May 31, 2016


Whether you live in a studio with minimal space or in a large home with plenty of room to spare, having less products makes it easy to store, keep track of, and restock.
I used to have shelves of cleaning products and beauty treatments, and it was always a struggle trying to find a place to store everything.  I often found myself doubling up bulk items at Costco when I still had an unopened "backup" pack of goods hidden in the sea of bottles, sprays, and wipes.  In desperation to minimize the clutter, I started researching for products that could multitask.

These products that I mention below work more effectively than most commercial products I've tried, at a fraction of the price.  And because they are natural, I know it's safe for my family's health.


Olive oil has been a household staple since the days of ancient Greece.  Known as an important ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is also used as a skin moisturizer, makeup remover, shaving cream substitute, bath oil, leather cleaner, mouth rinse, bruising inhibitor, and shoe polish.   

My Favorite Use: Hair Treatment
Instead of buying an expensive bottle of salon-grade hair oil, I use a quarter-sized amount and run it through the ends of my dry hair at night.  Then I wash it off in the morning and my hair becomes silky smooth.


Besides it being used for baking (duh, hence the name "baking" soda), I toss in a scoop of baking soda into my laundry to get my clothes looking bright.

Got a smelly trash can but can't get rid of the smell?  Put some on the bottom of the bin and it'll absorb the odors. 

This versatile product can also be used as a dry shampoo.  Sprinkle a little on your scalp.  Let it sit for a few minutes until it absorbs the hair oils.  Then brush it out.  Beware that some folks' skin (including myself) may be too sensitive and it can cause a rash.  I substitute with arrowroot powder instead.

My Favorite Use:  Toilet Scrub
Pour some directly into the toilet.  Add about a cup of vinegar and swirl the mixture.  Let it sit for a few minutes before you start scrubbing.


Distilled white vinegar is my ultimate cleaning workhorse.  Combined with a bit of baking soda, this has replaced my entire assortment of store-bought cleaning solutions.  I no longer have trouble finding a place to store all the various products or need to keep track of running out of something.

This non-toxic cleaner is versatile enough to remove carpet stains, getting rid of water rings on the coffee table, and purify the air.

My Favorite Use:  Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Dilute this with water in a spray bottle and add your favorite essential oil.  I like lavender oil for a calming effect.


Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 Castile Soap is magic in a bottle.  The company boasts that there are 18 different ways you can use it from body wash to floor cleaner to plant spray for bugs.  The concentrated, biodegradable formula does not contain synthetic preservatives, detergents or foaming agents.  There are 8 different scents available, including an unscented version specialized for babies. My favorites are lavender and rose. For the best value and minimal waste, a 1-gallon size is available in a 100% post consumer recycled bottle.  Learn all the suggested methods on how to use this magical soap with this printable cheat sheet.

My Favorite Use:  Makeup Brush Cleanser
Add a few drops into a shallow bowl and dilute with lukewarm water.  (Instead of running your sink until the water gets warm, nuke it in the microwave for about 10 seconds.) Soak your makeup brushes for no more than 5 minutes.  Gently swirl your brushes in the palm of your hand to work up a lather.  Rinse the brushes under running water.  Use a hand towel to pat dry and reshape the bristles.  Lay your brushes flat with the tips hanging at the edge of the sink to air dry.


Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been a fan favorite dating back to 400 B.C. when Hippocrates, aka the Father of Medicine, used it for its amazing health qualities.   This tonic is rich in enzymes & potassium.  It's been known to help with all sorts of ailments like weight control, pH & glucose balance, aid digestion, toxin removal from the body, muscle pain relief, and healthy skin.  

To gain the most benefits, most folks take a small sip daily either by itself or used in a recipe.  One of my family's favorite ways is in a salad dressing.

For breakouts and hyperpigmentation on my skin, I dilute with water and dab a little with a Qtip directly on the affected area.  

I swear by this brand Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.

My Favorite Use:  ACV Skin & Digestive Tonic
I like to make a morning drink using 2 Tbsp ACV, 2 Tbsp local honey, and 8 oz. hot water. Warning: This tastes like a VERY tart lemonade.  My body feels a big difference when I drink it that day, so I'm a believer that this works.


When life gives you lemons, make...sun-kissed highlights?  Add this to your hair to the strands you'd like to lighten.  All you need to add is a bit of sunshine exposure, and you're golden.  

My Favorite Use:  Lemon Honey Salad Dressing  

This is way tastier (and healthier) than any store-bought dressing and only takes a few minutes to whip up.  The acid from the lemons gives the salad a brightness while the honey mellows out the tartness.  Mix the juice of 1 lemon, 5 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil, 2 Tbsp honey, 1 tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Drizzle over salad mix and serve immediately.

7 :: WATER

We all use water to cook, drink, bathe and clean in the traditional sense, but have you considered it for these less conventional ways?

Make your own sparkling water using a SodaStream.  It makes refreshing, bubbly water within 3 presses of a button.  Add a squeeze of lemon for flavor.  Not only does it taste great.  It's better for the environment by saving store-bought water bottles from entering into our landfills.  Bonus for not having to take out the recycling more than you have to!

At our house, we use a bucket to capture the water from running our shower until the water turns hot.  We repurpose it to water some of our plants.  According to the EPA, a standard shower head uses an average of 2.5 gallons/minute.  That's quite a few gallons saved daily.

My Favorite Use:  Diaper Wipe Alternative
Many diaper wipes are filled with chemicals that are too strong for a baby's sensitive skin, which can cause diaper rash.  I try to limit using diaper wipes to when we're out and about.  At home, I solely wipe with warm water using old t-shirt rags.  My 3 month old has never had a diaper rash.


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