We scrimp and save in a variety of ways and splurge in others. To each his own – we all need something we don’t have to worry about spending money on. But I’m going to share with you some of the ways we save. This first post will be about cleaning. Household cleaning, that is.
We use cloth. We use mostly cloths that we wash and reuse to clean up basic spills and stuff around the house. Generally, they’re made from old towels and whatnot that were getting too threadbare or torn to be functional anymore. We cut them up into whatever size suits us and store them under the kitchen sink. We do still buy paper towels to use for a few things, but largely we use cloth. (I really like paper towels for cleaning up at least the first pass at particular disgusting and/or greasy messes. Also, for draining bacon. *ahem*) We also use some sponges, particularly the Magic Eraser type sponges, which are awesome.
We make many of our own cleaning supplies. While we don’t make everything, there are quite a few that we do. Lots of stuff can be cleaned with very hot water, castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s), borax, vinegar and a host of other simple, inexpensive ingredients. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to DIY cleaning solutions, if you’d like to check it out. There isn’t a ton of stuff there yet, and I have not tried all the recipes, but the ideas are great to have! Two of the pins I use regularly are the one for dishwasher detergent and the one for the four separate cleaners, of which I am most fond of the grease cutter. (Spray that stuff on the dirty stove top, wait a few minutes, then wipe with a Magic Eraser sponge? Miraculous.)
We go natural. Some of the main cleaning ingredients we use are essential oils that have antibacterial properties. And while a small bottle of an essential oil may be fairly expensive, you generally only need a few drops of the oil in a whole container of cleaner for it to be effective. (A side note – M bought some all-purpose cleaner today, mainly because all of our spray bottles happen to be broken at the moment. The active ingredient? Thyme oil. I’m entirely sure we could have made something similar at home for a fraction of the cost.)
We don’t buy things that need special cleaning. For instance, I make a point of avoiding dry clean only clothing. Not only do I not have the money to spend at the dry cleaners, but with a toddler in the house and my own tendency to spill things on myself, I don’t need the hassle of running to the dry cleaners every other day. Also, chemicals. Ick.
We don’t clean obsessively. This may sound like an odd one, but hear me out. By cleaning only when needed, we save on cleaning products and we save on effort. (If you’re using conventional cleaners, not cleaning all the time can save you money and exposure to chemicals! Win!) Which is not to say that we leave our house dirty, we certainly don’t. (Usually.) But frankly I’d rather my child(ren) be exposed to some small amount of dirt and dust than the constant presence of chemical cleaning products. (We generally don’t use chemical cleaning products anyway. But you get the picture.)
And those are just a few ways that we save around the house! If you have any favorite cleaning supply recipes, please leave a comment to share, I’d love to see some more!