One couple's valiant (and sometimes fruitless) attempts at minimalist living, financial independence, and raising two kids without traumatising them (or ourselves) along the way.
2018: January – March
January 2018: I made my own all-purpose cleaner using vinegar, water and eucalyptus oil. I put it in a glass spray bottle I ordered online. The spray attachment is plastic but I couldn’t find any that were completely plastic-free. We mainly use this in the kitchen but it does what it says on the tin. You can basically use it to clean anything.
January 2018: I made mouthwash using distilled water, baking soda, peppermint essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil. It wasn’t as strong as the commercial ones but it was quite refreshing. But while I was taking the photo I noticed some kind of icky mould growing in it and had to throw it out. Back to the drawing board.
January 2018: I made my own toothpaste using baking soda (again!), peppermint essential oil, salt and vegetable glycerine. Again the salty taste takes some getting used to but overall it’s ok. Mr W isn’t convinced and I’m a bit scared to try it out on the kids in case it traumatises them. I think I need to tweak the recipe a bit.
January 2018: I cut up some muslin cloths we weren’t using any more and hemmed them (sloppily) to make napkins. Now we don’t use paper towels at meals and the kids love having their own napkins. Miss W informed me that it was essential she take one to nursery every day so she can wipe her hands after her snack.
January 2018: I got the kids plastic-free water bottles. They’re heavier than plastic bottles but are really easy to clean which is especially important for kids. Those sippy cup things always gave me the heebie-jeebies since you could never get them clean. (Do a Google image search for “sippy cup mould” if you don’t believe me.)
January 2018: I discovered bar shampoo from Lush and fell in love with it. You buy the bars with no packaging at all (but they’ll put them in a paper bag for you if you want). I bought a metal tin to keep mine in. It lathers really well, smells amazing and lasts ages. And there’s no plastic bottle to throw away once the shampoo’s finished.
January – February 2018: I indulged my inner geek by knitting dishcloths from cotton yarn to replace the plastic sponges we used to wash the dishes with. They’re fun to make and you can just keep on washing them and reusing them again and again until they fall apart and you can downgrade them to cleaning rags.
February 2018: A mini victory. We’ve realized we produce so little rubbish that can’t be composted or recycled that we can switch from a normal sized kitchen bin to a tiny little bucket. Also, our wheelie bin for non-recyclable rubbish gets collected once a week but it takes us about a month to fill it, so we only put it out when it’s full.
February 2018: A huge victory. After months of trying to persuade Little W he doesn’t need a plastic straw with every drink, he spilled his milk and decided it was the straw’s fault. So he gathered up all the straws he could find and put them in the bin. Now there are no straws in our house. And no more will be coming in.
February 2018: A monumental victory. Little W has stopped wearing nappies! Now we never have to change another nappy (or throw one out). I did look into cloth nappies before Miss W was born but there was too much choice and I got confused and just went with normal plastic nappies. A decision I now regret.
February 2018: I got handy with the sewing machine again and made a couple of cutlery wraps. Now we can take cutlery and napkins with us when we’re out and about. This involved a lot of swearing and ripping out and fixing of the machine by my ever-patient mother-in-law. The result is amateur at best, but it’s functional.
February 2018: We got sick of our coffee cups being too tall to fit under a lot of coffee machines, so we finally cracked and got ourselves some smaller ones. They’re made of bamboo and silicon and fit under every coffee machine we’ve tried so far. We’ve kept the old cups as backup.