My Happiness Project : May

May: De-clutter home/learn to make/create natural cleaning & beauty products.

Report: Kind of another fail in terms of this month in particular, but I am in the midst of an overhaul in this area. The thing is that I do not want to replace products until I am done with what I am currently using, and I didn’t run out of anything new in May. On the plus side, to put a more positive spin on it, for about the last 8 months I have been making an effort to make my own cleaning and beauty supplies so that I know what is in them, and/or to switch to items that are more environmentally friendly as well as more friendly to my skin. In this time span, I have switched deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo (I now use a baking soda/water mix), conditioner (apple cider vinegar water mix), hair gel (aloe vera with a rose water spray on occasion), and a general cleaning spray and a disinfectant. I have also started using wool balls in the dryer instead of dryer sheets after learning that they contain chemicals that may be harmful (and are unnecessary, so why bother). There are still some cleaners, such as carpet spray for dog accidents, that I do not yet have a plan to replace, but I either have or do have a plan to replace nearly everything. The next will be laundry detergent–I have purchased supplies to make my own but am using up the very last of my store bought product.

If you are looking to make changes, there are tons of ideas on the internet, but here are my top 2 favorites:

  1. For store bought products, the Environmental Working Group has an app that allows you to scan products. It is called EWG’s Health Living App. It is not entirely complete, but I think they are continually working on it. And because you can scan, it is easy to use while you are shopping. It also breaks down products to look at all their ingredients, and you can get a sense of whether the ingredient is viewed more negatively because of environmental or personal health concerns. (Side note: EWG is a great resources for a lot of things, check out there website for great resources such as the top foods to choose organic because they use the most pesticides in growing, and which foods are safest to choose the non-organic variety…and much more).
  2. For do-it-yourself recipes for household cleaning products, a book called Green Clean, The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin. I bought this ages ago, it was published in 2005 and that may be when I bought it. It is a waterproof book, which may be questionable in terms of environmental sustainability – but it does mean that it lasts a long time as a useful resource! It has recipes and ideas for cleaning all areas of the home. I like that it covers how to clean in addition to recipes – what and how often. I didn’t learn such things growing up, so it is a good resource.

While I was not super successful during my month, I am proud of my overall approach and I definitely recommend that if you start analyzing your cleaning and beauty products, that you also move slowly. It saves money, reduces waste (since you already own the other product), and allows you to slowly integrate into healthier living for you and the environment.

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