Life Hacks and Eco Tips

Around 2014 I started phasing out chemicals and plastics in my life. I also cut back on buying new fabric and focused on buying used as much as possible

How to start? Well the easiest way is to just make a conscious decision to do better when you need to replace anything. 1) Think about a better way acquire the new product, and 2) make sure that you make the best decision on disposing of the old one. I think I started with toothpaste. I went from tubes of Tom’s to making my own with coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint oil. Super easy switch. Those 3 ingredients can be bought in bulk and used in other products.

Pantry List

  • Baking soda -the giant bag
  • White vinegar – the large one
  • Apple cider vinegar – with the mother
  • Dr Bronners unscented soap
  • Sal suds
  • Essential oils (they aren’t for everyone, and people with pets should do research, but they work for me)
    • Tea Tree
    • Eucalyptus
    • Peppermint
    • Rosemary
    • Lemongrass
  • Coconut oil

Disposal resources
I highly suggest asking the internet where to get rid of things if you can’t find a way to reuse them. Zero Waste programs. Neighborhood share lists. Composting.

Stuff I love for my house

  • Kitchen
    • Coffee – I ditched filters a long time ago. I use the french press or reusable drip filter . I buy whole beans in bulk.
    • Tea – Stainless infuser for loose tea.
    • Wire CD rack for drying plastic bags – I found a rack like this one in a thrift store for under $5. It’s great for drying plastic bags after they have been washed for either reuse or proper disposal
    • Glass Jars – I try and buy glass packaged items instead of plastic. I also prefer them for food storage since they don’t stain. The salsa jars are a great size and I can stack 2 on a freezer shelf. I save the brown glass jars from yeast for salves.
    • Bottles – I usually save the glass bottles from tamari, syrup, and essential oils.
    • Cloth napkins
    • Foaming soap containers – One for dishes (diluted Sal Suds) and one for hands (diluted Dr Bronners)
    • Reusable containers for dry goods – I used to buy cashews at Costco, and saved all the containers.
    • Silicone baking mats – I am trying to cut back on foil and parchment paper use
  • General
    • Battery charger and rechargeable batteries – I bought a charger maybe 15 years ago. Most of the devices I own that use batteries have rechargeables in them. Check the manuals before swapping out all your batteries.
    • LED light fixtures and bulbs – I have 2 lights in my house that don’t have LEDs, when those go out, the bulbs will get switched (Check your lamps/wiring before proceeding. You may need to swap the light switches to LED friendly.)
  • Cleaning
    • Microfiber rags – no more sponges or paper towels
    • Mop with washable microfiber pads and refillable solution container. I love the Rubbermaid Reveal. I have wood and tile floors. I am currently using a very diluted concentration of water and Murphy’s oil soap and some essential oils (eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, and lemongrass)
    • Vinegar and water – Great general cleaner. Spot test on surfaces before using.
    • DIY cleaning wipes – I bought reusable cleaning wipes and cut them in half. I rolled them so they would fit in a clorox wipe container. I added water, a little sal suds, tea tree oil and eucalyptus. Some recipes call for vodka. I toss them in a mesh bag after using them and toss them in the laundry.
    • Label remover/goo gone – coconut oil. If you need an abrasive, use baking soda and coconut oil
  • Cold/allergy remedies
  • Personal care products
    • I ditched tampons and pads and replaced them with sea sponges and cloth pads.
    • DIY toothpaste – Baking Soda, Coconut oil, Peppermint oil (just make sure it’s food grade)
    • Wet brush – I don’t shampoo my hair. I give my hair a good brushing in the shower once a week-ish
    • Cotton rounds – I cut microfiber rags into squares
    • Deodorant – I use apple cider vinegar and essential oils. I have a jar with the mix and store my diy cotton rounds in there. The mix can also be used as toner.
    • Hempseed oil – for an all over moisturizer.
    • Coconut oil/Shea butter – excellent moisturizer for everything but my face
    • Flaxseed hair gel
    • Body wash – I have tweaked this recipe over time, but I have been using it for 4 years or so.
    • Silicone shower brush – I ditched the poof
    • Bidet Sprayer and microfiber rags
    • Bamboo toilet paper
  • Laundry
    • I make my own detergent and store it in the large handle bottles that white vinegar comes in. One batch fills 2 bottles.
    • Dryer balls – I converted my plastic dryer balls to wool by covering them with socks.
    • Linen spray – 1 part vinegar 3 parts water and essential oil. I use it on my sheets. I spray it on funky laundry between washes. Can be used as a wrinkle releaser.

Stuff I love for travel

  • Travel coffee mug – I have had 3 Contigo mugs for almost 10 years now. I love them because the don’t spill
  • Water bottle – depending on luggage space, I will either take a stainless steel bottle, or a my new favorite a folding water bottle
  • Coffee – Silicone pour over with cloth filters (I made 3 out of cotton and they can be rinsed between uses and tossed in the washer)
  • Tea – I went bagless so I travel with a stainless infuser. I store loose tea in old mint tins.
  • Silicone travel containers – In addition to storing toiletries, you can also use them for food. I have honey in one for my travel tea set. I dig these travel bottles for liquids, and these jars for lotions and toothpaste.
  • Lightweight folding shopping back – I have a few made of ripstop nylon that take up less space than the canvas ones I use at home.
  • Reusable straw, spork, and chopsticks. I wrap the set in a cloth napkin
  • Linen spray – 1 part vinegar 3 parts water and essential oil. I use it on my sheets. I spray it on funky laundry between washes. Can be used as a wrinkle releaser.