Slaying the Laundry Monster and not by becoming a Nudist.

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When I grew up laundry was a massive pile on the love seat. For me it was perfectly normal to have to search for a clean outfit every morning. This would be the reason why I seldom wear matched socks. I am cool as long as the socks are the same kind- crew cut, ankle, etc.

Once, I was married laundry was fairly simple to keep up with at first. There just wasn’t that much. However, 3 kids down the road and I had my own Mt. Laundry. It felt like I was constantly washing clothes and searching for clothes for people to wear each day. It was exhausting. I was starting to get very depressed about the pile of laundry that was a resident in my living room. However, the pile is no more!

At the beginning of the year Mark and I started talking about downsizing. We wanted a more minimalistic way of life. We felt we were drowning in stuff. A big thing was clothes…..they were simply everywhere. We had Mt. Laundry in the living room. We also had random piles in our bedroom and even in the kids’ room. So, over the last few weeks I have been purging our wardrobes and simplifying them.

The first thing I did was weed out all the wrong size kid clothes. There was a ridiculous amount and I am ashamed to say they were cycling through the laundry room on a fairly regular basis. Once, I had done that I set out to get the kids’ wardrobes to a manageable size. This is their summer wardrobe per kid:

-1 pair of blue jeans
-1 pair light weight activity pants
-7 shorts*
-7 shirts*
-2 polos for church wear
-1 button up dress shirt
-1 pair of church pants
-1 pair of church shorts
-2 pairs of pjs*
– 1 swim suit
-2 packages of underwear for those that are potty trained
-1 package of socks
-1 light weight jacket

Shoes for each are: rainboots, crocs and sneakers.
*Note: Two younger kids have a couple extra pieces to account for accidents.

This brings me to a total of 80 clothing items; not including socks/underwear. It does include the few extra clothing pieces my younger two have. It sounds like a lot of clothing but when you take into account that it is for 3 kids it isn’t.

Mark and my wardrobes are still works in progress. However, by purging the wardrobes I greatly lightened my laundry load. While, I was purging I also took the opportunity to catch up on Mt. Laundry and bulldoze it to the ground. I even matched the socks! Once, I was caught up I wanted to put a new system in place that would prevent Mt. Laundry from every growing again.

I looked at our weekly schedule and decided that Tuesdays and Fridays were going to be laundry days. Each day I will watch 3 loads of laundry. Tuesdays is made up of: kids, adults and towels/rags. Fridays is made up of: kids, adults and Mark’s uniform stuff.  Once a month I wash all the bedding (kids bedding is as needed). I wash diapers as needed throughout the week; normally 2 times a week. By doing laundry twice a week and having small wardrobes the loads aren’t huge. I no longer have to wait for Mark to carry the heavy laundry baskets upstairs for me. I fold each load as it comes out of the dryer and then bring it upstairs and put it away. I have the boys help.

I never thought it was possible to not have a Mt. Laundry but it is! I did laundry today and didn’t dread it. Even though we were out of the house all day running errands it was easy to wash the 3 loads. The night before laundry day before bed I start the first load. This way when I get up in the morning it can be moved to the dryer and I can start the second load. This allows me to have a good start on laundry by 8 am. I also don’t take a load out of the dryer unless I can fold it right then and there. If I can’t fold it I leave it in the dryer. I also have a rule that at the end of each laundry day the dryer is empty.

All the boys clothes neatly put away.
kids laundry

 


Early Retirement…. say what? (And some DIY recipes!)

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Mark has been talking about retirement for a while now and had started working on a retirement account. He had even mentioned the idea of early retirement several times. Originally it was mostly just discussion but than in December he came across Mr. Money Mustache…..All of a sudden the talk about early retirement became much more earnest and he wanted to put a plan in action to achieve that. His plan meant living very very frugally. It meant saving an immense amount of money now.

