In October I had a sort through our laundry. Now let me preface this by saying that our laundry is a much neglected room. It is in dire need of a paint, and is our central storage area. So it is jam packed with all kinds of bits and pieces including canned and packet foods, spare toiletries, a freezer, our vacuum cleaner and all our cleaning supplies.
Anyhoo… one of the things I did was to go through the cleaning products we had. There were products that we have had sitting there since we arrived on the farm, but have never used. It got me thinking about how we can simplify the type and amount of products we use, not only when cleaning, but in other parts of our lives as well.
Here are some ideas:
– Pick products that suit all the members of your household – In the bathroom, we had already limited the amount of different products we use. We use one type of shampoo and conditioner for the whole family; one type of toothpaste, one type of shaving cream and razor (for CB and I anyway).
I’m not suggesting going without shampoo (though some people do), but having different shampoos for every family member takes up a lot of space in the bathroom, costs a lot more to buy, and takes more time to keep up.
– Choose products that can suit more than one task – The more jobs that one product can do, the less products you need. Just because a cleaner says it is for the kitchen, doesn’t mean that it can’t be used in the rest of the house. We use the same type of hand wash in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry. We bulk buy vinegar which we can use for both preserving and cleaning.
– Be intentional about how many products you purchase – Avoid the impulse purchases and consider how many products you actually use. Do you really need seven lipsticks? Seven different pasta shapes? I rarely wear makeup – it isn’t compatible with my job – so I own very little.
– Skip free samples – just because the product is free, doesn’t mean that it is useful, or that you need it. Several years back I got a free bottle of moisturising cream in a gift bag. When I sorted out the bathroom last year, it was still there. I had packed and moved house with it. Needless to say it got tossed, but it would have been easier if I just never taken it.
– Consider what products you can do without. We don’t use room deodorisers, or bug killers. We try to avoid to many aerosols and chemicals for health reasons, but it also means less products to buy. store, and manage.
– Be ruthless, and get rid of products you are keeping “just in case”. This rule applies to any decluttering task, but is always good to remember. I would much rather have to buy a product I need in three years time, rather than have one sit there “just in case”. Be realistic and ruthless!
Using fewer cleaners, beauty products and other household products just make sense. Less money spent. Less stuff to store and manage, and less waste.
What products do you do without? Do you have anything you couldn’t live with out? Share your tips!