But as I am learning to be more intentional about what we have, I am also finding that I want to be more intentional about what I buy. I care about quality, and affordability, and usability, and all of that, and I'd rather have less things that really work, really well, than many things that I don't care much for. As I went through our cabinets, the things I got rid of (like the 37 random free restaurant cups in stacks upon stacks upon stacks) have helped me to identify why I wanted to keep what I kept. And I find that I am attracted to having one type of a thing. I think that that's partly because it frees up some mental space for me- these are our plates, these are our bottles, this is my dish soap, etc. Once invested in that particular item, my brain can sort of file that category off somewhere that I don't have to go anymore. I already know these things work, I already like (love) them, and now I have them- so no more browsing aimlessly through a Target aisle for this or for that. But also, having one type of thing, or only a particular brand, pleases me aesthetically. Not at the cost of quality, but still, important. Even when it comes to cleaning bottles. Call me shallow, I don't mind! For me, it makes a difference. In the end, we have less, we spend less, we consume less, without sacrificing quality, what's practical, or what we really love. I mean, that's the goal at least. Talk to me in six months, but HERE'S TO STAYING POSITIVE!
And I like the practical, so I compiled a leedle list of what we kept, and what I love, when I charged through our house like a bat out of hell with a hefty bag. This is sort of a hodge podge of costly, free, diy, practical, easy, etc. Some are affiliate links, some are not. Read on, if you daresies.
1. Klean Kanteens
My kids have two of these each. I tossed all other sippies or travel cups because these canteens can fit sippy lids, sports-style lids and stopper lids, that can all be bought separately. They are easy to clean and the bottles are indestructible. If I accidentally garbage-disposal one of the caps, I can order a replacement easily. If I accidentally garbage disposal one of the bottles, well, it doesn't matter. (It matters in one sense because these bottles are the exact width of our sink drain and are almost impossible to get out, but other than that...)
2. Lifefactory Bottles
These are tried and true and satisfy my all my crunchy hang-ups. The glass doesn't break and they come in cute rubber sleeves. We have four bottles for Clemmy but could do less if I got better at keeping track of them. I bought them here and there over time so the investment never felt too steep.
3. Shaklee Basic-H2
I was a vinegar + water girl for a long time. Until this. Shaklee is awesome. It works and is actually less expensive than just vinegar and water. I didn't find any savings by using the other products but the all purpose comes as a crazzzzy concentrate. You can purchase three separate spray bottles for making glass cleaner (2 drops of concentrate + water), all-purpose cleaner (1/4 tsp concentrate + water), and de-greaser (1 tsp concentrate + water). That is 1 1/4 and 2 drops TEASPOONS of this for 3 full bottles of various cleaning sprays! Amaze. The bottle of concentrate is $16 which at first sounds like AH NO WAY but it took me a year and a half to get through my first bottle, so....
4. DIY deodorant
Stop buying deodorant right this instant. This is seriously the best deodorant I've ever used. It's so basic you probably can make it
As long as I have people in my house that break things, I'm serving you water in a old, free pickle jar. Or maybe a pasta sauce jar. Don't hate me for it.
6. DIY laundry detergent
This works, I'm telling you. And it will make you a lot. I do about 2-5 loads of laundry a day and I think it lasts me something like 5 months. It is easy:
1 box of Borax, 1 box of Washing Soda , 3 bars of Castile Soap, grated, 1 box of Baking Soda, *and my magic ingredient* 1 tub of OxiClean. Go forth and make. (I store the excess in a *trash bag until I need a refill)(*classy)
I already talked about this, didn't I? Well now I've had these for a few months and I still super love them. I love that they are not breakable, I love that you can buy tumblers and mugs, and I love that you can dress them up for a nicer occasion in keeping with the farmer-chic style.
(Why does my wrist look so orange?)
8. Method Dishwasher Tabs
Considerably less than Mrs Meyers and they smell just as good (which is the only reason we all buy Mrs Meyers, right?) Good for the environs and all. And they work. (Psst these are cheaper at Target)
9. Method Shower Spray
I only deep clean my bath when I break down and hire someone to deep clean it. This works great for daily use and the bottle also says this...
Which I appreciate.
10. Seventh Gen dish soap
Again, smells good, works good, no ruining the planet guilt. But don't buy from Amazon (although you're welllllcome to shop through my link), buy through Vitacost where they usually sell it for around $3. When they do, I usually buy 6 bottles so I don't have to think about it for a while. It's all about mental freedom, ya'll.
11. Anchor Hocking Food (leftovers) Storage Set
Can't quite call it Tupperware so hence the awkward title. Gone are the days of flimsy, half-melted tupperware (Gladware? I dunno) and lids-o-plenty. I have two of these sets. They wash great and they are awesome (and they don't leach cancer into your spaghetti leftovers, so, bonus!)
So, with that I've got my dish/drink/kidware and all my household cleaning needs met plus a bottle of white vinegar for when things stink and a bottle of bleach for when things need to be bleached. As I got rid of all the in-betweens I couldn't believe how many bottles of things we had. And how many random Dodger's plastic coffee cups with no tops we had, and very small, hard plastic straws, and sippy lids, and on and on...
Does this list have anything to do with decluttering and minimizing? YES. Know what you love and only have that. Sell the rest at a yard sale.
The only things I still finding myself buying at random or trying new brands of are wood floor cleaner (Do you steam?? Mop? Talk to me...) and hand soap. I sort of bounce around too much in the toiletry department, too. I've been using Alba hair products and Burt's Bees for the kids and I'm pretty happy... but am I sold?? Let me know if you've got any magical secrets.
What do you need?
What do you love?
How much exists in the middle?