Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Steps towards a 'Simpler' Life

"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things." ~ Elise Boulding

My buzz word at the moment is 'SIMPLIFY.' As well as undertaking my Challenge of an Utmost Kind I'm making a huge effort to 'simplify' my life, to become more self-sufficient and to make do with less. It's strange that the term 'simplify' is often used because I feel like the efforts of cooking from scratch, making homemade gifts, clothes, cleaning products etc. etc. makes my life far from simple! It's so much simpler just to pop to the supermarket and buy the most convenient products available. However, I'm sure that once I get into good habits and routines it will become easier and at the end of the day it's a far more satisfying way to live.

I thought I'd do a series of posts on what I'm doing to simplify or become more self-sufficient, to save money and to have less impact on the environment.

First up is cleaning. Now, I must say that I have a bit of a casual approach to housework and while I enjoy cleaning I don't believe that it's necessary or a good use of time to have a perfectly clean and spotless house all of the time. I've always used a multitude of chemical products for cleaning my home but recently it's become apparent that none of these products are necessary. My cleaning cupboard now consists of the following items:

1. Bicarbonate of soda
2. Savon de Marseille
3. White wine vinegar
4. Olive oil (made from our own olives)
5. Essential oil
6. A hand-knitted cloth

I love the tips on the uses of bicarbonate of soda on the box.....

My mum knitted me this dish cloth to put in my 'bottom drawer' before I got married!

These products meet most of my cleaning needs, are cheap and have a lower impact on the environment than chemical products.

The only cleaning products I now buy are washing detergent and washing up liquid. I experimented with making my own washing powder but wasn't convinced by the results. I need to experiment a bit with some different recipes and also find the ingredients I need to make my own washing up liquid. In the mean time I buy eco-products, a pretty expensive alternative.

This weekend I'm helping with the olive harvest so fingers crossed the weather stays as warm and sunny as it has been the past few days.

Hope you have a good weekend x x


Katie @ The Southland Life said...

i'm interested in doing something like this as well - what are you going to use to clean your floors?

Leanne in Italy said...

I'd be very interested to read your posts on a simpler life. I have often looked on the internet for reciepes for making my own facial exfoliator etc...but have never made anything yet, since I still have stuff to finish off. Maybe you can write a post on how you clean with the products you mentioned? To wash the sink for example, or the floors, how much of what do you mix together? I use vinegar when washing the floor, but we mix it with dish washing liquid since my partner found that reciepe written on the internet!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post, it is a great idea to have - that of a simpler life.

Sara Louise said...

The powers of white wine vinegar never cease to amaze me xo

Louisa May said...

as well as being eco-friendly etc your selection of cleaning products is so aesthetically pleasing -even i might be persuaded to do some cleaning in this way!

What do u use olive oil for? You should do a little photo story showing before & after results dressed up in a 1950s glamourous housewife kind of way - get your pinnie on & hair tied up in a headscarf etc - would be hilarious!

LindyLouMac said...

It is interesting how people are returning to the old methods of cleaning, old fashioned ways often producing better results than modern chemicals it seems.
I also love the night sky shots your husband took in the last post.

Amanda said...

'Simplify' has been the word floating around in my head for a while now too although I don't know how much progress I'm made to date. I always feel better knowing I only have things I need or love in our home, rather than things cluttering up space. I'd love to cut back and simplify in others ways too as you have done with cleaning. I've started trying some non-toxic eco friendly products lately but really need to assess what is in our cleaning cupboard and what we really need. I will look forward to you sharing how you are doing with your simplifying to inspire me more in this area. We have a 'cleaning guru' here in Australia called Shannon Lush and she is a big advocate for simple cleaning products like vinegar, bi carb and essential oils.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

It's nice to hear that others are interested in using more simple cleaning products too.

Loulou - I love the picture and the idea for a post. Will see what I can do!

The Old Dairy said...

I to am tring to live a simplier life, your right though there is really nothing simple to it, but it is enjoyable and I have need to slow our lives down to be able to live simply...

Sarah said...

I buy eco-friendly cleaning products from loo cleaner to washing liquid and all-purpose no-bleach bleach, etc.

I read somewhere the effect household products chemicals are having on the water system and changed my habits immediately.

Olive oil is a bit pricey to use as a general cleaner though!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

It's quite shocking isn't it the damage these products are doing to our environment and our own health. I use just a little olive oil for polishing wood and a few other jobs. We make our own oil so its not expensive for us.