It all started long, long ago. I stopped cleaning with the store bought stuff, and started cleaning with mostly vinegar and baking soda. When Baylee came along, I stopped using scented detergent, most perfumes and tried to coupon and recycle. Couponing lasted about six weeks. Recycling involved collecting just aluminum and glass and hauling it to the recycling center. That lasted a little longer. I also tried cloth diapering….for 8 long months. And then life intervened and I got disenchanted with trying so hard to figure out which was better for the environment….and we moved six times, and….
Fast forward twenty years.
We moved to a town that has separate recycling bins. We still have to haul it there, but it is easier, somehow, and so we sort into buckets at home and haul our recycling when we take our trash. Couponing became a way for me to save our family money, especially on personal items-deodorant, tooth paste, shampoo…and help me continue to stay at home. I still cleaned with baking soda and vinegar. And in my stumbling around trying to do the right thing for my family, the environment and save money in the process, I started seeing lots of ideas on Pinterest for making my own laundry detergent, lip gloss and lotions. So I pinned and thought and pinned some more.
To me, several things have to happen before I try a pin. I have to be “in the mood”. I won’t try something just because it would be good for me-if that were true, I would eat a lot more vegetables and a lot less ice cream. It also has to be relevant to me and my family. And I have to compare different pins and ideas and read other peoples comments about the pin. I love blogs, because in addition to the blogger’s experience, you get the reader’s experience in many cases.
My first experiment involved saving a LOT of money on laundry detergent. It took me a while to get started because I had stocked up on detergent for around $3 a bottle, it involved a trip to the hardware store and to a big box store that I was not particularly interested in making the trip across town for. So….once I had my extra large paint bucket and a list of things I needed at the big box store, I started my laundry experiment. I was skeptical that I could buy everything for $20 (not counting the bucket), but I could! I used this recipe from Pinterest, and I have been so pleased! The first thing I noticed was that the “stinky towel syndrome” we had been having, was gone! That alone sealed the deal for me, but I was also impressed that in my family of 8 kids, two adults and various long term college friends here with laundry, my bucket of detergent lasted around SEVEN MONTHS!!!! I did add the oxy clean, and use the oxy clean container to keep a smaller amount on top of the washer. We use 1 TBSP for each load in our front loader. So, in addition to saving money, I saved myself the time and aggravation of clipping those coupons, trying to work the deal at the Pharmacy, and I had cleaner clothes. I was now a lot more interested in seeing what else I could make.
I understand just exactly what may be going through your head right now….Why in the world are you not just buying in bulk, or Why not just spend a little more and get the “all natural” products from the health food store??? Why are you throwing in the towel on convenience?? Don’t you know how hard we women have worked to have all the new convenient stuff??? I was raised in the You Don’t Have to be JUST a MOM, You Can Be ANYTHING You Want To Be Seventies. In elementary school we were encouraged to define what we wanted to be that wasn’t a mom. In Junior High, it was the beginning of the 80’s and we were encouraged to explore, discover, reach for the stars….and by High School, well, being a mom was the furthest thing from my mind, and “Just a mom” was just not an option!
Funny, though, after all the brainwashing and encouraging, That is exactly what I am. JUST A MOM. And, I love it. I love chillin with my kids, helping them grow, hearing about their day, loving them and their dad….NO ONE in school ever told me that I COULD just be a mom. So, when we are looking at all the ways we have “come so far ahead”, sometimes we forget that we lose something in the process. And just like being Just a Mom, some of those simple things are exactly the right things for us.
Well, I haven’t even gotten to tell you about the dirt toothpaste…
That is a blog post for another day.