer sheet the size of Texas.

Next, you need a jar or something that will seal a bit. I use an old olive jar that I washed in the dishwasher to get the olive smell out. And yes, we eat a lot of olives so it’s a pretty big jar. I love to recycle containers for use around my house. Although I don’t love the plastic ones so much as I always worry about the gunk in them leaching into something else. My mom always had about ten thousand plastic containers in her fridge and whatever was in them was never what it said on the outside. Of course there is meatloaf in the sour cream container and ranch dressing in the Cool Whip tub! But I digress. (I love you, Mom!)

A little white vinegar is next on the list—I probably use about a half a cup (although who’s measuring, right?) and pour that in a bowl. Next, I add a few drops of whatever essential oil I’d like my clothes to smell like. Please note that your clothes will NOT smell like vinegar. Sometimes I go with lemon and orange, while other times it’s just straight lavender. Whatever strikes my fancy really. I put about 10 drops in the vinegar. Now, swish that around a little.

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Put the cloths you cut up in the jar or container you chose and dump the vinegar/essential oil concoction on top. Then put the lid on and shake the thing a bit to get it all through the cloths. And that’s it! When I’m drying clothes, I throw in one of these dryer sheets and three or four dryer balls and it all turns out ok. If you experience a lot of static in your house, I find dumping a little white vinegar in the washing machine with your laundry soap helps as well. I also save all the little cloths that I pull out of the dry clothes and put them in an old wipes container (you could use any container, but again, this was the one I had) to save them for reuse. Then, when I get low on dryer sheets, I pull them out, put them back in the jar they came from, mix my vinegar and essential oils, and pour it on them again. I have been doing that for almost a year, so the little cloths definitely hold up. It is so fulfilling when you are getting low on dryer sheets to go make your own in two minutes flat rather than putting it on your shopping list for the next time you are at the store. See! You are like a pioneer woman on the prairie! With a dryer! Nothing can stop you now!

 

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There are some affiliate links included in my blog posts. I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and really love. Please see “Affiliate Policy” on About Me page for more info about affiliate links.

Several years ago, I started a journey to use more natural products in my life. I wanted to eliminate some of the harmful chemicals surrounding my family through our beauty and home products, but I really wanted to save money as well. When I added up how much of my grocery and household budget went to toiletries, I had to make a change. With much enthusiasm, I started researching natural product recipes online. And then researched some more, and some more and…. There are so many resources out there in internet-land, and it is incredibly difficult to wade through all of them to figure out which face wash isn’t going to make you look like an oil slick and which toothpaste isn’t going to make you spend thousands on tooth repair—not to mention the incredibly disapproving look on your dentist’s face when he says “You’ve decided to use WHAT on your teeth?!” I just can’t take that kind of rejection!

I want to help you save money and create your own products without having to spend hours and hours researching various methods and digging through recipes. Not many people have enough time for that, and the enthusiasm for natural products wanes quickly when you decide that you must spend hundreds at the outset just for supplies. When I started pursuing these crazy ideas, my goals were to make things that I liked and that cost much less than what I could buy, especially if I chose to go the organic natural beauty route that I found at most of my health food stores—that is enough sticker shock to send you reaching for the chemically-laden, cheap beauty products any day. So, here are my getting started suggestions:

  1. Don’t try to do everything at once. I decided that as I ran out of something, I would try to recreate a natural version of it. Setting a goal to change every product in your life will stress you out and leave you with no joy in the process at all. Start slowly, learning things along the way. Most of the recipes on this blog don’t take much time at all, so if something doesn’t work, you haven’t thrown hours and hours away. Just try again and tweak it for your personal tastes.
  2. Don’t expect the natural version to last as long. There are no preservatives, so it needs to be made in smaller amounts to avoid mold and other nasty critters you don’t want running around in your beauty products.
  3. Buy quality ingredients. Yes, you can absolutely find some of those on Amazon. I hate it when I buy something only to realize that I can’t use it because the quality is sub-par and I’ve just wasted my money. Some quality ingredients can be a bit pricey to start, but often you use so little of them, they last for quite a while when stored properly. My husband has been telling me for years that I need to invest in the better quality items so I don’t have to buy ten of them for the same price over a short span of time. Sometimes he’s right…
  4. Be willing to look a little weird as you experiment. Everyone’s body is different and often you must tweak recipes to get them just right for you. Don’t be afraid of that trial and error as the outcomes are often something you love and are proud of being able to make yourself. Also, be prepared to set things aside if you’ve tried them several times and give yourself a break. There is no prize for having gone totally natural in beauty products. I know—I’m competitive and I would have found it if there was. And frankly, the piece of the world that doesn’t care about this stuff will continue to look at you like you are crazy and wonder how incredibly “granola” you can get. In my mind, it is all worth it when I run out of something and just whip up a replacement with ingredients I have on hand and for less than 1/10th of the price of a store-bought item.
  5. Check out the rest of my blog for recipes and tips.  Making these products isn’t as hard as you might think, and it also saves you money, helps you to be environmentally conscious, keeps your family safer from the chemicals and contributes to your enjoyment of life!
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