Sometimes, less is more. Don't get me wrong, everyone has their comfort zone. Separate me from a washing machine for more than a day, and you have one unhappy Mama. I also know that slapping a happy face on your misfortune won't get you out of a hole, but I've found minimalist habits to be of help and benefit. Its great when you can save money, save time, be good to the environment for the next seven generations, and improve your life!
Go Shampoo Free:
Long ago, we had a shampoo collection. Bath time was a delight of swirling herbal scents. Ditching the chemicals still left an array of pure, organic options. Maybe it was travel that did it, because who wants to carry an extra bag of sloshing bottles that threaten to overflow at any stop. But I prefer to think I was on a quest for my dream hair.
I can only speak for myself, but my thick, wavy hair never responded to any treatment, no matter how much was promised on the bottle. Frizz, major frizz. No amount of dreaming or product trying could bring sleek, model hair. When I went shampoo free, my hair's natural beauty emerged. Good hair day were here to stay, bouncy, smooth hair that always looks acceptable. Even a rainy day can't produce any unruliness.
Shampoo free hair is easy. Some people get to the stage of using just pure water, and some go through an elaborate system of baking soda and vinegar. I chose nature's most perfect natural shampoo - a lemon. Natural hair doesn't need daily shampooings. Your hair will transition into being generally soft and clean, retaining its natural oil without feeling greasy. But hair picks up cooking smells, and will need some maintanence. I usually do a lemon rinse once a week.
For a lemon shampoo,simply cut one lemon in half and squeeze it through a strainer (unless you want some seeds and segments in your hair). Massage the juice into your hair and rinse off under running water. Lemon is a natural antiseptic cleaner. It cuts grease, leaving your hair squeaky clean, and it smells great, even if you don't get the last residues out. (ever left the shower wondering if the whole world smelled of vinegar?)
Keep your wardrobe small:
I love being able to wash, sun dry, fold and iron, all the clothes my family owns in one day. This is immensely useful when you travel, as everything you own can fit with ease into your luggage. But when you're settled down, how does it work, having a small wardrobe?
We each have enough clothes for two or three days. For mama, that translates into 4 shirts, 4 tank tops (its hot where I live), 3 shorts, 2 pants and two pairs of pajamas. Double this for kids - they go through clothes at twice the rate. Laundry gets done everday, rain or shine.
When you lighten your wardrobe, consider your colors. Some people like to keep their own personal color scheme. What ever you choose, make sure your shoes, belts, purses or other accessories fall under a similar style, or you'll be quickly adding to your collection, to match those black shoes with a black belt, etc.
Next, consider the quality of your clothes. If you're going for elegant, or don't like to shop often, choose more expensive items, looking for those which are rugged and durable. If you travel often and want to fit in with the locals, like to shop, or have to rely on bargain basement deals, know that your collection will only last a few months. With cheaper quality, and frequent washing, your wardrobe will be worn out before you tire of it. Some of us trendy chicks like this, because we have more of an excuse to go for the latest style... "Honey, my shirt's ripped, again! I gotta go shopping."
Cloth, cloth, cloth:
My children use cloth napkins for every meal. How fancy is that? In the kitchen, I keep dish towels, clothes to wipe up spills, and for general cleaning. I prefer white, because I do use bleach to know they're clean...One day my ecosense may switch to something better. We keep paper towels and toilet paper for really yucky spills and visitors. I buy a roll of every six months.
Toilet time at our house involves a nice big mug of water, and some soap. If that makes you squeamish, please know that a majority of the world's population lives quite nicely without expensive rolls of cut down trees to wipe with. In fact, many feel quite squeamish about toilet paper, because after you go, you're not as clean with a paper wipe, as with a good wash.
Feminine Talk:Guys listen up too, male or female, you should know the discomforts, health hazards and ecological reasons not to use bleached, chemical laden, paper products. Women, honor your basic rights to health and easy comfort. For that time of the month, use cloth and/or use a reusable feminine hygiene product such as the diva cup. I feel that feminine hygiene products are one of the greatest inventions of the modern world. If you've never heard of them before, please let me enlighten you.
With a feminine hygiene product (menstrual cup), there is no need to ever have a risk of toxic shock syndrome. There is no need to ever worry about leaks and spills, and wearing dark colors at that time of month. There's no need to have anyone else in the world be aware that you've got your period, even when they're in your private space. You can swim, exercise and shower your babies in complete comfort and style. Its comfortable and its easy.
I only have experience with the keeper and diva cups. I think they are excellent products, but there are also many other brands and styles on the market. Check out diva cups here: http://www.divacup.com/
Cloth pads are available in a multitude of styles. They can be easy and comfortable for transitioning away from paper products. A small collection of cloth washclothes, in varying thicknesses will be just as convenient. Your first month's investement will be barely more than a few packs of paper products, but will last you several years! And when you wash and line dry your washclothes, they'll look quite normal on your line, so you'll still retain your privacy and dignity.
Enjoy exploring your own minimalist tendencies. Reduce your spending naturally and joyfully. Be happy with your savings, and put your money to better uses!