Aaaand I'm a scatterbrained blogger these days - I forgot one of our key money-saving lifestyle choices, with regards to cleaning!
We don't own a dryer.
I know. Most of you probably already hate doing laundry, why make it more difficult and time consuming? Well, the irony is that once I stopped using a dryer and started hanging all our clothes to dry, I found it a much less bothersome task. Crazy, right? I think it has something to do with everything already being all neat and tidy and separated. I don't know for sure, I only know I hated folding laundry from the dryer. Now? I totally don't mind. (And it really takes a surprisingly small amount of time to hang a load of laundry. I swear.)
Now, I don't want you thinking I have an easy time of it with this no-dryer thing. We live in Maine. For large parts of the year it is too cold to dry outside. We have several drying racks that we use inside, when that is the case. When it's nice, we have clotheslines strung across our porch and use those instead. We have a small child (soon to be 2 small children!) so I generally do a load of laundry every day, between regular laundry and diapers. Because, oh yes! We cloth diaper too! And those all get hung to dry as well. (We have separate drying racks for those that take up less space.) So it's not like I'm a single person in a warm climate where air drying would be incredibly easy. But still, I do it. It saves us money, saves electricity and as an added bonus, saves our clothes as well. Less fading, virtually no shrinking.
But I do need to plan my laundry carefully to avoid having nowhere to hang wet clothes. We have a washing schedule that I stick to religiously that allows for everything to dry fully before doing the next load. (Depending on the weather that can take anywhere from an hour or two to over a day.) We do diapers 3 times per week (MWF), then a load of whites, a load of darks and a load of baby clothes on the other days. The remaining day (Sunday, as it happens) we do whatever is left - delicate wool things, comforters, whatever is needed, though usually we don't need to wash anything on Sundays at all. It works for us!
I admit - we do on occasion bring laundry to the laundromat or my parents' house to dry, if needed. Sometimes, in January, when the baby spits up on the comforter, you just have to have it dry quickly. But do I wish I owned a dryer just for the handful of occasions every year when we actually need it? Nope.
Some interesting statistics on air drying and energy consumption by tumble dryers over here...
I know it's not for everybody but give it a shot sometime this summer, if you haven't already!
Because I blogged our little financial history here, here and here, I thought I'd start a wee mini-series about how we make ends meet, just in case the info would be helpful to any of you out there!
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!
My lack of motivation lately has been epic. EPIC. And for that I apologize. There has been little crafting. Even less cooking. Hardly any eating, for that matter. Next to no blogging. Barely any photo-taking.
But today is beautiful and sunny and warm and I am taking a vacation day to sit at home and catch up on cleaning, crafting, gardening, sleeping and just generally enjoying being alone!
So there's a wee post over here, with some lovely photos (if I do say so myself) and I hope you'll pop over and take a peek!