* Before we get started, let me add a little disclaimer here to say that I do not think of myself as better than anyone, nor do I believe that I parent or make my home better than anyone—I am not here to compete! On the contrary, I wish only to share a simpler way of life. These are habits & practices that we have adopted and continue to grow in and ones that work for OUR FAMILY. I intend to shed some light on our daily life and provide useful information to those who seek and will appreciate it. Thank you!
If you follow along on Instagram, you may recall that a week ago I posted about this book I have been reading called Radical Homemakers. It has been a great read thus far – very informative and eye-opening. It has given me a lot of encouragement to continue learning more about the type of lifestyle that we already live and where we want our future to take us. I also mentioned on my IG post that I wanted to share some of our simple life tips with you. So, without further ado…
Five habits of our simple home life:
- Use natural and organic products
- Live with less stuff
- Make your own
- Reuse and recycle!
[In this post, I will only be discussing bullet number one due to the lengthy details.]
Use natural and organic products Although my husband and I have been together for almost six years, we didn’t adopt this habit too much until we were married and preparing for our baby to be born (which was two years ago). However, once we began living this type of lifestyle, we knew it was something that was very important — we needed to make sure we participated in it from that moment and into the future. But it happened in waves; to this day, we are still working to make our lifestyle 100% natural and organic. When we first began to implement this philosophy, our main priority was consuming organic food. We then shifted our focus to cleaning supplies. We are now just beginning to use more natural and organic clothing, as well as health and beauty products.
For baby: Guess how much money we have spent on diapers since our daughter was born 19 months ago? $0.00! Nothing!! Before our baby was born we decided that we were going to choose to use cloth diapers. Besides the initial cost of prefolds, diaper covers, a few other necessities, and laundry (which is not an expense for most people, but it is for us because we live in an apartment), choosing cloth diapers for your child costs absolutely nothing. Sure, sometimes you have to buy detergent (or better yet, make your own!), or maybe wipes (again, make your own cloth ones!), but the cost is significantly lower than those who choose to buy disposables (not to mention how much you are NOT throwing into a landfill). To also help reduce some costs, buy gently used diapers, covers, pail liners, and wetbags at a children’s store in your area that might sell these items.
For the home: It has been less than a year since I started making my own homemade cleaning supplies. It was something that I was interested in for a while, but just never took the time to change. Well, once I did I felt so much better! I was lucky enough to receive a cleaning “starter kit” for my birthday last year from my brother & sister-in-law, and ever since I have used the same recipes for my all-purpose, glass, and toilet bowl cleaners. The home truly feels healthier without the harmful chemicals around, and I can breathe easier knowing that if my daughter were to get a hold of them that she wouldn’t be in immediate danger. Also, because you are making the recipes yourself, you know which ingredients are going into the bottle. The cost is relatively inexpensive, especially if you buy in bulk. The recipes for my cleaning supplies (and a few other tips) can be found in a previous post, here. In addition to making your own cleaning products, use old rags for dusting or cleaning surface spots, use natural sponges, and use a washable mop head instead of a Swiffer pad which is just thrown away afterwards. These simple steps can make a huge difference.
For food: Make specific goals tailored to your needs. For instance, 95% of the time our daughter will eat food that is entirely organic; we ALWAYS buy organic apples, potatoes, and bananas because of the high volume of pesticide usage; if an item is not organic, the ingredients must be familiar and few; we make a lot of snack and meal items with our organic ingredients instead of buying canned, jarred, or frozen foods. When shopping for organic items, be sure to look for the USDA organic label and read the ingredients. Some labels, instead of the USDA seal, may have another country’s organic seal which might also be sufficient—but do your research! Lots of items today have “natural” written on them but the ingredients are not backed up by official certification. Shopping local is also a good practice; though just because something is local does not mean it is organic. Talk to your farmers about their growing methods and research local organic farms, whether it be for blueberry picking outings with the family or apple orchards for fall cider mills.
Furthermore, we store as many of our dry goods as possible into glass jars. Now this may be just an aesthetic thing, but I think the food looks and tastes better when it is stored in jars! Actually, we began collecting too many jars, so I had to stop for a while, but the good news is that I can always start again! 😉 We also use Pyrex bowls and Ball jars for refrigerator storage and we also use Ball jars for some items to be packed into lunches or taken out of the home. When our daughter was eating purees, I would often save jars which I now use for her snacks or applesauce. They are great for portion control! Some jars I have even put to use around the apartment for items other than food — storing cotton balls, cotton swabs, toothpicks, canola oil that we use for cooking, tea bags, and vinegar for the toilet bowl cleaner. Basically, if there is a packaging that I don’t like, a storage container that I need, or space that I need to save, I use a glass jar! [as seen below – only a small portion of our collection!] Also, the intent of using so much glass is to prevent using so much plastic. Speaking of plastic, we do still use plastic bags on occasion (for snacks or storage), but usually wash and reuse them a few times before throwing them out (unless they are really soiled). That being said, more often than not, we will choose to use a glass jar for storage before choosing a plastic bag.
Some of our favorite organic and/or natural brands and companies: Plum Organics, Beechnut Organics, Horizon Organics, Babyganics, Meijer Organics, Trader Joe’s organic line, Honest Co., Dr. Bronners, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, Tom’s of Maine, Seventh Generation
Please, always feel free to contact me directly for more information or any questions regarding this post. I am always happy to share and discuss in greater detail these elements and areas of our life about which I am so passionate. You can find my contact information on my contact page.