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Everyone has those moments in their life that feel like a turning point. There are the big ones like graduating from school, landing your dream job, getting married and having children but there are also less dramatic changes that happen in life that totally change your life. For me, minimizing my belongings and paying more attention to what I buy in my daily life has totally transformed how I live my life. I’ve never felt better! Not only did I cut the crap physically, but I feel like a heavy weight has been lifted off mentally. I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.
It has been two years now since I made this change. Literally everything has gotten easier. Cleaning, moving, organizing… the list goes on and on. I used to be one of those people who would just get too anxious because there was so much to do that I would put off cleaning and organizing until it was really bad. Then I would swoop in and spend hours cleaning and organizing just to have a crazy house again within a few days. It was so horrible and anxiety inducing! Now that I’ve implemented changes in my life, I don’t have that anxiety when I’m inside of my house and cleaning is a breeze. Today I want to share 10 things that I’ve done to live a more peaceful life while being kind to mother nature too!
Reduce fragrance, dye and dust with Purina® Tidy Cats® Free & Clean™
Cat litter is one of those things. You know, those things that you aren’t so sure there is a better alternative to. It’s not the most pleasant thing to think about and when the cat litter smells… woo! I don’t even want to think about it. There are so many things to think about like dust, dyes, fragrance… sometimes the ingredients leave me scratching my head. For me, I turn to New TIDY CATS® Free & Clean™ Unscented Clumping Litter. I prefer an unscented litter personally so I’m really happy with how the activated charcoal locks in odor so we don’t smell that horrible ammonia smell. My fussy guy has been weird about his litter since he had a urinary tract obstruction last summer but thankfully he has no problems with this 99.9% dust free litter! Strong clumps make for a super easy clean up.
Make your own dish soap (+recipe)
Making my own dish soap has been an easy switch for me. It’s so easy and customizable to your preference. I love having control over what I am putting into it so I’m never worried about strange ingredients. I love that Target tells me which aisle an item is in, so when I do my shopping I’m in and out fast because I know where everything is! If I’m in a pinch I can just order online and have my items ready for me at the store. In and out, super easy.
1/2 cup Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, any scent
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup hot water
10 drops lavendar or tee tree oil
Combine all ingredients in an old dish soap bottle and mix. I love to reuse my old Dr. Bronner’s bottles for this!
Make your own laundry detergent (+recipe)
Just like dish soap, laundry detergent is SUPER easy to make on your own and saves you a ton in the long run! I love to customize the scent by using products that I already love. This 5 gallon recipe lasts my family forever.
hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 cup Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
wooden yard stick
5 gallon bucket
Grate the Fels-Naptha (you can also use your food processor) and add to a pan with four cups of water. Stir over medium-low heat until the soap has dissolved. Fill your 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot water. Add the melted soda, washing soda and borax. Stir the mixture well until all items have dissolved. Fill the remaining space in the bucket with hot water. Stir it once again, cover and leave overnight to thicken. Once the mixture has gelled, feel free to add essential oils for more fragrance. This recipe will give you 10 gallons. I usually put around 50 (yes 50) drops of essential oil for the whole batch. Stir well with your wooden yardstick before using. HE machines use 1/4 cup and top loading machines use 1/2 cup. Reuse an old detergent container for easy access.
Go through your clothing every other month to purge
I’m totally guilty of buying something just because it is on sale. When I did my first clean out of my closet, you could definitely tell! It was filled with stuff that still had the tags on or hadn’t been worn in quite awhile. It was so full that I found some mystery items that I did not even know were in there! So embarrassing… since my first clothing purge, I’ve tried to stick to a monthly purge of my closet just so I can assess what I have and be real with myself about if I’m ever going to wear something again. If that answer is no, it either goes into the donation bag or the sell bag. I focus on only buying high quality items that I’m sure are going to last me a long time and not go out of style quickly. That way, if I decide I no longer want it later on I can usually always get some money for it by selling to a thrift store that buys clothing.
