Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What Actually Makes Life More Simple in My Home

There are so many blogs and books out there with recipes and formulas for homemade products to replace our former chemical laden products we use to buy at the store. Personally, I don't find making eight different cleaners ever so often and then reaching for each one when I need to clean something, all that simple. I would like to share what I have been doing that actually feels simple to me.

Bathroom Cleaning
When it's time to clean my bathrooms; which apart from the kitchen I feel needs cleaning the most, I whip up a cleaning solution that works great on the sinks, toilets and bathtubs.
For two bathrooms I combine a quarter cup of baking soda, a tablespoon of SalSuds or Liquid Castile Soap, and 5-10 drops of Grapefruit or otherwise a delightful essential oil and mix it with a wooden spoon. It will look crumbly, then I just add water from the tap and stir it until it forms a softscrub-like paste. After mixing up this cleaner, I go to each fixture and scoop out a bit and fling it in. I scrub the inside of the toilet and then spray the outside with disinfectant and let it sit while I scrub the sink and tub with a stiff brush and homemade scrubbing paste. Next I use a damp microfiber ecloth to wash the mirrors and a dry ecloth to buff. These astonishingly sparklingly clean mirrors with very little effort. To wash the floors I use a spray bottle of vinegar water and a microfiber mop. I do this while my husband is at work so the vinegar smell doesn't bother him by the time he gets home. I find the vinegar is great for also getting rid of any "male smell" that may have dripped on the floors.

Cleaning The Kitchen
This is even more simple because I wash my dishes by hand I can't spend extra time getting out special cleaners for every little thing. I don't have stainless appliances currently, but this method should work fine in any case.
First I wash dishes using a mild dish soap, and vinegar rinse water ( I use about a quarter to a half cup of white vinegar in my rinse water.) Once the dishes are washed, I use my soapy water and vinegar water and a dish cloth to wash my counters, appliances, cupboards and walls that may have been splashed, and the dining table. It works marvellously and I have a clear glass dining table that becomes streak-free when I use my vinegar rinse water to wash it.
Then I use my hard floor attachment and vacuum my kitchen floor, followed by a spray of vinegar water and microfiber mop. Vinegar water cleans my stainless sink too, so I never have had any trouble with stains. Just like that, I have a shining clean kitchen. Note:  If I have had a mess of egg or poultry to clean up, I use my disinfecting spray too.

Cleaning the Livingroom and Other Living Areas
I bought a microfiber duster I use to dust blinds and every other surface, and I have a vacuum with HEPA filtration. I use the same ecloths and technique to clean windows as I use to clean mirrors. I diffuse essential oils instead of using a room spray, I have a Salt Lamp running and an Aloe Vera plant to clean the air. Let's not forget to change the Central Air filter too, right?
If there is a spill I spray hydrogen peroxide on it and it has lifted everything I've tried it on. Vinegar and water also work fine on the fabric couch and just a damp cloth on our leather chair and laminate tables. I do need to figure out a leather conditioner though.

Cleaning Bedrooms
I use a diffuser here as well, dust, vacuum, air beds and then make them up, fluff pillows, and HP on spills.
You know, I don't really get a lot of stains though, because we generally don't eat much food coloring anymore. My son drinks mostly water and milk, so far as spills go, right now I just vacuum up a lot of crumbs.

Other Maintenance
Damp Microfiber cleans the outside of my washer and dryer, I use baking soda and then vinegar to clean the inside of my washer. Sweep the patio and eve's. I do make an all-purpose spray I use if my soft scrub doesn't extend enough to clean particularly grimy shower walls, or there is  some particularly stubborn wall coloring, but I rarely need it anymore.

My cleaning tools
Microfiber Duster (I bought the oxo, but this one looks like a better deal, plus I like orange better than oxo red and black 😉)
Microfiber Mop
Stiff Scrub Brush (I'm getting this one next)
Salt Lamp
Aloe Vera Plant
Vinegar Water Spray Bottle
(50/50 ratio)
Soft Scrub-like Mixture
- bowl and wooden spoon.
Dish Soap
Disinfectant Spray
Hydrogen Peroxide with sprayer nozzle

I use soap nuts in a small bag and essential oils to wash clothes, and I use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.

I make my own face wash, toner, and moisturizer. Lip balm is easy to make and I use very little so it lasts all year. For lotion, it works to just use jojoba oil and Shea butter straight, but it's easy enough to combine them and make a lotion with essential oils. I like African Black Soap for body wash, but I am excited to make some body wash using Liquid Castile Soap, I already use liquid Castile soap for foaming Hand Soap (a quarter cup of soap per cup of water). I use Trader Joe's Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner. My toddler uses just African Black Soap and Spry Toothpaste. I use a toothpowder or Redmond's toothpaste. I am using magnesium oil and essential oils for deodorant now, but I'm looking forward to making this one soon. (Update 2017: I've been using it several months now and it works great, so happy!)

I buy natural makeup, because I have tried making it and found it more time consuming to formulate my own personal colors and the right textures. Fortunately, there are many truly natural makeup companies these days. I do however make my own perfume - which consists of a roller bottle of essential oils.

Fast Food
Instead of trying to recreate a processed food, I try to find quick to prepare homemade food options, or learn tricks to make favorite recipes come together quick that help me not miss the alternative. (This is a work in progress.) It's really easy with some things and much harder with others.
I make big batches and freeze waffles and pancakes. I preform and freeze hamburger patties. I shred and freeze cheese, I can add this still frozen to recipes and sauces if needed. I make extra pizza and spaghetti sauces and freeze them in pint jars for quick dinners. I make plenty of beans and freeze them too for quick dinners and recipes. Rice only takes about 20 minutes to cook on the stove, biscuits take 20 minutes to bake, veggies take 20 minutes to roast in a 400 degree oven. Fish only takes about six minutes to cook in a pan, frozen burgers take about 10 minutes, gravy takes about 5-10 minutes to make. On the other hand chicken breasts take about 30 minutes to roast in a 400 degree oven, and need to rest ten minutes afterwards. So I like to roast and slice chicken breasts ahead of time and chill them and a homemade dressing for a quick salad or soup or both later. When I'm chopping vegetables, I always chop extra and store them in the fridge to make the next meal quicker.

So there you have it. Simple: uncomplicated and takes little time and resources- Doable. If you have some truely simple tips you find doable on a day-to-day-didn't-have-time-to-shower-mommy or workaholic basis I'd love to hear them. Here's to uncomplicating natural living! "Clink"- that was my cup of tisane and whatever you are having..

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