At first I was very resistant of the idea. I already felt like we were living frugally. I already felt; when compared to how I was raised that we were saving a lot of money. I didn’t see how we could follow the lifestyle that Mr. Money Mustache advocated and still have a happy enjoyable life filled with rich experiences.  I’ve slowly been getting more on board with the idea and the plan. Though, I am sure Mark wishes I could climb aboard the Mr. Money Mustache boat a little quicker!

While, I was exploring his website I came across an article entitled “Are You Cleaning Out Your Own Wallet?” It hit home especially when Mark and I sat down to review the financial picture of the past year and go over the budget for the upcoming year. I was shocked at the amount of money I had spent over the past year on household cleaning supplies and personal supplies. I started looking at what we were buying and started considering what we could do to cut the amount of money spent in those areas.

There wasn’t a lot to cut in household cleaning supplies. I can’t cut out dishwasher soap or laundry soap. We need trash bags. In personal care products there was room to cut but even then there wasn’t too much room. I am not a woman; who can embrace never shaving and being super hairy! I can’t buy the cheapest shampoo and conditioners because they leave me with horrible dandruff. Dandruff that is so bad my scalp will start to bleed. I can’t use super cheap products on my face because they cause me to break out.

So, since there wasn’t a lot to cut by not buying the products I had to start considering ways to get said products at a more reasonable cost. I started scouring Pinterest and found some fantastic do-it-yourself recipes for things like dish soap, laundry soap and some of the personal care products I use.

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At first I was a little skeptical about how well some of these alternatives would work. However, I am pleased to say that they all work just as well as the mainstream store bought items and in some case like the dishwasher soap better! So, without further ado here are the recipes!

Dishwasher soap found over at Wellness Mama’s blog.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container.
  2. Use 1 tablespoon per load as needed.
  3. For an extra boost, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid (only a few!!!) to the powder before closing the soap container in the dishwasher.
  4. You can also add white vinegar as the rinse agent, though honestly, I forget this most of the time and it still works.

I used an old pickle jar. I have been beyond impressed with this recipe. I have not added any liquid dishwashing soap when using it. This has cleaned my dishes better than the expensive dishwashing tablets were! With the amount that I made and how little needed per load this is going to last me forever!

Laundry Soap found here at How Does She do That.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean- Found in the detergent aisle. (This is optional but I highly recommend adding it)
  • 2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap- Found in the detergent aisle (we chose to do pink for the scent but the white would be just fine. You can also use Fels Naptha)
  • 1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle (You could also get two 2 lb box, we couldn’t find the larger 4lb box when we went)
  • ·         1-2 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener- or use 3-4 bottles of Scentsy Washer Whiffs.

Instructions:

1. Grate zote soap with cheese grater or food processor.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bucket.
3. Use 2 -4 Tablespoons per laundry load.

Note: I used Fels Naptha soap and a grater. I also left out the purex crystals.

Now, onto the 2 personal care products I have started making. The first one I started making was make-up remover. I am thrilled with it because unlike the store bought make-up remover it doesn’t leave my skin feeling slimy afterwards. Instead, it feels nourished. The other product I started making was a face scrub. It is very similar to the expensive face scrub I like from the body shop but so much cheaper to make!

Make-up Remover found over at Frugally Sustainable

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby-mild liquid castile soap (I used citrus scented)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Combine ingredients in container
  2. Shake well
  3. Dampen cotton ball to use
  4. Store in airtight container and shake before each use.

Oatmeal Honey Face Scrub found over at Dabbles and Babbles

Ingredients:

  • Two parts oatmeal (ground up finely in a blender or food processor)
  • One part honey
  • One part sweet almond oil (or coconut or olive oil – which ever you prefer)

Directions:

Mix everything together until it’s a thick sticky mixture. Feel free to add a little extra oil or even a few drops of water if it’s too sticky or clumpy. Smooth onto face and rub into skin for a couple of minutes and then rinse off.

Note: I used olive oil.

I use this nightly! Absolutely, love how it leaves my skin feeling.