Reducing plateware and silverware
Let’s get real. If you are anything like me, you don’t normally have huge groups of people over to your house for gatherings. If you do that’s great, but I would say the majority of people do not. Do we really need a bajillion plates, cups, silverware? We don’t! I certainly don’t. I’ve found that having excess plate and silverware just leads to me being lazy and letting the dishes stack up because there are always more clean ones that can be used. It’s just an invitation for a big mess. I cut everything down to four pieces per set for my household of two and I never stress about dirty dishes anymore. If we ever have a big gathering, I can borrow what I need from friends or family without the need to store so many items year round!
Using essential oils in place of fragrance packs
I used to be addicted to candles and plug-in fragrance packs. They use a lot of packaging that is often not recyclable or a pain to recycle. It can also be expensive to refill and have a lot of ingredients that I’m uncertain about. I’ve found it easier to switch to using an essential oil diffuser to provide that good smell in my home that I’m used to. Since it uses one diffuser, it cuts down on packaging and I know exactly what I’m inhaling. Essential oils are great alternatives to heavily fragranced items and depending on the oil can help boost mood or relax the body.
Buy secondhand (minus the chemicals!)
Buying secondhand has more perks than just saving some cash. Many items have a lot of use left in them, even if they have been previously used by someone else. You can save an item from going to the trash and benefit from less chemicals in your household as well. When things are created new, chemicals are used and come off of the item after being bought. Items that have been in use already have already gotten rid of a lot of the chemicals which means less chemicals in your home!
Use reusable bags for shopping
Reusable bags are so good for the environment and its devastating impact on the ocean. Cloth bags are a great option – and bonus they can be found very cheaply at most thrift stores! They are long-lasting and machine washable and can carry anything from your grocery shopping to your other purchases like clothing, pet food and housewares. Target also has a good selection of reusable bags for purchase. I always bring along my bags to Target when I go shopping to pick up anything I need.
My Target has a large grocery section as well as all of the goodies they are known for. I love to grab a treat for my cat Iskander from Purina® when I’m stocking up on more Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented litter! I love browsing through Target in general because they have everything I need from grocery products to pet items and items that help me organize my space. Their organizational items are not only very useful but stylish too! I can always count on Target to cater to current style trends so that my house is not only functional but looks good as well. And bonus, they have a Starbucks inside and their carts have cupholders! I bring my reusable cup and I’m a happy Autumn as I get all of my shopping done in one shot.
Organize areas so that it’s obvious where something goes
Every item in my house has a place. That’s right. This can be very overwhelming if you have too much stuff in your house so a thorough purge is necessary before you start working on this step. Once you have downsized to what is necessary and needed, you can start working on placement. This helps so much with losing things and makes cleaning a breeze because you don’t need to retrieve things from other places in your house and take them to where they belong. Make placement easy, such as putting your laundry basket in the place you usually take off your clothing.
Use bins to keep similar items together so they are easy to find. Bins can be pretty ugly, but I found several at Target that were still cute and not an eyesore. If you find yourself constantly losing something, make it your mission to make a place for it and put it there every time. Since you have gotten rid of your clutter, things are so easy to find.
Eliminate spaces that gather clutter
Do you have a space in your house that always seems to gather all the random items in your house? I totally do. It is so frustrating but a relatively easy fix. If items are gathering in this space, that means they do not have a space where they belong or haven’t been put where they belong. Stop yourself if you find yourself putting something in that space and think about where it goes. If you don’t have a space for it, make one! I used to constantly lose my keys until I put a peg on the refrigerator to hang them on as soon as I got in the door.
I also make sure to ask myself, is this item necessary? Is it something I’m putting off? I tend to dump the mail on a counter and it can pile up. I don’t always stop myself from doing so but every Sunday do a sweep and make sure to do everything that needs done, including any unfinished business that may have been left to pile up!
These small changes made a huge difference in my life. I breathe easy in my house and can truly say my space is somewhere I enjoy being. Life can be very stressful, so your home definitely shouldn’t be a place you dread going back to because of clutter and unfinished business. If you have a cat like me, consider trying out the new Tidy Cats Free & Clean litter at Target. The activated charcoal and TidyLock® protection in this really made a difference with odor control for my household. My nose is happy and I can enjoy all the great perks of living with my beautiful kitty Iskander while feeling secure that fragrance, dyes and dust aren’t being carried all over my home on his little paws!
Spring is the perfect time to make some of these changes! What are some ways that you reduce clutter in your home?
BONUS PIC: Cute Kitty 😉